UPDATE 1/28/21: According to the AP Press, Kansas legislators have put the pro-life “Value Them Both Amendment” to the state constitution on the ballot for the state’s August 2022 primary election. The amendment would need to be approved by a simple majority of voters and would overturn a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that said abortion is a “fundamental” right. If approved, abortion would not be banned in the state, but lawmakers would be able to ban abortion in Kansas if the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to — such as in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
1/25/21: A Kansas constitutional amendment that would prevent unrestricted abortion in the state and make it possible for Kansas legislators to pass laws restricting abortion has advanced both House and Senate committees after strong testimony from pro-life supporters. Known in pro-life camps as the “Value Them Both Amendment,” the amendment has been in the works since a state Supreme Court ruling last year removed virtually all restrictions against abortion. According to KMBC News, the amendment is the top priority for the state’s GOP majority.
Pro-life supporters filled a Statehouse hearing room Tuesday to offer testimony in support of the amendment at a joint House and Senate committee. Among the supporters were several women who themselves have had abortions. “To call abortion a right is to have an injustice to women. To date, I’ve met no one that brags about their choice,” a woman named Danette told the committee.
After hearing the testimony, committee members met Wednesday to vote on separate but similar iterations of the proposed amendment. According to the Associated Press, the measure cleared the House committee with a 15-6 show of hands after some deliberation, while it passed the Senate with a voice vote and little deliberation.
The amendment was born after an April 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that created a “fundamental right” to abortion within the framework of the state’s constitution. Under this ruling, Kansans are no longer allowed to pass any laws restricting abortion. This means that things like parental-notification laws, partial-birth abortions, and taxpayer-funded abortions can’t be regulated by law.
Now that the amendment has passed both the House and Senate committees, it advances to the chambers, where the Associated Press reports that debates could begin as early as next week. If both chambers approve the amendment with a majority two-thirds vote, it will be on the ballot for Kansas voters to decide its fate as early as August.
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