Politics

Kansas has become an abortion destination, but citizens have the chance to change it

Kansas, Planned Parenthood, abortion

Kansas is on its way to becoming one of the nation’s abortion destination states – unless 51% of Kansans vote for the Value Them Both Amendment on August 2.

Since the Kansas Supreme Court’s landmark 2019 ruling that named unlimited abortion a constitutional right in the state, abortions in Kansas have been rising dramatically. 

On April 26, 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court found abortion to be a constitutional right in favor of the Kansas abortionists Hodes & Nauser in the Hodes & Nauser vs. Derek Schmidt sase. Pro-lifers in Kansas had gained considerable ground with pro-life legislation in their efforts to protect women and babies and keep state taxpayer dollars out of the abortion industry in the 20 years leading up to 2019. The 2019 ruling effectively erased all their work.

Hodes and Nauser had filed suit in 2016 after the Kansas Legislature enacted the pro-life Senate Bill 95 in 2015, a law which banned late-term, dismemberment abortions. The abortionists argued that the Kansas Constitution ensures a woman’s right to abortion and that the Bill prevented abortionists from using dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions – dismemberment abortions – which they claimed are the safest type of abortion in the second trimester.

 

The case moved through the lower courts, eventually reaching the Kansas Supreme Court. The Supreme Court concluded that Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution, which states that all men possess “equal and unalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” implicitly safeguards abortion as a natural right.

The following year saw the largest increase in abortions in 28 years, according to data gathered by Kansans For Life from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

In 2020, there were 626 more abortions committed in Kansas than in 2019. This constituted a 9.05% increase in abortions – the highest yearly percentage increase since 1992.

In 2020, women from out-of-state outnumbered in-state Kansas women obtaining abortions. A total of 3,901 abortions were committed on non-Kansas residents, while 3,641 abortions were committed on Kansas residents. Women traveled to Kansas from Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, California, Nebraska, Florida, and Louisiana. The majority of the women — 3,201 — traveled from Missouri. 

The number of women traveling to Kansas for abortions from Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana increased dramatically from 2019 to 2020. There was a 1056% increase of Texas residents, a 226% increase of Oklahoma residents, and a 150% increase of Louisiana residents. Pro-life legislation and and abortion facility closures in these states may have prompted these women to seek abortions in Kansas.

READ: Kansas becoming ‘abortion destination’ as abortion numbers increase 9%

Abortion rates in Kansas were in steady decline in the years 2006-2016. If fewer than 51% of Kansas residents vote for the Value Them Both Amendment, the abortion rate is likely to skyrocket further.

The Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, predicts that if Roe v. Wade falls, and states like Texas ban abortion entirely, there could be as much as a 1, 362% increase in the number of women whose closest abortion provider would be in Kansas.

Genevieve Scott, the senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who fought on behalf of the abortionists, celebrated the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling. “This will make Kansas a haven state in the Midwest if federal laws protecting abortion are overturned or significantly limited or undercut in other states,” Scott said.

In 2021, the Kansas Legislature adopted the Value Them Both Amendment, which will allow Kansans to restore their Constitution by their votes. The Amendment cannot be vetoed by the governor. The Amendment will keep state tax dollars from funding abortions up to birth, it will require parental notification for minors seeking abortion, and it will ensure that women seeking abortions have access to critical health information.

In an interview with Live Action News, Danielle Underwood, communications director with Kansans For Life, said: “It is important that healthcare professionals support this [Amendment] because these common-sense regulations ensure that women will be safer, healthier, and more protected from the abortion industry.”

The Value Them Both Amendment is the first pro-life law in the nation to be decided on by ballot. If passed, the Amendment will add the following crucial regulation of abortion to the Kansas Constitution: “Because Kansans value both women and children, the Constitution of the state of Kansas does not require the government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives, and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.”

Although the Amendment will not ban abortions in Kansas, it will ensure crucial regulations on abortion that were in place before the 2019 ruling and likely prevent a massive increase of abortions on women traveling from other states.

According to Underwood, Kansans For Life is mobilizing 1,000 pro-life workers and volunteers across the state to raise voter awareness. Ordinary citizens have an opportunity to make a statewide difference with their votes. Kansas’ legal stance on abortion will have national consequences, as Kansas will become either a haven for life or an unlimited abortion destination.

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