Kansas lawmakers put anti-abortion measure on 2022 ballot

The Senate approved the measure 28-11, giving abortion opponents one more vote than the two-thirds majority they needed. The House approved the same measure last week. Approval by a simple majority of voters would change the Kansas Constitution.

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Kansas state Reps. Brenda Landwehr, left, R-Wichita, and Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, confer during a House debate on a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.

Kansas state Reps. Brenda Landwehr, left, R-Wichita, and Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, confer during a House debate on a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Both supported the measure, which would overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision in 2019 that declared access to abortion a “fundamental” right under the state constitution.

AP

TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican legislators in Kansas on Thursday put a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution on the ballot for the state’s August 2022 primary election.

The Senate approved the measure 28-11, giving abortion opponents one more vote than the two-thirds majority they needed. The House approved the same measure last week. Approval by a simple majority of voters would change the Kansas Constitution.

The measure would overturn a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the state’s bill of rights. New language would declare that the state constitution doesn’t grant the right to abortion and that the Legislature can regulate it in line with U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

The measure would not be an abortion ban, but it would allow lawmakers to enact one if the nation’s highest court were to overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion rights.

Abortion rights opponents have argued that the amendment would allow the Legislature to regulate abortion as it had before the 2019 decision. They warn that future state court decisions could end almost all restrictions on abortion.

Abortion rights supporters contend that the measure is a big step toward banning abortion.

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