TOPEKA, (KSNT)— The big abortion vote in Kansas is just two weeks away, with the “Value Them Both” amendment on the ballot for the Primary Election.
A “yes” vote paves the way for lawmakers to regulate abortions in the state. A “no” vote keeps abortions legal in Kansas. If the amendment passes, the next move will be in the Republican-controlled Legislature’s hands. Democrats say an abortion ban could be coming down the line.
“If this amendment passes, abortion will be banned in Kansas… It will be item #1,” said Representative John Carmichael, a Democrat from Wichita.
If voters decide to allow lawmakers to regulate abortions in Kansas, Democrats are curious just how far Republicans will take it. A bill virtually banning abortion, which includes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, was introduced last year, but died in committee. The bill would have to be re-introduced if lawmakers were to take action.
Kansas Capitol Bureau spoke with Jeanne Gawdun, the Director of Government Relations for Kansans for Life, to ask what the next steps would be if the amendment passes and whether an abortion ban could be in the future.
“When Value Them Both passes, what needs to happen is stopping those live, dismemberment abortions on those fully formed babies, who are capable of feeling pain. That’s what’s going to happen,” Gawdun said.
Gawdun said that it’s critical for constituents to “have a say” on the issue, and to protect policies that prevent taxpayer money from being used on abortions and policies that ban abortions at 22 weeks. Democrats, however, believe that Republican lawmakers will go too far.
“What is being proposed here, is to take away from Kansas women a constitutional right, and I’m not going to vote to do that,” Carmichael said. “And I think there’s a whole lot of people just like that say that is going too far.”
Another question is how quickly will lawmakers assemble to pass new legislation should voters give them the power to regulate abortions. It’s possible they could call together a special session later this year. But, it’s more likely they’ll wait with the General Election taking place in November.
For some, there’s also confusion surrounding the abortion amendment vote. All registered voters are eligible to vote on the issue, even those who do not belong to a political party. Currently, early voting is underway and August 2nd is the date for the Primary Election.