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We need your help to fight this flawed and dangerous constitutional amendment!

On Jan. 28, anti-abortion politicians passed a flawed and dangerous constitutional amendmentHCR 5003, that can and will lead to an all-out ban on abortion in Kansas if passed. Sound familiar? It should. This is the exact same constitutional amendment our bipartisan coalition defeated in 2020 with your support. 

We’re not surprised: Opponents of safe, legal abortion have been very clear about their intentions. Now, it’s on us to fight back.

Every voice matters in this fight and it will take all of us. Tell your legislators why you oppose this effort to strip us of our rights.

Nearly one in four women will have an abortion in her lifetime, and every person’s decision about their pregnancy—whether to have an abortion, choose adoption, or parent—should be respected and valued, as well as legally protected.

We've seen state legislatures across the country go to great lengths to make abortion care inaccessible or ban it entirely — we cannot let this happen in Kansas. The majority of Kansans support access to safe, legal abortion, and this constitutional amendment is out of step with our values.

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Join the front-row action on the constitutional amendment fight. You’ll receive exclusive information so you’re informed on what’s happening, as well as tools for helping to shape the public campaign.

We can’t let them take away our rights.

We can’t let them take away our rights.

Listen to PPGPV’s Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing Rachel Sweet’s testimony in opposition to HCR 5003 in front of the Federal & State Affairs committee Friday, Jan. 15.

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What is happening?

Anti-abortion politicians want to put the rights and health of Kansans who can become pregnant up for a vote of the people in a primary election in August 2022. 

On the second day of 2021’s legislative session, anti-abortion legislators introduced a constitutional amendment that would end the right to abortion in our state, depriving any Kansan who can get pregnant of equal protection under the law.

This constitutional amendment is part of a larger agenda to undermine sexual and reproductive health and rights, and impose the values of a few on millions of Kansans. Their goal is to change the Kansas Constitution to pave the way for banning abortion outright.  

Why a constitutional amendment?

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court recognized a monumental protection for Kansans, for reproductive rights and for health care providers: It found a fundamental right in the Kansas Constitution to personal autonomy, which includes the right to have an abortion.

In a 6-1 decision in Hodes & Nauser, MDs, P.A. v. Schmidt, the court found that “Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights affords protection of the right of personal autonomy, which includes the ability to control one's own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination. This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life—decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.” 

Anti-abortion organizations and lawmakers are determined to remove this right from Kansans. This sort of thinking – that some aspects of our bodies are open to government legislation – would open the door to the state legislature intruding into all decisions about childbearing, our families, and medical decision-making.

Who is behind this constitutional amendment?  

This amendment was crafted by anti-abortion lobbyists and introduced by legislators who support their views. The politicians and organizations behind this amendment have clearly stated that they believe all abortions should be banned, no matter what. This view is completely out of step with the values of the majority of Kansans. It’s not the kind of state that we want to be.

This language is confusing. What does it really mean?

Don’t be fooled by confusing language — the intent of this constitutional amendment and the politicians behind it is to eliminate access to abortion. Amendments like this one are intentionally designed to confuse and mislead voters, because politicians know that voters actually oppose these attacks on abortion. 

The reality is that anti-abortion politicians know that limiting access to abortion is unpopular so they exploit voter suppression tactics and confusing and complicated ballot language to get the job done.

Passing this flawed and dangerous constitutional amendment would allow certain politicians to interfere in our private lives. The language of amendment says that the legislature can make laws to regulate or restrict abortion for any reason — even if the person seeking an abortion is a victim of rape or incest, or because their own life is at stake. 

Kansans deserve the right to make our own personal, private medical decisions without politicians’ interference. Decisions about whether to end a pregnancy are deeply personal and should be left to a woman in consultation with her health care provider, her family, and her faith—not politicians in Topeka.

How did we get here? I thought we won this fight in 2020.

In the spring of 2020, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and reproductive rights organizations across the state worked together to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove the right to abortion from the Kansas Constitution. 

Now, anti-abortion politicians and groups are proposing the same flawed and dangerous legislation in the 2021 session. Those behind this amendment rely on falsehoods and distortions of the truth in order to justify legislation that can and will lead to an all-out ban of abortion care in the state of Kansas.

What does this constitutional amendment really do?

The purpose of this constitutional amendment is to open the floodgates for new, more restrictive laws intended to ban all abortions. If approved, the legislature could pass additional restrictions that put politicians between patients and physicians. 

This constitutional amendment makes no exception for the health of the mother, or for victims of rape or incest. For instance, if a pregnant woman needs treatment for cancer, she would not be able to end her pregnancy to receive chemotherapy. In circumstances like these, families need to make their own decisions with the guidance of their physicians and if they choose, their faith, but without government interference.

Constitutional amendments are designed to be permanent. Changing the constitution to remove the right to abortion is not in the best interest of Kansans. When a person needs to end a pregnancy, it is important to have access to safe medical care, not restrictions and barriers that make access harder. 

This constitutional amendment is a calculated attempt to take away rights from women and those who can become pregnant, and it is the first step to ban abortion entirely. We must fight to ensure our rights and freedoms are protected, now and into the future.

People are saying because of the Kansas Supreme Court decision that we need a constitutional amendment to regulate abortion. Is that true?

No, the notion that there would be no state oversight of abortion providers is false and purposely misleading. Abortion is regulated just like any medical procedure. Health care providers who provide abortion can be regulated just like other licensed health care providers in the state. In Kansas, doctors must be licensed by the Board of Healing Arts and must adhere to strict rules governing their practices —again, just like any other form of health care. 

The Kansas legislature has passed 22 medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. They are clearly not seeking to pass or retain reasonable regulations for health care providers. 

Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States, with complication rates that are exceedingly low, and mortality rates that are lower than those for colonoscopies, plastic surgery, dental procedures, and adult tonsillectomies—and maybe most importantly, much lower than that for childbirth. There is no medical reason for regulating health care practitioners who provide abortion differently from those that provide other services that are similar in risk and complexity. 

We also need to reject the idea that abortion needs more regulation that other medical procedures because this is a way abortion opponents shame and stigmatize those who have abortions. Abortion is safe, normal and above all, it is health care. 

Nearly one in four women will have an abortion in her lifetime, and every person’s decision about her pregnancy—whether to have an abortion, choose adoption, or parent—should be respected and valued.

So what? Don’t we have Roe to protect access?

Unfortunately, we can’t depend on our federal courts to protect us.

In his four years in office, President Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Moreover, he made more than 200 appointments to lower federal courts, essentially reshaping the federal judiciary in his image. 

We have seen a rash of dangerous abortion bans sweeping the country, all with one goal in mind—to bring a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade to the U.S. Supreme Court and make abortion inaccessible in this country. With 18 court cases on abortion making their way toward the U.S. Supreme Court, the future of Roe is very much in jeopardy.

If Roe is greatly weakened or overturned, our Kansas constitutional rights are all that stand between us and a ban on abortion entirely.

Why is banning abortion bad?

When abortion access is restricted or inaccessible, women and their families suffer the consequences. States with more abortion restrictions tend to have poorer health outcomes for women and children than other states, including higher rates of maternal and infant mortality.

The impact of abortion restrictions is predominantly felt by those who already experience barriers to health care, including women, the LGBTQ community, young people, people of color and those with disabilities, people with low incomes, and people who live in rural areas or are undocumented. Passing a constitutional amendment could place these folks’ health and lives in jeopardy.

Has this happened in other states?

Yes; there’s a roadmap for what will likely happen. Tennessee approved a similar ballot initiative in 2014 after politicians promised they would just pass reasonable restrictions, just like what proponents of Kansas’ constitutional amendment are saying. However, just like in Kansas, nothing in Tennessee law prevented the reasonable regulation of the practice of medicine, including of abortion. 

In the years since the amendment passed, legislators there have swiftly passed seven bills restricting access to abortion and faced multiple lawsuits as a result. One of the few abortion providers left in Tennessee was forced to close in 2020 in the wake of these restrictions. 

And this past summer, Tennessee’s anti-abortion politicians succeeding in passing a ban on abortion at 6 weeks, before most people even know they are pregnant. This is one of the most restrictive abortion bans in nation.  

Make no mistake: This flawed and dangerous constitutional amendment is intended to end the right to abortion in Kansas, just like in Tennessee. The politicians and organizations behind it are on the record about their belief that all abortions should be banned, no matter what.

When would a vote on this amendment happen?

The constitutional amendment is written to be put before a vote of the people in the primary election in August 2022. Primary elections typically have much lower turnout than general elections. 

We know nearly 77% of Americans support Roe v. Wade and there is no state in America where abortion bans are popular.  These anti-abortion politicians know that — they are relying on low voter turnout and confusing language to sneak their agenda through. There’s a reason they are not framing this as an abortion ban, even though they plan to use it do exactly that. They know voters don’t want to ban abortion, so they’re using confusing language to accomplish their ultimate goal.

How can I get involved?

Right now, we as Kansans must show the minority of anti-abortion politicians and activists that they do not speak for the majority.  We have the power and responsibility to keep Kansas a place where abortion is legal and accessible.

Here’s what you can do to support reproductive rights in Kansas:

  • Make a direct donation to Kansans for Constitutional Freedom (KCF).  Your gift will go directly toward organizing, mobilizing, and building awareness among moderate and independent voters about the importance of showing up at the polls to defeat this aggressive legislation. It may be the most important contribution toward reproductive choice in your lifetime.
  • Email your legislators and let them know that you support every Kansan’s right to make their own personal medical decisions without government interference.
  • Call your legislators, while you’re at it. 
  • Tag your legislators in posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and tell them why access to safe, legal abortion is important to you and your community.
  • Share these resources with a friend (or several) and ask them to raise their voices, too.

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