Tonight, in a definitive statement of support for reproductive freedom in the state, Kansas voters rejected a ballot measure that would have eliminated any right to abortion in the state’s constitution and opened the door to dangerous abortion bans. The vote, which comes just over a month after the U.S. Supreme Court revoked federal abortion rights, demonstrates once again that voters across the country do not want politicians interfering in their health care decisions.
The victory is a result of a long campaign to motivate voters to protect bodily autonomy at the ballot box. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom — a broad coalition of reproductive rights and justice organizations, civil liberties groups, faith leaders, and youth — reached hundreds of thousands of voters over hours of canvassing, phone banking, and community engagement. Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes (PPGP Votes) and Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPACT) were key stakeholders in the coalition, contributing nearly $2 million — including $1.15 mil from PPACT — throughout the course of the campaign and mobilizing volunteers across the country to get involved with Kansans for Constitutional Freedom and engage with Kansas voters.
Voters were galvanized not only by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, but by the devastation seen in neighboring states where access was already limited or eliminated entirely. In neighboring Oklahoma, abortion has been banned since May — forcing thousands of patients to leave their home state for care. Kansas is one of the only states in the region that safeguards access to legal abortion and following today’s vote will remain a critical access point.
Statement from Emily Wales, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes:
“Kansas values have always exemplified freedom, and tonight, Kansas continued that legacy. Anti-abortion politicians put this amendment on the primary ballot with the goal of low voter turnout, but they discounted Kansans, who said loud and clear they believe and trust patients to make their own medical decisions — especially during a dark moment in history when people across the Midwest and South are not afforded that same freedom.
“This historic victory was the result of a groundswell of grassroots support and a broad coalition of reasonable, thoughtful Kansans across the state who put health care over politics. We have seen the devastation caused by a loss of access to abortion in neighboring states and tonight, Kansans saw through the deception of anti-abortion interests to ensure people in their state retained their rights. Now, more than ever, our work continues. Planned Parenthood Great Plains has served Kansas for decades and tomorrow, we’ll wake up and do just that – but with the reassurance that people in Kansas will continue to make medical decisions that are best for their health, their lives, and their futures.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Today is a victory for Kansans and for reproductive freedom. Because of a strong coalition effort to build understanding on shared values and rally voters across the state, Kansans rejected a dangerous amendment that would have let anti-abortion politicians eliminate access to essential health care. They protected their right to decide what is best for their own bodies, lives, and futures. And they made it resoundingly clear that they don’t want politicians involved in their medical decisions or abortion bans in their state.
As the first state to vote on abortion rights following the fall of Roe v. Wade, Kansas is a model for a path to restoring reproductive rights across the country through direct democracy. From Michigan to Nevada, we have the opportunity to protect abortion access at the ballot box in November. We know that Kansas will not be our last fight, or our last victory.”