The right to an abortion will remain in the Kansas Constitution. The Associated Press called the race at 9:40 p.m. central. The vote “no” campaign led with 61 % to 39 % with 2540 of 3994 precincts reporting.
In the first ballot test of abortion rights in a post-Roe America, Kansas voters turned out in historic numbers to overwhelmingly reject a constitutional amendment that would have opened the door for state lawmakers to further restrict or ban abortions across the state.
The campaign against the amendment was fueled by a late June U.S. Supreme Court ruling (and early summer leak) eliminating federal protections for abortion rights found in Roe v. Wade.
“I think the Dobbs decision definitely felt like a gut punch to a lot of folks in our community and I know it did for me for sure. But once we caught our breath, we stood up straight, we got to work,” U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, told a crowd at a “vote no” watch party early in the night.
The vote stands as a major win for abortion rights advocates, preserving access in a red state as the procedure is banned or severely restricted in much of the region. It wasn’t just urban counties, like Democratic-leaning Wyandotte County, that turned out to protect abortion rights. Rural counties like Osage, Franklin and Osage also favored vote “no” by significant margins.
Shortly after 10 p.m., Iman Alsaden, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said she was still processing the vote. “I am sort of speechless. I’m so proud to be a provider in this community. I’m so proud that I get to serve this community. I moved here two years ago from Chicago with the intention of providing abortion care in a place where there were not a lot of providers,” Alsaden said. “It’s sort of unbelievable. I’m so proud to be able go to work tomorrow and talk to my staff and give everyone a hug.”
The vote upholds a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that, in response to an attempt to ban a common 2nd trimester abortion procedure, said Kansans had a right to bodily autonomy and therefore the right to terminate a pregnancy.