Kansas Is a Midwestern Abortion Haven—but State Republicans Are Forcing the Issue Again

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Kansas Is a Midwestern Abortion Haven—but State Republicans Are Forcing the Issue Again

Anagha Srikanth

A 2019 state Supreme Court ruling affirmed the right to abortions in Kansas, but a proposed amendment could strip Kansans of their protections.

As pregnant people are forced to travel farther and farther for reproductive care due to strict abortion restrictions like those in Texas and Oklahoma, Kansas is expecting an influx of patients just as its own lawmakers consider an abortion ban.

When Texas SB 8 first passed, Texans flocked to Oklahoma for abortion care. But after passing a total abortion ban, Oklahoma lawmakers passed another trigger law last week—in case the Supreme Court low-key overturns Roe v. Wade, but won’t say it outright.

At first, it might not appear this has much to do with Kansas (apart from the state sharing a border with Oklahoma): A 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision, which ruled that the state constitution recognizes abortion as a fundamental right, made the state something of an abortion haven in the Midwest. But that might change this year.

It’s clear that Kansas lawmakers are coming after abortion: State legislators offered up a constitutional amendment to allow abortion bans on the ballot. In August, voters will have to decide whether the Kansas Constitution protects the right to an abortion, as established in the 2019 ruling. And while the state is led by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature (see: Kentucky).

There has actually been a decrease in patients from Texas and Oklahoma seeking abortion care in Kansas, according to recent reporting by Topeka Capital-Journal and Gannett Kansas statehouse reporter Jason Tidd. But with local abortion rates rising, the GOP is turning up the rhetoric, claiming Kansas will be an “abortion destination,” Tidd reported.

Championing the “Value Them Both Amendment” (yes, that’s actually what it’s called), the anti-abortion movement is poised and ready—and it’s up to voters in Kansas to realize what’s happening before it’s too late.

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.