after kansas defeat, what’s next for abortion bans
Kansas – About a third of Kansas‘ total population – 900,000 residents – voted Tuesday in a statewide referendum on whether the right to abortion should be removed from the state constitution. A fierce race of votes was expected, but almost 60% voted against the change.
This result will affect other states as more states hold their own referendums and national elections take place in November.
The Supreme Court gave individual states the power to ban abortion. Kansas is the most conservative state and has a Republican government. If any state can pass restrictions on abortion, it’s Kansas.
But since the right to have an abortion is part of the state constitution, legislators opposed abortion. This decision backfired. But while the battle to ban abortion in the state may be lost, it continues in other states.
“I suspect there will be similar initiatives across the country – either trying to enshrine the right or trying to lose the right and get abortion banned,” says legal scholar Naomi Kahn, co-director of the Family Law Center at the University of Virginia. She believes that voting in Kansas, while obviously having a significant impact on women in the state, will also reverberate far beyond.
In total, 10 states have the right to abortion, enshrined in the constitutions: Arizona, Alaska, Montana, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, and Florida.
Some state legislators have said they want to ban abortion, despite their state constitutions. Therefore, the story of voting in Kansas may repeat itself.
Some states, such as California and Vermont, are taking steps to strengthen abortion rights by voting to add more anti-abortion protections to the constitution.
“I think it’s important to remember that often Democratic Party ideas are sometimes more popular than Democratic Party candidates,” says Mr. Kondik, and explains why putting abortion rights on the ballot could be a political tactic for Democrats.
The fact that people can go to the polls to vote for the right to have an abortion does not mean they will necessarily vote for pro-choice candidates. In 2018, for example, 37 states voted to expand Medicaid, which is a left-wing issue, while many voters still supported conservative candidates, Mr. Kondik said.