Kansas, the first U.S. state to ratify abortion rights in a referendum
Voters in Kansas, United States, voted overwhelmingly in a referendum on Tuesday in favor of keeping abortion rights intact as currently regulated in the state constitution, in a defeat for conservatives seeking to restrict them.
More than 60% of voters rejected changing the state constitution to restrict abortion rights.
A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the federal right to abortion, and gave states the power to legislate on the issue. In Kansas, the first referendum on the issue was held and ended with a defeat for the conservatives.
This referendum was held to coincide with the primary elections in the state this Tuesday, could have opened the door for the state government to legislate to restrict the right to abortion. In this state, it will remain legal up to 22 weeks. It has been key, as it has set the precedent for the rest of the states.
Since June 24, when the Supreme Court, with a conservative majority of six justices against three progressive ones, ended the federal protection of abortion rights (in force since 1973 thanks to the “Roe v. Wade” ruling), many women from states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri have traveled to Kansas to have an abortion, in view of the restrictions imposed in these states.
Biden vindicates abortion rights after the result
“Kansas voters went to the polls in record numbers to reject extremist efforts to amend the state constitution to take away a woman’s right to choose,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement.
“This vote makes clear what we already know: that the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health decisions,” the president added.
Kansas, a state with a Republican tradition
Despite having a Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, the state of Kansas has a strong Republican tradition and this party controls the offices of attorney general, secretary of state and both houses of the state legislature.
In addition, Republicans also dominate in presidential elections, and Donald Trump was the favorite presidential candidate in the last two elections, with 56% of the vote.