In a 28-12 vote, the Kansas Senate voted to pass an amendment declaring there is no state-level “right” to abortion, a move that would allow the legislature to decide abortion policies.
How successful this amendment will be in the state House is yet to be seen. While Republicans have an 84-seat majority, meeting the required two-thirds vote for it to pass, it’s unclear if moderate Republicans will vote yet. It’s also unknown at this time if any moderate Democrats intend to cross party lines. The wide ideological spectrum of the 125-member chamber means passing in the House will be no small feat, and if the measure is approved, a statewide vote is expected.
Republican state Senate President Susan Wagle stressed the necessity of such a constitutional amendment. Its failure would take away the power of the Legislature to legislate on abortion, giving the ability to the courts instead.
“If we don’t pass this constitutional amendment, we will lose the right to have any say over that procedure,” she said. Speaking on the risk being taken if the measure is not “put on the ballot quickly,” Wagle also emphasized the need to “act for the greater good, [and] for the higher calling.”
Kansas could potentially join a small number of states that have adopted a 2014 Tennessee amendment which says there is no guarantee to abortion within the state constitution. Abortion-choice advocates in Kansas worry the amendment in their state will restrict access to the procedure, with Democratic Sen. David Haley citing his opposition to it as not wanting to “make women slaves.”
Jeanne Gawdun of Kansas City for Life expressed her support for the amendment, calling for the abortion laws designed to protect women.