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Kansas votes to protect abortion rights

State voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have given lawmakers freedom to ban or severely restrict pregnancy terminations

Kansas abortion
Abortion rights advocates celebrate the first favorable results for their cause in Topeka.EVERT NELSON/USA TODAY NETWORK (via REUTERS)

Kansans have voted to protect abortion rights in their state. The results are clear: 60% of voters who answered the question on the state ballot rejected a constitutional amendment that would have given lawmakers the freedom to prohibit or severely restrict abortions, which are currently legal in that state until the 22nd week of gestation.

It is the first vote of these characteristics since the Supreme Court on June 24 repealed a 50-year precedent established by the ruling Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 made women’s freedom to have abortions up to 22 weeks of gestation a constitutional right. The recent judicial decision returned the power to legislate to the states. And Kansas is about to do just that, following a momentous vote, the first of its kind since the overturning of Roe v Wade. The result is a huge victory for the pro-choice movement.

The text that was submitted to a vote was confusing; so much so that both parties spent a good portion of the millions of dollars invested in the campaign to explain what it meant to vote yes (which in reality meant saying no to abortion) and the implications of a no vote, which is the one that has prevailed by a larger majority than the polls had predicted.

“Kansas values have always exemplified freedom, and tonight, Kansas continued that legacy,” said Emily Wales, director and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, a nonprofit association that has three of the five clinics that provide reproductive health services in the state.”

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