Aug 3, 2022
Kansas votes to protect abortion access Transcript
Kansas voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure outright. Read the transcript here.
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Tom Verdin: (00:00)
I’m Tom Verdin, I’m the democracy editor for the Associated Press. I’m in Washington currently, to cover the August 2nd primaries. Voters in Kansas today were voting on a question placed on the ballot by Republicans that would say, if it passed, that there was no constitutional right to an abortion in the state. It was not a question about banning or restricting abortion, it was a question that would just say whether there was a right to an abortion in the state constitution. This was the first time that voters across the country got to weigh in on the question of abortion since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion in the Dobbs decision, in June. If the amendment had passed, Republicans could have either restricted or banned abortion. Putting a question like this on an August ballot, rather than a November ballot, would seem to favor Republicans and anti-abortion activists, but that’s not the way it turned out. Turnout was extremely heavy throughout the state, and the ballot measure lost resoundingly.
Tom Verdin: (01:20)
This was a big surprise. It was essentially a vote heard around the country, and it was a surprise because Kansas is not only a fairly conservative state, it’s also a state where there’s a deep rooted history of the anti-abortion movement. The vote in Kansas also aligns very closely with what poll after poll after poll has shown, that the majority of Americans want to protect at least some access to abortion, and large majorities of Americans want to preserve access to abortion, especially in cases of rape or incest, or where the health of the mother is threatened. The vote in Kansas aligns pretty clearly with the polls, and what they have consistently shown, and this could be a real boon to Democrats in the midterms. They face a very difficult year for a lot of reasons, but this could be an issue that they can really grasp onto in the months ahead.