The first statewide election that will give voters the opportunity to address abortion since the reversal of Roe v. Wade last month will take place in Kansas on August 2. Since the June 24 ruling by the Supreme Court bringing an end to Roe, each state has been authorized to regulate or prohibit abortion directly.
The Kansas ballot will include a question on adopting an amendment to the state constitution determining whether Kansans have a right to abortion.
The state has attracted nationwide attention from advocacy groups on both sides of the issue, with various organizations spending almost $15 million on electioneering campaigns.
The state constitutional amendment was first proposed in January 2021. With the anticipated reversal of Roe becoming a reality, the attention surrounding the vote has sharply intensified.
Pro-abortion group Kansans for Constitutional Freedom spokesperson Ashley All said that donations from “grassroots donors” have been strong ever since the amendment was proposed. She said that her organization has seen an “uptick” in out-of-state donations since last month’s ruling. She added that her organization has spent more than $5.8 million so far in an effort to defeat the amendment.
According to campaign finance filing requirements, the largest fundraiser for the pro-life side of the argument has been the Value Them Both Association, which has spent almost $5.5 million in support of the amendment so far.
More than 35 fundraising organizations have filed finance reports regarding the race, including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU on the pro-abortion side. The Susan B. Anthony List and several Kansas Catholic dioceses are among the larger pro-life advocates.
Reporting indicates that the abortion advocates have raised around $10 million, with most coming from national and regional groups. The pro-life groups have raised around $8 million, with most coming from local organizations inside Kansas.
Susan B. Anthony List spokesperson Mallory Carroll said that her group wants to “ensure that pro-life Kansans turn out” for the critical vote. She said that even though the attention is high because Kansas is the first vote after the end of Roe, “it’s not going to be the last.”
The amendment has been proposed in response to a 2019 ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that declared in effect that the state constitution protects abortion on demand. The amendment to the state constitution would declare that there is no constitutional protection for abortion.
If the amendment is adopted because of a successful vote, abortion will not be automatically outlawed in the state. However, it would give the state legislature the authority to adopt legislation either regulating or prohibiting abortions in Kansas.