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Eyes turn to Kansas on anti-abortion amendment post-Roe

Roe v Wade Lawrence Protest June 2022
Posted at 9:54 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-25 16:50:14-04

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Abortion rights advocates held a protest Friday evening in downtown Lawrence following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

The decision came just a few weeks before Kansans vote on an anti-abortion amendment — the first of its kind in a post-Roe world.

"August Second Vote No" has become the rallying cry of abortion rights advocates in Kansas, and it's growing even louder due to Friday's decision.

"I don't want one of my students, one of my girls, one of my kids to ever be in a situation where they need help and they can't get it," said Abbi Epperson, protest-goer.

A 2019 decision by the Kansas Supreme Court protects the right to an abortion under the state constitution.

"My mother was forced to have a birth to give the child up for adoption because, you know, abortion was not an option then, and I can't imagine having to go through that," said Susan Laubsch, rally organizer.

But lawmakers in Topeka proposed the "Value Them Both" amendment that seeks to change that protection.

"People in this country have fought for civil rights, for bodily autonomy from the very beginning. There's nothing in our constitution that should allow them to overturn this," Laubsch said.

Kansans will have their say during the Aug. 2 primary.

"Everybody can vote in this election, even though it's a primary,” said Ashley All, spokesperson for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom. "Typically, primaries have less turnout than general election."

A "no" vote would limit the regulation of abortion. A "yes" vote allows the state to pass laws regulating abortion.

"Kansans can come together in consensus and decide what are reasonable limits to place on the abortion industry here in our borders," said Danielle Underwood, spokesperson for the Value Them Both coalition.

The outcome may be a litmus test for the nation.

"You know, I don't know that Kansas can usually say that we're the first in many things, and I think that this is our first chance to get something right first before everybody else does," Epperson said.

Both sides are stepping up their plans to get voters out to the polls.

Rep. Sharice Davids is scheduling a campaign event Saturday morning canvassing against the proposal.