Post last updated at 4:44 p.m. Friday, June 24:
Nothing has changed in Kansas, and those who need access to an abortion can still get one. But that could change on Aug. 2.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed access to abortion nationwide.
The Kansas Constitution still protects the right to abortion for now. But that right is in jeopardy, and Kansas voters on Aug. 2 will decide whether it remains in place.
Kansas Rep. Christina Haswood, a Lawrence Democrat, posted to Facebook on Friday, “Kansas, it’s up to us to protect the rights of birthing peoples. I NEED you all to vote NO August 2nd, to continue the protections we have as birthing peoples. A choice that can mean life, death, or criminalization is what’s at risk.”
Unaffiliated and independent voters may vote on the amendment and do not have to declare a party affiliation to do so.
The “Value them Both” amendment, constructed with confusing language, would strip the legal protection of abortion in Kansas from the state constitution if it passes. It would clear the way for the Kansas Legislature to ban all abortions, regardless of whether someone’s life is endangered by a pregnancy or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
Abortion is already heavily regulated in Kansas, and that would not change if the amendment does not pass.
If the amendment does pass, the Kansas Legislature could ban all abortions and criminalize providers and patients. A bill proposed last session indicates that lawmakers are prepared to do just that.
Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez has signed on to a statement pledging not to prosecute abortion cases with numerous other prosecutors nationwide, but she’s the only one from Kansas.
“Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice; prosecutors should not be part of that,” the statement, from Fair and Just Prosecution, reads.
To learn more about how to access safe abortion care in Kansas, visit this link to find the clinic nearest you and make an appointment. The Kansas Abortion Fund’s website is full of information and resources for people who need reproductive health care.
Planned Parenthood in Overland Park also has information available online about medication abortion and how to access it, and more.
Abortion Finder has up-to-date information about laws and access in each state.
Groups including Vote No Kansas, Vote Neigh, Kansans for Constitutional Freedom and others also have information on their websites about how to get involved in the movement to preserve abortion rights.
Multiple groups are planning rallies for 5 and 6 p.m. Friday (June 24) outside the Douglas County Courthouse at 11th and Massachusetts streets.
We’ll be on the lookout for more plans for rallies and other opportunities to raise awareness and learn more information in Lawrence and Douglas County. We’ll add things to our events calendar as we come across them, also — type in “abortion” to filter relevant events.
As of Friday, 18 days remained to register to vote, and 38 days remained until the Aug. 2 election.
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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com or 785-422-6363. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.