Note: The Lawrence Times runs opinion columns and letters to the Times written by community members with varying perspectives on local issues. These pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Times staff.
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The overturning of Roe v. Wade has removed fundamental federal protection for reproductive health care decisions around abortion. This reversal will impact all of us for years to come.
The loss of federal protection of the right to make reproductive health care decisions impacts the decisions victims have to make every day to survive. Victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence need access to all reproductive health services. This allows them to regain personal autonomy lost to them as a result of the abuse and violence. Everyone, including victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, must have the right to control their own body as well as the right to exercise self-determination in all health care decisions, including abortion.
We know that the trauma and violence of sexual assault and domestic violence strike at the core of a victim’s ability to control their own life. That is the intention and result of the violence. Regaining personal autonomy is fundamental to healing and survival. Without the right to take control of their body and their future, many will be trapped in the ongoing web of trauma that the violence has spun around them, forced to be an involuntary parent, forced to be a child parent, forced to co-parent with an abuser or rapist. We should all have the right to make decisions about ourselves, our bodies, and our futures. This is equally, or even more, important for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Currently, the Kansas Constitution still supports our rights to self-determination, bodily autonomy, and reproductive decision-making. Our Kansas Supreme Court has held that the right to make decisions about one’s own body is fundamental, applies to all Kansans, and is protected by our state’s constitution. Because of this Kansas court decision, abortion is still legal and available in Kansas today even after the overturning of Roe.
But that may not last long. The Kansas Legislature has put an amendment to the Kansas Constitution on the ballot on Aug. 2 in order to change this Kansas court decision.
A “yes” vote will pass this amendment and will remove abortion from the rights protected by the Kansas Constitution. A “yes” vote will allow the Kansas Legislature, when it next convenes, to eliminate access to abortion for all Kansans.
A “no” vote will keep Kansas laws as they are. A “no” vote will not expand abortion rights in Kansas. A “no” vote will allow Kansans to continue to access reproductive health care, including abortion, in Kansas.
We encourage Kansans to educate themselves and to vote on or before Aug. 2.
We strongly support the right to make personal decisions about ourselves, our safety, our lives, and our families. We strongly support the right of victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence to have access to reproductive health care options that will help them heal from this violence.
— The purpose of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence (KCSDV) is the prevention and elimination of sexual and domestic violence through a statewide network of programs providing support and safety for all victims of sexual and domestic violence and stalking with a primary focus on women and their children; direct services; public awareness and education; advocacy for victims; comprehensive prevention; and social change efforts.
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