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US State Referendum: Kansas Votes for Abortion Rights

Status: 08/03/2022 08:27

Kansas voters voted in a referendum in favor of abortion rights. Republicans wanted to restrict abortions, but failed miserably.

The people of Kansas have decided: After nearly all the votes were counted, a good 60 percent voted for abortion protections in the state constitution. 39 percent voted against. If voters had voted against it, the state of Kansas would have been able to restrict abortion rights.

Although the result is preliminary, it is considered a resounding victory for supporters of the more conservative position. Early polls had predicted a very tight result.

Coordination with signal effect

The vote in Kansas is the first of its kind since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down constitutionally protected abortion rights in the United States in June. Since then, decisions on abortion rights have been left to the states.

So the poll sends a certain signal. In several Republican-controlled states, officials are preparing tougher abortion laws. In other states, such as California and Kentucky, citizens will vote on the issue in conjunction with midterm congressional elections in November.

Conservative majority

Abortion is currently legal in Kansas up to about 22 weeks. A Supreme Court ruling in a state of about three million people reaffirmed this in 2019. That makes the state, governed by a conservative majority, a kind of haven for pregnant women from nearby states such as Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, where abortion is banned with few exceptions.

Mostly rural Kansas is considered a conservative state. Republican Donald Trump won 56 percent of the vote in the 2020 presidential election. 29 of Kansas’ 40 senators and 86 of the 125 members of the House of Representatives are Republicans. However, the governor is Democrat Laura Kelly.

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The President of the United States is happy

An initial reaction came shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden announced the vote results via Twitter: “It’s an important victory for Kansas, but it’s also an important victory for any American who believes that women can make their own health care decisions without government interference.”

With information from Teresa Kriem, ARD-Studio Washington