Kansas voters protect abortion rights

Voters in Kansas, in the American Midwest, voted Tuesday, August 2, to uphold the constitutional guarantee of abortion, in the first major abortion vote since the United States Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights.

Residents of this conservative state rejected an amendment that would remove language guaranteeing the right to abortion in the state Constitution and could pave the way for stricter regulation or bans. The result in Kansas means that abortion will remain legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. Parental consent is required for minors.

This election is seen as a political test at the national level, many conservative states have already banned or intend to quickly ban any right to abortion.

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A “crazy” election

Moments after the polls closed at 7 p.m. (2 a.m. Wednesday in Paris), Kansas election administrator Scott Schwab said turnout was at least 50 percent, a number that was in line with expectations. for this type of ballot.

At noon, about 250 voters passed through the Olathe polling station, in the suburbs of Kansas City, the same number this time as during a presidential election, according to electoral agent Marsha Barrett. “This election is crazyhe said. People are determined to vote. »

At 19, Morgan Spoor voted for the first time and confirmed that he wanted to be promoted “right to choose”. “I really want my voice to be heard, especially as a woman. I don’t think anyone can say what a woman can do with her body.”did he say.

Prairie Village resident Chris Ehly also spoke out against amending the Constitution “respect” his wife and daughter, “categorical on the issue”he explained.

On the contrary, Sylvia Brantley, 60, said “yes” to change because he thinks so “Children are important too”. He explained that he wants more regulations, so that Kansas is not a place “where the children are killed”.

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A State with a different political reality

Although the supporters of “no” won a clear victory in Kansas, they looked with concern at the neighboring states of Missouri and Oklahoma, which imposed almost total prohibition. Missouri does not allow exceptions for rape or incest.

Other states, including California and Kentucky, are due to vote on the issue in November, which coincides with midterm congressional elections where Republicans and Democrats hope to rally their supporters around abortion.

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The vote, which coincided with the Kansas primaries, represented the first time for American voters to express their views on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade. Democrats strongly support abortion rights, while conservatives generally support at least some restrictions.

But in Kansas, the political reality is more complicated. The state leans heavily Republican and hasn’t voted for a Democrat in the White House since 1964. But Kansas’ most populous county elected a Democrat, Sharice Davids, to the House of Representatives in 2018, and the governor of the state, Laura Kelly, is a Democrat. According to a 2021 poll, less than 20% of Kansas respondents agreed that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest.

Also read: Abortion in the United States: which American states prohibit or protect the voluntary termination of pregnancy?

The World with AFP

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