Kansas legislators review proposed anti-abortion amendment

photo by: Associated Press

Proponents and opponents for the Kansas constitutional amendment change to abortion sit socially distanced in the Federal and State Affairs committee meeting Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas. (Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion opponents and abortion rights supporters on Friday previewed arguments they’ll make to voters if lawmakers put a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution on the ballot.

House and Senate committees heard testimony on a proposal to overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision in 2019 declaring access to abortion a “fundamental” right under the state constitution. The measure would declare there is no state right to abortion and the Legislature has broad authority to regulate it.

Both Republican-controlled committees are expected to approve the measure, possibly next week. But abortion opponents need two-thirds majorities in both chambers to get the measure on the ballot as planned in the August 2022 primary, when a simple of majority of voters could add it to the constitution.

Testimony often moved from the text of the proposal to larger arguments about regulating abortion.

Abortion opponents argue that they are trying only to preserve restrictions enacted previously with bipartisan support. They spent much of their time talking about why they believe restrictions are necessary.

Abortion rights supporters argued that the proposed amendment is a step toward a state abortion ban, and much of their testimony focused on why they believe preserving access to abortion benefits women’s health.


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