“Because Kansans value both women and children,” the amendment says, “the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion.”
When is the vote?
Kansas voters can either say “yes” or “no” to the amendment during the primary election on Aug. 2. Early voting began July 13.
The amendment appears on the ballot after the Kansas Senate passed a measure in January to amend the state’s constitution.
What do Catholic leaders in Kansas say about it?
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., told CNA that “I and the Catholic Church strongly support the Value Them Both Amendment.”
“I encourage all Catholics and all people of good will to vote yes,” he said. “The amendment simply returns to the people of Kansas the right and ability, through their elected representatives, to determine public policy regarding abortion. Opponents of the Amendment are afraid to allow the people of Kansas to decide what protections our state desires to provide to women and their unborn children.”
In the same breath, the former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee stressed the importance of caring for both woman and child.
“At the same time, the Catholic Church wants to join with other Kansans to surround women facing a difficult pregnancy with a community of support to assist them with whatever they and their children need, not just until the birth of the child, but for as long as they need,” he said.
“The parishes in the Archdiocese of Kansas City are participating in the Walking with Moms in Need Initiative,” he said, referencing a pro-life parish ministry led by the U.S. bishops. “Our goal is not just to protect women and children from the tragedy of abortion, but to provide them the support they need so that mother and child do not just survive, but so that both thrive.”
What does the opposition say?
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Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, a coalition working to oppose the amendment, argues that the state “already regulates abortion, just as it would any medical procedure.”
The amendment would “pave the way for a total ban on abortion” with no exceptions, it says, and “hand our personal healthcare decisions over to politicians.”
Does Kansas already restrict abortion?
Yes, Kansas generally prohibits abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, among other things. However, VTB says that, following the 2019 ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court, “limits are being struck down one by one.”
Does the overturning Roe v. Wade affect the vote?
The overturning of Roe in the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does not directly impact the vote because it concerns the state’s constitution — and the overturning of Roe leaves abortion up to the states. But the Supreme Court’s decision raises the stakes.