Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a New York-based charitable giving advisory and management firm, committed $100,000 to Kansans for Constitutional Freedom. The Wichita-based Trust Women and the Trust Us Justice Fund gave $89,000 in combined donations.
The largest individual donor backing legal abortion is Stacy Schusterman, an heiress philanthropist and energy business executive from Tulsa, Okla., who gave $1 million. Another $250,000 came from Amy and Rob Stavis of New York.
State records show the Value Them Both Association has received close to $4.7 million this year. This does not include a major donation from the Susan B. Anthony List, which in June committed $1.3 million, the Kansas Reflector news organization reports. It is apparently the largest out-of-state donation to the pro-life cause.
By comparison, the statewide pro-life organization Kansas for Life has given $325,000. The largest individual donation — $100,000 — comes from former gunpowder company executive J.B. Hodgdon of Shawnee, Kansas, according to CNA’s review of campaign contribution records at the website of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission.
The Catholic Church in Kansas has been a major donor to the campaign. The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has committed $2.5 million, while the Wichita Diocese has given $551,000. The Salina Diocese has given at least $100,000, while the Kansas Catholic Conference gave at least $275,000.
A few parishes have given major donations. St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Leawood, in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, gave $100,000. Many other Catholic churches and Knights of Columbus councils are among the listed donors, as are Protestant churches. Of these donations, many are under $1,000.
Kansas shouldn't be an ‘abortion destination’
Weber, the Kansas Catholic Conference executive director, said Catholics think the amendment is an important cause.
“The Catholic Church seeks justice in public policy, no matter the issue. We are proud of the leadership our bishops have demonstrated on the Value Them Both Amendment,” Weber said. “The Catholic Church has always has a target on her back, from the left and right ends of the political spectrum. Without fear or favor, we are proud to advocate for Value Them Both for this issue and a number of other issues.”
Weber added that the Catholic bishops of the United States and of Kansas have said that abortion is the “preeminent issue” of our day.
(Story continues below)
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The constitutional amendment also has the support of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. More than 450 faith leaders have signed a letter backing the Value Them Both campaign, as have more than 250 medical and mental-health professionals.
Weber characterized the amendment as “simply abortion neutral.”
“Passing Value Them Both will level the scales and allow the people of Kansas, through their elected representatives, to set policy on abortion,” he said. “Without Value Them Both, all Kansas laws touching on the question of abortion regulation are ‘presumed unconstitutional’ and will almost certainly be overturned once challenged.”
If the amendment effort fails, Weber predicted, courts will end a ban on government funding for elective abortions and will end laws requiring parental consent for minors to get an abortion.“Already in Kansas, because of the Kansas state Supreme Court ruling, painful and brutal dilation and extraction abortions, also known as ‘live dismemberment abortions,’ are taking place in Kansas at a rate of nine or more per week, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment,” Weber told CNA. “Half of all abortions in Kansas now are performed on girls and women from surrounding states. This will certainly increase and make Kansas an abortion destination for the Midwest.”
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.