While 20,000 yard signs for a candidate or topic “is a lot in any other year,” Value Them Both has “gone through 100,000 yard signs,” he said.
Pivotal state in a national debate
The intensity of the debate over Value Them Both harkens to Kansas’ key role in the national debate over slavery before the Civil War, said Mary Margaret Sperry, Newport’s daughter.
Most of its neighbors have restricted or banned abortion, and it could become an abortion destination if its legislature is not empowered to regulate the practice.
Value Them Both has garnered significant attention from outside Kansas.
Out-of-state money has poured into campaigns against the amendment. The Kansas City Star reported July 20 that Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the main opposition group, has received most of its funding “from national and regional organizations aimed at preserving abortion access.”
Much of that money has gone into TV and radio ads.
According to Northcott, more than 99% of the Value Them Both Coalition's funds have come from within Kansas, compared with 29% for the opposition.
The largest donors to Value Them Both have been Catholic organizations inside Kansas, but there have been thousands of dollars “from individuals across the state,” Northcott said.
“We get notes from people that are saying, ‘Hey, you know I'm only able to give $20,’ or ‘Our family is going to not go out to dinner this month so that we can help you all help protect moms and babies.’”
Value Them Both Association has received close to $4.7 million this year, while Kansans for Constitutional Freedom took in more than $6.5 million, according to state records. Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America committed at least $1.3 million to the “yes” campaign, the pro-life group announced in June.
Northcott also highlighted support for Value Them Both coming from outside the Catholic Church. He noted support for the coalition coming from Southern Baptists, the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod, and Mennonite, Bible, and independent churches.
“We have broad support from individuals that are across faith traditions, from Catholics to evangelicals to mainline Protestants. We have individuals within our coalition that are of the Muslim faith, we have individuals that don't practice a religion,” Northcott said.
“The idea that Kansas could continue to be this destination for abortion, and we could have some of the most extreme abortion practices, cuts across denominational lines.”
“There's a box that I think that the media tries to put us in that this is just a Catholic effort, and it goes way beyond that,” Northcott explained.
Prayer vigils will be held the night of Aug. 1-2 for the success of the amendment. Ecumenical “Light the Night” events will take place, along with rosary vigils, 40 Hours devotions, and Eucharistic adoration.
Newport reflected that the spiritual aspect of the campaign is an asset to the pro-life side.
“Fasting and prayer,” she said. “Understanding that this is a spiritual battle. That’s the advantage for us.”