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'Ongoing fight.' What does Kansas' strong vote for abortion rights mean for November?

Katie Bernard and Daniel Desrochers, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Political News

While Tuesday’s vote likely represents Kansans’ feelings on abortion Patrick Miller, a University of Kansas political scientist, cautioned against making assumptions about November.

“This was an opportunity for voters who typically vote Republican to express their opinion on a policy issue,” Miller said. That won’t necessarily reflect how they feel about a specific candidate or political party.

Miller said Tuesday’s vote should signal to Democrats that they can spend more time talking about abortion than they have been. Republicans, he said, are in a difficult situation.

Abortion bans moving from hypothetical to reality, as they have in Missouri and Oklahoma, is unpopular. Miller noted that Kansans for Life and the Kansas GOP have been inseparable for decades and that it’s difficult to walk away from the issue as the politics surrounding abortion have changed.

“The policy positions that Republicans have been advancing on abortion recently, they are minority opinions.”

Davids and Adkins battle in the 3rd District

 

Some Democrats were already leaning hard into the abortion rights issue. In the buildup to the vote on the constitutional amendment, Rep. Sharice Davids’ supporters canvassed the district for the “vote no” campaign, a practice run for the get out the vote efforts they’ll need in November.

Davids, Kansas’ sole Democrat in Congress, co-sponsored a U.S. House bill that would codify a federal right to an abortion and prevent some restrictions currently in place in Kansas, like banning waiting periods before someone can get an abortion.

With Tuesday’s result, where “No” votes outnumbered “Yes” votes in Franklin County and Miami County — rural counties in Davids’ redrawn district that former President Donald Trump won with about 68% of the vote in 2020 — Democrats are even more inclined to lean into the issue.

“This week, Kansans across the Third District showed up in record numbers to reject extreme anti-choice positions like those advocated by Amanda Adkins, sending a loud message: they don’t want politicians interfering in their private healthcare decisions,” Davids said in a written statement.

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