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Editorial: Abortion rights are still in danger from radical politicians, Kansas voters be damned

The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Political News

Last week, Kansas state Sen. Mike Thompson sent an email to supporters and constituents, bemoaning the landslide victory for abortion rights on Aug. 2.

“No” voters were misled, Thompson claimed, by “millions of dollars on a relentless ad campaign” against the amendment. Oh, and by the media, of course. “If there was one honest media report anywhere about what this amendment was really about … I did not see it,” the Republican said.

For pro-life Kansans, this kind of excuse-making was pretty standard stuff. What set Thompson’s email (and Facebook post) apart, though, was his prediction of a parade of horribles now that Kansas voters have spoken.

So-called dismemberment abortions are coming, he said. A deluge of abortion patients from other states, leading to higher taxes and higher insurance costs. A mass exodus of residents. A powerless Legislature.

Germ-filled abortion clinics. Sepsis. Suicides. Depression. Infanticide, “where the baby is allowed to be kept ‘comfortable’ for a short while after birth while the mother decides whether to euthanize it like one would an animal,” he wrote.

It’s all bewildering and ridiculous. In a landslide vote, Kansans rejected Thompson’s feverish panic in favor of a rational, woman-based approach to reproductive health care. They were right to do so.

 

At the same time, Thompson’s grotesquerie is instructive. Kansas, your work isn’t over.

This is true in a specific sense: In November, there will be a pointed effort to remove Kansas Supreme Court justices who found a fundamental right to abortion services in the state’s bill of rights. That push must be resisted, not just to protect abortion rights but to protect an independent court answerable to the law, not right-wing zealotry.

And Thompson and his colleagues will undoubtedly pass new abortion limits next year, testing the limits of the court’s decision. A Republican governor could simplify that task.

In a broader sense, though, the hundreds of thousands of Kansans who stood up to intimidation and lies on Aug. 2 now have an opportunity to extend common sense to the Legislature, where it is often in short supply.

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