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Kansas voters rejected the ballot measure to end abortion rights on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. With their vote, the state’s constitution will not be amended to ban abortion. After the Supreme Court reversed the landmark 1973 ruling of Roe v Wade less than two months ago, conservative legislators rushed to manage their state’s stance on abortion. While some states had so-called “trigger laws to ban abortion” in place, others invited women in need to have the procedure in their state.
On the federal level, President Joe Biden and Congress spent the last seven weeks working to ensure abortion access remains despite SCOTUS’ decision, which Biden declared “must not be the final word.”
- July 8: Biden signed an executive order to safeguard reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception. It also protects patients’ right to privacy and that of providers and clinics.
- July 8: The president urged Americans to “change the situation for women — and even little girls — in this country” to vote. Kansas voters did just that yesterday.
- July 12: Biden ordered all states to uphold the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).
- July 15: The House of Representatives voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) for the second time in 2022. It did not pass in the Senate the first time. If passed in the upper chamber, this bill would make the right to abortion a federal law.
Unless some Senators have softened their stance in light of the backlash against bans and recent events like the 10-year-old girl forced to travel to abort her rapist’s baby or the women who nearly died due to lack of emergency care as she hemorrhaged during a bad miscarriage, it will not pass this time.
- July 21: 195 House Republicans voted against the right to contraceptives. HR 228-195’s language called for creating a law to protect access to birth control.
President Biden is expected to sign another pro-abortion executive order. His directive is “aimed in part at making it easier for women seeking abortions to travel between states to obtain the procedure,” according to AP News. In addition, the Biden administration will allow states with legal abortion laws to apply for Medicaid waivers to help treat out-of-town women traveling for an abortion.
Moreover, Biden’s Justice Department launched a suit against Idaho over its near-total abortion ban. The state’s trigger law will become law later this month. Idaho’s ban would make it nearly impossible for patients who need an emergency abortion due to complications like an ectopic pregnancy to receive potentially lifesaving medical care.
Some might be surprised about the election outcome as Kansas is conservative; its legislature is currently Republican-controlled, and voters have elected GOP presidents since 1968. In fact, since 1860, only six Democrats and one Populist presidential candidate earned the majority vote.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NPR: Voters in Kansas decide to keep abortion legal in the state, rejecting an amendment; by Dylan Lysen, Laura Ziegler, and Blaise Mesa
AP: Kansas voters resoundingly protect their access to abortion; by John Hanna and Margaret Stafford
AP: Abortion court battles press on, even in deep red states; by Rebecca Boone
AP: Biden to sign executive order to protect travel for abortion; by Seung Min Kim