Tuesday’s primaries saw the first-ever statewide vote on the issue of abortion since the Supreme Court’s historic decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, with the result being an upset in a red state.
CBS News reports that an overwhelming majority of Kansas voters voted against the “Value Them Both” amendment, a ballot initiative that would have amended the state’s constitution to declare that abortion is not a constitutionally-protected right. A “yes” vote would have seen the amendment pass and open the door for more pro-life legislation, while a “no” vote would prevent the state legislature from passing such laws. The “no” vote currently has over 58 percent, while the “yes” vote stands at 41 percent.
Pro-abortion activists celebrated the result, with far-left Democratic governor Laura Kelly (D-Kan.) calling abortion a “fundamental right,” and falsely claiming that pro-life legislation would have “jeopardized our economic future and put women’s health care access at risk.” Joe Biden issued his own statement falsely asserting that the vote is proof that “the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions.” Biden used the result to call on Congress to “listen to the will of the American people and restore the protections of Roe as federal law.”
In response, the Value Them Both coalition, the group which supported the ballot measure, made a statement admitting that “while the outcome is not what we hoped, our movement and campaign have proven our resolve and commitment. We will not abandon women and babies.” The group added that the result was nothing more than “a temporary setback.”
While the amendment itself would not have actually implemented any pro-life laws, it would give the state legislature, which is currently controlled by Republicans, greater authority to pass such legislation in the future.
The result continues Kansas’ streak as an ostensibly red state that nevertheless sees occasional Democratic victories, even despite national trends. Since 1964, the state has consistently seen the governorship change parties with each new office-holder, with no two consecutive governors being from the same party; the most recent election in 2018 saw Kelly defeat Republican nominee and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, after Republican Sam Brownback had served two consecutive terms.
In the same primaries, Kelly won re-nomination this year, and will face incumbent Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump. Kobach narrowly won the nomination to succeed Schmidt as Attorney General, and will face Democrat Chris Mann.
Primaries were held in four other states across the country on Tuesday night, with many key races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and several gubernatorial elections, including Arizona, Washington, Missouri, and Michigan.