Vote on abortion rights in Kansas reflects nation


Stella Maximuk

On May 14, after the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked, protesters rallied in front of the capitol building. There has always been opposition to anti-abortion legislation.

Stella Maximuk

The Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, a historic court case that had protected Americans’ abortion rights for over 50 years. The overturning of Roe was done despite strong disapproval from most Americans

While some states, such as Georgia, have instituted unwanted anti-abortion laws, others such as Kansas, have voted. The results from the vote on abortion in Kansas reflects the opinion of the majority of Americans: access to abortion should remain legal. 

According to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, and 62 percent believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Despite this, restrictive anti-abortion laws all over the U.S. have begun gaining momentum while contradicting the majority opinion. 

Immediately after the overturning of Roe, states with trigger laws — laws that are unenforceable, but can be enforced if circumstances change — began enacting restrictive laws that can almost completely ban abortion. 

Not only are these laws unnecessary, but in states such as Texas, where the new anti-abortion laws are particularly extreme, people attempting, performing or inducing others into an abortion for a reason not approved, will face criminal charges, civil penalties and other disciplinary actions. 

The only exceptions for people seeking an abortion in Texas is if their life is threatened by pregnancy or if they are at risk of losing a major bodily function. Rape and incest was completely disregarded and are not an exceptions, despite the numerous problems that arise from them. The law went into effect on Aug. 25, thanks to the overturning of Roe. 

Abortion is, and has always been, a controversial topic between political parties. According to the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Republicans and people who are Republican-leaning approve of the court’s decision while 48 percent strongly approve. In contrast, 82 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning people disapprove of the decision while 66 percent strongly disapprove. Although most of the states that have enforced anti-abortion laws are central or right leaning, the majority of people in these states actually do not approve of the new restrictive laws. 

Kansas is one such example. With a 46-percent Republican-lean compared to 31-percent Democratic-lean and 23 percent of people who are neutral, Kansas is considered a red state. Despite this, when Kansas voted on whether or not it would remove abortion rights protections, 59 percent of voters said “No”, a reaction that should be uncommon for a state with a Republican lean. 

Even in Texas, a state that has voted for a Republican candidate in every presidential election since 1980, many residents strongly disapprove of restrictive abortion laws. According to a poll by the University of Texas at Austin, 68 percent of people in Texas believe that abortion should be legal for at least some cases such as rape, incest or the endangerment of the pregnant person, but because of trigger laws, these opinions have been disregarded. 

While there are states where the majority of people support anti-abortion laws, some of the so-called “red” states such as Texas and Kansas disagree. Georgia follows the same trend. House Bill 481, also known as the Heartbeat Bill, was initially blocked in 2019 because it violated the constitution. However, with Roe gone, it can be passed, in spite of past and present opposition.  

House Bill 481 will stop physicians from performing an abortion after six weeks, which is typically when a heartbeat is detected. However, there are exceptions, including rape, incest or the endangerment of the pregnant person. Regardless, six weeks is not nearly enough time to know if one is pregnant and is still very restrictive. According to a poll by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 55 percent of Georgians do not approve of the increased anti-abortion laws.

Ever since the decision to overturn Roe was leaked, protesters all over the U.S., including Atlanta, have taken action to show disapproval. The data showing that a majority of Americans want abortion to be accessible was available before Roe was overturned, but was ignored by the Supreme Court. Now in Texas, Georgia and countless other states, abortion laws are being enforced when they aren’t wanted. 

Kansas was the first state to vote on abortion rights and the outcome reflects the nation; Americans want abortion rights to be protected. With midterm elections upcoming, it will be crucial for Americans to vote for candidates who protect abortion rights.