Kansas House advances State Constitutional Amendment to remove the right to abortion
On the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Kansas House of Representatives voted to move forward in trying to terminate the right to abortion for Kansans.
Bill HCR 5003 would be, “amending the bill of rights of the constitution of the state of Kansas to reserve to the people the right to regulate abortion through their elected state representatives and senators” as stated on the Kansas Legislature website.
“Kansans deserve the right to make our own personal, private medical decisions without government interference,” says Rachel Sweet, Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains. “The politicians and organizations behind this constitutional amendment have clearly said that they believe all abortions should be banned and illegal, no matter what, with no exceptions for a woman’s health or cases of rape or incest.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, a representative from neighboring Missouri, Rep. Holly Rehder had used religion to support her pro-life argument, said, “To stand on this floor and say, ‘How can someone look at a child of rape or incest and care for them?’ I can say how we can do that. We can do that with the love of God.”
A common excuse used to defend the pro-life argument is religion. However, our country is founded on a separation of church and state. The First Amendment prohibits the government from imposing religion but this bill is partially imposing religious views onto Kansans.
“Fundamental constitutional rights should never be on the ballot, yet members of the legislature seek to alter the core principles of individual freedoms enshrined in our state’s constitution by placing them up for a vote,” says Nadine Johnson, Executive Director of ACLU of Kansas.
A coinciding resolution in the Kansas Senate, SCR 1602, is now awaiting a vote on the floor. HCR 5003 and SCR 1602 would allow a statewide vote in the August 2022 primary election to remove the right to abortion from the Kansas Constitution.
A bipartisan, statewide alliance of legislators and organizations, including the ACLU of Kansas, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, Trust Women, and URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity is devoted to ensuring access to reproductive health, rights, and justice in the state of Kansas.
“Decisions about whether to end a pregnancy are deeply personal and should be left to a woman in consultation with her health care provider, her family, and her faith—not politicians in Topeka,” says Sweet, “We will make sure all Kansans are aware of the repercussions of this bill at the ballot box.”