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February 10, 2020

Kansas Referendum to Clarify Abortion is Not a Constitutional Right Fails in House of Representatives

Kansas House of Representatives
Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr
A referendum that would have allowed Kansas citizens to vote on an amendment declaring abortion is not a constitutional right in the state of Kansas barely failed to reach the required number of votes in the House of Representatives.

A two-thirds majority is required to pass a referendum for a constitutional amendment, but the House fell four votes short in an 80-43 vote on Friday.

The amendment was introduced in response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that declared abortion a "medical procedure" and therefore a right under the Kansas constitution. This decision limits the degree to which Kansas legislators can regulate abortion, so pro-life legislators wanted to amend the constitution and preserve state regulations.

Republican Rep. Susan Humphries supported the referendum and argued for it on the House floor, saying, “Isn’t the thought of unregulated abortion repugnant to everyone in this chamber?”

Unless the Kansas Supreme Court ruling is overturned or another referendum passes in the future, abortion will be difficult to regulate in Kansas even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

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