It looks like reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are a winning message for Democrats heading into the midterm elections this year after Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected an anti-abortion measure on the ballot Tuesday.
In the wake of the conservative majority on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade earlier this summer, Kansas Republicans sought to change the state constitution by putting a measure on the ballot that would allow the legislature to pass laws banning abortion. The Kansas Supreme Court has previously ruled that since the state constitution protects the right of bodily autonomy, that means women have the right to seek an abortion.
So, there was a lot at stake in Tuesday night’s primary. The measure, backed by the right-wing “Value Them Both” coalition, was even confusingly worded in a scheme to lure voters into voting the wrong way as if the measure would somehow protect abortion rights instead of stripping them away.
But in a crushing defeat for the anti-abortion fanatics, Kansas voters rejected the measure by a wide margin of about 20 points. It was not even close. The tally underscores the overwhelming support of choice by the American people. In fact, the vote in red-state Kansas largely reflects national polling that shows Americans support Roe v Wade and disapproved of it being overturned.
The victory in Kansas also gives Democrats a clear message to run on in the lead-up to the November election as Republicans seek a majority in Congress so they can push a national abortion ban.
Even President Joe Biden hailed the victory and recognized the message sent.
“Voters in Kansas turned out in record numbers to reject extreme efforts to amend the state constitution to take away a woman’s right to choose and open the door for a state-wide ban,” Biden said. “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions.”
Democrats across the country should be hammering Republicans on abortion rights. They need to get women to the polls on election day in record numbers. This midterm primary race in Kansas should have been a cake-walk for Republicans since turnout is usually low and the out-of-power party usually makes significant gains. Not this time. Republicans put abortion on the state ballot and lost. In November, there may not be a national anti-abortion measure on the ballot, but there might as well be. This election is a referendum on the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v Wade.
Americans can also vote for Democrats to retain and strengthen control of Congress so they can pass a law codifying Roe v Wade so anti-abortion laws in several red states will be nullified. This year’s midterm needs to be treated like a presidential election. Turnout must be higher than ever before to send a message to Republicans that they have gone too far. This win in Kansas needs to help carry Democrats, democracy, and personal liberty to victory in November.
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