The Kansas Legislature is considering a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at undoing the state’s Supreme Court ruling last year that removed nearly all restrictions against abortion.
In April 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled there is a “fundamental right” to abortion protected by the state’s constitution. The current ruling prevents Kansans from passing any laws restricting abortion, including partial-birth abortion or parental-notification requirements.
State House and Senate committees approved a proposed amendment this week that will be debated by the legislative bodies in both chambers. If the House and Senate both approve the amendment by a majority two-thirds vote, then voters could decide the constitutional amendment’s fate during the August primary election.
A statewide ballot initiative would require a simple majority of voters for approval.
The proposed constitutional amendment declares that the Kansas Constitution does not “secure” a right to abortion and allows legislators discretion to regulate abortion as far as federal laws allow.
GOP-led committees in both the state’s House and Senate say they are seeking to restore lawmakers’ long-standing role to regulate abortion.
“We do have a sense of urgency,” said Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican and Kansas Senate president.
The Senate committee approved the proposed amendment with a voice vote. Meanwhile, following a 90-minute debate, the House committee voted 15-6 along party lines to approve the measure.
On Jan. 21, dozens of pro-life advocates met with a joint Senate and House committee at the Kansas Statehouse to speak in favor of a state constitutional amendment to restrict abortions.
Jan. 22 marked the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion nationally.
National Right to Life estimates that since 1973, legal abortion has claimed more than 61 million preborn lives.