Why did the Kansas legislature bring forth the amendment? The answer is not that complicated. The two basic reasons were:
- A quote from the Kansas Judicial website states, “Kansas state government, like our federal government, is composed of three branches: the legislative branch, which makes laws; the executive branch, which enforces laws; and the judicial branch, which interprets and applies laws.”
The Kansas Supreme Court states they understand their role in government. However, their actions in 2019 clearly show their intent to create law instead. Their ruling essentially overturned all the laws previously passed by the legislature and created a “law” that states the Kansas Constitution gives the right to obtain an abortion. These words concerning abortion do not exist in our Kansas Constitution and the Legislature has done the only thing it can do to stop the court from legislating from the bench.
- By a two thirds majority of the legislature, we passed the amendment to the Kansas Constitution for the Kansas voters to consider. This amendment could not and does not create a total ban on abortion in Kansas because Roe v. Wade was still in effect at the time of its passage. The amendment also assures Kansans that the laws passed prior to the 2019 court ruling will once again be available for enforcement or legislative review.
Now that Roe vs. Wade has been overturned, the states will govern all policies concerning abortion. The ruling did NOT BAN abortion. The Kansas primary election will result in one of two situations:
- Amendment failure by a majority voting NO: The Kansas Supreme Court’s new ruling (law) allowing abortions in our state stands. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban (live dismemberment abortion) passed in 2015 and the 2011 abortion clinic licensing and inspection law were struck down by the court and all the laws concerning abortion passed by the legislature since 1992 are in jeopardy. None of the laws passed to date ban abortion, which fell within the bounds of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe vs. Wade. The outcome of a no vote will be a lack of laws governing abortion resulting in Kansas becoming the nation’s destination for abortions in the future. This could include taxpayer funding of abortion.
- Amendment passage by a majority voting YES: If the amendment passes on August 2d by a simple majority of the citizens of Kansas, then the laws concerning abortion will be in the hands of your representatives in the legislature, not the Kansas Supreme Court. This puts the existing laws back in place which includes common-sense oversight of abortion in Kansas. Laws on the books do not ban abortion; however, the Kansas Legislature (your Representatives and Senators) could consider any new laws concerning abortion in the next legislative session, beginning in January 2023.
The argument that the amendment does not go far enough and should have banned abortion is a total misunderstanding of the legislative process and the constraints imposed by federal law. Because federal law allowed abortion as a right, the state could not impose a total ban. Now that the federal law has been struck down and if the Value Them Both Amendment passes, the state legislature can consider action for further constraints or even a total ban with certain constraints.
Another erroneous statement used in ads and the media is that the amendment creates a mandate. According to Webster, “a mandate is a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one.” Actually, the court’s ruling is the mandate of abortion placed upon the citizens of Kansas. The amendment gives the most vulnerable among us a voice, quite the opposite of an amendment mandate.
–Representative Ron Highland, 51st District