Cold and rainy weather didn’t stop hundreds of pro-life advocates from gathering Wednesday, January 22nd, at the Kansas Statehouse for the March for Life to mark the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal in the United States.
The crowd marched from the Topeka Performing Arts Center to the Capitol carrying signs saying “choose life” and “stop abortion now,” as well as “Lord, Forgive Us and Our Nation” and “Value Them Both – Let Kansans Vote.” The latter sign referred to the proposed connotational amendment currently being discussed in the state legislature.
The rally was then held on the First Floor Rotunda of the Statehouse, because of the weather.
“Thank you to everyone who walked over here,” said Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, keynote speaker for the rally. “We had hearings yesterday for many hours. We let proponents stand and opponents stand. And, the opponents tried scare tactics to dissuade us. We’re not here to judge. We’re here to protect.”
Wagle is a Wichita Republican running for U.S. Senate to fill the seat of retiring Senator Pat Roberts.
The crowd also heard from other speakers including Archbishop Joseph Naumann and Mary Kay Culp of Kansans For Life. Kansans for Life, which organizes the rally and march every year, is a nonprofit advocacy and educational organization dedicated to protecting and defending the right to life of all innocent humans from the moment of conception to natural death.
It wasn’t just lawmakers and adults in attendance. The rally attracted young people, too, as it does every year.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment
The march and rally coincided Wednesday with a proposed Kansas constitutional amendment being endorsed by House and Senate committees. The “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment is crafted to reverse a Kansas Supreme Court April 2019 decision that a right to abortion exists in the state’s Bill of Rights.
A coalition of pro-life organizations that includes the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, the Kansas Catholic Conference (KCC), and Concerned Women for America of Kansas (CWA) and Kansans for Life (KFL), along with several state legislators, introduced the amendment, which safeguards both women and babies from what could soon be an unregulated abortion industry created by the April ruling.
The amendment restores to the people of Kansas, through their elected officials, the ability to regulate the abortion industry in a way that protects both women and babies. The April ruling put at risk broadly supported regulations like bans on brutal late-term abortion and taxpayer funded abortions, parental notification requirements and clinic safety standards, leaving both women and babies without even the most basic health and safety standards.
The amendment to the Kansas Constitution will require consent of two-thirds of the House and Senate before being placed on a statewide ballot in August, requiring a simple majority among voters to pass.
“We are pulling out all the stops this year,” said Culp. “If we don’t pass an amendment to the Kansas Constitution, we could lose every pro-life law that we’ve passed over the last 20 years. Those laws are under threat by an April ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court.”
Culp said the laws threatened include those that have cut the rate of abortion in Kansas by half.