The first post-Roe vote to protect abortion rights is in Kansas, and we can win itJuly 20, 2022
Ashley All, a spokesperson for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, told FiveThirtyEight that the Supreme Court decision didn’t just motivate voters. Her group is one of the leading organizations opposing the amendment. “The decision was a wakeup call for a lot of moderate Kansans who weren’t engaged on this issue because they thought there was federal protection for abortion care,” All said, adding that since the Supreme Court decision came down, they’ve been signing up more than 500 volunteers every week and have made more than 140,000 phone calls.
It’s also motivated donors. In the first campaign finance reporting this week, the “no” campaign outraised the forced birther group by nearly $2 million. They’ve used the funding advantage well, with two markedly different ad strategies in the states’ two media markets.
In the heavily red Wichita market, the “no” campaign has run ads framing the ballot measure as “a strict government mandate designed to interfere with private medical decisions,” and shows images to remind voters of pandemic face mask requirements and the cancellation of in-person religious services. In the Kansas City market, where Biden won 53-45 in 2020, their ads feature a woman talking about the abortion she had to have to save her life so her 3-year-old son wouldn’t have to grow up without her and her husband wouldn’t be widowed. She tells voters that the ballot measure “could ban any abortion with no exceptions, even in cases like mine.”
Winning in Kansas would also be a boost to campaigns in Kentucky and Michigan. Abortion rights are on the line in Kentucky in a similar amendment to what Kansans will be voting on next month. In Michigan, activists are putting up a measure to amend the state constitution to include an affirmative right to an abortion. A 1931 state law banning abortion has been blocked for the moment by the courts, but it could come back into effect and activists want to stop that from happening.
So Kansas could have a major positive ripple effect throughout the country. A win there would show Democrats everywhere that fighting for abortion rights is a winning battle, that they’ve got to take that message through the November campaign and fulfill the promises they’ve made to an electorate that massively supports abortion rights.
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