Voting works: Kansas voters protect their state’s abortion rights

I never thought we would talk about Kansas as one of the most significant bellwether states for abortion rights, but here we are. Voters in Kansas had a choice on their primary ballots this week: vote for or against a proposed state constitutional amendment which would have authorized the state government to ban or regulate abortion. The proposed amendment failed with voters. It’s almost as if… voters around the country are extremely engaged and prepared to get out the vote solely on securing abortion rights.

In the first abortion-related election since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Kansas voters have rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have specified that the right to terminate a pregnancy isn’t protected. Though votes are still being counted, Decision Desk HQ determined that the amendment has failed, preserving access to abortion in a state that has emerged as a regional destination for the procedure.

The Supreme Court’s reversal of federal abortion protections has put new focus on state courts and constitutions. In Kansas, the state Supreme Court held in 2019 that their constitution guarantees the right to an abortion — a ruling that has barred state legislators from passing laws that might ban or heavily restrict access to the procedure. Right now, abortion in Kansas is legal up until 22 weeks of pregnancy.

The Kansas amendment was voted on during a summer primary with no competitive Democratic contest and in a midterm year that is otherwise likely to favor Republicans, who typically oppose abortion rights. That scheduling had initially raised eyebrows in Kansas.

“It’s very obvious the side that wants to overturn the court decision — which would be a ‘yes’ — deliberately put this on the August vote thinking it would turn in their favor,” Michael Smith, a political science professor at Emporia State University, told The 19th prior to the election. Instead, it appears that the national Roe decision has energized abortion rights supporters, including those in Kansas. National Democrats are counting on that energy in this November’s midterm elections, particularly in Senate races in states such as Nevada, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. It could also hold sway in Kansas, where Gov. Laura Kelly — a Democrat who has vetoed abortion restrictions — is in a tight race for reelection.

[From The 19th]

The 19th points out that a similar amendment is on the ballot in Kentucky in November, and voters in California and Vermont will get to decide whether abortion rights are codified in their state constitutions. Here in Virginia, if our racist trashbag governor gets a Republican majority in the state legislature, he’s going to try to ban abortion too. Remember all of the “internet activists” whining about the message to “vote”? Point to this Kansas election. Point to all of these state elections. Point to all of the gubernatorial races and the g–damn midterms.

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Photos courtesy of Instar, Getty.

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75 Responses to “Voting works: Kansas voters protect their state’s abortion rights”

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  1. dina says:


    • Smile says:


    • Southern Fried says:

      This was to the supremes. Next is telling Republicans to fk off in November.

    • Larelyn says:

      My family and I are so ecstatic! It’s funny to me the R’s don’t know how to read the room. Even when they tried to sneak this on a primary ballot and played shenanigans in various counties, they LOST. News flash to them: The no vote count is more than the number of registered Dems in our state. Maybe they should rethink what their constituents want?

      • North of Boston says:

        Larelyn, the problem is Republicans often don’t give a flying fist what their constituents want. They are serving their donor, oligarch, wanna be theogist autocrat masters.

    • Giddy says:

      Thank you Kansas!

    • Betsy says:


    • Barbie1 says:

      So thrilled

  2. WaterIsLife says:

    I drove 25-30 miles in rural north eastern KS in “feels like” (think heat index) 108-110 degrees in a car needing Freon, to a small, ultraconservative community to cast my no vote. There is no way in hell I was going to miss this vote. Thank you fellow Kansans for having the intelligence to know this was important to our future generations.

    • Southern Fried says:

      Thank you thank you thank you!

    • KansasGal says:

      Good for you! Yes, the heat was brutal yesterday, If you look at the county by county breakdown there are some surprises, and even some rural western counties that voted yes had some very close margins.

    • H says:

      I was up in NE Kansas yesterday working and saw all the Yes signs in all the farmers’ yards. I got home (central Kansas) and voted No, as did all my friends and co-workers. I’m so happy that Kansas didn’t kow-tow to the Republicans. Now we need to keep Gov. Kelly in office come November.

    • AnneL says:

      Good on you, and thank you! Congrats to the voters of your state. They came out and protected their rights. I wish we could put this on a ballot initiative in Texas.

    • Ann says:

      Your message gave me goosebumps. Thank you voters and thank you, Kansas! WaPo said voter turnout was twice that of two years ago. I’m starting to think the midterms are going to be fantastic for Democrats.

      • Katie says:

        No time for complacency. The write-ups also indicate a larger turnout for the Republican candidates than the Democratic.

    • Lisbeth says:

      You’re awesome!

    • MF says:

      Thank you!! You and every woman in KS who voted this down are a credit to our nation.

    • HoofRat says:

      You are a freaking hero- you and every other Kansan who took the time and made the effort to stop misogynistic tyranny in its tracks.

    • Tiffany:) says:

      Thank you so much!

    • Deering24 says:

      Well-played, Waterislife!! Thank you!!

    • Bisynaptic says:

      THANK YOU!!!

  3. Katherine says:

    Bwahahahahahahaha. I hope this gets put to vote in as many states as possible and all of them vote to reject it. It’s insane this is even a question in a modern developed country. Let’s limit hospital access next – cause it’s not how ‘God intended it’.

  4. Jais says:

    Gerrymandering is a bitch. If only some other states could put this on the ballot as a choice to the citizens.

  5. KansasGal says:

    My state is all over the news, and for once I don’t have to be embarrassed. So happy!

  6. Nikki (Toronto) says:

    Do you think Republicans will do this in other states come November? Have separate referendums on abortion so conservative women will vote for them instead of Democrats?

    I know Kansas had to do this because the right to an abortion was guaranteed by its constitution, but this seems like a smart move to sacrifice anti-choice to maintain senate and congressional seats.

    • Gizmo’sMa says:

      Yes. Repealing abortion access is on the ballot in Kentucky and Montana this November. It’s in their constitutions as well. I think Kentucky will vote to keep it. Kentucky has voted blue before. Their current governor a democrat. IDK if Montana will vote to keep.

      • SadieMae says:

        I’m in Kentucky and we’re doing everything we can to let Dem voters know this referendum is on the ballot. If Kansas can do it, we can. We must.

        I have to have an endometrial biopsy this week and I was very fortunate that my pharmacy filled the misopristol I need to prep for the procedure. (They have not been able to do the procedure on me in the past without it, and having them try over and over was exceedingly painful too. With the misopristol, they can do it, and it still hurts but only for a few seconds.) My gyno said many Kentucky pharmacies are refusing to fill it now for ANY reason. Without it I could not have this procedure that is 100% necessary for my healthcare. And I’m 53 and most decidedly NOT pregnant (the reason for the biopsy – and probably a follow-up hysterectomy – is constant menstruation!) but apparently still a lot of pharmacies would not have filled it for me. I shudder for the women, here and elsewhere, who can’t get the care they need, in all sorts of ways. It’s just such an incredible violation of our basic human rights.

      • Gizmo’sMa says:

        I’m so glad you were able to get the health care you needed. But so mad that it was even in jeopardy! It doesn’t matter if you are past child rearing age their believes shouldn’t trump you access to healthcare. What a bunch of sanctimonious fools!

    • pottymouthpup says:

      Pennsylvania may not be a safe state for long. Even if Mastriano loses, The state legislature is decidedly Christofascist and if they gain more seats, the will overturn a veto. White Republican women in the Pennsyltucky districts that want access to contraception, want to be able to make their own medical decisions (even those unrelated to reproduction) & don’t want to return to the days of coverture need to understand that they have to vote for democrats running for state legislature & as well as for Shapiro/Austin in the generals otherwise we will be somewhere to the right of Florida, Texas & Missouri.

      It is reassuring that they were able to call this for Kansas so early last night considering a Republican PAC illegally used state voter registration records to send anonymous texts to democrats claiming that a yes vote protected choice

  7. Miranda says:


    I don’t know if anyone ever read the book What’s the Matter With Kansas, but it was written in the George W. Bush era and addressed the fact that Kansas had once been renowned for progressive or leftist views (such as abolitionism and the labor movement), even being considered radical in some ways, but gradually turned into a state where conservatives made the “liberal elite” into a political boogieman. “The liberals are going to sell your daughters into white slavery and force them to have abortions! Gay marriage will become mandatory! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” Republicans would make that their campaign platform, but placed those issues on the backburner once they were actually elected. If their constituents complained about them reneging on campaign promises, they’d claim to be powerless because of “liberal elites” and “activist judges”. Well, now we have genuine activist judges on the Supreme Court, and not from the party they routinely accused. Their own activist judges have taken away some of their most effective political ammo and used it to shoot the GQP right in the foot.

    Thank you, Kansans, for standing up for anyone capable of bearing a child and showing that this fight is just beginning. You’re back on the right side of history, and this member of the “liberal elite” hopes it inspires other red states.

    • Dazed and Confused says:

      Such a great description of what’s been happening in Kansas the last 50+ years.

      Here’s hoping we can keep this same energy in November to keep Laura Kelly. I’m not used to being on the winning side of something in Kansas.

    • H says:

      @kansasgal, I know, right? We still have that horrible Senator Roger Marshall, who voted against veterans extended benefits, but sane Kansans prevailed yesterday. A lot of my friends have been out protesting in Salina and other smaller cities in Central Kansas urging people to vote No. It worked!

    • AnneL says:

      Yes, that’s a very good read. It’s about Kansas but it also encapsulated how the shift right ended up happening in many places slowly but surely beginning in the 70s.

    • michyk says:

      it’s not the same, but i’m in missouri, and i feel like we’ve taken a similar path. we were a blue state until 9.11, and then everyone freaked out and the religious nuts took a stronger hold. what gets me is that anytime missouri votes progressive/liberal (whatever that might mean), it just gets overturned the next time the state government goes red. example: we voted down the right to carry concealed. after the people of the state spoke, there was huge lobbying to get more right wing idiots in the state government, and they passed the law on their own. it made me disillusioned about voting for a long time, because it truly felt useless at that point. because we did vote, we spoke and in the end, it still didn’t matter. i don’t feel that way anymore, and the kansas votes helps me try to remain positive.

      any fellow missourians out there, please correct me on anything i’ve gotten wrong. my memory is swiss-cheese these days.

    • Bisynaptic says:

      Great book. 💯 %

  8. smegmoria says:

    I hope this all turns out similar to prohibition. I know there are no constitutional amendments here, but it feels like people will start to see the fallacies in wanting abortion to be illegal.

  9. Mrs. Smith says:

    Wow!!! Way to go Kansas!!! I admit, I noped out of watching the vote count last night. I saw it in msnbc and realized it was the Kansas abortion vote and was like, I can’t. So this is the first I’m hearing of the news!! I hope this ruins Alito and Clarence’s morning.

  10. Chevonn says:

    I’m so proud of my baby blue state! We wanted to send a big FU to all the old men who thinks it’s ok to tell women what to do with their bodies. And we did!

    • Larelyn says:

      Lol, i read someone’s assessment that rural Kansas isn’t really super conservative, but that they are a bunch of crochety old Libertarians that want “big gubmnt” to stay out of their lives. Not entirely right, but not entirely wrong, either. I have folks in my household that represent that statement. Hoping for the purplization to keep creeping westward!

  11. Midnight@theOasis says:

    I was ecstatic when I read the news about Kansas preserving abortion rights in the state constitution. But then I read where the anti-abortion coalition is double downing on their crazy and want to vote out the current Kansas Supreme Court and install “like minded” conservative judges. Goal is to do what the U.S. Supreme Court did and overturn established precedent.

  12. Seraphina says:

    VA resident here, notice I didn’t label myself a Virginian. (Sigh). I plan on being at the polls bright and early that day to “rock the vote”. He tried to sneak abortion into the budget and thank God the Senate struck it down.

  13. Lynne says:

    They intentionally used confusing language to trick people to vote the wrong way.
    Never let this guy below in office again
    “ On Monday, Democrats received a text message — eventually connected to former Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas — that inaccurately told them to vote “yes” to preserve reproductive health rights.

    Opponents of the amendment have complained about its misleading language. A line-by-line analysis by the Guardian concluded “the ballot language sows confusion in an effort to push people to vote ‘yes.’ ”

    • Larelyn says:

      I think I read somewhere that Kansas allows lying in election advertisements. Or rather, we don’t have laws guaranteeing the accuracy of election statements or punishment for election related falsehoods. Typical conservative playbook.

      And I’m furious that I’ve been getting his and other unsolicited texts during this election period. I’m independent, so neither side should be contacting me! Stay out of my body, and stay off my phone!!

    • schmootc says:

      I read some of the ballot wording on another site and it really was confusing as hell. Leaving aside the texts that literally lied about what a yes vote meant!

      Anyway, good for Kansas. And I hope SCOTUS hears the ‘f*** you’ Kansas sent them. Based on Alito’s snotty speech the other day, I’m sure that even if they hear it, they will not care and will be completely defensive about their crappy decision though. The arrogance, stupidity and lack of care he (and Thomas, the Handmaid, etc.) have shown just amazes me.

  14. kscoaster says:

    Kansas “no” vote here. Beyond shocked that the no’s prevailed.

    The “yes” push here was relentless. In particular, there was a *lot* of propaganda soft-pedaling the impact of voting yes – that it didn’t mean that that voting “yes” would ban abortions (as if….)

    Obviously, this isn’t the end of the issue by far. The willingness of KS voters to opt for dishonest knuckle-draggers knows no bounds. And the composition of the state legislature makes the US Congress seem like the Mensa club by comparison. The GOP just nominated Koback for state AG – so we have *that* to look forward to.

    All that said, at least we can celebrate today!

    • Larelyn says:

      Ugh, Kobach. Hopefully he’s such a horrible person he will lose AGAIN in November. I hate that Moran is likely going to win… and loathe Marshall. It’s bizarre to me how much the politicians lean into Trumpism when they’d be far more successful if they’d take a (comparatively) moderate approach. Kansas population isn’t “hard” red, but our politicians are.

  15. Christine says:

    I just want to point out the dirty tricks conservatives and yes campaign were using. They were sending texts telling people to “vote yes to protect abortion rights” which is a straight up LIE. The ads coming out to vote yes mentioned pretty much everything except abortion (liberals! gas prices!) Not to mention the wording of the amendment was intentionally confusing.

  16. Eggbert says:

    Such uplifting news!

  17. lucy2 says:

    Thank you to everyone who voted NO!
    I want to give a shout out to Postcards to Voters, who sent thousands and thousands of handwritten cards alerting Kansas voters to this election and to vote NO. They almost always have a campaign going, for elections all around the country, if anyone is interested in volunteering with them. It’s an easy, and kind of fun, way to get involved and help.

    • Southern Fried says:

      So true. Postcards has proven to be very effective and it’s so easy. Before Covid a group of us would meet, snack and chat while doing it. Working at home is a breeze. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done.

  18. Traveller says:

    Sending a big thank you to the voters in Kansas!
    There is hope that sanity can prevail.

  19. sherry says:

    Inspiring to everyone, everywhere.

  20. LOLikes says:

    I’m a 60+ Black woman, born in Kansas, transplanted to Portland, Oregon 2016 (ran to a blue state from a red state before Trumpism set in). Kansans don’t play. Remember, we’re the free state, the abolitionists (John Brown) and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case which ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.) A lil family history: (my gf was president of the NAACP in Topeka at that time & the architect of the Brown v BOE case.(statue of gf in his honor in downtown Topeka.) And I knew when my 24 y/o son went back to Kansas a couple of weeks ago & met up with a 24 y/o white female church youth leader of an evangelical church & she walked in the restaurant with a “Vote No” T-shirt on, I knew we were good. So yeah Kansas Rocks!!

    • HoofRat says:

      Your post makes me happier than I can say. But ironic that the blue state you left is more diverse than Oregon, which was founded to be whites-only. I have no doubt that proud Kansas energy of yours will help change things in your new home!

      • Seraphina says:

        I agree. This comment made me smile. Good news always is welcome! Thank you @LoLikes.

      • LOLikes says:

        @HoofRat Kansas is currently a red state & Oregon is only a blue state bcoz of the large democrat left-leaning population of the city of Portland. Yeah Portland is the whitest city in the U.S. Originally Black people were excluded from living in Oregon. Currently bcoz of gentrification & high cost of living in Portland many have been forced to move to the “numbers” (suburbs of Portland). So Blacks/POC are here & recently elected their 1st African-American woman to the Portland City Commission. So that Kansas “fightin for democracy” spirit has been transplanted to Oregon.

      • HoofRat says:

        Apologies for mixing up the colours, LOLikes! In Canada it’s the opposite- the Liberal Party’s colour Is red, and Conservatives use blue. I’m afraid I’m always a bit fuddled when I’m using those terms.

  21. Ann says:

    I try not to let myself be hopeful because the disappointment is too much, but this I can’t help but feel some hope over. Almost a million people came out to vote for a *primary* in KANSAS. Wow! That is nothing but good news right there and it feels good, which is so out of reach these days. Thank you to all the voters. Let’s keep this up through November!

    • TwinFalls says:

      Agree. Hard to trust a positive feeling but this was an impressive turnout and victory for the people of Kansas.

  22. Aerohead21 says:

    This is probably one of the only times you’ll ever see me write this, but I’m a proud Kansas today 😂

  23. Renee' says:

    Kansan here! I voted NO last week in early voting. We were being told here locally last week that the polling was close so we were SHOCKED last night we won in a landslide. YAY!! Kansas may be a red state, but we showed the world last night we weren’t going to let the far-right loons take our rights.

  24. Tiffany:) says:

    I didn’t realize this had any chance of turning out well, so I am surprised and so delighted. And the margin of victory seems so incredible, I’m just speechless. Well done, Kansas!!!!!

  25. Chicken Tetrazzini! says:

    I’m curious how many people nodded and smiled to the ‘yes’ voters in their lives and then went and voted ‘no’ because they felt it was the right thing to do. I’m betting more than a couple of instances of that considering the landslide victory.

    I’m hoping that Republicans all over this country are having a shit day as they realize what this could mean for the midterms. They’ll cheat to win, they always do, but hopefully we can make it harder for them to do so

  26. Lucy says:

    So relieved and inspired by this news!

  27. Gabby says:

    SCOTUS, you have awakened a sleeping giant.

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      Gabby, that is the truest statement I’ve seen about SCOTUS. I hope when the mid-terms are done, they understand just what they’ve done.

      • Deering24 says:

        Agreed–they are really going to regret going so openly after women’s rights. Up until now, they and the GOP have been able to conceal their true aims by hiding behind Trump, covert planning, people not taking mid-terms seriously, and incessant propaganda. But this is such a blatant fascist move, women voters are fired up–and other groups in the Supremes’ sights are more than ready to fight the writing on the wall.

  28. Stac says:

    Damn, What a surprising headline! Go Kansas!

  29. Bisynaptic says: