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Kansas lawmakers advance constitutional amendment to exclude ‘right to abortion’

The Kansas Senate on Jan. 28 passed a measure that, if approved by voters, would amend the state’s constitution to exclude a “right to abortion” and reserve the right to regulate abortion in the state to the legislature.

The proposed “Value Them Both” amendment would codify that “the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion.” The Kansas House had passed the amendment Jan. 22.

The impetus for the amendment is an April 2019 ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court blocking a law that would have banned dilation and evacuation abortions, which found that the state constitution protects a woman’s right to have an abortion. If voters approve the amendment by a simple majority during the primary election in August 2022, it will nullify that ruling.

The Kansas Catholic Conference has supported the amendment, saying that because the measure did not pass the legislature in 2020, “it will be the legislative priority” for the state’s bishops in the 2021 session.

Chuck Weber, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, told CNA that while the amendment’s passage is an “unprecedented legislative achievement,” getting the measure to pass when placed before voters will be a challenge.

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