Kansas Abortion Ballot Language was Confusing
By Mark Schwendau
There is some relevant speculation in Kansas that the real reason the Red State may have voted to support abortion in the conservative, right-leaning state is that the average person did not understand what they were voting for!
The language made it confusing for voters of average intellect to figure out whether a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote preserved or denied abortion rights in Kansas.
This Kansas ballot vote could be seen as a litmus test for how a traditionally conservative state would react to the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion at the Federal level. The court realized the bad decision of the court of almost 50 years ago and returned the issue to the states. The feeling of law experts was Congress should have made it a law as it was not a Constitutionally protected right.
But the Kansas vote touted as a victory by liberals and the mainstream media may not be an accurate picture of what just went down. That’s because the text on the ballot was so hard to understand. Matter of fact, before looking at the ballot language, this is what people really needed to know in simple terms.
A “yes” vote means the Kansas State Constitution could be amended so it no longer protects abortion rights, overturning a 2019 state Supreme Court ruling.
A “no” vote means the Kansas State Constitution remains unchanged and continues to protect abortion rights.
On the ballot, however, it was not that simple.
Vote Yes or No
Explanatory statement. The Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion, including, but not limited to, in circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or when necessary to save the life of the mother.
A vote for the Value Them Both Amendment would affirm there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government funding of abortion, and would reserve to the people of Kansas, through their elected state legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion.
A vote against the Value Them Both Amendment would make no changes to the constitution of the state of Kansas, and could restrict the people, through their elected state legislators, from regulating abortion by leaving in place the recently recognized right to abortion.
Shall the following be adopted?
- 22. Regulation of abortion. Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother
So the passage of the constitutional amendment would have nullified the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling and given the Kansas Legislature the authority to pass any abortion restrictions. This could have included denying exceptions for rape, incest, or a mother’s health.
Since the amendment failed, abortion in Kansas remains legal as per the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling.
Both supporters and opponents of the amendment spent millions of dollars in campaigns to educate and influence voters, but their messages may have been lost on very confusing ballot language.
The Value Them Both Coalition refused to say whether it would support a ban on abortion if the amendment had passed.
Supporters and opponents of the Kansas constitutional amendment have complained about its misleading language. This could become the basis for a court battle in the future. Whether the confusing language was done intentionally or the result of too many people involved in the process remains to be determined.
The State of Kansas has almost 400,000 more Republican voters than Democrats, and Trump carried the state well in 2020.
Some are speculating that the Republican Party needs to adopt a more compromising position on abortion, such as that of former President George W. Bush Jr., who said abortion should be allowed for instances of rape, incest, or threat of life to the mother.
Copyright © 2022 by Mark S. Schwendau
Mark S. Schwendau is a retired technology professor who has always had a sideline in news-editorial writing where his byline has been, “Bringing little known news to people who simply want to know the truth.” He classifies himself as a Christian conservative who God cast to be a realist. Mark is an award-winning educator who has published 7 books and numerous peer-reviewed trade journal articles some of which can be found on the Internet. His father was a fireman/paramedic while his mother was a registered nurse. He holds multiple degrees in technology education, industrial management, OSHA Safety, and Driver’s Education. His personal website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech.