In overwhelming numbers, Kansas voters struck down a proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to ban abortion in the state on Tuesday (Aug. 2).
Abortion rights supporters in the traditionally conservative state prevailed by roughly 20 percentage points after most of the votes were counted, the Associated Press reported.
The referendum marked the first time voters in the United States cast a ballot on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court’s stunning decision in June that overturned the constitutional right to abortion procedures established in the landmark Roe v. Wade.
“The Supreme Court’s extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade put women’s health and lives at risk. Tonight, the American people had something to say about it,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Voters in Kansas turned out in record numbers to reject extreme efforts to amend the state constitution to take away a woman’s right to choose and open the door for a state-wide ban. “
The “Value Them Both Amendment” ballot question asked voters whether the state’s constitution should continue to protect abortion rights, NBC News explained. If the ballot question had passed, the Republican-controlled state Legislature would have had the authority to tighten restrictions or ban abortion procedures outright.
The referendum result was a blow to anti-abortion activists, as it was widely viewed by many as a gauge of the backlash among liberal and moderate voters over the high court striking down Roe v. Wade, the AP noted.
Spokeswoman Mallory Carroll for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, the national anti-abortion group, told the AP that the vote was “a huge disappointment” for the movement. She called on anti-abortion candidates to “go on the offensive.”