The Kansas Senate on Wednesday night advanced a proposed constitutional amendment that would override the Kansas Supreme Court’s recent ruling saying that women have a right to abortion.
Overland Park Sen. John Skubal was the only legislator to break party lines, joining the chamber’s 11 Democrats in voting against the measure. Among other legislators serving the Shawnee Mission area, Sens. Jim Denning of Overland Park and Mike Thompson of Shawnee, both Republicans, voted in favor of the amendment. Sens. Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills, Dinah Sykes of Lenexa, and Pat Pettey of Kansas City, Kan., all Democrats, voted against it.
The proposal now advances to the House for consideration, where it would need two-thirds majority approval to pass. If passed, it would be placed on a ballot for Kansas voters to consider.
During the Senate debate this week, proponents of the amendment pushed for it to be placed on the ballot in August, saying that the issue was so pressing it couldn’t wait until November. Opponents suggested that putting it on the August ballot is a maneuver to increase the likelihood that it would pass because voter turnout will be lower than in November.
Sykes referenced the issue on Twitter Wednesday afternoon:
Curious why KFL would not support the constitutional amendment being on the November ballot when we have 70% turnout vs 20% in august? #ksleg
— Dinah Sykes (@dinah_sykes) January 29, 2020
Brittany Jones of the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, a group that opposes abortion, issued a statement following the Senate’s vote calling the Value Them Both Amendment the “biggest pro-life vote of this generation.”
“We are thankful that it has passed out of the Senate and look forward to continuing to work with legislative leadership so that ultimately, Kansas voters have the opportunity to ensure that women and babies in our state have the most basic safeguards,” Jones said.
Former Johnson County beat reporter for the Kansas City Star Lynn Horsley will moderate a discussion sponsored by the MainStream Coalition and the League of Women Voters of Johnson County this Saturday on the state of reproductive rights in Kansas. The event will be 9-11 a.m. at Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, 9101 Nall Ave.