Here’s how Kansas elected officials are reacting to leaked Supreme Court abortion opinion

Anti-abortion marchers demonstrate at the Kansas Statehouse during an annual "right to life" rally in 2020. File photo credit Daniel Caudill/Kansas News Service.

Kansas elected officials on both sides of the political spectrum are urging Kansans to go to the polls in August, following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that shows the nation’s highest court poised to invalidate a federal right to abortion.

Context: In an extraordinary circumstance Monday night, Politico published a leaked copy of the opinion drafted by Justice Samuel Alito showing that a majority of justices were prepared to rule the 50-year-old precedent set by Roe v. Wade decriminalizing abortion to be unconstitutional. 

Chief Justice John Roberts has since confirmed the draft’s authenticity and ordered an investigation into the leak.

The overturning of Roe would put government restrictions on abortion access and regulations into states’ hands, similar to the situation in the U.S. that preceded the Roe decision in 1973. 

The high court’s final opinion is still set to be officially released in June and could change before then, though many on Tuesday speculated as to the ramifications of the leak on the justices’ opinions going forward.  

This comes as Kansas prepares to vote on a constitutional right to abortion access in August’s election.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the state constitution does contain a right to abortion, but August’s proposed constitutional amendment would effectively overrule that high court decision and allow the state legislature to pass new regulations on abortion.

The state reacts: Following Monday’s leak, various elected officials around Kansas reacted to the news. 

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat who represents Johnson County in the state’s Third Congressional District, called the pending decision a “monumental step backwards.” 

Davids voted in favor last fall of a House bill protecting continued access to abortion at the federal level, essentially codifying the Roe precedent.

Leaders in the U.S. Senate began discussion potentially taking up a similar measure after Monday’s leaked opinion.

Davids’ presumptive Republican challenger in this year’s election, Amanda Adkins, did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment and had not released a formal statement as of Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Clayton of Overland Park also urged Kansans to vote in August’s upcoming election and said she herself will be voting against the proposed amendment. 

Republican state Sen. Kellie Warren of Leawood, who is currently running for state Attorney General, did not directly address the draft opinion on social media Tuesday but did retweet an endorsement from prominent pro-life group Kansans for Life.

Warren has been a vocal supporter of the abortion amendment, which supporters refer to as the “Value Them Both” Amendment. 

Kansas’ two U.S. Senators, Republicans Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran, both condemned the draft leak itself, while commenting less on the opinion’s substance.

Marshall called it an “egregious attack” on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

An overarching theme among state advocacy groups and elected officials was the leaked opinion’s impact raising the significance of August’s election — and whether Kansans choose to vote in it.