Capitol Update: Sen. Mike Thompson says voters should return power to make abortion rules to legislature

Sen. Mike Thompson. File photo.

Each week during the 2022 Kansas legislative session, we will provide Shawnee Mission area legislators the opportunity to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol.

Below is this week’s submission from Republican Sen. Mike Thompson of Kansas Senate District 10, which covers parts of Merriam, Overland Park and Shawnee.

Democratic Reps. Susan Ruiz and Heather Meyer were also given opportunities this week to submit columns. 

The views expressed in each Capitol Update are solely those of the lawmaker and are not reflective of the Post’s position on any matter discussed. 

The legislative session is nearing an end for this year, with only a few more days left to complete our work in Topeka.

However, an amendment to the Kansas Constitution called “Value Them Both” is up for a vote in the August 2nd primary election, thanks to a concurrent resolution passed by the legislature in 2021.

I voted in favor of sending this measure to you, the voters of Kansas so that you can make the decision instead of that decision being made by 7 judges or 165 legislators. I thought it was important for me to explain this proposed amendment so you can clearly understand what it would…and would not do.

“Value Them Both” is a crucial vote that would achieve two important goals.

It would reinstitute important laws that were already passed by previous Kansas legislatures to ensure the safety and protection of women considering an abortion in Kansas. It would also put the lawmaking back in the hands of the legislature where the constitution intended it to reside.

The judicial branch should not make law, just interpret it. But, the 2019 Hodes & Nauser v Derek Schmidt decision was, in my opinion, an egregious constitutional overreach that essentially suspended the laws on abortion that had been already approved by your elected officials.

Over the years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, Kansas has made incremental, but important strides to place restrictions on abortion. While there may be disagreement about how restrictive we should be as a state when it comes to abortion, I think the common ground for everyone is that we do not want pregnant women subjected to dangerous procedures that threaten their lives and safety.

I certainly hope we can find common ground on deciding that the unborn need protection as well which is why this amendment is called “Value Them Both,” as it sends the important message that both the mother AND the child have constitutional rights and protections.\

The bottom line is that if “Value Them Both” passes, it does not make new laws on abortion in Kansas. It does not add restrictions that were not already in place prior to the Kansas Supreme Court decision. It only restores the laws that the court put on the shelf with the Hodes decision.

These laws are simple common-sense restrictions that ensure inspections for clinics, safety and sanitation standards and parental notification for minor girls seeking abortion. In addition, it prevents tax dollars from funding abortions right up until the birth of a child.

With all the recent confusion about the eventual outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling over the constitutionality of Roe v Wade, some are saying that that if it is overturned there will be an outright ban on abortion. That is absolutely not true.

Overturning Roe simply returns the decision making to the states where it belongs, and where you have a say in the matter through your vote.

I encourage you to vote “yes” on “Value Them Both” on August 2nd! Have a great summer!