See how JoCo, Kansas politicians are reacting to decision overturning Roe

The U.S. Supreme Court. Image via U.S. Supreme Court website.

In a 6-3 ruling issued Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Mississippi law barring most abortions in that state and, in the process, overturned the precedent set 50 years ago by Roe v. Wade establishing a legal right to abortion in the U.S.

What happens next: The court’s momentous decision gives states the power to enact new restrictions on abortion.

Kansas’s situation is unique: Friday’s ruling also puts a spotlight on Kansas, where voters on August 2 will be asked to amend the state constitution to say it does not promise a right to abortion, as a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling currently holds.

  • Immediately on Friday, political leaders, parties, advocacy groups and candidates in Kansas and in Johnson County began issuing statements urging voters to get out to the polls on August 2 to vote on the amendment.

Here are some local reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision:

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (Democrat) 

“This is no longer hyperbole or hypothetical. For 50 years, we’ve been protected from the most extreme attempts to control people’s decisions about their bodies, but that protection is now gone and Kansas is at a major decision point.

Will we stand by as Kansas joins a wave of states with extreme, no-exception bans? Or will we make it known that in Kansas, we support women and access to health care–and we believe politicians have no right to take away a person’s right to choose?

I urge folks to consider carefully what’s at stake. I will always work to protect Kansans’ rights to choose—starting by voting no on the amendment seeking to strip existing protections from our state constitution in August.” 

Amanda Adkins, a Republican vying to challenge Davids in November

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court returned decisions related to abortion back to the states because it gives voters more of a say on the issue,” said Adkins.

“Most Kansans agree we want to reduce the number of abortions, support parents of minors being notified if their child is seeking an abortion, eliminate late-term abortions, oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, and support safety regulations in clinics,” Adkins stated. “By contrast, Sharice Davids is so extreme that she has supported taxpayer-funded abortions, opposed life-saving medical care for newborn babies who survived an abortion, and opposes any restrictions on abortion up to the point of birth.”

Gov. Laura Kelly (Democrat)

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Republican challenging Gov. Kelly 

“Today’s landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court was the right one because as a matter of constitutional interpretation, as the Court writes, ‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.’ Now, the Court explains, ‘The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.’

“Today’s decision means the power and responsibility to decide the important and difficult questions involving regulation of abortion have been returned to the people instead of federal judges. The people of Kansas will speak directly to this subject in less than six weeks. In voting on the Value Them Both amendment, Kansans will decide whether state judges may determine how abortion is regulated in Kansas or whether that is a responsibility for the elected and democratically accountable branches of state government.

“In my view, the increase in the number of abortions in Kansas the past two years after a long period of steady decline is distressing. I prefer a future with less abortion, not more. To preserve existing limits on late-term abortions, requirements parents be notified when minors seek abortion, and prohibitions on using taxpayer funds to pay for abortion, I will join with other pro-life Kansans in casting my vote for Value Them Both. On August 2, the people will speak and their voice will show the path forward for Kansas.” 

Kansas Sen. Dinah Sykes (Senate Democratic Leader from Lenexa)

“We have had months – if not the last several years – to prepare for this decision that overturns 50 years of precedent. But knowing it would happen doesn’t make it any less devastating, especially for our neighbors in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, whose rights have evaporated in an instant with this ruling.

“Abortion is a personal decision. The right to abortion is protected by the Kansas constitution, and we’ve got to keep it that way. I will not let my colleagues in the legislature take that freedom away from my fellow Kansans – not without a fight. Kansas voters can expect to see me at their doorsteps this summer to shine a light on what politicians in Topeka plan to do with their rights and to confront the lies these extremists are peddling to manipulate their way into unbridled power over women in our state.” 

Kansas Sen. Kellie Warren (Leawood Republican running for state Attorney General)

“I’m thankful for this ruling, for the Justices who stood strong in making it, and for the millions of pro-life Americans who worked for years to make this a reality. I stand with them, and I celebrate with them today.

And I also know that the work is just beginning. Here in Kansas, that starts by getting the Value Them Both Amendment across the finish line on August 2nd. Passing this amendment is critical, as right now Kansas has an unlimited right to abortion because of a radical ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2019.

I’m proud of the work I did as Senate Judiciary Committee Chair to get Value Them Both through the Kansas Senate, and I’m committed to doing everything I can over the next month to see it through. As Attorney General, I will stand up for the unborn and be fully prepared to defend the Value Them Both Amendment in court.

I ask you to continue standing strong with me for life, and I ask you to join me in praying for the Supreme Court Justices, their families, and our nation.”

Roeland Park Mayor Mike Kelly (running for Johnson County Commission Chair)

“This is a devastating day for personal freedom. The Supreme Court has overturned 50 years of legal precedent to strip away the right of bodily autonomy from American women and has opened the door for the removal of other key privacy rights.

“I am the only candidate in this race who has publicly supported a woman’s right to make her own personal health care decisions. I encourage all Kansans who value liberty to Vote No on August 2 to protect our Constitution.” 

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom (group urging ‘No’ vote on amendment)

“This is a shameful decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that eliminates the rights of American women. It puts their lives at risk and sends a strong message that they are not worthy of equal rights.

“On August 2nd, Kansas will be the first state in the nation to vote on reproductive freedom following this decision. The constitutional amendment on the Kansas ballot will mandate government control over our private medical decisions and pave the way for a total ban on abortion. With no exception for rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life. We must vote NO!

“This is an absolutely unprecedented moment – if we do not act, children will have fewer constitutional rights than their parents. This decision reinforces how critical it is that we protect our constitutional rights here at home. Kansans must continue to have the freedom to make private health decisions free from government overreach. We ask you to vote NO on August 2nd.” 

Value Them Both Coalition (supporting a ‘Yes’ vote on amendment)