Abortion supporters Alie Utley and Joe Moyer (R) react to the failed constitutional amendment proposal at the Kansas Constitutional Freedom Primary Election Watch Party in Overland Park, Kansas on August 2, 2022. - Voters in the traditionally conservative state of Kansas voted Tuesday to maintain the right to abortion, in the first election on the flashpoint issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, US media reported. In a significant win for the pro-access side of the US abortion debate, Kansans rejected an amendment that would have scrapped language in the state constitution guaranteeing the right to the procedure and could have paved the way for stricter regulations or a ban. (Photo by DAVE KAUP / AFP)

In the US state of Kansas, voters voted to preserve abortion rights. According to the US media, voters in a nationwide referendum in the traditionally conservative state on Tuesday rejected the idea of ​​removing the right to abortions from the state constitution with a clear majority. Otherwise, abortions in Kansas could have been severely restricted or banned altogether.

The referendum in the Midwestern state was the first vote on the issue since the US Supreme Court overturned the nation’s basic right to abortion on June 24.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the Republican-dominated Kansas legislature introduced an amendment called “Value Them Both” (meaning women and children). The aim was to abolish the right to abortion enshrined in the state constitution – with the aim of leaving regulation to the legislature again.

Abortion rights advocates saw the campaign as an attempt to pave the way for a total ban. A Conservative MP has already introduced a bill that would ban abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life. Currently, the state guarantees access to abortion up to the 22nd week. The state Supreme Court upheld abortion rights in 2019.

The vote is also seen as a test case for abortion rights in the US as a whole. Numerous Republican-dominated states have passed or are paving the way for strict abortion bans following the decision of the Supreme Court in Washington. In other states like California and Kentucky, citizens will vote on the issue in November, coinciding with the midterm congressional elections. Both Republicans and Democrats hope to mobilize their supporters with the issue.

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark “Roe v. Wade” ruling that enshrined a nationwide fundamental right to abortion. The decision caused a political earthquake and is considered a historical turning point. Because there is no federal law on abortion, states can now largely or completely ban abortion.

A far-reaching ban on abortion is soon to come into force in the state of Idaho. The US government therefore sued the state on Tuesday – the first such step was the end for “Roe v. Wade”. In Idaho, abortions will only be allowed if the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. The protection of women’s health, on the other hand, is not a sufficient justification for an abortion.