The Smoke and Mirrors Around Kansas Government Funding and Amendment 2


Demonstration for women’s reproductive rights at the Plaza on June 24, 2022. // Photo by Angela Bond

We asked members of the KC community to submit stories about their thoughts and experiences across the board. If you have a story you would like to share with our readers, please send it to [email protected] for consideration. Today, former attorney and current KU law professor Amii Castle weighs in on the misinformation surrounding the upcoming Kansas Amendment 2 vote.

KC Voices Local Submissions

Artwork by Jack Raybuck

KC Voices Local Submissions

On August 2, you will vote to amend the Kansas state constitution to remove the right to access abortion, in all cases, including rape, incest, and to save the life of a pregnant woman.

The proposed amendment reads in relevant part:

“The Value Them Both Amendment would affirm that there is no Kansas constitutional right to abortion or to require the government to fund abortion, and would limit the people of Kansas, through their elected legislators, the right to pass laws to regulate abortion, including, but not limited to, in circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or when necessary to save the mother’s life.

But you can read the full text document here.

In a perhaps obvious statement, the language of the proposed amendment is confusing. Some who read the amendment might think they are voting to ban abortion except in case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. But it is the opposite. The amendment would empower the Republican-led legislature to ban abortion in all cases, including in case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

I’m confident these Topeka politicians will do just that..

Unfortunately, the misinformation from those in the “Vote Yes” camp—those who want to ban abortions in Kansas—is staggering. Take, for example, the claim that the two purposes of the proposed amendment are 1) to ban late-term abortions and 2) to ban public funding of abortion care. Sounds reasonable, right? But these claims are, at best, misleading.

Late abortions – abortions after twenty-two weeks of pregnancy – are not performed in Kansas and are already prohibited except in cases of probable death or injury to the woman. This is stated in KSA § 65-6703.

Indeed, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the agency responsible for tracking abortions performed in Kansas, there were no abortions performed in Kansas after twenty-two (22) weeks of pregnancy in 2021.

Not one.

In fact, only one late-term abortion has been performed in Kansas since 2015. And if the purpose of the proposed amendment was to ban late-term abortions, then why aren’t late-term abortions included in the wording of the proposed amendment? ?

Similarly, government funding of abortion care is also already prohibited.

KSA § 65-6733 (prohibits public funding of abortion); KSA § 65-6736 (prohibits state or municipal funding of abortion); KSA § 65-6734 (prohibits K-12 school contractors from providing abortion services or abortion information); and KSA § 76-3308 (prohibits abortion procedures at KU medical facilities). The only exception is if an abortion is necessary to save the life of the pregnant person as defined in KSA § 65-6738.

To pretend that we need this amendment to ban government funding of abortion is window dressing. It is dishonest to twist the current state of Kansas law on late-term abortions and government funding to get people to vote yes, when both are already illegal. In terms of voter education, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Register to vote before July 12and vote on or before August 2. A “no” vote rejects the amendment, a “yes” vote adopts it.


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