Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs. Wade could immediately impact Kansas clinics
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade is expected to leave the few clinics that offer the service in Kansas with more patients than they can serve. It comes as the Kansans prepare to take a vote on Aug. 2 that could determine the future of abortion in the state.
The Supreme Court’s announcement was expected for weeks, but the impacting is now taking hold of the country. While not a surprise, it’s making Kansas a focal point for what’s next for abortion and reproductive rights because it will be the fist state to hold a public referendum on abortion.
What’s come down from the nation’s highest court already is impacting Planned Parenthood Great Plains in Overland Park.
“Hard day for us to process because people we love and know and actually ourselves are in the position of living in states now where we have fewer rights than we did yesterday,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO Emily Wales said.
Friday morning, Planned Parenthood Great Plains stopped abortion services in Arkansas. Of the four states the organization serves; Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, only their clinics in Kansas are providing abortion services.
“People who need abortion care are going to see it, whether they can get it locally or have to travel,” Wales said. “The challenge we have right now in Kansas is that we don’t have enough providers to serve Kansans as it is.”
Wales said they previously saw the impact of laws in Texas and Oklahoma leading people to get services in Kansas. In Planned Parenthood’s Great Plains region, Wales said much of the focus is on what happens in Kansas where abortion currently is protected in the state constitution.
“People know their lives and their bodies better than the politicians who now control medical care in many other states,” Wales said. “Kansas’ state constitutional protection is under threat.
With Kansas voters determining the fate of that protection on Aug. 2, abortion rights supporters are at the forefront of urging a “No” vote.
“Our personal liberties are very precious,” said Women’s March Air Capital Co-Chair Faith Martin. “Obviously today, this decision has highlighted that that could be taken away at any moment.”
While the amendment vote doesn’t directly ban abortion in Kansas, it gives that authority to state lawmakers. Martin said it’s authority that could go beyond abortion.
“It’s giving the government the power to make decisions before us. If they decide to make an abortion bill or if they decide to make any other healthcare bill, that’s removing the power away from Kansas voters,” she said.
Martin said in the hours after the Supreme Court decision, people started reaching out to Women’s March, looking to get involved. The group is holding a “Vote No” rally on July 9, ahead of the August vote. Planned Parenthood said its clinics in other states will remain open to provide other health services.
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