Constitutional amendment concerning abortion has nation’s eyes on Kansas
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Over the next few weeks, Kansans will hear much about abortion and the politics surrounding the divisive issue. Kansas is the first state with a referendum following Friday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade. This is bringing a lot of attention to the Sunflower State.
TV ads and yard signs are becoming more frequent sights and there’s going to be much more to come before Aug. 2 when Kansas voters will decide whether the right to an abortion is protected by the Kansas constitution. It’s not yet clear how much money is being spent by each side as the latest campaign finance reports from political action committees are from what they raised last year. Newer financial filings aren’t due until next month, but this is expected to be an expensive race.
“We should see a lot of national money flow into Kansas,” said Wichita State University Political Science Professor and Political Science Department Chair Dr. Neal Allen.
It will be the campaign to dominate state politics for the next month and a few days with national eyes watching the outcome.
“I expect to see national organizations doing a lot of work in Kansas. Also, we have a lot of existing state organizations, ones that are cropping up to work in this particular issue,” Dr. Allen said. “So, we’re likely to see of advocacy for and against abortion.”
In Kansas, the two main groups are Value Them Both, supporting the amendment and Kansans For Constitutional Freedom, opposing the amendment.
Last year, campaign finance reports show Value Them Both raising a little less than $1.3 million. The biggest donors were Kansans for Life, the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas and the Archdiocese of Wichita. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom raised about $500,000 with the ACLU, Merle Chambers Fund and Planned Parenthood being the lead donors.
“Each additional dollar spent is less effective than the previous dollar because voters become saturated with information,” Dr. Allen said.
Earlier this month, Susan B. Anthony, an organization that is an abortion rights opponent, put $1.3 million toward the Value Them Both effort.
Dr. Allen said money could be a factor if the face is close.
“There’s a lot of voters to get to the polls who normally wouldn’t vote, and a lot of whether the amendment passes or fails will depend on what the electorate looks like,” Dr. Allen said.
What Kansas voters specifically will determine is if the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion for women or if access should be regulated by state lawmakers.
Even though Aug. 2 is a primary election, all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation are able to cast a ballot for the amendment.
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