Kansas vote could allow ban, but abortion foes mum on plans
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Republicans have spent more than three decades making it as hard as possible to get an abortion in Kansas, and now that their chance to ban the procedure is in sight, they’re reluctant to tell voters whether that's their goal.
In the first statewide abortion referendum since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe vs. Wade, Kansas voters will decide Aug. 2 on a proposed change to the state constitution that would clear the way for its Republican-controlled Legislature to more strictly regulate or ban abortion. Several other states are poised to vote on the issue later this year, and new fights loom where courts and governors are less conservative than legislatures.
But even as conservative lawmakers in nearby states such as Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas take pride in their near-total bans, abortion opponents in Kansas avoid giving direct answers about what new restrictions they'd support, and some deny they'd seek a total ban.
“You don’t want to get out over your skis and and, you know, say something and then it doesn’t even come to pass,” said Kansas House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican who opposes abortion and is poised to become House speaker next year.
It's part of a strategy to get conservative voters out to back the amendment while appealing to centrist voters who support restrictions but don't want a ban.
Both sides accuse the other of misleading voters.
“They intend to ban abortion in all cases,” said Anne Melia, 59, a former Republican who is now a Democrat and an environmental chemist who gave up a consulting job last year to focus on political activism. “Our law here could match something like what happened in Missouri with their trigger law that’s banned all abortion.”
If abortion opponents are successful, Kansas will be...