The future of abortion rights in one state will soon be decided following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the decades-old precedent that protected access to abortion across the country.
The court ruling Friday overturned Roe v. Wade in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The ruling now allows states to implement harsh abortion restrictions, with 22 states already primed to enact laws that ban abortion.
Kansas will be the first state in the nation to vote on abortion rights in a post-Roe world when residents go to the polls on Aug. 2, KMBC-TV in Kansas City reported. Although the Kansas State Constitution protects the right to an abortion, an amendment introduced by conservative lawmakers would effectively end that.
The “Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment,” if passed, would change the state’s constitution to say that abortion isn’t a protected right, leading the way for an outright ban. The group Kansans for Constitutional Freedom is working to defeat this ballot measure.
And in Michigan, activists are working to put an amendment on the ballot in November that would protect abortion rights in the state. In May, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a petition to put a proposal on the ballot that would guarantee legal access to abortion in a state that had rejected abortion rights before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
The group Reproductive Freedom for All has joined Whitmer in Michigan’s fight for abortion rights.
“The decision of whether to become pregnant or a parent is too important to leave up to politicians,” the group’s website says. “This proposal will affirm that every Michigander has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which involves the right to make and carry out decisions without political interference about all matters relating to pregnancy, including birth control, abortion, prenatal care, and childbirth.”
Whitmer also filed a lawsuit in April to strike down a 1931 abortion ban in the state.
“With today’s decision, Michigan’s antiquated 1931 law banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing doctors and nurses who provide reproductive care takes effect,” Whitmer said in a statement Friday following the Supreme Court’s ruling. “For now, a Michigan court has put a temporary hold on the law, but that decision is not final and has already been challenged. The 1931 law would punish women and strip away their right to make decisions about their own bodies. I am deeply disappointed that Michigan’s Republican legislative leaders have been in court defending this draconian ban, to the detriment of women and families. Some legislators have gone a step further, proposing a 10-year prison sentence for abortion providers and a 20-year sentence for anyone manufacturing, selling or distributing birth control medication.”
At an abortion rights rally in May on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, 63-year-old Beth Morris told The Guardian that she is a moderate Republican collecting signatures to support the right to an abortion.
“The Republican Party in Michigan has just been hijacked by the extreme right,” Morris told the publication. “Somehow, Christian values are things they want.”