Kansas: Kansas voters decided against removing the right to abortion from the State Constitution, according to The Associated Press.
The Pro-choice activists celebrated after Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that sought to remove protections for abortion rights.
The referendum failed decisively 61% to 39%, with 2,540 of 3,994 precincts reporting, according to The Kansas City Star.
This was the first vote on the issue in the country since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June and a major victory for the abortion rights movement. If passed, it could have led to further restrictions or an abortion ban across Kansas.
“The voters in Kansas have spoken loud and clear: We will not tolerate extreme bans on abortion,” Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, told supporters after the victory, The New York Times reported.
This closely watched vote came three months before the midterm elections. Its outcome surprised many, in an election where both political parties, per the newspaper, spent a combined $12 million-plus on advertising surrounding the campaign issue, according to reports.
Kansas is widely regarded as a deeply conservative and usually reliably Republican state in the US.
The move will be seen as a huge loss for the anti-abortion movement and a major win for abortion rights advocates across America, who will see the result as a bellwether for popular opinion
According to the Guardian, Joe Biden issued a statement welcoming the result. “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own healthcare decisions,” the US president said.
The Kansas state senator Dinah Sikes, a Democrat, cried as the vote came in, and turned to her friends and colleagues, showing them goosebumps on her arm.
“It’s just amazing. It’s breathtaking that women’s voices were heard and we care about women’s health,” she told the Guardian, after admitting she had thought the vote would be close. “But we were close in a lot of rural areas and that really made the difference – I’m just so grateful,” she said.