By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. This editorial appeared on Page Two of the August issue of National Right to Life News. Please share this, and others stories, with your pro-life friends and family. Please send any comments to me at email@example.com
“On Tuesday night,” National Public Radio intoned, referring to August 2nd, “as results rolled in for Kansas’s consequential vote on abortion rights, advocates on both sides of the abortion debate were watching closely, looking for lessons as they prepare for similar votes on abortion rights measures this fall.”
And, yes, there were lessons aplenty, just not the ones trumpeted by NPR, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and virtually all of the legacy media.
As we will see, the setting for the vote on “Value Them Both” was the perfect storm, bringing together a Trifecta of lies, omissions, and distortions.
1. No matter how many times opponents insisted that it did, the amendment did not “outlaw all abortions.” As National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis observed, “In reality, the amendment would’ve taken Kansas back to abortion neutrality, allowing lawmakers to legislate on the issue.”
Note that much of the opposition—as is par for the course—did not even mention “abortion” in many of their ads. Rather they pressed the specter of “government interference” and “threats to autonomy.” Typically, one group called itself “Kansans for Constitutional Freedom.”
2. The amendment was defensive in nature, a response to the 2019 Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt decision by the Kansas Supreme Court. As the Value Them Both coalition explained
In 2019, an activist state court radically changed the Kansas Constitution, making it impossible to regulate abortion in even the simplest of ways. Unlike our neighboring states, taxpayer-funded and late-term abortion could soon be 100% allowed in Kansas unless you vote “Yes” on the VALUE THEM BOTH Amendment August 2.¹
A “YES” vote would ensure Kansas does not remain a destination state for extreme abortions in unregulated facilities.
It is no coincidence that the number of abortions in Kansas has skyrocketed. Since the Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt decision (2019-2021) there has been:
- 13% increase in the overall annual number of abortions
- 17% increase in live dismemberment abortions performed
- 16% increase in abortions performed on out-of-state residents.
“A spokesman for Trust Women, an abortion clinic in Wichita, reported a 60 percent increase in out-of-state patients over the past year and a doubling of overall patient volume since last year,” according to pro-abortion Sarah Smarsh.
#3. As noted, the inspiration for the amendment was the 2019 Hodes decision. The coalition began planning soon after. The good guys were blindsided by the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision which overturned Roe v. Wade. Since this was the first statewide vote on abortion post-Roe, the opposition had free rein to let their imaginations run wild—aka the amendment was “extremist.” DeSantis added, “The status quo bias in favor of a ‘no’ vote was helped by the fact that very few state abortion bans have been in effect for much time, if at all, yet. That made it easier to paint a ‘yes’ vote as a leap into a hazardous unknown.”
4. If they were capable of shame, the pro-abortion coalition would have blushed at the baseless allegations they spewed out. For example, life-threatening ectopic pregnancies where “the baby implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube,” as Emma Waters writes. “Doctors are fully aware that an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion, and state law has similarly recognized it.”
And of course women won’t be “jailed” for a miscarriage.
The Boston Globe’s columnist Stephanie Ebbert describes what she is doing as “Chronicling the next chapter in America’s battle over abortion rights.” That’s what all of us are doing, but drawing vastly different conclusion.
Here’s what Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. “As the first state to vote on abortion rights following the fall of Roe v. Wade, Kansas is a model for a path to restoring reproductive rights across the country through direct democracy. From Michigan to Nevada, we have the opportunity to protect abortion access at the ballot box in November. We know that Kansas will not be our last fight, or our last victory.”
The Value Them Both coalition said, “This outcome is a temporary setback, and our dedicated fight to value women and babies is far from over. As our state becomes an abortion destination, it will be even more important for Kansans to support our pregnancy resource centers, post-abortive ministries, and other organizations that provide supportive care to women facing unexpected pregnancies.
“We will be back.”
National Right to Life’s President Carol Tobias shared her thoughts.
“Sadly, thousands and thousands of babies will die in Kansas. Lies about ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, and false claims that women who have abortions would be prosecuted, promulgated by the media and the abortion industry resulted in a tragic loss for women and their unborn babies.
“Contrary to those lies, pro-life legislation allows the removal of ectopic pregnancies and other procedures to save the life of the mother, the treatment of miscarriages, and does not impose any penalties on women who have abortions. Over 70 pro-life organizations signed a statement opposing criminal penalties for women who have abortions.”
One of my adages to live by comes from William Feather: “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
Pro-lifers have hung on for nearly 50 years. In all the commentary about the significance of the Kansas amendment fight, it’s been almost forgotten that we took down Roe v. Wade!
That is a monumental accomplishment. Never, ever forget that.
Nobody but nobody ever said we could now put our efforts on autopilot—that with Roe overturned and cast into the dustpan of history, we would cruise to victory unchallenged by the forces of death.
John Updike once wrote, “Death, once invited in, leaves his muddy bootprints everywhere.” Come what may, we will never give in until the day comes when we have evicted him once and for all.