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Kansas abortion opponents see mandate from 2020 elections

January 12, 2021 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Abortion opponents say elections last year that made the Kansas Legislature more conservative showed voters support putting a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution on the ballot next year.

Anti-abortion lawmakers introduced separate but identical versions of their proposal Tuesday in the House and Senate. It would overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision in 2019 that declared access to abortion a “fundamental” right under the state constitution.

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Abortion opponents failed last year to get the same proposal on the ballot when a few House Republicans resisted having voters decide its fate in the August primary instead of the November general election. Two-thirds majorities in both chambers must approve constitutional amendment for it to go on the ballot.

Republicans maintained their supermajorities in both chambers in last year’s elections, and the few GOP House members who voted against putting the measure on the primary ballot either retired or were defeated. And voters elected larger number of conservatives.

“Kansans’ voices were heard in this last election” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Kellie Warren, a Leawood Republican.

Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of the abortion rights group Trust Women, decried the proposal as an attack on women’s personal autonomy.

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