TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A proposed pro-life amendment to the Kansas Constitution cleared its first hurdle in the Legislature on Tuesday as abortion opponents moved quickly to try to get it on the ballot.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure on a voice vote, sending it to the full Senate for debate, possibly later this week. The proposed amendment would overturn a 2019 state Supreme Court ruling that access to abortion is a “fundamental” right under the state constitution.
A House committee could vote its own version Thursday. It’s the second week of lawmakers’ annual 90-day session.
The measure would declare that the state constitution grants no right to abortion and allows legislators to regulate abortion in line with U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Abortion foes say they’re trying to reaffirm the authority Kansas voters assumed lawmakers always had. Abortion rights groups argue the measure is a step toward a state abortion ban.
Abortion opponents need two-thirds majorities in both chambers for the measure to go on the ballot and are seeking a vote in the August 2022 primary election. They’re moving quickly because they’re worried that the COVID-19 pandemic could cut the Legislature’s session short, as it did last year.