Kansas voters have defended their constitutional right to abortion by rejecting an amendment that would allow state legislators to further restrict access to the procedure.
The state was the first in the US to put abortion rights on a vote since the Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v Wade, a 1973 ruling that legalized the procedure nationally.
A voting question, known as the “Both Values Amendment,” asked voters to decide whether the state constitution should continue to protect abortion rights.
Abortion advocates say the proposed amendment would remove language guaranteeing reproductive rights and allow the Republican-controlled legislature to tighten abortion restrictions or ban it outright.
A “yes” vote on the measure would remove the state’s abortion rights and hand the matter over to the state legislature. A “no” vote on the measure would change nothing, preserving the right to abortion enshrined in the state constitution.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the result and said the victory of abortion rights advocates in a deeply conservative state showed that “a majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion.” pregnant”.
“Congress should listen to the will of the American people and restore Roe protections as federal law,” he said in a statement.
The ballot question has drawn national attention as an early indication of whether abortion rights will boost voters in the November midterm elections.
In a statement celebrating the results, NARAL Pro-Choice America said “the vote signals to Kansas and the rest of the country that Americans value reproductive freedom and will fight to protect it.” .
“Freedom of reproduction is a winning issue, now and in November,” said the president of the pro-choice group, Mini Timmaraju.
“Anti-choice legislators take note: Voters have spoken, and they will turn out at the ballot box to protest against efforts to restrict reproductive freedom.”