Abortion right amendment defeated in the Kansas House of Representatives Friday

On Friday, the Kansas House of Representatives did not approve the No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment by the two-thirds supermajority required to place the measure on the primary ballot in August. The number of “yes” votes required was 84. The final vote was 80-43.

The amendment would have added a new section to the end of the Kansas Bill of Rights that states there is no right to an abortion or to public funding for abortions. The amendment is the legislative response to the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court case, Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt, which concluded that there is a right to an abortion in the Kansas Bill of Rights.

In response to the House vote, Senate President Susan Wagle (R), said, “This vote just completely changed the course of the 2020 legislative session. I will work with the pro-life community and will persevere to ensure its passage.”

The current partisan composition in the House is 84 Republicans to 41 Democrats. Four Republicans voted against the amendment.

The Kansas Senate passed the amendment last Wednesday with the required two-thirds majority in a vote of 28-12. All but one Senate Republicans voted in favor of the amendment. All Senate Democrats voted against the amendment.

From 1995 through 2019, the Kansas State Legislature referred ten constitutional amendments to the ballot. Voters approved eight and rejected two of the referred amendments. Most of the amendments (7 of 10) were referred to ballots in even-numbered election years.

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