Republican lawmakers in Kansas want to make sure you know they don’t care about the will of the voters. State representatives have introduced a bill completely banning abortion, despite Kansans voting less than two years ago to keep protections for the procedure in the state constitution.
House Bill 2492 was introduced Wednesday by eight Republican state representatives, seven of whom are men. The measure would ban all abortions except those necessary to save the patient’s life.
The bill bans prescribing, distributing, selling, or donating abortion medication. Anyone who helps someone get an abortion could face civil proceedings, while doctors who perform abortions would face a minimum fine of $10,000 per procedure.
The measure flies directly in the face of the will of the voters, as noted by Amber Sellers, the advocacy director of Trust Women, a pro-abortion nonprofit in Wichita, Kansas. “Kansans spoke—loudly—on the issue,” Sellers told the Kansas Reflector. “It’s time for anti-abortion lawmakers to wake up, remember and finally listen to the message that voters continue to send.”
In August 2022, less than two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Kansans voted overwhelmingly to keep language in the state constitution protecting the right to abortion. The vote proved to be a bellwether, with multiple states voting to increase abortion protections since.
But that didn’t stop Kansas Republican lawmakers from trying to circumvent the will of the people. The Sunflower State GOP has tried to pass a bill that would let local governments of individual towns and cities ban abortion, as well as a bill that would force doctors to lie to their patients about abortion medication. Both measures were ultimately unsuccessful.
And just as the Kansas vote turned out to be an indicator of what voters wanted nationwide, so too have Republicans in other states followed the Kansas GOP’s model. Most recently, Ohio residents voted in November to enshrine abortion protections in the state constitution. Ohio Republican lawmakers immediately set about finding ways to enact legislation that would undermine the results.
If the Kansas bill passes the state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, it will likely be vetoed by Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. The GOP does have a large enough majority to override Kelly’s veto, but the abortion ban is unlikely to survive a legal challenge. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the Kansas constitution protects abortion rights, meaning the bill violates those rights.