Recent Roe v. Wade court decision adds gravity to upcoming Kansas vote

A pro-life and pro-choice student weigh in on the abortion debate and share their viewpoints on this issue in terms of the 2022 election.

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Lila Vancrum, Norah Alasmar

Side-by-side photo of a pro-choice (left) and pro-life (right) campaign sign for the “Value them Both” Amendment, June 28. The voting for the Amendment is apart of the 2022 Kansas Primary Election and will end on Aug. 2, with voter registration open until July 12. Photo editing by Liz LaHood.

Julia Moser and Lucy Halverson

The 1973 Roe v. Wade landmark decision was overruled on Friday, June 24, meaning the constitutional right to an abortion was eliminated by the Supreme Court. This now leaves the legality of abortions up to individual states.

 13 states took immediate action with “trigger” laws, while some states are still processing and evaluating the next steps. Kansas has remained neutral, but with the Primary Election vote coming up, a more defined stance may arise.

Senior Ainsley Novak is pro-choice and believes the court’s decision was a setback for America and women’s rights. Novak said she was very scared when she initially heard of the ruling. 

“Every time I think about more of the implications it’ll have on women in the future and the rights of mothers and everything, it just makes me more and more scared,” Novak said. 

I think that if a person is pro-life, they believe the fetus in the mother’s womb is a living being, and the baby has the right to life as much as anyone else in this world would.”

— Mallory Brown

In Novak’s eyes, being pro-choice is supporting a woman’s ability to choose. 

“A lot of people think that pro-choice means you love abortions and all of that, but it’s supporting a woman’s right they have, especially if it affects her health and her life,” Novak said. 

In contrast, junior Mallory Brown explained she was happy with the Supreme Court’s decision, as she leans more pro-life and believes this will give more babies a chance for life. 

“I think that if a person is pro-life, they believe the fetus in the mother’s womb is a living being, and the baby has the right to life as much as anyone else in this world would,” Brown said. 

In 2019, the state’s Supreme Court ruled a woman has the right to make decisions about her own body based on the Kansas Bill of Rights. However, this right may be removed by Kansas voters through a State Constitutional Amendment on the ballot on Aug. 2. This vote is for Kansas citizens 18 years of age or older by election day, meaning one does not have to be 18 when they register. 

The people who support it, want it to value the mother and the child. But in a situation where a woman is pregnant and it affects her health or it could possibly kill her, it’s not valuing them both. Sometimes it’s not even valuing either of them.”

— Ainsley Novak

The highlight of the Primary Election is whether or not voters will implement the “Value Them Both” Amendment, which would allow state legislators to regulate abortions, but not necessarily ban abortions. This amendment values the life of the mother and the child.

Despite its name, Novak said she interprets the “Value Them Both” Amendment as not valuing both the mother and child.

“The people who support it, want it to value the mother and the child,” Novak said. “But in a situation where a woman is pregnant and it affects her health or it could possibly kill her, it’s not valuing them both. Sometimes it’s not even valuing either of them.”

A vote for the “Value Them Both” Amendment will mean Kansas no longer sees abortion as a constitutional right, as discovered in 2019. A vote against the Amendment will keep the 2019 edition of the state constitution, allowing women access to legal abortions. 

Novak is unable to vote, however she said it is important to vote “no” if you are able to. She also said it is important to spread the news of the Aug. 2 ballot as it keeps women protected. 

“It’s important to make sure that people are retaining our rights and making sure that we’re safe as women,” Novak said. 

Brown also encourages everyone to vote, however she said to vote “yes” as she is not eligible to do so. 

“I think it’s very important to vote, because it impacts so many people,” Brown said. “Some people are like ‘Oh, other people will do the voting,’ but if everyone was to think like that then there would be no outcome.” 

Click here to register to vote. Registration to vote closes July 12.