Abortion activists like to take their chance in court when it comes to forcing their agenda further. In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court found a “right” to abortion in the Kansas state Constitution. The ruling has since stymied efforts to protect preborn children ever since, necessitating the Value Them Both Amendment to make the truth explicit: There is no right to abortion found in the Kansas state Constitution. The Amendment that was under consideration provided a second chance for a ballot initiative that would give voters in 2022 the chance to decide whether Kansas legislators can protect preborn Kansans through state law. And with one vote to spare, the Amendment now will go before the voters in August 2022.
But it took a fight to get here. The Value Them Both Amendment is getting a do-over after four now-replaced Republican legislators who betrayed pro-life principles and voted against the amendment last session left office, and not all willingly. A new legislature was put in place, capable of protecting life.
And that’s exactly what Millennial and Gen Z voters, the generations most targeted for abortion, said they wanted in an SFLA Institute for Pro-Life Advancement poll out now. In fact, almost 7 out of 10 said they wanted to vote on abortion-related policy, and 80 percent said they did not want unlimited abortion through all nine months, for any reason at all and sometimes with taxpayer funding, which Roe allows.
Pro-life Kansans — amplified by support from Kansans for Life, the Family Policy Alliance, and Students for Life Action — made their voices heard at the ballot box to change the political landscape. Together, we showed wavering lawmakers that voting pro-abortion is not only a death sentence to the preborn, but also to political careers.
Last year, Students for Life Action supported efforts in Kansas to help pass the Amendment by a margin of 80-43 in the state Senate. But the attempt failed in the House after four Republican representatives sided with pro-abortion Democrats. That bad decision was catastrophic for the victims targeted by the abortion industry, who will continue to suffer at the hands of an unregulated and deadly abortion industry. The state of Kansas reported the deaths of more than 7,000 children in 2018 through violent abortion procedures, made possible by legal maneuvering that must be addressed by clarifying what Kansas law allows.
And importantly, the choice to abandon the preborn in the first Value Them Both vote also precipitated the end of those politicians’ careers, leaving an important lesson in its wake: The Pro-Life Generation is not afraid to primary those who betray the preborn.
Students for Life Action and its allies engaged in primarying Jan Kessinger, who campaigned for reelection in spite of his betrayal of pro-life Kansans. Kessinger was defeate
“Jan Kessinger’s loss was a cautionary tale to Republicans. If you won’t help us save preborn lives, we will find someone who will,” said Titus Folks, Students for Life Action Grassroots Political Coordinator, who directed the effort on the ground last year.
In the general election, SFLAction had an active presence in Kansas, sending 33,900 texts and nearly 60,000 calls into the state with a #VoteProLifeFirst message because we understand that local and state elections matter as much as federal elections. At every level in which legislators can have an influence on building up or tearing down a culture of life, Students for Life Action is willing to engage. As “Value them Both” is a priority in this legislative session, our team will be involved there again.
The events in Kansas are a case study for an energized pro-life movement willing to work outside the traditional political box.
Students for Life Action stands against the election of pro-abortion legislators — regardless of party affiliation. Likewise, we stand for pro-life, anti-abortion legislators who are willing to take action to rescue the preborn — regardless of party affiliation. Our goal is uniting constituents who will vote pro-life first, making the standard of abolishing abortion clear to lawmakers on both sides of the party aisle and building support systems to help mothers and their children, born and preborn. “Value them Both” is a great place to start in Kansas, giving voters a chance to speak up for those who are defenseless.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America, Follow her @KristanHawkins or subscribe to her podcast, Explicitly Pro-Life.