In the first legal challenge to a state’s abortion law since the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Department of Justice (DOJ) files a lawsuit in a federal court against the state of Idaho to block a state law that the DOJ says imposes a “near-absolute ban” on abortion in Idaho. In the first referendum since the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Kansas voters reject an amendment in the state constitution that would grant state lawmakers the ability to apply anti-abortion restrictions.
Abortion in the United States and its territories is a divisive issue in American politics and culture wars, with widely different abortion laws in U.S. states. Since 1976, the Republican Party has generally sought to restrict abortion access based on the stage of pregnancy or criminalize abortion, whereas the Democratic Party has generally defended access to abortion and has made contraception easier to obtain. In 2022, Roe and Casey were overturned in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ending protection of abortion rights by the United States Constitution and allowing individual states to regulate any aspect of abortion not preempted by federal law. The Value Them Both Amendment, also known as the VTB Amendment or Amendment 2, is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to the Kansas Constitution that appeared on the ballot on August 2, 2022, alongside primary elections for statewide offices, with early voting from July 13. If enacted, the amendment stated that the Kansas Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion, gives the Kansas state government power to prosecute individuals involved in abortions, and stated that the Kansas government is not required to fund abortions. Abortion in Kansas is legal. Kansas law allows for an abortion up to 20 weeks postfertilization (22 weeks after the last menstrual period). After that point, only in cases of life or severely compromised physical health may an abortion be performed, with this limit set on the belief that a fetus can feel pain after that point in the pregnancy.
The conservative US state of Kansas has decided in a referendum to protect abortion rights – in a major victory for pro-choice groups. Voters overwhelmingly said they did not wish to amend the state constitution to assert there is no right to abortion. It was the first electoral test of the issue since the US Supreme Court allowed states to ban the procedure.