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If Kansas Is a Bellwether, Abortion Rights Could Reshape Electoral Map

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11.08.2022

After the recent vote in Kansas to retain abortion rights in the state, it looks as though reproductive rights will play a huge role in reshaping the electoral map, over the coming electoral cycles, following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Opponents of abortion put a referendum to the people of Kansas, essentially asking them to write out of the state constitution a codified right to abortion access. Given Kansas’s politics, the anti-abortion forces had reason to think they would succeed: Fifty-six percent of voters in the state opted for Donald Trump in 2020, and the state has gone Republican in every presidential election bar one since 1940 — the exception being that it voted for LBJ in 1964.

Thirty years ago, Wichita, Kansas, was the epicenter of some of the most extreme anti-abortion activities in the country. Plus, the state is overwhelmingly religious: Two-thirds of Kansans tell pollsters they are absolutely certain God exists, and most of the remainder think it likely God exists. Only 7 percent say they are atheist. Nearly one-third of Kansans describe themselves as Evangelicals, which, given the current contours of U.S. politics, means they are almost certain to be anti-abortion.

Yet, come Election Day, the anti-choice forces were clobbered. Roughly 6 out of 10 voters in Kansas opted to protect abortion rights. More than a dozen counties that had voted for Trump in 2020 voted against writing abortion access out of the state constitution. Although most of the counties were urban and suburban, several deeply conservative rural counties also voted to keep abortion legal in the state.

In the wake of the Kansas vote, The New York Times’s Nate Cohn extrapolated what would happen in all 50 states if abortion access were put to a popular vote. He based his analysis on the political make-up of the Kansas electorate as well as regional and national polling on abortion. Remarkably, the newspaper concluded that the populaces of only between 7 and 10 states — most of them in the Deep........

© Truthout


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