TOPEKA — A leading Kansas anti-abortion group said Tuesday that its goal is to advance an amendment in 2020 to reverse a landmark court decision that found the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution.
Kansans for Life said shortly after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in April that abortion is a fundamental right that it planned to offer a constitutional amendment. The group’s confirmation sets up a possible a showdown over abortion politics in what is already expected to be an intense election year.
“We are going to present a product to the Kansas Legislature. Our goal would be to pursue this in 2020,” Kansans for Life lobbyist Peter Northcott said.
Kansans for Life has yet to release a specific proposal. KFL director Mary Kay Culp said Tuesday the amendment would reverse the court decision but would not go so far as seeking to ban abortion.
Lawmakers on Tuesday began meeting in Topeka to consider, for the first time, whether the state constitution should be changed following the Supreme Court decision. The Legislature’s Special Committee on the Judiciary is expected to decide this week whether to broadly recommend that lawmakers, who convene in January, advance an amendment.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes said in a letter to legislators that such an amendment would discriminate against women.
“It is vital that Kansas legislators realize that they will not be on the right side of history should they allow a vote that could strip rights from Kansas women,” Rachel Sweet a lobbyist for the group, wrote.
A constitutional amendment requires two-thirds support in both the House and the Senate. Voter approval needs only a simple majority, but lawmakers can set the date of the election.
Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, would not have the ability to veto the amendment.