Social Issues

Kansas becomes first US state to ratify right to abortion

Washington, Aug 2 (EFE).- Kansas voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the right to abortion Tuesday as it is currently regulated in the state constitution, in a backlash for conservatives who sought to restrict it.

American media projections showed 90 percent of the ballots counted, with more than 60 percent of voters rejecting the abortion ban.

This is the first referendum held in the United States after the Supreme Court ruling that annulled the “Roe v. Wade” law, which eliminated the federal right to abortion and gave states the power to legislate on the subject.

The consultation, held to coincide with the primary elections in the state Tuesday, could have opened the door for the state government to legislate to restrict the right to abortion, which will now remain legal for 22 weeks.

It was a particularly relevant referendum because it could have set a precedent for other states.

Despite having a Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, the central state of Kansas has a strong Republican tradition and the party controls the offices of the attorney general, the secretary of state and both chambers of the state legislature.

In addition, Republicans also dominate presidential elections and Donald Trump was the favorite presidential candidate in the last two elections, with 56 percent of the vote.

Tuesday’s referendum had been harshly criticized by civil organizations, who denounced that the text of the question was not clear enough, in an attempt to “misinform and confuse those who oppose abortion,” according to the Planned Parenthood organization.

State legislature would have been in charge of approving laws on abortion if the vote would have gone the other way. This could have imposed greater restrictions or a total ban, as is currently happening in other states.

Since the Supreme Court on Jun. 24 – with a conservative majority of six judges against three liberals – ended the federal protection of the right to abortion (in force since 1973), many women from states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri have traveled to Kansas to have an abortion, given the restrictions imposed in these states.

US Attorney-General Merrick Garland announced a lawsuit against the state of Idaho Tuesday for considering that its law against abortion “criminalizes doctors” and prevents them from freely practicing abortions when the woman’s health is at risk.

The Justice Department sued Idaho for violating the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act to try to protect doctors who have to intervene when an abortion is “necessary to stabilize a patient’s emergency medical condition.”

This is the first action by the Department of Justice against a state since the Supreme Court ruling, and it will not be the only one, as Garland himself said at a press conference.

The prosecutor said the working group on reproductive rights created as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision is dedicating itself to evaluating “the changing landscape of state laws” and “additional litigation” against other states is already being studied.

All this to “do everything possible to guarantee continuous legal access to reproductive services” in these “terrifying and uncertain times for pregnant women and their providers,” Assistant Attorney-General Vanita Gupta said.

Today’s complaint seeks to put a stop to this Idaho law that takes effect on Aug. 25 and imposes on doctors the burden of proving in court that they are not criminally responsible, after being arrested and charged. EFE


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