Q. Recently, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann urged support for candidates who favor the “Value Them Both” state constitutional amendment. What is this amendment?
A. The amendment seeks to reverse the overarching Kansas Supreme Court ruling in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt. In it, the high court “discovered” a “right to abortion” in the 1859 Kansas Constitution, which the church considers an egregious act of judicial overreach. The amendment is called “Value Them Both” because it protects and respects both the mother and her unborn child.
Q. Why do we need the “Value Them Both” amendment?
A. Few people realize that because of the court’s ruling, abortion law in Kansas is now even more extreme than states like New York. Nearly all of the state’s current pro-life laws are at risk of being overturned, including bans on taxpayer-funded abortion. The amendment would put us back to where we were before the Kansas Supreme Court’s April 2019 ruling in Hodes. The amendment would not outlaw abortion in Kansas but permit reasonable and common-sense regulation.
Q. Wasn’t this voted on during the last legislative session?
A. Yes, it was. Passing a state constitutional amendment is a two-step process. The Legislature must pass by a two-thirds super majority “Value Them Both” to place it on a statewide ballot for the voters of Kansas to decide. The legislation passed in the Senate 28-12 but fell four votes shy in the House, 80-43.
Q. So, the amendment will not be on the ballot in August?
A. No. It will not be on the August primary ballot or the November general election ballot.
Q. What is the next step?
A. The legislation will need to be reintroduced during the next legislative session in January 2021.
Q. Will an effort to pass the legislation in 2021 be successful?
A. That depends on the voters. They will select the state senators and representatives that will vote on the amendment next spring. That is why Archbishop Naumann is encouraging everyone to vote their pro-life values this August and November.
Q. What can I do?
A. Make your voice heard and your vote count by researching your choices. To discover the life positions of candidates in both the primary and the general, check the candidates’ websites, review their voting records and call their campaign offices to ask about their positions on “Value Them Both.”
(If you don’t know your district, go to openstates.org and use the search box under “Find Your Legislators” on the homepage.)
And if your legislator is running for reelection, find out how he or she voted on the “Value Them Both” amendment this spring. Head to the archdiocesan website here.