Organization leading fight against abortion amendment tops $6.5 million in donations

TOPEKA — The organization spearheading efforts to defeat an Aug. 2 abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution has received $6.54 million in contributions year-to-date and has spent both third of that money in advertising to influence primary voters.

The money available on both sides of the amendment debate is interesting as Kansas voters will be the first to weigh in on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 50 years of precedent by striking down Roe v. Wade in June.

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, which works to preserve abortion rights, said in a new financial disclosure report filed with the Kansas Government Ethics Commission that organizations prioritizing access to health care Health provided the bulk of this total donations. More than 4,900 donations from Kansans in 80 of the state’s 105 counties have totaled $488,000 since January.

Ashley All, spokesperson for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion nationwide served as a “wake-up call for many Kansans”.

“We certainly saw an increase in grassroots donations following the decision,” she said. “However, most of our supporters have already understood the serious implications of this amendment. Women across the state would lose the constitutional right to make private medical decisions for themselves and their families. And politicians would act quickly to completely ban abortion without exception.

Groups opposed to abortion and in favor of changing the Kansas Constitution, including Kansans for Life, Value Them Both Association and the Catholic Dioceses of Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas, have not updated their financial reports since february. For nonpartisan ballot measures, church advocacy is permitted in Kansas.

The Value Them Both charity announced five months ago that it had received $1.22 million in donations, with nearly all of that transportation coming from three sources. They were: Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, $500,000; Kansans for Life, $390,000; and Catholic Diocese of Wichita, $250,000.

Those totals did not include the $1.3 million donated last month to the anti-abortion side by Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom’s financial report indicates that the organization has spent $5.8 million as of July 18. Of that total, $4.05 million was spent on TV and radio advertising and production, $512,000 on digital advertising and consulting services, and $463,000 on direct mail and print.

The largest donations included $1.38 million from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which supports affordable health care and action on climate change. Stacy Schusterman, a philanthropist and businesswoman from Tulsa, Oklahoma, contributed $1 million, while Amy and Rob Stavis of the New Schools Venture Fund provided $250,000.

The contribution from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund was $850,000. Planned Parenthood Great Plains, serving the Kansas City metro area, and a separate organization Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes have combined to provide $492,000. Wichita-based Trust Women and Trust Us Justice Fund provided $89,000. North Fund, a nonpartisan organization that helped expand Medicaid in Missouri, donated $500,000.

Other major donors: American Civil Liberties Union, $250,000; ACLU of Kansas, $112,500; Center for Reproductive Rights, $125,000; and NARAL, $100,000.

A 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling declaring that the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights contained a right to bodily autonomy, including abortion, generated a backlash in the Kansas Legislature. State lawmakers, by a two-thirds majority, tabled an amendment in primary ballots on Aug. 2 that would repudiate the state Supreme Court’s interpretation of abortion rights in Kansas.

If a simple majority of Kansans vote “no” to the amendment, the right to abortion in the state constitution would be preserved and the status quo on abortion regulation would be maintained pending future government action. of State. If a majority of those voting on the amendment marked “yes” on their ballot, the state Supreme Court’s decision from three years ago would be overturned.

Passage of the amendment would not immediately eliminate exceptions to abortion restrictions or result in an abortion ban in Kansas, but passage of the amendment would give the legislature more leverage over the controversial issue. The House and Senate could do anything from upholding current abortion regulatory laws to imposing a ban on the procedure in the state of Kansas.

Political supporters of the amendment decided that the statewide vote would take place in the August primary rather than the November general election, when the turnout of Democrats and independents could be higher. All registered voters in Kansas, including independents, can participate in the primary vote on the abortion amendment. A simple majority of those who voted on the amendment will decide the matter.

Aubrey L. Morgan