COLUMBIA - Voters in Kansas rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment Tuesday that would have said there was no right to an abortion in the state, according to The Associated Press.
Kansas now remains a place where Missourians can go for abortion procedures. The Director of Strategic Partnerships at Midwest Access Coalition, Alison Dreith, said this could be a big factor in abortion rights battles moving forward.
"It opens up the door for places like Missouri, which is another ballot initiative state, that a citizen petition could be added to the ballot to really protect abortion rights," Dreith said. "This is something that wouldn't be too far-fetched in Missouri that has been discussed for a long time."
Reports say 50% of patients in Illinois and Kansas have been from Missouri residents seeking abortion access and expect growth in the following months.
"Those numbers are just being exacerbated as places like Texas and Oklahoma have also banned abortion," Dreith said, "and we're seeing that great wave of people coming up from the southwest to access care in the Midwest."
In Kansas's Tuesday ballot, the “Value Them Both Amendment" appeared as a ballot question. If voters voted "yes" in favor of the amendment, it would allow Kansas legislators the ability to regulate or restrict access to abortion within the state.
Anti-abortion activists had argued the Kansas ballot question created an opportunity to put the issue in the hands of the voters via elected state lawmakers.
Supporters of abortion rights warned that approval of the ballot measure would almost certainly result in the elimination or curtailment of existing rights in a state that has more lenient laws on its books compared to many of its neighbors.
Kansas voters rejected the amendment by nearly 20 points, as 58.8% of voters voted "no" on the amendment, while 41.2% voted "yes."
The proposed amendment was the first time anywhere in the U.S. that voters cast ballots on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.