Vote No on Value Them Both

“Value Them Both” is a lie.

This amendment would give total control over abortion laws to the Kansas state legislature. It is not about saving lives, and it’s certainly not about valuing either women or babies. It does not value the lives of either the women who will be at the center of this debate, or the children who will result from it.

It’s clear that the driving force behind this amendment is the religious right. I see signs in church yards. I see signs in the yards of people I know are active in their churches. This is part of the First Amendment – the right to free speech.

The First Amendment also guarantees us freedom of religion. But freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. The Founding Fathers were clear:  they did not want religion to be part of government. If they had, they would have established a state church. But they didn’t. And they made freedom of – and from – religion part of the First Amendment for a reason:  to them, the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the freedom to choose and practice a religion were the most important rights that Americans could grant themselves.

The Amendments were submitted by the states, before the Constitution could be ratified. Every single state submitted something that echoed the First Amendment. No one wanted government to corrupt faith – or vice versa.

Yet here we are, 225 years later, and we have a religious minority that wants to dictate to the rest of us how we should act, feel, and behave. What women can and cannot do with their own bodies. This is the very reason why the First Amendment exists – to protect us from religion. Anyone is free to believe as they want. You can believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But you can’t force anyone else to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can’t force anyone to worship and believe as you do.

But the religious right is trying to do exactly that – force their beliefs upon everyone in the state.

These people will tell you they are trying to “save the unborn” – conveniently forgetting that abortion bans condemn women. Condemn women who medically need an abortion, but may not be able to get one due to all the red tape and double-speak they must jump through to get one. Abortion bans condemn women to live with abusers, to live in poverty, to forego education. To have children they don’t want, or cannot afford.

To quote Benjamin Franklin:  “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” It is time for all of us who value the lives of women to stand up – no matter our religion, our political views, our race or ethnicity. If we want to remain in a free and democratic nation, this is where we make our first stand – by Voting No on this “Value Them Both” amendment.

“Value Them Both” Is A Lie.

The “Value Them Both” campaign is a lie.

No doubt you’ve seen the ads, the yard signs. You probably already know that the “Value Them Both” amendment, which the Kansas people will decide on August 2, removes abortion from the protection of the Kansas state constitution. It instead will give the Kansas state legislature total control over passing laws restricting – or outright banning – abortions. It is not about saving lives, and it’s certainly not about valuing either women or babies.

I know that anti-abortion activists will tell you that this amendment is about ‘saving lives.’ But what they won’t tell you is that Kansas already has fairly restrictive abortion laws on the books.

So what are the Kansas laws? Let’s take a look:

  1. Abortions after 22 weeks are banned. These are what are termed “late term” abortions. None have been performed in Kansas since 2019. So the ads claiming that Kansas is a “destination for late term abortions” is a lie, pure and simple. We are not.
  2. If a fetus is viable – meaning that it can survive outside the womb – it cannot be aborted UNLESS two physicians agree that the woman’s life is in danger, or the fetus has a life-threatening abnormality that is incompatible with life. Even then, the family may choose to continue the pregnancy. It is up to them, as it should be.
  3. Abortions pills via telemedicine are illegal.
  4. If a girl under 18 seeks an abortion, she must have parental consent.
  5. Women seeking an abortion must, under Kansas law, receive “mandatory, state-written materials” to “educate” them on this decision. After receiving this material, a woman still must wait 24 hours before the procedure can be performed.
  6. A woman must consent to an ultrasound before the abortion is performed.
  7. AND, there are insurance restrictions! In many cases, a woman must pay for the procedure herself.

Abortion is not easily accessible in Kansas. It is a medical necessity for many women. Currently, the Kansas Supreme Court has found that the Kansas state constitution provides “bodily autonomy” to all Kansas citizens. This is an important aspect of our Constitution, and one that deserves protection. But if Kansas votes to add this so-called “Value Them Both” amendment to our Constitution, that guarantee is gone. Bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed to anyone. If a woman has no say over her own body, what does she have? Nothing.

There are many other reasons why this amendment is a horrendous breach of our rights:  it’s discriminatory; it will affect women of color and women of low economic status unfairly; it is a threat to women’s rights and the rights of everyone in Kansas; and it will have an economic impact across the state. It is an erosion of a woman’s right to choose her life for herself, for a family to determine what is best for it.

But for now, make an informed choice. For yourself, for your sisters and daughters, for your friends and neighbors, for your body and your rights, register to vote before July 12 at your local county election office, or online at https://www.kdor.ks.gov/apps/voterreg/home/index (if you’re not already registered) and vote NO on August 2.