What does Kansas abortion vote mean for Nebraska?

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Kansans were given the opportunity Tuesday to decide whether their state’s constitution would protect abortion rights.

Voters sent a resounding message that they did not want lawmakers to restrict abortion access in Kansas. As of Wednesday afternoon, the vote stood at 58.8% for No to 41.2% for Yes, according to the Associated Press.

The vote share largely reflects the results of a recent poll on American attitudes toward abortion. In the poll, 40% of Americans said they supported the overturning of Roe v. Wade, while 56% opposed it.

Nebraska politicians and organizations reacted to the results in our neighbor to the south, which has a similar political climate, and what they could mean to Nebraskans.

Abortion opponents say the vote only heightens the stakes.

“The results from Kansas are an early indication of this year’s magnitude of the ongoing fight for equal treatment under the law for unborn children,” said Nate Grasz, policy director at the Nebraska Family Alliance.

On the other side, State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh says the vote was indicative of what people, even in conservative states, want.

“Kansas is a conservative state, much like Nebraska,” she said. “The fact that people turned out in historic numbers to vote down this attempt to ban abortion in the state of Kansas is really indicative of what the Midwest is about, which is: let us Nebraskans and Midwesterners make our own health care decision.”

Cavanaugh said she doesn’t believe a special session on abortion will be called this year. She said economic worries and the midterms are the priorities among lawmakers right now.

The midterm elections are coming up on Nov. 8, and abortion is one of the clashing points between candidates.

“People who are anti-abortion are not going to be on the winning side of this issue,” Cavanaugh said. “It impacts too many people and their lives, and it’s impossible to legislate medicine.”

The Nebraska Family Alliance said anti-abortion organizations will keep fighting in the state.

“There’s a lot of work still to be done,” Grasz said.

In recent weeks, State Sen. Carol Blood has been traveling across Nebraska as part of her gubernatorial campaign. She says voters believe that the recent Supreme Court decision has been invasive.

“As I travel across Nebraska, voters are concerned about the Roe Decision and how it will not only affect their ability to have access to safe healthcare options but also their privacy,” Blood said. “Many feel it is the first step to big government prying into their personal lives. From eminent domain, the right to marry, the right to maintain family relationships, and the right to control one’s healthcare choices, voters will be taking their anger to the polls and looking to vote for something different because they continue to get more of the same when they vote for more of the same. This election shows that the polls in Nebraska and across the United States have already let us know… our residents want the government out of their personal lives.”
Blood’s opponent, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, says the Kansas vote has not changed his position on abortion, and he will campaign on the platform in November’s election.
“My position has always been clear: Human life is a precious gift of God’s grace, beginning at conception and continuing through natural death,” Pillen said. “As governor, I will do all I can to protect Nebraska’s unborn babies, support mothers, and ensure the dignity of human life in our state. Nebraska is a pro-life state, and I will work to affirm and strengthen our culture of life every single day.”
Recently elected Rep. Mike Flood echoed Pillen, but also said the attention being drawn to abortion is merely a ruse set up by Democrats to distract from record inflation.
“I’m pro-life, and Nebraska is a pro-life state,” Rep. Flood said. “Democrats’ fearmongering about commonsense abortion restrictions, like parental consent and partial birth abortion bans, failed in the special election, and it will fail again in November. Voters will not be distracted from the skyrocketing inflation and economic recession Democrats’ bad policies have created.”
Flood’s opponent, State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, says a vote for her will be a vote for abortion protections this November. She cites recent abortion bans that leave no exceptions, which includes the failed LB 933 in Nebraska.

“Kansas voters spoke clearly on the issue of reproductive rights yesterday. Nebraskans will have their chance to make a similar statement in November by sending me to Congress and rejecting the extreme and overreaching government mandates on women’s health supported by my opponent. When rape and incest victims receive no mercy, our rights to make our own health care decisions are trampled.”

Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb also reacted to the vote. She referred to the June 28 special election, in which Flood won by only five percentage points against Pansing Brooks, a significant drop-off from former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s performance in prior elections.
“We saw during the Nebraska Special Election an 11 point swing from Republicans to Democrats,” Kleeb said. “Now, we see the momentum in Kansas as well. Voters are motivated to support candidates who will protect legal access to abortion. Republicans are so radical in their position on abortion that they are turning away voters. The Democratic Party is focused on protecting women, protecting rights and keeping the government out of decisions we make with our families and doctor.”

Channel 8 has reached out to the Nebraska GOP for a comment on Tuesday’s vote but has not yet received a response.

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