Voters in Kansas went to the polls Aug. 2 and voted 59% to 41% to retain language in the state constitution that protects the right to abortion.

The lopsided vote came despite efforts by conservative political leaders in the state to ensure an anti-abortion outcome. They scheduled the vote during a primary election that attracted mostly Republican voters.

The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and other anti-abortion groups poured millions into the referendum. Religion News Service reported that the Kansas City Archdiocese spent about $2.45 million on the campaign, and the dioceses of Wichita and Salina kicked in an additional $600,000 at least. Individual Catholic parishes around the state also contributed, and a political action committee affiliated with the conservative wing of the church added $500,000.

After the vote, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City issued a statement asserting, “We were not able to overcome the millions spent by the abortion industry to mislead Kansans about the amendment, nor the overwhelming bias of the secular press whose failure to report clearly on the true nature of the amendment served to advance the cause of the abortion industry.”

Kansans For Constitutional Freedom, which spearheaded the campaign to preserve abortion rights, called the win “huge and decisive.”

“The people of Kansas have spoken,” said Rachel Sweet, the group’s campaign manager. “They think that abortion should be safe, legal and accessible in the state of Kansas.”

Voters in Kansas went to the polls Aug. 2 and voted 59% to 41% to retain language in the state constitution that protects the right to abortion.

The lopsided vote came despite efforts by conservative political leaders in the state to ensure an anti-abortion outcome. They scheduled the vote during a primary election that attracted mostly Republican voters.

The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and other anti-abortion groups poured millions into the referendum. Religion News Service reported that the Kansas City Archdiocese spent about $2.45 million on the campaign, and the dioceses of Wichita and Salina kicked in an additional $600,000 at least. Individual Catholic parishes around the state also contributed, and a political action committee affiliated with the conservative wing of the church added $500,000.

After the vote, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City issued a statement asserting, “We were not able to overcome the millions spent by the abortion industry to mislead Kansans about the amendment, nor the overwhelming bias of the secular press whose failure to report clearly on the true nature of the amendment served to advance the cause of the abortion industry.”

Kansans For Constitutional Freedom, which spearheaded the campaign to preserve abortion rights, called the win “huge and decisive.”

“The people of Kansas have spoken,” said Rachel Sweet, the group’s campaign manager. “They think that abortion should be safe, legal and accessible in the state of Kansas.”

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