Kansas is suddenly ground zero in the abortion fight, and there’s a ground war to prove it: Supporters of the Aug. 2 amendment to allow regulation of abortion say their yard signs are being vandalized and stolen at an alarming rate.
Church of the Ascension in Overland Park alone has reported at least seven instances of vandalism or theft to their signs supporting the “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment.
Overland Park Police say they’ve identified suspects in two of the cases. In one case, three minor girls were caught with stolen signs and their case referred to juvenile court. In another case an adult suspect was given a notice to appear in municipal court.
Other pro-life supporters have reported on Facebook they’ve had multiple signs stolen.
“We’ve lost two from our yard. The third was knocked to the ground on Saturday,” one resident wrote.
“Two 4x8s stolen from Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle; 8 stolen within the Cathedral Neighborhood Assn,” one Kansas City, Kansas resident wrote.
Another source told The Heartlander that a homeowner had a Value Them Both sign set on fire close to the house – though another said the signs are safer near the house than out by the sidewalk. “We are bringing ours inside every night and putting [it] back out in the morning after our first was stolen,” that resident wrote.
“We have people coming back two, three, four times to get replacement signs because they will not be silenced by this radical left that’s trying to suppress us,” says Danielle Underwood, director of communications at Kansans for Life. “They’re trying to silence our voices.”
The voices on the two sides of the issue couldn’t be more different, either.
“Kansas already regulates abortion, just as it would any medical procedure,” reads a website for pro-abortion coalition Kansans for Constitutional Freedom.
While true enough at the moment, that’s a misleading statement, Underwood says. Since the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the state constitution protects abortion as a natural right, many legislative restrictions are likely to be ruled unconstitutional under a new “strict scrutiny” test of whether a law is constitutional.
“It’s so rigorous that almost nothing can withstand that kind of judicial review,” Underwood says. Indeed, she notes, two main existing regulations have already been struck down in the courts since the 2019 ruling:
- a 2015 ban on what abortion proponents call second-trimester “dilation and evacuation” abortions, but which pro-lifers call “live dismemberment”; it’s that law that triggered the 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. Such an abortion is legal now in Kansas, despite legislative and popular opposition to it.
- a 2011 law setting abortion clinic inspection, licensing, staffing, patient care and sanitation standards.
“Every single one of these laws that Kansans broadly supported and passed, even across bipartisan lines, was fought against in the legislature and then in the courts by the abortion industry,” Underwood says. “They want to be left unlimited, unrestricted, to provide any kind of abortion at any time up to the moment of birth.”
The Lion requested an interview with Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, but did not hear back.
There is significant confusion and misinformation about what the Value Them Both Amendment would do. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, tweeted June 29 that “Kansas protects the right to an abortion now – but a measure on the ballot 8/2 would eliminate it & leave a huge reproductive health desert in the middle of the country.”
Not true. The amendment would not make abortion illegal. Instead, it would restore the legislature’s ability to place limits on abortion – including current regulations on the books – a power the 2019 court ruling eviscerated.
“Value Them Both protects women and babies from an unregulated abortion industry,” Underwood says. “Without common sense laws in place, Kansas is going to become home to a growing number of abortion factories with no specific licensure, sanitation, health or safety standards or inspections.”
Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute admits Kansas could experience a 1,000% increase in abortions post-Roe v. Wade.
“The radical left set Kansas up as a destination state for unlimited abortion,” Underwood argues. “That was their intended purpose. They want to keep Kansans under their control, and they’re actively working against us to keep us as a permanent destination state for abortions up to the moment of birth, paid for with our state tax dollars.
“Kansans have strongly rejected both of those things on a bipartisan basis in the past 10, 20 years.”
Under the court’s 2019 ruling, existing Kansas laws regulating abortion are presumed unconstitutional, Underwood says, including a current ban on taxpayer funding of abortion; requirements for parental notification for minors seeking abortion; and an “informed consent” law requiring that women are informed about the risks to their own bodies and the development of their unborn baby.
“We want to make sure that Kansans know that every existing limit on the abortion industry is on the line with this election,” Underwood says. “The Value Them Both Amendment is our one chance to restore our constitution and take control back as a people – to once again have a say in what we believe is right for Kansas, the right path forward to protect both women and babies.”