Looks like Kansas will remain ‘Bloody Kansas’ for now.
While the Value Them Both ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to protect life unfortunately did not pass, the Pro-Life Generation should celebrate their efforts in the state and dig in their heels to get back to work.
As we do so, we must reflect on the reasons why this ballot initiative did not make it over the finish line — the most important being that the abortion lobby was allowed to run away from the real issue at hand (abortion) to win over the public.
The pro-abortion side of the Value Them Both Amendment debate skirted around the topic of abortion in their messaging. This strategy remains a favorite of the abortion lobby because even they know that abortion doesn’t sell. This is exactly the reason why during President Biden’s almost 20-minute-long address on his first executive order on abortion, in which he spent a lengthy part of the speech discussing an Ohio rape victim, he barely uttered the word “abortion.”
Despite Biden’s plea for Americans to vote for Democrats this fall because of their presumed desire for more abortion, they seem to avoid to saying the word.
“Abortion” is the Voldemort of Democratic Party politics, that thing which cannot be named.
The word “abortion” makes many Americans uncomfortable. This is why many abortion supporters call themselves “pro-choice.” Deep down, we all understand that there is something wrong with abortion — and this is why the abortion lobby’s best bet on winning over the American public is to get as far away from abortion in their messaging as possible.
And that’s exactly what happened in Kansas. Instead of confronting the issue, the pro-abortion side sought to confuse Kansans and run a disinformation campaign intended to scare citizens into voting ‘no’ for reasons totally unrelated to the Value Them Both initiative.
This was accomplished through misleading measures such as television commercials that never used the word “abortion” but instead fear-mongered about COVID style government overreach, using images of canceled church services and people in masks. The commercial implied that voting “yes” to Value Them Both would be akin to voting for mask mandates.
Let’s be clear: the language of the Value Them Both Amendment would have given Kansans the freedom to pass any law they wished on abortion. The amendment simply stated that the Kansas constitution was abortion neutral. Does that sound like it has anything to do with a mask mandate? I didn’t think so, either but the confusing wording of the amendment gave an ideal opportunity for misinformation.
On top of the propaganda, dark money was the last nail in the coffin of the Value Them Both amendment. Even though Students for Life Action (SFLAction) and other pro-life groups were hard at work in the Sunflower State for several months, it’s not easy to compete with the funds pouring in from the corporate abortion industry and Hollywood.
Pro-life groups were outspent by more than $1 million because the abortion movement knew the stakes of this vote. The day before the election, the Kansas City Star examined the campaign finance reports and noted that “(a)ccording to the reports Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the primary ‘vote no’ group, outraised the primary ‘vote yes’ group, the Value Them Both Association, by nearly $2 million. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom also spent about $400,000 more than their anti-abortion counterparts.”
It should be noted that a lot of the money spent against the abortion neutral amendment came from national groups. We were up against well-funded activists from places like New York and California who were willing to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars to further the profits of the bloody abortion industry instead of helping women. Typically, these ballot initiatives don’t get as much high interest or national attention, but as this was the first state vote since the reversal of Roe, the national abortion lobby made it paramount in importance.
Just as the abortion lobby used scare tactics against Kansas citizens, the pro-abortion media has been attempting to scare pro-life politicians by publishing stories that paint these ballot initiatives as disastrous. The New York Times ponderously observed, “Republicans Begin Adjusting to a Fierce Abortion Backlash,” while CNN trumpeted: “Kansas will not be our last fight’: Abortion rights victory gives Democrats new hope for midterms.”
Such spin cannot be taken as fact, as Americans explore new freedoms to pass pro-life laws. If we’ve learned anything about fighting Roe v. Wade for almost 50 years, it’s that we won’t win every time. But we can win.
The pro-life movement needs to understand that playing it “politically safe” and running away from the pro-abortion bully is not how we win. That’s how we get chased and beaten up. If we proudly state our beliefs, however, we can force our opponent to state theirs — starting with at least saying the word ‘abortion.’
We’ve had victories of our own in ballot campaigns in the past. Just look at Florida, Alaska, and Montana where parental involvement laws passed or West Virginia, Colorado, and Arkansas where taxpayer money for abortion through Medicaid halted. Even Planned Parenthood’s research arm Guttmacher recognizes our successes, bemoaning the 43 abortion facilities no longer committing abortion in 11 states since Roe’s fall.
The Kansas loss is a speed bump, not a roadblock. With pro-life groups in all 50 states, we will be ready for the next round of elections – which are coming sooner than many abortion supporters in the Biden administration might prefer.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America & Students for Life Action with more than 1,300 groups on educational campuses in all 50 states. Follow her @KristanHawkins or subscribe to her podcast, Explicitly Pro-Life.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.