I was a sophomore in high school when the Denver Broncos found themselves being absolutely destroyed by the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV. Joe Montana was masterful. It was the kind of game where one side was clearly just demolished, exhausted, and surrendering early. The final score of 55-10 looked like a blowout, but it didn’t even come close to reflecting how the blowout felt. I can still remember it decades later.
Fast forward to the Kansas special election on abortion rights. Imagine for yourselves that the Vote Yes coalition is at the end of an outright drubbing, and rather than acknowledge the fact that they lost, they decide to come up with some… unique explanations for their failure. When I say “unique,” I mean claims that make literally no sense at all; it would be as though John Elway refused to shake hands, contending that the only reason Montana prevailed was that his own team stopped understanding the plays overnight.
Yet, that is exactly what Kansas Republicans have decided to do, and they are working to sell that position hard. They didn’t lose. Some argue the loss was actually a win. Some are contending that the loss is because their own team didn’t understand what they were voting for, and became confused. Some are now contending that even more Republicans want a sequel and are prepared for another attempt at a constitutional amendment. Others are beginning to gear up for a fall fight against the Kansas State Supreme Court.
Brad Cooper, a reporter for Sunflower State Journal, took time to talk to some of those involved and some of the quotes are baffling.
“There’s definitely a group of Kansas voters that felt that because it wasn’t an outright ban, they shouldn’t support it,” Baumgardner said. “We know that to be true.”
Senator Baumgardner’s profession is the communication professional for Johnson County Community College, where students rallied against the legislation. Johnson County turned out significant numbers against the amendment (168,534 to 77,444), and the amendment failed by 69%-31%—roughly 38 points. Still, Senator Baumgardner remains convinced that maybe, just maybe, what Kansans want is a take two, the sequel, to find a way to overturn abortion in Kansas through an outright ban.
This is an interesting tact. Throughout the campaign, the Vote Yes side contended that there should be no fear of the amendment because it was not an outright ban. They ran ads and editorials, and centered their campaign around the fact that no ban would actually happen. The Vote No contingency correctly pointed out that a ban was the end goal of the supporters. This was repeatedly denied. Now, the same supporters are arguing that it failed because it was not an outright ban, and that really was their end goal all along, and by not having that clearly stated in the amendment, it lost.
I keep thinking of the Super Bowl. Did Montana have a full football while Elway was forced to throw a bowling ball? What kind of thinking is happening here?
Speaking as executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference Catholic News, Chuck Weber offered an interesting analysis:
Chuck Weber, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, said the Dobbs decision just six weeks before the amendment vote “really changed the trajectory of the abortion legal landscape.”
“That energized the abortion industry beyond I think anyone’s anticipation,” he told CNA Aug. 3.
In the end, Weber concluded voters were confused by the amendment, and that too many believed that it would prevent people from getting real health care, and they thought it would be a ban.
Yet Senator Baumgardner and others are asserting it failed because it was not a ban.
How on Earth is one side of the initiative this confused?
As a result of the loss, Chuck Weber contended now is the time for the anti-choice advocates to put more pressure on legislators for state funding of “Pregnancy Crisis Centers”, or fake clinics.
For the time being, Kansans look forward to the next big fight for abortion rights, the retention of our State Supreme Court.
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