Kansas, a state with a Republican supermajority in the legislature, rejected “Value Them Both,” a ballot referendum on an incrementalist constitutional amendment that would have granted legislators the constitutional right to regulate abortion. Protestia reported on the amendment back in June. The language of the amendment differed significantly from the amendment proposed by abolitionists and then tabled by legislators, under threat from incrementalist political activists who promised to run primary opponents against any legislator that supported the complete abolition of abortion.
If passed, the Value Them Both Amendment would have enshrined the incrementalist position into the state’s constitution, making abortion law subject to the whims of each new legislative session. While Value them Both proponents envisioned that this would lead to a steady ratcheting up of the law until abortion only happened on occasions that are rare and heavily regulated (notice how similar this sounds to the old Democrat Party position on abortion), the results of the referendum show that such an amendment would likely have unintended consequences in the form of abortion policy that constantly wavers rather than offering the unchanging protections that are found in the proposed abolitionist personhood amendment that would have defined a pre-born child in Biblical fashion, as a “human being” from the beginning of conception.
The adoption of Value Them Both would have made adoption of the personhood amendment impossible without the repeal of Value Them Both, as the incrementalist amendment guaranteed the right of legislators to regulate abortion, a concept antithetical to the idea of pre-born personhood. The Value Them Both Amendment also contained moderating language that liberal judges would have likely interpreted as a license to legislate rape, incest, and life of the mother exceptions from the bench, as well as contrive the right to the existence of the abortion industry.
Many mainstream media outlets have declared that the defeat of the Value Them Both Amendment is a defeat for pro-life policy in a traditionally conservative state and a bellwether for how the rest of the nation will respond to the fall of Roe Vs. Wade. Contrary to media claims, the amendment itself was not an actual abortion ban but rather an amendment that would allow for the regulation of abortion, specifically in an incremental manner. Absent from the mainstream media coverage of the referendum is the role that abolitionists played in the defeat of Value Them Both.
The abolitionist position of opposing Value Them Both as an unbiblical compromise was presented in public debates by AIM (Abortion Is Murder) Kansas. During the campaign leading up to the referendum, the abolitionist position was publicized by abolitionist ministries, including Apologia’s expose on the Southern Baptist Convention ERLC to defeat a Louisiana bill that would have outlawed abortion in Louisiana. Prominent SBC Pastors Bill Ascol and Tom Ascol both addressed the unbiblical nature of regulating the murder of pre-born babies at the SBC’s annual convention in Anaheim.
Pew research conducted before the referendum shows that the proportion of Kansans who believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases (49%) is nearly identical to the balance of Kansans who say that abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances (49%). Given that the referendum was scheduled during the primary election, a time when Republicans who tend to be more conservative turn out in higher numbers, initial polling on the referendum indicated that the referendum would likely pass by only a few percentage points. With only a few absentee votes left to count, Value Them Both was declared a failed initiative, with 59% of voters casting a “no” vote and 41% of voters casting a “yes” vote, a much wider margin than polls predicted.
While the exact number of abolitionist voters who rejected the referendum cannot be readily ascertained from the total number of “no” votes received, abolitionists remain hopeful that the failure of Value Them Both will function as a springboard to revive the Personhood Constitutional amendment that would effectively abolish abortion as a legal practice in the state of Kansas and facilitate the growth of abolition as a much more prominent national movement in coming years.