Kansas anti-abortion measure fails

Kansas Legislature's battle over abortion likely to continue, as Republicans strike back with renewed focus on Medicaid expansion.

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February 10, 2020 - 10:13 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kansas failed to get a proposed anti-abortion amendment  to the state constitution on the ballot Friday, and abortion opponents responded by moving aggressively to block a Medicaid expansion plan backed by Democrats and GOP moderates.

Neither side expected Friday’s vote in the Kansas House to be the last word on whether the abortion measure ultimately is put to a vote in a statewide election, when a simple majority would change the state constitution. It would overturn a Kansas Supreme Court decision last year that declared access to abortion a “fundamental” right under the state’s Bill of Rights.

Anti-abortion lawmakers struck back immediately with moves aimed at intensifying pressure on four Republicans who broke with the GOP on Friday’s vote and some Democrats in relatively conservative districts. They promised to hold up  the bipartisan plan to expand the state’s Medicaid health coverage to as many as 150,000 additional people — a top priority for Gov. Laura Kelly.

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