Kansas votes to protect abortion rights

The conservative US state of Kansas has decided in a referendum to protect abortion rights – in a major victory for pro-choice groups.

Voters overwhelmingly said they did not wish to amend the state constitution to assert there is no right to abortion.

It was the first electoral test of the issue since the US Supreme Court allowed states to ban the procedure.

If the ballot had gone the other way, lawmakers could have moved to further restrict or ban abortion in the state.

Kansas also held elections on Tuesday, along with Michigan, Arizona, Missouri and the north-western state of Washington.

Two of the nation’s most hotly fought races for governor and Senate races that could determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress next year were in play.

The so-called primary elections were also a test of former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican party as he hints of a possible third run for the White House in 2024.

The ballot question in Kansas had been hotly anticipated since the US Supreme Court two months ago overturned Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalised abortion nationwide.

Projections suggest Kansans voted by more than 60% to protect the state’s constitutional right for women to access abortion.

The result will be seen as a gauge of the issue’s resonance ahead of nationwide mid-term elections on November 8, with Democrats fighting to retain control of Congress. (BBC)

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