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What could Kansas vote on abortion rights mean for other GOP states?

Utah state Sen. Dan McCay has requested a bill to amend state constitution on abortion rights

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A long line of voters wraps around the Sedgwick County Historic Courthouse in Wichita, Kan., on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022.

A long line of voters wraps around the Sedgwick County Historic Courthouse in Wichita, Kan., on the last day of early voting on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. Voters will decide on a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution regarding the regulation of abortion in the state.

Travis Heying, The Wichita Eagle via Associated Press

Kansans go to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots on a constitutional amendment on abortion rights marking the first time voters will declare their preferences since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Passage of the "Value Them Both" amendment would allow Kansas lawmakers to further limit abortions. If the constitutional amendment fails, Kansas would remain a state where abortion rights are protected.

Kansas, like Utah, is an overwhelmingly Republican state, although Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is a moderate Democrat.

According to The New York Times, opposing parties have spent more than $11 million on the election this year.

The race is close, according to reporting by National Review.

“Co/efficient, a Kansas City-based pollster, found 47% of Kansans planned to vote ‘yes’ on the amendment, while 43% said they planned to vote ‘no’ and 10% were undecided just two weeks before Election Day. The survey of more than 1,500 Kansans had a margin of error of 2.78%. The polling firm is predicting that the state will narrowly pass the constitutional amendment,” the report stated.

As the nation watches the outcome of the vote, Utah state Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, sponsor of the state’s trigger law legislation, which would ban most abortions in Utah, has requested a bill for the Legislature's 2023 general session with the working title “Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution — Rights Relating to Abortion,” according to the Legislature’s website.

Utah Senate spokeswoman Aundrea Peterson said McCay “has not had the chance to review what Kansas is doing” and was unavailable to comment.

Utah's trigger law, which was passed in 2020 in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, has not taken effect because Planned Parenthood Association of Utah has challenged the constitutionality of the statute in state court on several fronts, such as Utahns’ right to determine family composition and to parent; equal protection, and substantive due process right to bodily integrity, among others claims.

The state of Utah’s response to the lawsuit says, “The Utah Constitution does not expressly protect a right to abortion. That much is clear from the constitution’s plain text. Even plaintiff does not dispute that conclusion. Nor does the Utah Constitution protect an implied right to abortion.”

Last month, 3rd District Court Judge Andrew Stone issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the law from taking effect pending further legal proceedings.

The Utah law allows abortions only if the mother’s life is at risk, if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest, or if two physicians who practice maternal fetal medicine both determine that the fetus “has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal or ... has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable.”