Kansas voters resoundingly approved protecting abortion rights on Tuesday in the first ballot measure since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Residents turned out in historic numbers to reject a constitutional amendment that would have given legislators more power to ban or further restrict the medical procedure across the state.
The vote “no” campaign led 59% to 41% after all precincts had been reported Tuesday night. Abortion rights advocates shouted and cheered after hearing the results.
“I am sort of speechless. I’m so proud to be a provider in this community. I’m so proud that I get to serve this community,” said Iman Alsaden, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Great Plains.
“I moved here two years ago from Chicago with the intention of providing abortion care in a place where there were not a lot of providers,” Alsaden said. “It’s sort of unbelievable. I’m so proud to be able to go to work tomorrow and talk to my staff and give everyone a hug.”
The ballot measure had been highly anticipated since nation’s high court reversed the landmark Roe decision, which designated abortion as a constitutionally protected right.
The new ruling, handed down in June, overturned that right and declared states had the power to regulate the medical procedure.
Tuesday’s ballot result is seen as a major victory for abortion rights advocates, given that Kansas is a conservative state in a region where abortion is severely restricted or banned.
According to the poll results, the measure was defeated not just in Democratic precincts, but in rural counties as well.