My Explanation of Vote on the Constitutional Amendment
I voted no today on a proposed constitutional amendment - SCR 1613 - because we must protect women's access when their life is endangered or if they are the unfortunate victims of rape or incest.
There are five key reasons for my vote.
Most importantly, if we're going to change our Constitution and cede fundamental rights to the government, it must have clear boundaries and clear protections in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother's life. This amendment fails to do that and would give the legislature authority to remove those protections at any time.
State and federal law already prevents the expenditure of public money for abortions, and nothing about the April 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling changes that.
Despite a recent ruling from the courts, the Legislature is still free to, and has, set reasonable regulations, restrictions, and protections around abortion. After consultation with the Attorney General's office, we determined that the Court’s ruling does not prohibit all regulation from the Legislature as has been falsely argued. This amendment would grant broad and wide-sweeping power to government, without setting appropriate boundaries to protect women.
While true that the proposed amendment does not directly alter specific abortion legislation, it instead carves out an area of the Constitution giving the legislature pre-eminent authority to make laws that can’t effectively be reviewed by the courts. This amendment removes the Judiciary as a critical check and balance in our three-branch government.
Regarding the vote of the people, the resolution also specified the August primary as the date for the public to cast a ballot on this question. If we are going to modify our fundamental laws, we should resolve the question in the November 2020 general election, when nearly 70% of Kansans voters will cast a ballot.
I have heard passionate, well-articulated, and well-reasoned arguments from constituents urging me to vote Yes and No. I am proud of how Leavenworth has conducted itself in engaging their government on this important question.
My Honor to Represent You
It is a special honor to serve our community in the Kansas Legislature. I both value and need your input on the various issues facing state government.
My office address is Room 561-W 300 SW 10th, Topeka, KS 66612. You can reach me at (785) 296-7522 or call the legislative hotline at 1-800-432-3924 to leave a message for me. Additionally, you can e-mail me at email@example.com.
Rep. Jeff Pittman
Kansas House of Representatives
House District 41 (Leavenworth)