Pro-choice forces fought misdirection and marshalled enormous turnout. Can their success be replicated?
By Peter Slevin
August 7, 2022
It was Election Night in a hotel ballroom in Overland Park, Kansas, and Ashley All didn’t know what to think. For months, she had been a public face in the fight to protect abortion rights from a ballot initiative that would change the state constitution and open the door to severe restrictions, or even a ban. Polling had been iffy, the opposition had been relentless, and she was afraid to trust the promising early returns. Nervous, she ducked into a conference room, where Mike Gaughan, a friend and colleague, was sitting at a computer. “He pointed out the impressive numbers in some of the big counties and also great numbers in some not-so-big counties in rural areas,” All told me. It was really happening. A broad coalition with a fresh message was beating the Kansas right-to-lifers at their own game.
Organizers said treating reproductive rights as a non-partisan issue was key to success in a Republican-leaning state
Wed 3 Aug 2022
In a conference room at the Sheraton in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, people screamed, whooped, cheered and cried as a vote to protect abortion rights in Kansas’s state constitution came down late on Tuesday night. And it wasn’t just Democrats.
James Quigley, 72, a retired doctor and a Republican from Johnson county, sat on his own drinking a glass of white wine after hearing the news. “Abortion is a much more nuanced issue than anti-choice individuals would have you think,” he told the Guardian. “It is deeply personal, sometimes tragic, but also sometimes a liberating decision – and we should trust women, their physicians, and their God on that,” he said.