The US continues to wrestle with abortion rights, which are no longer enshrined in the Constitution since the Supreme Court's decision in late June. In a referendum in the state of Kansas, a majority voted to remain constitutionally protected abortion rights. "Kansas voters have sent a strong signal," US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday. He also signed a presidential decree to ensure access to all needed healthcare facilities. His Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho.
Celebrating pro-abortion rights activists
Kansas residents voted in a referendum on Tuesday to remove abortion rights from the constitution. After counting 95 percent of the votes, the proportion of "no" votes according to the "New York Times" was 58.8 percent early Wednesday morning (local time). Other US media also reported on the mostly negative outcome of the referendum. Abortion rights activists hailed the vote in Kansas as a clear sign of voter support for politics.
The US is in turmoil after the Supreme Court overturned a landmark ruling that had enshrined abortion rights in the US Constitution for nearly 50 years. Republican-governed states in particular are now trying to enshrine restrictive abortion regulations in their own constitutions as quickly as possible, while advocates of liberal legislation are up in arms.
Sharp criticism of the Supreme Court
The government of US President Joe Biden had also sharply criticized the Supreme Court's decision and announced that it would campaign for abortion rights in every conceivable way. Biden followed suit by announcing that he would sign an ordinance at the very first meeting of his abortion working group. This should, vaguely formulated, ensure access to medical facilities and health care, for example in the event that someone travels to a certain state in order to receive the legal services there.
In another step, Biden's Justice Department is taking action against the state of Idaho. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday in Washington that his department had filed a lawsuit against Idaho's plans to ban abortion in almost all cases, including medical emergencies for pregnant women. The regulation, which should come into force there at the end of August, only provides for an exception for cases in which a woman's life is in danger, but not for cases in which an abortion is necessary to seriously endanger a woman's health to prevent.
Lawsuit against State of Idaho
According to the Department of Justice, this violates federal law. Because all hospitals that receive certain government funds are required to provide patients in the emergency room with the necessary "stabilizing treatment" to save their lives or prevent serious damage to their health. And under certain circumstances, a termination of pregnancy is absolutely necessary as such "stabilizing treatment". US President Biden stressed on Wednesday: “Under federal law, no woman, whether pregnant or not, regardless of where she lives, may be turned away or denied necessary treatment when she has a medical crisis.”
With the result of the referendum, abortions are still legal in Kansas up to about the 22nd week. This makes the state, which itself is governed by a conservative majority, a kind of refuge for pregnant women from nearby states such as Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, in which abortion is now banned with a few exceptions.