Advocates say sexual assault survivors in Missouri and Kansas deserve options

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kansas is the first state to vote on an abortion question since the Supreme Court decision last month and money is pouring on both sides.

A “no” vote on Amendment 2 means the voter wants to keep abortion rights as part of the Kansas constitution.

A “yes” vote means the voter agrees with removing that right from the constitution and letting lawmakers pass legislation on abortion. The amendment does not ban abortion, but it’s likely that conservative lawmakers would place more restrictions on it in Kansas, or ban it entirely.

Thousands are watching, and few as hard as those at the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA). The organization says rape and incest survivors should have choices.

“I never thought that survivors would be in this position,” said Julie Donelon, president and CEO of MOCSA.

The organization is closing watching Kansas because right now in Missouri, there is no exception for rape and incest survivors. MOCSA members said they hope that if the amendment passes and lawmakers restrict abortion, lawmakers might consider women who experience violence. And that they would need to consider more than just allowing for “Plan B”.

“Just having Plan B available to survivors doesn’t take into consideration the complex needs that survivors have following a sexual assault,” said Donelon.

Plan B, also called the morning-after pill, is a type of emergency birth control used to prevent pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, it does not end a pregnancy that has been implanted. It works by delaying or preventing ovulation. It needs to be taken as soon as possible and less than 72 hours after unprotected sex.

But only 21% of all rape survivors seek immediate medical care where Plan B would be an option, according to the National Library of Medicine. And 16.1% of survivors will experience what experts call “rape-related pregnancy,” according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Right now, the only place for survivors in the Greater Kansas City Metro Area to receive abortion services for rape and incest would be over in Kansas and Johnson County,” said Donelon. “And so, if limits at the Kansas amendment are passed, that could drastically change what resources are available to survivors in our community.”

Nationally, polls show overwhelming support for abortion rights in cases of rape and incest.

A 2022 AP Poll states that 84% of Americans support abortion for rape and incest survivors.

The Value them Both Coalition wants the power to restrict abortion to go to the legislators, and the group wants the right to abortion to be taken out of the state constitution.

“What the amendment does, it takes the decision of abortion regulations to the people of Kansas through their elected representatives,” said Kansas State Representative Susan Humphreys.

We spoke with a major donor of the “value them both” movement, the Susan B Anthony Foundation. The national organization has donated more than a million dollars to back the amendment and give power to lawmakers.

We are advocating for the strongest, most ambitious protections that lawmakers can pass that are also in line with the will of the people,” said Malory Carroll “So that’s going to look different state to state.”

Ultimately, Kansas voters will decide on August 2. Record voter turnout is expected.

Weeks of campaigning, thousands of yard signs, and millions of dollars have already been poured into the upcoming vote on Amendment 2 in Kansas. And even though it was scheduled for the vote before the Supreme Court’s Roe V Wade decision, the decision has generated more attention—locally and nationally—than any amendment in recent history.

To contact MOCSA, click here.

Metropolitan Organization to County Sexual Assault
Metropolitan Organization to County Sexual Assault(FILE)