BY REBEKAH REED
Kansas voters vetoed the Value Them Both Amendment on Tuesday. Had it passed, the amendment to the Kansas Constitution would not require government funding for abortion and wouldn’t create or secure a right to abortion. By late Tuesday, the amendment was rejected by a 60-40 margin.
The result was a major step forward for pro-choice Kansans. Mariah Dechant, a student at Fort Hays, expressed her dismay ever since the May leak of the possible overturn of Roe V. Wade.
“For so long, I fought for women’s rights, and this felt like an extreme step in the wrong direction…for something that should already be given,” Dechant said.
Since Kansas announced VTB, Dechant devoted time to talking with her peers, family, and colleagues, urging them to vote no. Tuesday was an important day for her.
“This election meant that I would either continue to be seen as a woman in Kansas, or I would be seen as a birthing machine,” she said.
Dechant said she anxiously waited for the results to be posted and when the unofficial announcement came, she was relieved that her rights were protected as well as other women’s. However, Dechant said she is not done fighting for women and there is more she wants to do. Dechant hopes in the future that Kansans can help other states achieve greater women’s equality.
“I believe that asking the people that it’s directly affecting is more powerful than anything else when making laws,” Dechant said.
While the rejection of the VTB amendment was liberating for Dechant and other men and women in Kansas, on the other hand, this day was a loss for pro-life Kansans. An FHSU biology student, who is striving to be an OBGYN, expresses how difficult it is for someone in Kansas to be pro-life and an OBGYN.
Student A, who wishes for her name to be private, said this decision made her realize how precious life is.
“I want to be able to serve, love, and protect women through healthcare, but I know abortion is going to be a battle that I fight against every day,” she said.
For student A, the thought of abortion makes her sick. She hopes for a day where women are supported fully to carry the life inside of them no matter the circumstance.
“I cannot imagine such a dark place myself [to carry an unexpected child],” she said. “I want to live somewhere where women are valued and loved and treated as the beautiful daughters they are in a state that is willing to take care of them and their children.”
Student A mourns for what is to come after the loss of VTB. She expressed how working as an OBGYN will be difficult in Kansas, but that does not change her desire to continue to help women in all walks of life.