YWCA Northeast Kansas Supports Reproductive Justice for All

For more than fifty years, YWCA USA has supported the reproductive freedom of all people to make fundamental decisions about whether and when to have children. We are striving to create a world in which all women—especially women of color—are free from racism and sexism, and can thrive. We refuse to sit on the sidelines during this historic moment.

With the United States Supreme Court potentially poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, YWCA stands in support of reproductive freedom for all. Click here to read YWCA USA’s amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

YWCA Northeast Kansas is committed to working for the protection of reproductive rights, and the advancement of reproductive justice in our state.

Reproductive Justice Is Racial Justice

Quality, affordable, culturally-competent health care is critical to everyone. But for many women, children, people of color, and trauma survivors, getting the medical care and insurance coverage they need is a struggle. Moreover, unequal access to health care is a driving factor in racial disparities in maternal and other health outcomes in the U.S.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the effects of increased abortion restrictions and bans would be felt most by young women and women of color, LGBTQ+ persons, immigrants, and other populations who experience barriers to accessing healthcare services. In addition, people of color, especially Black people, have a higher risk of pregnancy complications, maternal mortality, and infant mortality (CDC). It is crucial that efforts to protect abortion rights are rooted in racial justice, and address the racist structures within the healthcare system and healthcare policy.

YWCA Discusses Reproductive Rights with Planned Parenthood Great Plains

In May 2022, YWCA’s Regina Platt, Allison Marker, and board member Megan Williams sat down with Dr. Iman Alsaden to discuss the state of abortion rights in Kansas. Watch the conversation below to learn more about the history that led us to this point, and how you can be a part of the effort to protect reproductive rights for all.

What You Can Do to Support Reproductive Justice

Abortion is already heavily restricted and regulated in the state of Kansas. In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas Constitution guarantees the right to “personal autonomy,” which includes a woman’s right to decide to have an abortion. In response, state legislators have placed a constitutional amendment on the August 2nd, 2022, primary ballot that – if passed – would remove the right to abortion from the Kansas constitution.

Their goal, should the ballot initiative pass, is undoubtedly a ban on abortion in Kansas.

What can you do?

  1. Make sure you are registered to vote by the July 12th primary election registration deadline. Visit ksvotes.org to check or update your registration, to register to vote, and to confirm your polling location.
  2. Regardless of party affiliation (Republican, Democrat, or None), make sure to vote early or on August 2nd, and vote NO on the ballot initiative.
  3. Encourage others in your network to Vote NO!

A Note about Primary Elections

The vote on the anti-choice constitutional amendment is a ballot measure. All Kansans registered to vote may vote on the ballot measure during the August 2nd primary elections. You do not need to be registered for a political party in order to receive a ballot at your polling place. Simply show up or request an advanced mail ballot, vote NO on the constitutional amendment, and submit your ballot!

You are not obligated to register for a political party, or vote for primary candidates, in order to have your voice heard in support of women’s rights on August 2nd!

Our CEO Kathleen Marker was one of the first in line ready to testify on behalf of YWCA Northeast Kansas when the state legislature voted to put the anti-choice constitutional amendment on the ballot. Click here to read her testimony for the House Federal and State Affairs and Senate Judiciary Committees.

See how you can help defeat the measure, and support reproductive healthcare in our communities.

In Kansas, there are several organizations working together to make sure that the majority of Kansans who support abortion access have their voices heard, most urgently on the upcoming August 2nd ballot measure.

At the national level, YWCA has been fighting for gender and racial justice for decades. 30 years ago, YWCA joined the pro-choice demonstration March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C., in April 1992, at that time one of the largest protest marches in the nation’s capital. And we won’t stop any time soon.

Learn more about the state of abortion rights in the United States, and how you can get involved in national efforts to stand for women:

  • The Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 1975/H.R. 3755) protects the right to access abortion services. Solidifying the right to access abortion care is fundamental and must be protected! Add your voice to YWCA USA’s call for action, and tell your members of Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act TODAY! TAKE ACTION NOW
  • SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective is a national coalition working to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities. Learn more about their work here
  • The Guttmacher Institute is a primary source for research and policy analysis on abortion in the United States.