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Amanda Adkins, Rep. Sharice Davids, D-San.
Amanda Adkins, Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan.AP; Getty Images

Abortion becomes flashpoint in key Kansas race as Democrat launches six-figure ad

Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., is targeting Adkins on TV for her support of the statewide abortion referendum that Kansas voters rejected last month.


Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., is putting abortion rights front-and-center in her rematch against Republican Amanda Adkins in the state's 3rd Congressional District, launching a new ad Saturday targeting her opponent on the issue.

Davids' six-figure ad, shared in advance with NBC News, targets Adkins for saying earlier this year that she was "100%" in favor of the proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would have removed language enshrining abortion rights there. That amendment failed in August with nearly 60% of voters casting ballots against it — a vote that has influenced the conversation around abortion rights nationally in the weeks since.

The ad, which airs on broadcast, cable and satellite TV, also highlights Adkins' support for the proposed Republican Study Committee's fiscal year 2023 budget. Adkins framed her support for the plan around its budget-reduction measures, but the proposal also contains a proposed federal abortion ban that would begin when a fetal heartbeat is first detected — generally between five and seven weeks.

The ad links Adkins' being endorsed by the anti-abortion rights group Kansans for Life with comments made by a National Right to Life official — the group's parent organization — in which he said a 10-year-old should carry a pregnancy to term.

"She was 100% for allowing politicians to ban abortion in Kansas," the ad begins. "Now, Amanda Adkins absolutely supports a total ban on all abortions nationwide, with no exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother. Adkins is even backed by [an] extremist who said a 10-year-old rape victim should be forced to have the baby. For a ban with no exceptions, Amanda Adkins is 100% wrong for Kansas."

In the May interview with Fox4 Kansas City in which she expressed support for the statewide referendum, Adkins said she prefers "that the states" handle abortion legislation. Asked by the Kansas City Star about whether she would support Sen. Lindsey Graham's proposed 15-week federal ban, her campaign pointed to a past op-ed she authored in which she said abortion rights should be left up to states.

Davids' campaign has pointed to Adkins' stint as chairwoman of the Kansas Republican Party in which the party platform expressed support for "a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," and "legislation to make clear the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection applies to unborn children." Adkins' website also says she is "committed to supporting life from conception until natural death."

Abortion rights have emerged as a flashpoint nationally after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling this summer, energizing abortion rights supporters.

Davids’ district is rated as a toss-up by The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan elections analyzer. It’s the only competitive race in Kansas, per the outlet.

Davids, a two-term member, defeated Adkins by 10 points in 2020. But the district has since been redrawn.