Groups on opposing sides of an abortion ballot measure in Kansas have ramped up their TV ad spending in recent weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and as the Aug. 2 vote approaches.
Before the Supreme Court’s decision last month, outside groups had spent a combined $1.6 million on ads. Since then, spending has more than quadrupled, with groups shelling out nearly $7.8 million on ads through the Aug. 2 vote, with potentially more to come.
The Kansas ballot initiative will be the first statewide abortion vote since the high court’s decision to eliminating the right to an abortion. The initiative would amend the state constitution to say it “does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion,” and allowing legislators to pass additional abortion laws. In 2019, the Kansas state Supreme Court ruled a right to an abortion was protected under the state constitution.
Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the main group opposing the ballot initiative, has sent $4.5 million on ads so far, per the ad tracking firm AdImpact. The main group supporting the measure, Value Them Both has spent $3.9 million. A handful of other GOP groups have spent on the airwaves supporting the amendment as well.
Kansans for Constitutional Freedom also outraised Value Them Both, from Jan. 1 through July 18, pulling in $6.5 million to Value Them Both’s $4.7 million according to fundraising reports filed Monday with the secretary of state’s office.
National abortion rights groups including NARAL and Planned Parenthood have donated to Kansans for Constitutional Freedom. Value Them Both received sizable donations from several Catholic churches and diocese, as well as GOP Sen. Jerry Moran’s FreeState PAC.
Both groups have launched an ad campaign with the vote less than two weeks away. A recent spot from Kansans for Constitutional Freedom featured a woman who had an abortion to save her life. She warned that if the amendment passes, “It could ban in any abortion, with no exceptions, even in cases like mine.”
A recent ad from Value Them Both also features a woman speaking directly to the camera.
“I’ve read the Value them Both amendment and it doesn’t ban abortion or remove exceptions. That’s just a scare tactic. Here’s what it does do: It lets us keep common sense limits on abortion that we already agree on,” she says.