In August, Kansas voters will decide whether to amend the state’s Constitution allowing the Legislature to regulate the practice of abortion in the state. Grace Community Church in Great Bend offers residents an opportunity to educate themselves on the amendment and what it means for the state.
On Wednesday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. the church, located at 210 McKinley St., will host Pastor David Beauchamp of the Church Ambassador Network of Kansas, who will speak on the upcoming Aug. 2 vote in conjunction with the state’s primary elections on the “No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment,” also known as the “Value Them Both Amendment.”
In January of 2021, the Kansas Legislature approved House Concurrent Resolution 5003, to put the question before voters amending the Kansas Constitution. Should the amendment pass, according to the resolution:
“... would state the Kansas Constitution does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. Further, the language would state, to the extent permitted by the U.S. Constitution, the people of Kansas, through their elected state representatives and senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity when necessary to save the life of the mother.”
The 2021 resolution passed the House by a vote of 86-38, and the Kansas Senate 28-11. Should the amendment pass, it would not ban abortions in Kansas; however it would amend the state’s Constitution to grant the Legislature the authority to regulate the practice in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The resolution was passed in response to an April 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In a 6-1 vote, the court ruled the Kansas Constitution protected a woman’s right to an abortion through the state’s Bill of Rights: “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The ruling overturned a 2015 ban by the Kansas Legislature on abortion by means of dilation and evacuations. The Kansas Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act ruled the practice illegal, except in certain cases where the life of the mother was at stake or where the fetus was already dead.
Beauchamp, the speaker, served in the U.S. military for 30 years, including 23 years as a chaplain in the U.S. Army. He holds a Master of Divinity from Texas, a Master of Science from the University of Kansas, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the Army War College. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Applied Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Grace Community Church Pastor Jay Beuoy said the event is open to the public. He feels the issue should be important to all voters, regardless of party. All life is valuable, he said, and deserves to be treated equally under the law. He said the protection of life at any point is not simply a political issue, but a moral responsibility.
“A child in the womb is the very definition of innocent life,” he said. “People should be aware that something so consequential is on the ballot, and that they have a chance to protect life (through the legislative process).”