Why Texas won't have an abortion referendum like Kansas
A huge win in Kansas this week for abortion rights supporters energized Democrats — and raised questions about whether such a referendum could pass in Texas.
The short answer: Yes, Texas voters might very well support a constitutional right to abortion — but there's no way in hell they'll get to weigh in.
Driving the news: In Kansas, the Democratic-controlled state supreme court recognized the right to abortion, prompting the Republican-controlled legislature to ask voters to effectively veto that decision.
- But voters instead supported keeping that right protected, giving hope to progressives after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Between the lines: In Texas, the elected, all-Republican state supreme court will never go that route — so the GOP-controlled legislature, which has ratcheted down abortion access, will not have to resort to an appeal to voters.
- Amendments to the Texas Constitution can be put before voters only after being approved by two-thirds of each body of the legislature, Texas Secretary of State spokesperson Sam Taylor tells Axios.
Of note: Texas lawmakers could decide to put a constitutional amendment banning abortion before voters — but such a maneuver could backfire.
- A majority of Texas voters — 54% — oppose a total ban on abortions, per polling earlier this year from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.
What they're saying: State Rep. Donna Howard, a nurse and Austin Democrat, said the Kansas vote was an encouraging sign for pro-abortion-rights voters in red states like Texas.
- "We can certainly at least infer that voters are not wanting to have this kind of overreach from the government," Howard told Axios.
- She added that the true test could come from statewide races: "There is a lot of potential here if we have a way to make sure that message is still getting out to folks on a regular basis."
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