Kansas Recounts Abortion Votes, and Abortion Wins Again

The expensive recount, funded by anti-abortion activists, changed the final count by fewer than 100 votes.

Kansas Recounts Abortion Votes, and Abortion Wins Again
Bipartisan counting teams recount the vote on Kansas’ anti-abortion ballot measure from earlier this month. Photo:AP (AP)

Abortion rights just won resoundingly again in Kansas after a hand recount, in case anyone misheard what the people of the state said loudly the first time.

Weeks after voters in the state defeated a ballot measure designed to lead to a total abortion ban, a recount of the vote on the measure—funded by anti-abortion activists who tried to offer their houses and max out their credit cards to pay for it—only confirmed the abortion rights victory over the weekend. The anti-abortion “Value Them Both” measure was defeated by a nearly 20-point margin, or about 165,000 votes, on Aug. 2, and the recount, which cost north of $200,000, changed the vote by fewer than 100 votes, the Associated Press reports.

At the end of the recount, the pro-abortion rights “no” vote lost about 87 votes, and the “yes” vote won six more. I’m disappointed that the victory margin didn’t double, which would have been cosmically hilarious, but as a toxically positive optimist, I’ll still take this as a win: An abortion ban has been defeated, again, by the actual people of Kansas—despite a Republican super-majority in the state legislature.

Not everyone is celebrating, though Mark Gietzen, a top anti-abortion activist and election conspiracy theorist who funded the bulk of the $200,000 refund costs, arguably should be—this man nearly put up his house to fund the recount, but the state stopped him. No, Kansas isn’t going to ban abortion and recognize fetuses as people any time soon, but he still has a house, and he should be grateful for that.

Instead of his house, Gietzen, joined by fellow Kansas anti-abortion activist Melissa Leavitt, say they provided credit cards to pay for about $120,000 of the refund fees, and also raised about $55,000 from an online fundraiser. Surely, all of this money—like the millions in taxpayer dollars it costs to defend abortion bans in court—could have helped some low-income families and born, living babies, but we’ve been over this before: They’re not “pro-life,” they’re pro-forced birth, et cetera.

Without any evidence, Leavitt claimed she’s “seen data…that there were irregularities” on election night. Similarly, Gietzen told the AP, “The truth is, who knows who won the vote,” which he falsely claims was shaped by “massive” fraud through “ballot harvesting.”

Despite these lies, Kansas’ secretary of state Bryan Caskey said he “[stood] by the results” of the election and emphasized that “normally, they reinforce the Election Day results.” Indeed!

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