In a blow for the anti-abortion movement in the United States, the state of Kansas has voted to uphold abortion rights.

In a referendum that was held alongside elections for a number of local offices, nearly 60% of voters rejected the ‘Value Them Both’ amendment. If passed Kansas’s constitution would have been amended to state that there is no constitutional right to abortion in the state and would have given the state government the power to prosecute individuals, including doctors, involved in conducting abortions. The amendment would also not have allowed any exceptions, such as when a pregnancy was as a result of rape or when the foetus threatened the life of the mother.

Kansas is a reliable ‘red’ state – the last time it voted for a Democrat rather than a Republican in a Presidential election was in 1964, when it voted for Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater, making the outcome of the vote quite significant. The result likely shows that the view on abortion of those who generally vote Republican are not as hardline as many of the party’s lawmakers.