Kansas women urge accurate reporting of Amanda Adkins anti-abortion record

Adkins says she opposes a federal ban on abortion but has long held anti-abortion views

By: - October 19, 2022 1:14 pm
Amanda Adkins speaks at campaign event

Kansas GOP congressional candidate Amanda Adkins has tried to downplay her anti-abortion views in the runup to the Nov. 8 election. She is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — A group of 79 Kansas women, including physicians and Democratic legislators, have signed a letter urging news media to report “a complete and accurate picture” of Amanda Adkins’ record of anti-abortion views.

The letter is a response to an effort by the Adkins campaign to distance the Republican congressional candidate from her support of a Kansas constitutional amendment on abortion, and a long record of opposing access to reproductive health care.

Emily’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, distributed the letter. Adkins is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids for the 3rd District seat.

“Amanda Adkins’ disingenuous attempts to mask her anti-choice history is fooling no one,” said Lindsay Weiss, a letter signer from Overland Park. “It’s important to me to hold her accountable and to make sure our community knows she doesn’t stand with our values. Politicians should never interfere with decisions that should only belong between a woman and her doctor.”

The Adkins campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story.

Democrats have attacked Adkins for her anti-abortion views following the 59-41 vote on Aug. 2 to reject the constitutional amendment. The amendment would have given the Kansas Legislature the authority to ban abortion without exceptions.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, Adkins repeatedly said she doesn’t support a federal ban on abortion.

Emily’s List contends those statements are a clear departure from past positions held by Adkins.

The Republican routinely described herself as “pro-life” and said she was “100%” in favor of the constitutional amendment in Kansas.

“I am a pro-life candidate,” she said during a May 20, 2022, interview with FOX-4 TV. “I do believe that life has value from conception to natural death. That’s an important part of who I am as a woman of faith.”

In September, Adkins said she supports the Republican Study Committee agenda. The agenda includes support for legislation that declares life begins at conception and opposition to using any federal funding for reproductive health care.

Adkins served as chairwoman of the Kansas Republican Party in 2010, when the party platform supported a federal ban on abortion.

Two prominent anti-abortion groups, the Susan B. Anthony List and Kansans for Life, endorsed Adkins. Both groups favor a federal abortion ban and supported the amendment to the Kansas constitution. A Kansans for Life questionnaire, with a deadline of June 3, asked candidates to say whether they believed abortion should be legal at any point in the pregnancy or under the circumstances of rape, incest, or to prevent the death of a mother.

The letter distributed by Emily’s List is signed by Democratic state Sens. Dinah Sykes and Cindy Holscher, as well as Democratic Reps. Annie Kuether, Heather Meyer, Stephanie Byers, Susan Ruiz and Sydney Carlin. The list also includes Democratic operatives and candidates for office. Fourteen of the women are identified as doctors.

The letter raises the concern that news media are allowing Adkins “to erase her record and mislead the public.”

“We are those mothers. We are the physicians who care for those assault patients. We are the people whose access to health care Ms. Adkins seeks to limit,” the letter said. “This is not hypothetical — her views could have real impacts on our lives. Failing to include the full context could very well mean the difference between whether we are able to retain control over our own bodies or not.”

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the editor in chief of Kansas Reflector. He writes about things that powerful people don't want you to know. A two-time Kansas Press Association journalist of the year, his award-winning reporting includes stories about education, technology, foster care, voting, COVID-19, sex abuse, and access to reproductive health care. Before founding Kansas Reflector in 2020, he spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He graduated from Emporia State University in 2004, back when the school still valued English and journalism. He was raised in the country at the end of a dead end road in Lyon County.