Eyes across the country were on Kansas Tuesday as voters went to the polls to decide on abortion access in the state.
The ballot question would have removed abortion protections if passed. Kansans ultimately voted to keep access in the state.
Kansas providers said constituents watched border states restrict or completely ban abortion and it gave a glimpse into their potential future.
“It did not take much for Kansans to look at Missouri, Oklahoma, or Arkansas and say bans are real and they're actually taking affect, and we could lose total access care," explained Planned Parenthood Great Plains President & CEO Emily Wales.
Kansas’ location in the US makes it an anchor for those seeking abortions across the midwest.
"Kansas voters have sent a very clear message to the legislatures that they consider this issue off the table," said Trust Women Communications Director, Zack Gingrich-Gaylord. He added, "with the fall of Roe [V Wade, 1973] and Casey [V Planned Parenthood, 1992] I think that really brought this conversation into a lot of other households that would have otherwise not have been engaged."
Nearly 60% of Kansans voted to keep the protections. That number is a recognizable one for Kansas abortion providers. Since the fall of Roe, 60% of abortions in Kansas have been performed on women from outside of Kansas.
"I was at the clinic this Monday and they scheduled 52 appointments that day. We probably got 500 to 700 phone calls that day and if you do the math, then that's the majority of phone calls we are getting we are not able answer," explained Gingrich-Gaylord.
Providers also believe Kansas could be a roadmap.
"It appears to be a model that we might be able to use," Gingrich-Gaylord said. “Going forward we're going to be looking very closely at the results of this election. How we got here. What we need to do because there are states surrounding Kansas that need restored abortion access and a ballot measure may be one tool that states can use to restore legal abortion."
News 9 did reach out to Attorney General John O'Connor to see how Oklahoma laws, especially how "aiding and abetting" can come into play when someone travels for the procedure, they did not respond.