KC STAR: Planned Parenthood group endorses state Sen. Laura Kelly for Kansas governor

The day after former Kansas legislator Josh Svaty used a Democratic gubernatorial debate to position himself as an abortion-rights supporter, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes announced its endorsement of one of his rivals, state Sen. Laura Kelly.

“(Kelly) is no-nonsense, she is incredibly qualified and she has been a great leader in the Senate,” said Rachel Sweet, regional director of public policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes.

Sweet also pointed to what she said was Kelly’s consistent voting record in favor of women’s reproductive rights and teenage pregnancy prevention.

Women’s reproductive rights have emerged as a major issue in the Democratic primary.

Svaty has taken heat for voting 11 times in favor of restrictions on abortion rights during his time in the Legislature. He has said that if elected governor, he will veto any new restrictions on abortion.

“One thing we’ve learned about women’s health over the last hundred years is you can never make abortion illegal, you can only limit access to safe abortion,” Svaty said during a debate Wednesday night in Wichita. “I would always trust women to make their own health decisions.”

That wasn’t enough for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes.

“A record is far more important than rhetoric,” Sweet said. “While (Svaty) can say he trusts women, he has a record of voting for policies that we believe are really extremist in nature, and he’s tried to sort of dodge this issue, as opposed to addressing it head on.”

Kelly said Svaty had not shown a clear position on abortion before Wednesday night.
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