As Kansans prepare to vote on the Value Them Both (VTB) amendment on whether or not to allow the state legislature to set abortion restrictions, one national pro-abortion group seems to have a much broader goal than solely increasing abortion access.
On the surface, Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, or URGE, looks similar to most pro-abortion organizations that vehemently – and in some cases, violently – oppose VTB. Yet, a quick glance at the group’s website reveals a much wider range of prioritized issues – all aligning with the far-left.
On its website, the group not only advocates for the hyper-liberal defunding of the police, but it actually promotes a world without any police, encouraging individuals to “imagine a world beyond policing.”
“Policing and the criminal justice (which we think of as criminal punishment) system is based in systemic white supremacy and anti-Blackness,” the website reads. “It’s not enough to simply call for an end to policing, we must inspire one another and work together to develop a new vision for safety and justice in our communities.”
The website also flaunts a defunding-the-police “fact sheet,” in which it claims that police “took advantage” of mask mandates and social distancing guidelines to “arrest, fine, and brutalize” people who were “demanding justice” for “Black lives that have been lost to police violence.” Notably, the group erroneously claims Ahmaud Arbery was a life lost to “police violence,” but in reality, he was killed by a civilian.
Although URGE claimed a connection between “mask mandates and social distancing guidelines” and police targeting “marginalized people,” no evidence was presented and the connection is unproven. During the George Floyd protests and riots in 2020, the vast majority of arrests were due to vandalism, rioting, destruction of property and/or trespassing, not violations of COVID-19 guidelines.
It is still unclear why the pro-abotion group has an entire page and supporting documents advocating to defund the police if its main objective is increasing access to abortion. On URGE’s “Beyond Policing” page, the only mention of abortion comes in the first sentence:
“As a Reproductive Justice organization, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity understands that dismantling white supremacy is key to true Reproductive Justice and liberation.”
According to its website, another prioritized issue for URGE – also having nothing to do with abortion – is far-left “inclusive sex education” curricula that delves into sexual and gender identity. This issue has been at the forefront of heated education debates recently as there have been instances of teachers attempting to hide the curricula from students’ parents after the parents raised concerns.
Many parents also contend that sexuality, gender identity and related topics are discussions to be had at home with the student’s family, rather than in a classroom separated from family.
URGE’s website boasts a report titled “A Call to Action: LGBTQ+ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education” that “details the urgent need for LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education programs and supports.” The report’s priorities, listed on URGE’s website, are below:
“This report provides guidance for parents and families, youth, educators, and policymakers to:
- Become advocates for LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education;
- Ensure that school is a safe and accepting space for LGBTQ+ students;
- Implement LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education in schools, community settings and online;
- Talk to their own children and teens about sex and sexuality;
- Work to improve state-level legal and policy barriers to LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education in schools and to require inclusive programs.”
Notably, there was no mention of abortion or reproductive services on the webpage.
Former President of URGE Board of Directors Elise Higgins has zeroed her sights in on Kansas, which will become the first state with an abortion-related vote on Aug. 2 when voters either approve or deny VTB. Higgins is now the vice president of the Kansas Abortion Fund and has recently spent time passionately advocating against VTB ahead of the vote.
While Higgins has devoted much of her life to advocating for increased abortion access, she is also a member of the Lawrence, Kansas chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, her Twitter bio says.
As the vote to approve or deny VTB is only a few weeks away, many are sounding alarm to “misinformation” being spread about the amendment, and encourage Kansas voters to educate themselves about what it will actually do if passed.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that abortion was an inherent right in the state constitution, meaning some 20 state laws regulating it are now presumed unconstitutional. But if the VTB amendment is approved, it will give Kansas state legislators the authority to regulate, or deregulate, abortion procedures. It would also mandate that the state cannot be required to fund abortions. The amendment itself would not ban abortions, nor would it make them more accessible.