Spielberg among donors to Kansas’ $22 million anti-abortion campaign

Anti-abortion activists and pro-choice advocates together spent more than $22 million on a poll in Kansas this month, and famed film director and producer Steven Spielberg contributed to successful abortion-rights efforts.

Financial reports filed with the state this week by 40 groups and individuals showed that pro-choice advocates spent $11.3 million campaigning to thwart a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to make it legal by the Republican-controlled legislatures to further restrict or ban abortion. Anti-abortion advocates who pushed for the measure spent nearly $11.1 million.

In the August 2 vote in Kansas, the pro-abortion side won by 18 percentage points, or 165,000 votes. It was the first state abortion referendum after the US Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade had fallen.

“It gave tremendous fuel to the ‘No’ campaign because we didn’t have to tell people, ‘This could happen or the Legislature will do this,’ or anything else hypothetical,” said former two-year Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, also former US Secretary of Health and Human Services. “You could watch in real time as Missouri stopped abortion.”

Two Republican activists have forced a manual recount of the Aug. 2 vote in nine counties, which account for 59% of the votes cast, but that won’t change the outcome. They questioned the conduct of the election without providing any evidence of problems.

Other anti-abortion advocates in Kansas argue that their cause has been defeated primarily by out-of-state donors and groups with ties to abortion providers. Her proposed change would have overturned a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court decision protecting abortion rights.

“The people and their elected legislators have no way now to use the tools of democracy to enact legislation that reflects consensus,” Mallory Carroll, spokeswoman for the national anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said after the Poll.

Spielberg, the Oscar-winning director of films like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saving Private Ryan and Jurassic Park, donated $25,000 to the main group opposing the proposed change. His wife, actress Kate Capshaw, contributed an additional $25,000.

While notable, Spielberg’s and Capshaw’s donations were far from the largest for the Vote No campaign. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for president in 2020, contributed $1.25 million, and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which funds liberal causes, contributed nearly $1.5 million.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion rights groups contributed nearly $2.3 million to the main coalition in the No vote. But more than 30 other groups and individuals said they were raising funds for their own efforts to thwart the proposed change.

On the anti-abortion side, Roman Catholic dioceses and the Kansas Catholic Conference have contributed more than $4.3 million to the main coalition pushing the proposed change.

Kansans for Life, the state’s most politically influential group, not only spent $1.6 million on its own law-changing efforts, but also donated more than $1.1 million to the main group, Vote Yes. .

Additionally, Susan B. Anthony told Pro-Life that she spent $1.4 million bringing a team of 300 college students from across the US to Kansas to promote the proposed change.

Activists seeking the recount must also file financial reports, Mark Skoglund, the executive director of the Kansas government’s ethics committee, said this week. But one of them, Mark Gietzen, denied this in a text to The Associated Press, saying “we are working on election integrity” without promoting the electoral initiative.

Seven of the nine counties where ballots were tallied had been completed or are expected to be completed by Friday. Only the two most populous counties — Johnson in the Kansas City area and Sedgwick, home of Wichita — are expected to continue counting Saturday.

So far the totals are mostly the same, no more than four votes change. Officials said the changes were a mixture of human error and the way voters marked their mail-in ballots. In one instance, a voter placed a tick in the oval that was missed by the scanning machine.


Hollingsworth reported from Mission, Kansas.


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https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/steven-spielberg-ap-kansas-michael-bloomberg-kan-b2148856.html Spielberg among donors to Kansas’ $22 million anti-abortion campaign

Dais Johnston

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