Washington :The conservative US state of Kansas has in a surprise move decided in a referendum to protect abortion rights which is a major victory for pro-choice groups, BBC reported on Wednesday.
Voters overwhelmingly voted stating that they did not wish to amend the state constitution to assert there is no right to abortion.
It was the first electoral test of the issue since the US Supreme Court allowed states to ban the procedure.
If the result had gone the other way, lawmakers could have moved to further restrict or ban abortion in the state.
Michigan, Arizona, Missouri and the north-western state of Washington also held elections on Tuesday.
Two of the nation’s most hotly fought races for governor and Senate races that will determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress next year were in play.
The so-called primary elections were also a test of former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican party as he hints of a possible third run for the White House in 2024.
The ballot question in Kansas had been hotly anticipated since the US Supreme Court two months ago overturned Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalised abortion nationwide.
Projections suggest Kansans voted by more than 60 per cent to uphold the state’s constitutional right for women to access abortion.
The result will be seen as a gauge of the issue’s resonance ahead of nationwide mid-term elections on 8 November, with Democrats fighting to retain control of Congress.
US President Joe Biden, a Democrat whose approval rating has plunged amid soaring inflation, said the result showed “the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion”.
On the eve of the ballot, some Kansans had received misleading texts urging them to “vote yes” to protect choice, but the opposite was true. Tech company Twilio said it had suspended the anonymous sender from its platform.
Although Kansas is staunchly conservative, its abortion regulations are less strict than many other Republican-led states.
It allows pregnancies to be terminated up to 22 weeks with other restrictions, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period and mandatory parental consent for children.