Mailer on abortion, Kansas’ highest court described as misleading

A letter to Kansas voters suggests that removing state Supreme Court justices in Tuesday’s election would protect abortion access, as abortion rights advocates want to keep them on the bench.

The sender’s return address indicates that it is VMCF Inc., of Lenexa, a suburb of Kansas City. For a brief period in October, it was the legal name of a charitable foundation headed by the owner of a major Republican direct mail company, according to state records.

One side says “Kansas pushed back” on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in late June to overturn Roe v. Wade. In August, voters decisively rejected a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. The mailer includes the logo on the pro-amendment side with a red “X” across it.

The opposite side of the sender urges no vote Tuesday on retaining state Supreme Court justices. Six of the seven justices are on the ballot for yes or no votes on whether they will remain on the bench for another six years.

“LET THEM HEAR YOU AGAIN!” the sender says under a larger “NO!”

Abortion rights groups want to keep the judges, and Kansans for Life, the state’s most influential anti-abortion group, wants to oust five of the six. In 2019, the court ruled that abortion access is a “fundamental” right under the Kansas Constitution, prompting GOP lawmakers to push the proposed anti-abortion amendment.

“It’s clearly designed to misinform,” said state Rep. Stephanie Clayton, a Kansas City-area Democrat, whose daughter received a letter.

A search of state documents online for VMCF turned up documents for the nonprofit Van Meteren Charitable Foundation Inc. and showed it went from longest name to shortest name on October 24 and back on October 31.

Its 2021 annual report listed the same address as the return address on the sender. Its sole leader was Kristian Van Meteren, owner of the direct mail company The Singularis Group, also in the Kansas City area. He did not immediately respond to phone messages Friday seeking comment.

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The summary and 2nd paragraph of this story have been corrected to show the company named on the post is VMCF, not KMCF.

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Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

This story was originally published November 4, 2022 6:06 p.m.

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