Communication Studies, Department of


First Advisor

Kristen Hoerl

Date of this Version

Spring 5-4-2023

Document Type



Schmitz, K. (2023), "Don't put restrictions on us": The dangers of conservative and populist appeals for abortion access in post-Roe America. University of Nebraska Lincoln. Master's Thesis.


A THESIS Presented to the faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Communication Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Kristen Hoerl. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2023


This thesis critically analyzes Kansans for Constitutional Freedom’s campaign ads for their campaign against the Value Them Both Amendment in Kansas in 2022. Value Them Both would have stripped the Kansas constitution of its protection of personal autonomy and therefore abortion rights. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom used populist and otherwise conservative appeals in their ads to reach audiences across the political “spectrum” to gain their votes against Value Them Both. While the campaign was widely successful, there are many things it did not do for the broader concern of reproductive healthcare access in the United States, particularly for those living within society’s margins. This thesis follows the ways in which the campaign ignores abortion as a human right by emphasizing fear of government overcontrol and subsequently ignoring abortion and its seekers’ complexities and marginalized positionalities. Kansans for Constitutional Freedom effectively writes those who need accessible abortion care the most out of the equation by ignoring abortion as a human right. This prevents mobility towards decriminalized and more importantly, accessible abortion care.

Advisor: Kristen Hoerl