When the Catholic Bishops of Kansas personally met with Pope Francis in Rome earlier this year, the Holy Father once again stated that protection of unborn life is the preeminent social justice issue of our day. Archbishop Naumann, of Kansas City, Kan., quoted Pope Francis’s words: "If we do not defend life, no other rights matter."


The Catholic Church teaches that voting is a moral responsibility. Each person is called to vote with a properly formed conscience on a variety of issues. Kansans should ask candidates for the state legislature a very important question: Where do you stand on the Value Them Both amendment to the Kansas Constitution?


As Election Day draws near, you deserve a straight answer. Here’s why.


Kansas has suddenly become radical, extreme and dangerous for unborn babies and their mothers in crisis pregnancies. This new legal reality comes in wake of the horrific State Supreme Court ruling in the abortion case Hodes and Nauser v. Schmidt where justices discovered and created a so-called "natural right" to abortion.


The implications are stunning.


Abortion in Kansas is now virtually unlimited and unregulated. The legal path is clear for minors to undergo an abortion without parental consent. More than 20 prolife state laws like bans on taxpayer-funded abortion are now, in the words of the Court, "presumed unconstitutional."


When it comes to abortion, Kansas is the "new New York."


Reversing the ruling requires a state constitutional amendment. The process begins in the Legislature where lawmakers were asked last session to place the question on a statewide ballot for a vote of the people. The measure failed by a narrow margin, but it is not going away.


There have been explanations emerging from the campaign trail from those who say they wanted to vote yes, but ended up voting "No." Some did not like the amendment language.


Others did not like the date chosen for a statewide vote. One legislator wanted the amendment to protect the life of a mother — even though every Kansas state abortion law already has an exception for the life of the mother!


If any given legislator truly wanted to "fix" Value Them Both, they could have — and should have — offered improvements to the legislation as part of the policy process. None did. The measure failed. The abortion industry cheered.


To their credit, some legislators and candidates have been honest enough to admit that they actually want what Planned Parenthood and other abortion extremists desperately want — abortion without any strings, paid for by taxpayers.


Is unrestricted, unlimited abortion financed by taxpayers a Kansas value? This is a question for you, the Kansas voter. Before casting your ballot, ask candidates many questions, including: "Where do you stand on the Value Them Both state constitutional amendment for life?"


Jeanette Pryor is the public policy specialist for the Kansas Catholic Conference.