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Abortion rights advocates want to build on success of ballot measures in 2024

Washington — excited by the results of Ballot Measures in Six States that raised the question abortion access For straight voters this election cycle, reproductive rights advocates are laying the groundwork to push ballot initiatives that would enshrine abortion rights in more state constitutions in 2024.

Abortion rights advocates are eyeing 10 states where citizens can initiate amendments to their state constitutions and where abortion access is currently restricted as potential battleground states for ballot measures, although they admit conditions have to be ripe for it to grow which is often an expensive, lengthy operation. Before the voters take part in the voting.

“The work that is happening now is how do you think strategically about how the ballot measure fits into your broader set of priorities along with litigation, direct care through abortion funding, legislative advocacy and trying to change the balance of power are doing?” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, a progressive group that helped organize and support ballot measures. He added that they are not a “silver bullet”.

In two states, the process of placing proposed amendments on the ballot in 2024 is already underway. In Oklahoma, State Question 828, if ratified, would add a “right to reproductive liberty” to the state constitution. South Dakota’s abortion rights amendment would allow abortion through the first trimester of pregnancy. In the second trimester, the state can regulate abortion only if it is “reasonably” related to the health of the mother.

Activists have also begun examining whether the environment is right for initiatives in Ohio, Missouri and Colorado, according to Sarah Standiford, national campaign director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

He told CBS News, “The most important factor is where can this strategy help protect or provide access to care? And so certainly we’re interested in other strategies for those states where care is at risk.” Or already banned.” “Everything is on the table as we fight back, and now more than ever, from state courts to state homes to everyday citizens, we all have a role to play. We’ve seen the impact of our actions through the ballot—measure voting, and it’s that level of empowerment that will be needed to drive change in the years to come.”

Supreme Court’s June decision withdrawing the constitutional right to abortion The landscape changed for reproductive rights nationwide, as abortion policy decisions were returned to the states.

In the wake of the High Court overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, 18 states have restricted or outright banned abortion through gestational limits. abortion rights advocates have mounted a All-Hands-On Deck Effort To protect reproductive rights through state courts, state legislatures, and the ballot box.

Darcy McConnell places a door tag in support of Proposition 3 on a door on October 30, 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan.
Darcy McConnell places a door tag in support of Proposition 3 on a door on October 30, 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan.

Nick Antaya for The Washington Post via Getty Images


Constitutional amendments, however, provide more durable protections, as they are protected from partisan changes within state houses or state courts That is now hearing legal challenges to abortion restrictions under state constitutions.

“Ballot measures, where they are available, provide citizens with an opportunity to get past ideological extremism, impasse, failure to govern, and, in this instance, to say, ‘Some rights are so fundamental, they deserve to be left out of the political arena. We want these rights to be durable, to last any politician’s term. It’s in our state constitution, it’s not up to you,” Hall said.

But pursuing a constitutional amendment, including a citizen-led initiative, requires a specialized approach based on factors such as voter attitudes, the composition of state courts and access to care.

“The path to restoring, preserving or even expanding access and equitable access to abortion has to run through the states right now, and that is because nonpartisan state legislatures have repeatedly failed to highlight our rights. We didn’t get here by accident, said Standiford, who is now hanging by a thread in many places. “The reality is there is no magic bullet, but state action is needed.”

For the 2022 midterm elections, abortion was directly on the ballot in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont. In California, Michigan and Vermont, voters approved state constitutional amendments protecting abortion rights.

In traditionally conservative Kansas, Kentucky and Montana, voters rejected proposals to restrict access to abortion, giving abortion rights supporters significant victories worked to defeat Measure.

“Those results are further evidence of what we already know to be true, which is what we want to protect reproductive freedom in this country,” Carolyn Ehrlich, senior political strategist for the ACLU, told CBS News. “We see a lot of promise in appealing directly to voters who are clearly with us on issues where the legislature can be a roadblock to progress” as a roadmap to protect abortion.

Following the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the constitutional right to abortion, several Democratic candidates made it a centerpiece of their campaigns in the hope that the threat of abortion access would be a motivator for voters.

focused on abortion Inspire Democratic voters, The “red wave” as the party predicted – stopped the Republicans won a small majority in the house more than expected – and kept control of the Senate. Voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania ranked abortion access as their top concern.

The results proved that the backlash in response to the Supreme Court ruling will carry through to the midterm elections and elevate Democrats, though it remains to be seen whether abortion will remain a motivator in 2024.

But the Fairness Project’s Hall said she expects momentum in favor of abortion rights to continue as the effects of state restrictions are felt in the coming years.

“I don’t think what’s stirring voters on the abortion issue is the candidate campaign cycle or the media news cycle. It’s the actual obliteration of choice and reproductive freedom rights in the 18 states where abortion is banned, where people Already facing therapy.” Risk, economic devastation and trying to find ways across state lines to take care of them,” she said. “The problem is only compounding with time. People in the South in states like Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas are facing the reality that what this means month after month is not going to slow down.”

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