Washington — Abortion rights have emerged among the top issues motivating voters this election cycle after the Supreme Courtconstitutional And in some states, questions deciding the future of abortion access will be on the ballot next month.
November’s elections will decide which party controls the House and Senate, and the race for the Senate, And Voters who consider this issue to be very important favor Democratic candidates over their Republican opponents, a recent poll conducted by CBS News found.
But in five other states, the issue of abortion will be directly in front of voters when they go to the polls in November and in addition to casting their votes for federal and state offices, they will focus on ballot initiatives that seek to protect either The right to restrict abortion or access.
The ability of state lawmakers to pass new abortion measures to amend state constitutions to either limit or restrict abortion access, and while some state courts have interpreted state constitutions as protecting abortion rights , those decisions can be reversed. Constitutional amendments, however, would explicitly declare the respective state constitutions to protect – or not protect – abortion rights.
After the Supreme Court dismissed Roe v. Wade, Kansas was the first state to put the question of abortion rights to voters when it included in the ballot for the August primaries, which excluded abortion rights from the Kansas Constitution. The removal included a proposed constitutional amendment.
voters in the stateand preserved state constitutional protection, a significant victory for abortion rights advocates working across the country to protect abortion rights.
Come November, voters in three states — California, Michigan and Vermont — will decide whether to enshrined abortion rights in their respective state constitutions, while in two others — Kentucky and Montana — proposals on the ballots for abortion rights. want to limit.
Known as Proposition 1, the measure, if approved, would amend the California Constitution to include the right to reproductive freedom, which includes the right to choose an abortion and the right to contraceptives.
If approved by voters, a new clause would be added to the state’s constitution that says, “the state shall not deny or interfere with the reproductive freedom of any person in its most intimate decisions, including their fundamental right to choose abortion.” and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.”
But even if voters disapprove of the initiative, abortion will remain legal in California. The state’s Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion under the state’s constitution since 1969, and abortion is protected under state law.
Michigan’s ballot initiative, Proposition 3, proposes an amendment to the state constitution to establish a new individual right to “reproductive freedom.” The measure will include the following:
- Establish the right to make and make all decisions regarding pregnancy, including prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, abortion and infertility;
- Allow the state to regulate abortion after the viability of the fetus, usually between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, but does not prohibit abortion if it is medically necessary to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health is required;
- refuse to prosecute a person for the exercise of a newly established right to reproductive freedom or a person assisting pregnant women;
- invalidate existing state laws that oppose constitutional amendments
The Reproductive Freedom for All campaign led the signature campaign to get the initiative on the November ballot, but the four-member board of canvassers of MichiganOn allowing the inclusion of the measure in August. Two Democrats on the board voted in favor, while two Republicans opposed putting the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot.
The Reproductive Freedom for All campaign appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which in September ordered the initiative on the November ballot.
While Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, supports abortion rights, with the state having a 1931 law on the books that makes abortion a felony in most cases. The ban remained dormant for nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court established the constitutional right to abortion in 1973, but the High CourtIn June, it paved the way for the state’s 1931 abortion law to go into effect.
Although Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel vowed not to enforce the ex-roe ban, Planned Parenthood of Michigan and an abortion provider in the state sued in April, arguing that the 1931 law was unconstitutional and a violation of the state’s constitution. does.
In September, a state court judgeThe 90-year-old ban, calling it a violation of the Michigan Constitution.
Vermont is proposing amendments to the state constitution that would establish the right to “individual reproductive autonomy.”
The initiative, named Article 22, states that “the right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the freedom and dignity to determine the course of one’s life and shall not be denied or infringed upon by the least restrictive means”. not justified by a compelling state interest.”
Abortion is still legal in Vermont, as the state legislature passed and the governor signed into law 2019, which protected abortion rights and prohibited the state from interfering with or prohibiting a person’s choice to terminate a pregnancy. stopped. State lawmakers also approved Proposition 5 that year, beginning the process of amending the state’s constitution to protect access to abortion.
Both houses of the state legislature approved the motion again this year, paving the way for the initiative to vote in front of voters next month.
Kentucky voters will decide in November whether to amend the state’s constitution to declare it does not protect abortion rights and restrict state funding for abortions.
Constitutional Amendment 2 asks voters whether they are in favor of changing the Kentucky Constitution to create a new clause that states that “in order to protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall protect or preserve the right to abortion.” shall not be deemed to require funds for performing or abortion.”
Kentucky’s Republican-controlled General Assembly approved a measure to enact a proposed constitutional amendment to voters in 2021. The state legislature also approved a “trigger” law banning nearly all abortions in the state in the event of a reversal of the row, as well as a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion clinics challenged both restrictions, and in July, a state court judge restrained the state from implementing the two measures, finding they violated the rights to privacy and self-determination protected by the Kentucky Constitution.
But a Kentucky appealed courtFor now making most abortions illegal in the state.
Montana voters will weigh in in a legislative referendum adopting the Born-Alive Child Protection Act, which declares babies born alive after abortion to be legal persons. The bill also imposes criminal penalties on health care providers who do not take “medically appropriate and appropriate action” to preserve the lives of these infants.
The measure states that a living infant is one who “after complete expulsion or extraction from the mother, breathes, has a beating heart, or has a definite movement of voluntary muscles.” The resolution also establishes that “an infant born is entitled to medically appropriate care and treatment.”
If approved by voters, the law will take effect January 1, and medical providers found guilty of violating the measure will face fines of up to $50,000 or up to 20 years in state prison.
Montana law allows abortions to be performed until the viability of the fetus, and the state’s Supreme Court held in 1999 that the right to personal privacy is included in the Montana constitution’s right to “reproductive autonomy” that protects the right to abortion.
The state legislature enacted several abortion limits in 2021, including a 20-week abortion ban, a ban on drug abortion, and a requirement for ultrasound. But in August the Montana Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that temporarily blocks the three sanctions while proceedings continue.
A 2016 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that examined infant deaths for a 12-year period from 2003 to 2014 where the code for termination of pregnancy is mentioned in the death certificate found that 143 “certain can be classified as involving an induced termination.”
Terms reported on death certificates, which indicate an induced termination of pregnancy, range from abortion for maternal medical reasons to elective abortion to attempted self-abortion, to induced loss of pregnancy.
Additionally, there are existing laws on the books at the federal and state levels that will protect babies as they are born and potentially apply to medical providers who withhold care.