Five states have abortion referendums on the ballot
of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June, it initially looked as if it could change Democratic fortunes in this year’s midterm elections, giving the party a spirited issue even as inflation remains high and President Biden’s approval ratings remain low.
That momentum was clear in August, when voters in deep-red Kansas rejected the proposed amendment state constitution that would allow lawmakers to impose restrictions on abortion.
But The Republicans got the upper hand as voters expressed concerns about inflation and the economy. Democrats are gearing up for a red wave in the houseand control of the Senate depends on close contests.
Regardless, abortion remained a hot topic ahead of Election Day. Races for Governor and Legislature in several countries may have implications for future abortion laws. And in five states, abortion is directly on the ballot.
Here are the states where abortion referendums will be decided on Election Day.
Michigan’s Reproductive Freedom for All proposal would protect the right to make decisions about “all matters relating to pregnancy” in the state, where a 1931 law that would have made abortion illegal blocked from taking effect by a court ruling earlier this fall.
The proposal would allow the state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, which is usually around 24 weeks, except when abortions are medically necessary to protect the “physical or mental health” of the woman. The law from 1931 provides no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother, and doctors who perform the procedure face up to 15 years in prison.
Voters will decide whether to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution. Separately, California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, invited Hollywood companies stop filming in states like Oklahoma and Georgia, which have stricter abortion laws, and recently signed a package of 12 bills aimed at strengthening abortion rights in the state, where the procedure is allowed until the fetus is viable.
Kentucky voters will be asked to approve an overhaul of the state constitution to make it clear that it does not protect abortion rights. It is a safeguard against potential legal challenges to the state existing law restricting abortionwhich took effect during the summer.
The ballot initiative will not affect the typical approach to abortion in a state where the procedure is permitted until viability or if necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the mother.
Instead, the measure would require mandatory medical interventions to save what the state defines as “born alive” infants — which can include fetuses diagnosed as non-viable — and establish criminal penalties for health care providers who refuse to intervene.
The Reproductive Freedom Amendment, if passed, would enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution. Abortion is already legal in the state, with no time limit, and will continue to do so even if the amendment fails.
Lauren McCarthy contributed to the reporting.
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