Kansas’ clear rejection of an amendment in August (59% opposed) that would have prohibited all abortions was, it seems, a bellwether for the five ballot initiatives voted on Tuesday during the mid-elections.
Even as the status of both the House and Senate remain uncertain, voters affirmed their support for legal access to abortion in five states and rejected legislative interference in healthcare decisions. In fact, the votes closely mirrored a recent Pew Research poll in which nearly two-thirds (61%) of adults in the U.S. support keeping abortion legal in all or most cases, while only 37% think abortion should be illegal.
In three states—California, Vermont, and Michigan—voters supported amendments to their constitutions to affirm the right to abortion.
- California’s Right to Reproductive Freedom amendment states that the “state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom” which includes the right to have an abortion and to use or refuse contraceptives. (65.1% to date supported)
- Vermont’s Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment upholds “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy.” (77% to date supported)
- Michigan’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative states that “Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” thereby nullifying a 1931 law banning abortion in the state. (56% to date supported)
In Kentucky, which has a near-total ban on abortion, voters rejected (52% to date supported) a state constitutional amendment that would have prohibited the right to abortion under any circumstance.
While abortion is currently legal in Montana, voters were asked to consider a ballot initiative requiring that any infant “born alive,” at any stage of gestation be considered a legal citizen, and criminalizing healthcare providers who do not comply. The vote, as of Wednesday evening, was 52.2% opposed with 87% of votes tallied.
These initiatives uphold individual reproductive rights, despite the U.S. Supreme Court decision to remove a federally constituted right to abortion, indicates that the majority of Americans from a broad cross-section of the nation view abortion access as a healthcare right and a private matter.
While legislators across the country as seeking to prohibit, and even criminalize, a person’s right to make reproductive decisions, Americans are making it clear that decisions revolving around reproductive care are best left to the individual in consultation with their healthcare practitioner.
These results are a validation of AMWA’s efforts over the past few months to push back against governmental intrusion on healthcare decisions. AMWA remains committed to protecting reproductive rights and supporting the ability of physicians to deliver evidence-based care without legislative interference.
While these successes offer a ray of hope, there are many more legislative actions being sought or under consideration in nearly a dozen states in the next two years. More voices are needed as we set a course to continue support of reproductive rights for patients and the freedom to provide reproductive care for physicians. Join our efforts.
- New York Equal Protection of Law Amendment (2023)
- Pennsylvania No State Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment (2023)
- Washington 15-Week Abortion Ban Initiative (2023)
- Washington Age of Consent to Receive Certain Health Services and Abortion Initiative (2023)
- Florida Right to Life of Preborn Individual Initiative (2024)
- Iowa No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment (2024)
- Nevada Parental Consent for Child’s Healthcare Decisions and Medical Records Access Initiative (2024)
- Nevada Parental Notification of Abortion Initiative (2024)
- Oklahoma State Question 825, Reproductive Rights Initiative (2024)
- South Dakota Right to Abortion Amendment (2024)