Five States Ramp Up Campaigns in Abortion Law Votes

Abortion Referendums across America are seeing extensive campaigns being organized by both sides, The Guardian reports

After the Supreme Court obliterated the federal constitutional right to an abortion, some states have completely banned the procedure. Others have put it to a vote. 

When the deep-red state of Kansans voted overwhelmingly to protect abortion this summer, the 59-41 referendum margin sent shockwaves through the country. 

Now five similar ballot initiatives are approaching the November midterm elections. 

Kentucky, Montana, California, Vermont, and Michigan will take to the voting booths to determine the future of reproductive rights in their states. 

Kentucky and Montana are red states like Kansas. In these states, Republicans and anti-choice groups brought the initiative to the ballots with the aim of removing abortion protections from state constitutions.

The states’ anti-choice campaigners say the Kansas loss was an outlier because the language on the ballot in that referendum was too confusing for the result to be reflective of Kansans’ beliefs. Experts on the matter say that while Kansas is red, it still believes in reproductive rights.  

The Kentucky ballot will ask voters to agree with the statement: “Nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

While Kentucky is reliably Republican, its supreme court does not yet clearly lean one way on abortion rights. And the issue will ultimately land on the desk of the state supreme court, who will decide, one week after the referendum, whether the current abortion ban is viable. 

In Montana, Republicans are pushing an even more confusingly worded measure, promising severe penalties on doctors who deliver “born-alive infants”, including criminalization and fines of up to $50,000. Experts worry the wording of the ballot could confuse people in a red state where the electorate is nonetheless largely in favor of abortion rights.

Montana’s supreme court has ruled that the state constitution’s right to privacy protects the right to abortion, so a yes vote for this ballot would not explicitly ban the procedure.

Two states where abortion ballots are expected to have a pro-choice result are California and Vermont. 

In these two states, abortion rights groups are hoping not just to protect, but to expand pre-existing protections for abortion and other reproductive rights.

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