Abortion ballot measures: These states have them in the midterm elections



CNN

Voters in a small number of states will decide in this week’s midterm elections how those states should handle the abortion issue. Abortion rights have become more important and a major focus in the midterm elections after the US Supreme Court ruled that there was no federal constitutional right to the procedure this summer.

In the August primary, Kansas became the first state in the nation to allow voters to weigh abortion in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Since overruling Wade, Kansans overwhelmingly chose to reject a state constitutional amendment that would have given state lawmakers the green light. help enact more restrictive abortion laws.

Four other states – California, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont – will consider ballot measures in November that seek to restrict abortion or protect abortion rights. In a fifth state, Michigan, a proposed initiative is currently in contention on the fall ballot.

Proposition 1 asks voters whether abortion rights are enshrined in the state constitution.

A “yes” vote would amend the California Constitution to state that “the state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in his or her most intimate decisions, including the fundamental right to choose abortion and the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception.”

A “no” vote would keep the state constitution intact, but abortion rights would remain protected under state law, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Today, the state constitution guarantees the right to privacy, and the California Supreme Court has ruled that it includes the right to abortion.

In May, following the leak of the draft opinion of the US Supreme Court, Democratic leaders of California Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a statement that they would propose an amendment “to make it so. without a doubt about the right to abortion in this state.”

The Democratic-controlled state legislature approved in June to put the amendment on the November ballot.

“Proposition 1 ensures that no matter what the future legislature, no matter what the future governor, the people of California have a constitutional protection that expressly guarantees that the state does not interfere with their right to reproductive freedom,” said Director Jodi Hicks. The head of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and head of the Yes on Prop 1 campaign told CNN.

The California Family Council said the proposed amendment is “an extreme and expensive proposal that does nothing to advance women’s health.” And the California Catholic Conference, which opposes Proposition 1, called it a “misleading ballot measure that allows unlimited late-term abortions, for any reason, at any time, even moments before birth, paid for with tax dollars.”

The Yes campaign on Proposition 1 said the proposal would not change “existing state constitutional protections and laws that provide the right to choose abortion before viability or to protect the life or health of the pregnant woman.”

If approved, the measure would take effect five days after the vote is verified.

Kentucky’s Amendment 2, which was voted down by the GOP-led legislature, seeks to amend the Kentucky Constitution to state that it does not “guarantee or protect any right” to have an abortion or the funding of an abortion.

The ballot question shall read: “Are you in favor of amending the Constitution of Kentucky by creating a new section of the Constitution, to be numbered Section 26A, to read: For the protection of human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be guaranteed or shall be deemed to guarantee the right to abortion or demand abortion funding?

Kentucky’s “trigger law,” which bans most abortions at all stages of pregnancy, and the law that bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy have agreed to be temporarily enforced while the lawsuit challenging the law continues.

Kentucky Right to Life Executive Director Addia Wuchner, who heads the Yes for Life Alliance, which supports the amendment, said a “yes” vote “would ensure that there is no false interpretation of the constitution.”

Without the amendment, “instead of lawmakers who properly reflect the will of the people, we would have the abortion industry take every law to court,” Wuchner said.

Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky state director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, said passing the amendment would “open the door to more attacks on abortion access,” but rejecting it would allow abortion rights advocates to “continue the fight” for six weeks. ban and trigger ban.

If approved, the change would take effect immediately after the election results are verified by the State Election Commission.

Montana has a legislative referendum on the ballot asking voters whether to pass the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which would impose criminal penalties on health care providers who fail to protect the lives of babies born during abortion. .

LR-131, if approved, would treat a “born alive” baby – defined as a baby at “any stage of development” who breathes, has a heartbeat or has definite voluntary muscle movement after expulsion or extraction. legal entity entitled to receive medical treatment.

A health care provider who violates this law would be guilty of a felony and could face up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000. The law would also require health care providers and clinics to report “noncompliance” to law enforcement.

A “yes” vote on the referendum would approve the act, and a “no” vote would reject it.

Montana currently prohibits abortions past viability – “the ability of a fetus to live outside the mother’s womb” – except to save the woman’s life or health.

The bill that put the referendum on the ballot was approved last year by the Republican-led legislature.

Proponents of the measure say the law is necessary to protect children born in attempted abortions, while opponents say the bill is unnecessary because there are existing laws that require attention.

Hillary-Anne Crosby, Montana’s Compassion for Families campaign coordinator and communications officer, said LR-131 “is zero in the delivery room and for families with complications in the delivery room, such as fatal fetal abnormalities.”

“It’s not uncommon for families to decide to induce labor so they can hold the baby for a few minutes, maybe have the family come and meet the new family member for a few moments while they’re still alive, and LR-131 throws a wrench in making that a viable option for healthcare workers to face crime.” without,” he told CNN.

If the referendum is approved, the law would enter into force on January 1, 2023.

Vermont voters will consider whether to approve a state constitutional amendment that abortion rights advocates would protect “each person’s right to make their own reproductive decisions,” including regarding pregnancy, abortion and birth control.

If the proposal is approved, the Vermont Constitution would be amended to read as follows: “The right of the individual to personal reproductive autonomy is fundamental to the freedom and dignity of determining the course of one’s life, and shall not be denied or violated unless justified by a credible State interest obtained through the least restrictive means.”

A “yes” vote would change the state constitution, while a “no” vote would maintain Vermont’s status quo, where abortion is legal at all stages of pregnancy.

The proposed amendment was first introduced by the Vermont Legislature in 2019.

The Vermont for Reproductive Liberty Ballot Committee, a coalition backing Section 22, says state-level protections are “essential to protecting access” now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Roe v. Because he has canceled Wade.

“It would mean that access to abortion is codified in the state constitution, and really the most important part of that is that it’s protected in the long term, which means that access will be there, no matter what our politicians do.” Sam Donnelly, the coalition’s campaign manager, told CNN.

Proponents and opponents of Article 22 say that if the amendment is passed, Vermont lawmakers would not be able to pass any restrictions or regulations on abortion in the future, because then it would be considered unconstitutional.

Mary Beerworth, executive director of the Vermont Right to Life Commission, which opposes the amendment, said the proposal goes “much further” than codifying abortion rights in the state constitution.

“Anything that pertains to your personal reproductive autonomy will range from surrogacy, three-parent embryos, designer babies, minors, possibly going on hormone blockers for transgender surgery without parental knowledge or consent,” she told CNN. . “It’s opening up a whole new world if it goes through here.”

If voters reject the amendment in November, Matthew Strong of Vermonters for Good Government said abortion would remain legal at nine months with virtually no restrictions, “which would mostly be a rejection of how extreme that view is.”

If the majority of voters approve the amendment, the effective date would be Election Day, November 8.

Abortion rights advocates in Michigan hope to put on the November ballot a constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion rights and ultimately block the decades-old abortion ban from going into effect.

The State Board of Canvassers, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, deadlocked 2-2 this week to approve the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot measure.

The group behind the ballot initiative filed a complaint with the Michigan Supreme Court seeking judicial intervention to allow the board and the Michigan secretary of state to put the issue on the ballot.

The campaign submitted more than the required number of signatures to the Michigan secretary of state to run on the November ballot. And the Michigan Office of Elections recommended in an Aug. 25 staff report that the commission approve the petition’s certification.

The last day for the November voting will be September 9.

The constitutional amendment would “establish an individual right to reproductive freedom, including the right to make and carry out all decisions related to pregnancy, such as prenatal care, delivery, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility.” his 100-word summary.

The amendment would allow states to regulate abortion after fetal viability, except when necessary to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health. It would also prohibit the state from prosecuting a person for having an abortion or performing an abortion, or from prosecuting someone who helps a pregnant person “exercise the rights established by this amendment.”