Voters in trusty red Kentucky rejected a ballot measure that aimed to deny any state constitutional protections for abortion, while Michigan battlefield voters enshrined abortion rights in their state’s constitutions — joining Democratic California and Vermont in taking that step.
Kentucky’s result went against the state’s Republican-led legislature, which had imposed an almost complete ban on the procedure and put the state’s proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. It also mirrored what happened in another red state, Kansas, where voters in August rejected amendments to that state’s constitution to let lawmakers tighten restrictions or ban abortions.
The voting measures on Tuesday came months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion that guaranteed women across the country. The decision in June has resulted in near-total bans in a dozen states.
Supporters of the push to protect abortion rights in Michigan gathered more signatures than any other voting initiative in state history to get it before voters. It puts an end to a 1931 abortion ban that was blocked in court but could have been revived. It also affirms the right to make pregnancy-related decisions about abortion and other reproductive services such as birth control without interference.
On the Michigan State University campus, junior Devin Roberts said the students seemed “excited” and that he had seen rows of voters walk out of the school’s polling stations all day. The ballot measure was one of the main drivers of the high turnout, he said.
“There’s a lot of energy for Prop 3 on campus right now, whether you agree with abortion or not,” Roberts said. “I think students want to have the same rights as their parents when they were younger.”
Nationwide, about two-thirds of voters say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to AP VoteCast, a comprehensive survey of more than 90,000 voters nationwide. Only about 1 in 10 say abortion should be illegal in all cases.
About 6 in 10 also say the Supreme Court’s abortion decision made them dissatisfied or angry, compared to fewer people who say they are happy or content.
James Miller, 66, of Flint, Michigan, said he was thinking of his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters when he voted for the measure.
“I think we have to do the right thing for women,” he said. ‘It’s her body; it’s her privacy.”
Michelle Groesser, of Swartz Creek, Michigan, said she opposes abortion, even though she believes a ban will likely have some minor exceptions. “In a perfect world, I personally would like all life to be preserved,” she said.
Opponents have argued that the Michigan measure could have far-reaching implications for other laws in the state, such as one requiring parental notification of an abortion for anyone under the age of 18. Legal experts say changes to other laws would only happen if someone sues. tightened and won, a process that can take years and has no assurance of success.
Still, the message seemed to resonate with some Michigan voters, including Brian Bauer, 64, of Mundy Township, who said the proposal was confusing and voted against.
Bauer is an abortion opponent who supports some limited exceptions, “but no one is willing to compromise…it’s a yes or no vote.”
Voters in Montana, meanwhile, also considered newborn CPR requirements with possible criminal penalties, including the rare instance of attempted abortion.
Kentucky lawmakers added the proposed amendment to the ballot last year, a move some believed would drive more conservative voters to the polls. But after the Roe decision, abortion rights supporters raised nearly $1.5 million to fight it.
Early results indicated that thousands of Kentucky voters who voted GOP Sen. Rand Paul for reelection, opposed the abortion amendment.
At an elementary school in Simpsonville, a small town outside of Louisville, 71-year-old voter Jim Stewart said he voted for Paul, calling him “the only one on TV that makes sense.”
Stewart is a registered Republican and is against abortion, but voted against the amendment anyway. “You have to have a bit of choice there.”
Al Smith, 83, voted yes: “I don’t believe in abortion at all, under any circumstances,” he said.
The issue of reproductive rights in Vermont came after the legislature passed a law in 2019 guaranteeing reproductive rights, including getting pregnant and having access to birth control. Supporters of the Reproductive Liberty Ballot Committee said Roe’s overthrow meant that “state-level protection is vital to ensure access to reproductive health care.”
California had already taken several steps to facilitate access to abortion and set aside millions of taxpayer dollars to help pay for some out-of-state abortion trips. On Tuesday, voters approved language that would explicitly guarantee access to abortion and birth control in the state constitution.
The question for Montana voters was whether criminal penalties should be introduced for health care providers unless they do everything “medically appropriate and reasonable” to save a baby’s life after birth, including the rare possibility of birth following an attempted abortion. .