Voters Protect Abortion Rights in Post-Roe Elections in California, Michigan and Vermont

Voters Protect Abortion Rights in Post-Roe Elections in California, Michigan and Vermont

Photo illustration of a fist in the air surrounded by medical crosses and ballot paper patterns

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The first major election of the post-Roe era brought new protections for abortion rights, as voters in three states approved moves to add constitutional protections guaranteeing access to the procedure.

Driving the news: California, Michigan and Vermont have backed ballot measures that effectively block state lawmakers from passing bans.

  • Kentucky voters have rejected a proposed amendment that says a constitutional right to abortion does not exist in the state, the Associated Press reported, delivering a surprise victory for abortion rights in the stronghold. red.

State of play: Projected results send a “powerful and positive statement” that the public believes “this health care service must remain legal and accessible,” said Elisabeth Smith, director of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

  • Without Roe, “state constitutions are now the best way to protect abortion rights and ensure access,” Smith added.

The other side: Ballot initiatives are not the forte of anti-abortion groups, which they say is because abortion rights organizations have spent more money on political ads.

  • Anti-abortion groups tend to be more successful when a candidate is involved “because we have an advocate that we don’t have to pay for on our side,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro. -Life America, one of the largest anti-abortion organizations in the United States

The big picture: Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate have focused on the midterm elections, drawing attention to how states can have the final say in the absence of federal protections.

  • “To see the court step in in this way and override rights that people thought were guaranteed means then people see that they need their policymakers to reflect their real values,” said senior state policy analyst Elizabeth Nash. for the Guttmacher Institute.
  • Without Roe, abortion has become “part of political discourse in a way that it simply hasn’t been” in the past, Nash added.

Do not forget : While the common narrative around abortion, especially among Republicans, is that it is now a state matter, the Supreme Court’s opinion specifically gave “elected representatives” the power to regulate abortion.

  • This means that if state lawmakers have a say in the matter, so does the US Congress.

Enlarge: If Republicans regain control of at least one chamber, they should vote on some sort of nationwide abortion restriction or ban.


Voters approved a constitutional amendment to create a right to “reproductive freedom,” including protecting access to abortion in the state, the Associated Press reported.

The amendment — which takes effect 45 days after the election — effectively prevents enforcement of the state’s 1931 pre-Roe abortion ban, but it does not repeal it, according to Reproductive Freedom legal counsel Steven Liedel for All, which campaigned for Prop 3.

  • For a law to be repealed in Michigan, either the state legislature must take action, or citizens can initiate the process of initiative to repeal a law, or there can be executive branch action, as an opinion of the State Attorney General.

Voters in California – who already have a law protecting abortion before viability – have approved a state constitutional amendment, which states that a person has a “fundamental right to choose to have an abortion”, the report reported. ‘Associated Press.

  • The amendment protects an individual’s reproductive autonomy in general, holding that ”
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