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Kansas votes to preserve abortion rights: What other states will have similar votes this year?

The voters in Kansas shocked many with a major pro-choice victory. Where else is abortion on the ballot this fall?

Update:
The voters in Kansas shocked many with a major pro-choice victory. Where else is abortion on the ballot this fall?
Anadolu AgencyGetty

The voters in Kansas have been heard loud and clear: abortion rights must be protected.

In Tuesday’s primary, voters defeated a constitutional amendment that would repeal protections for abortion in the state.

The vote margin was shocking to many who thought that the ‘No’ vote would pass with a slight majority, if it did at all. Instead, with ninety-five percent of the vote tallied, 58.8 percent opposed the constitutional change. Not only is the seventeen-point lead astounding, but the turnout was historic for an off-year primary election. Local election officials have reported that preliminary numbers show turnout levels similar to the election of Barrack Obama in 2008.

In early voting, the state received more than 50,000 ballots from unaffiliated voters who felt strongly about casting a ballot when such fundamental rights were hanging in the balance.

In what others states is abortion on the ballot this fall?

Kansas voters are the only elecorate that will have a chance to enact or repeal abortion protections in their state.

California

Voters in the Golden State will have a chance to enshrine a right to abortion through Proposition 1 on election day, November 8th.

The Proposition amends the state constitution by adding language that protects an “an individual’s reproductive freedom […], which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.”

  • A vote Yes means that one supports the amendment
  • A vote No means that one opposes the amendment.

When the Public Policy Institute of California conducted a poll for Proposition 1, seventy-three percent of likely voters said they would cast their ballot in favor of the amendment.

Kentucky

In Kentucky, a state that has seen an extremely conservative abortion ban enacted, which prohibits the procedure after around six weeks and requires those seeking care to undergo ultra-sound and state-mandated counseling.

Voters will be asked one question:

“Are you in favor of amending the Constitution of Kentucky by creating a new Section of the Constitution to be numbered Section 26A to state as follows: To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion?”

  • A vote Yes means a voter supports the amendment
  • A vote No means a voter opposes the amendment

While no polling on the amendment has been undertaken thus far in the race, a 2019 poll by Public Policy Polling found that fifty-nine percent of Kentuckians supported the pro-choice position. This margin is similar to that garnered in the election in Kansas on the question of abortion.

Only seventeen percent of respondents said they would vote for a candidate who supported punishing those who sought abortion care by criminalizing abortion.

Montana

Montana, a traditionally purple state, has codified the right to abortion within the state constitution.

However, anti-abortion activists have proposed a new law that must be approved by voters that would enshrine “born-alive infants” with the right to receive medical care. The GOP has been trying to paint abortion activists as baby killers and often stoke fear around the idea of “post-birth abortions” or murder. Democrats do not support infanticide, which is already illegal in every state.

A Yes vote means that one approves three legislative changes:

  • Infants born alive are legal persons
  • Medical attention must be provided to infants born alive, even those born as a result of an attempted abortion.
  • A fine worth $50,000 and/or 20 years in prison can be established should a physical or medical professional deny care to infants born alive.

A No vote means that one opposes the law.

The GOP may be trying to undermine the constitutional protections to abortion, for if the law passes, they may be able to justify the possible overturning or judicial challenge based on popular opinion. However, that would be misleading, considering that the idea of infanticide is widely condemned across the political spectrum and has little to do with whether or not a person should have access to abortion care.

Vermont

In Vermont, votes will have the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would add an Article 22 to Section I of the state’s guiding document:

“That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”

A vote Yes means that one supports the constitutional amendment

A vote No means that one opposes the constitutional amendment.

Article 22 has bipartisan support by appealing to both Republican libertarians as well as Democrats.

What other states are considering this approach?

Michigan and Colorado have also considered adding a vote on abortion rights to their November ballot but no official confirmation has been made.

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