Abortion Lobby’s State Strategy Will Be Put To The Test In November

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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November ballot measures in several states will reveal if state-level constitutional amendments, the favorite post-Roe strategy of the abortion lobby, are an effective means of promoting legal abortion.

Voters in California, Kentucky, Michigan and Vermont will determine their states’ abortion policy by voting on proposed constitutional amendments. Kentucky’s amendment would clarify that the state’s constitution does not create a right to abortion, while ballots in the remaining states would create a constitutional right to abortion.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade in June prompted a battle in the states to determine abortion policy, and abortion advocates have come to view direct-vote ballot initiatives as their best chance at promoting legal abortion following a failed anti-abortion ballot measure in Kansas. These advocates are hopeful that Americans will choose legal abortion as they consider state-level ballot measures, even in red states. (RELATED: ‘Extensive Closures’ Of Abortion Clinics Undermine One Of Planned Parenthood’s Favorite Talking Points)

Michigan’s ballot initiative would make abortion up to the point of viability (generally determined to fall at around six months) a constitutional right and would not allow the state to restrict abortion even in the finals three months if pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s mental health. The measure comes amid a prolonged court fight over the state’s 1931 abortion ban: Two courts have temporarily blocked the pre-Roe law, and the constitutional amendment would formally overturn the law.

Kentucky’s proposed amendment would add text to the constitution explicitly stating that it does not confer a right to abortion or require state funding for abortions. The initiatives in California and Vermont would create a constitutional right to abortion.

National polls have found majority support for limiting abortion at 15 weeks or earlier, including 34% who think abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother in a WPA Intelligence poll. Only 25% of voters thought abortion should be legal up to viability or later.

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