November 28, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voters in the Michigan battlefield on Tuesday enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution, reliably joining Democratic California and Vermont in taking the step. An anti-abortion campaign in Kentucky was too early to call.

The voting action came months after the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade and repealed the constitutional right to abortion that guaranteed women nationwide. The June decision led to near-total bans in a dozen states.

Montana voters also considered newborn resuscitation requirements with possible criminal penalties, including the rare case of attempted abortion.

In deeply conservative Kentucky, the ballot measure would change the state constitution to make abortion illegal. The Republican-controlled legislature has already enacted a near-total ban on abortion. The measure would not change that, but the results could overshadow the legal battle, which is returning to a courtroom a week after Election Day.

Lawmakers added the proposed change to the ballot last year, a move some thought would spur more conservative voters to the polls. But after the Roe decision, abortion advocates raised nearly $1.5 million to fight it. They hoped to repeat the surprise result this summer in conservative Kansas, where voters overwhelmingly rejected a similar amendment that would have allowed new bans or restrictions.

Initial feedback showed that thousands of Kentucky voters who supported GOP Sen. Rand Paul for re-election opposed the abortion amendment.

At an elementary school in Simpsonville, a small town outside of Louisville, voter Jim Stewart, 71, said he voted for Paul, calling him “the only one who makes sense on TV.”

Stewart is a registered Republican and anti-abortion, but still voted no to the amendment. “You have to have a small selection.”

Al Smith, 83, voted yes: “I don’t believe in abortion at all, under any circumstances,” he said.

According to AP VoteCast, a comprehensive poll of over 90,000 voters nationwide, about two-thirds of voters say abortion should be legal in most or all cases. 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 unhappy or angry, compared with fewer who say they were happy or satisfied.

In Michigan, supporters of the push to protect abortion rights collected more signatures than any other ballot initiative in the state’s history to get before voters.

The measure will finally end a 1931 ban on abortion. A state judge blocked the ban, but another court could reinstate it. The initiative will negate that ban and affirm the right to make pregnancy-related decisions about abortion and other reproductive services like birth control without interference.

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 should do the right thing for women,” he said. “It’s her body; it is their privacy.”

Michelle Groesser, of Swartz Creek, Michigan, said she is opposed to abortion, although she believes any ban would likely have some narrow exceptions. “Personally, in a perfect world, I would want all life to be preserved,” she said.

Opponents have claimed the Michigan measure could have far-reaching implications for other laws in the state, such as B. One that requires parental notification of an abortion for those under the age of 18. Legal experts say changes to other laws would only happen if someone sued and won. a process that can take years and has no certainty 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 anti-abortion advocate who supports some limited exceptions, “but no one is willing to compromise at all … it’s either a yes vote or a no vote.”

The issue of reproductive rights in Vermont arose after the legislature passed legislation in 2019 guaranteeing reproductive rights, including pregnancy and access to contraception. Supporters of the Reproductive Liberty Ballot Committee said Roe’s ouster meant that “protective action at the state level is vital to ensure access to reproductive health care.”

California had already passed several policies aimed at increasing access to abortion and allocated millions of taxpayer dollars to help fund some out-of-state abortion trips. On Tuesday, voters approved language that explicitly guarantees access to abortion and contraception in the state constitution.

The question for Montana voters was whether health care providers should be prosecuted if they don’t do everything “medically appropriate and reasonable” to save a baby’s life after birth, including the rare possibility of birth after an attempted abortion.


Associated Press writer Tammy Webber of Flint, Michigan and Rebecca Reynolds of Simpsonville, Kentucky contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections.

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