November 28, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voters in faithfully red Kentucky rejected a ballot measure aimed at denying all state constitutional protections for abortion, while voters in battlefield Michigan enshrined abortion rights in their state’s constitution — aligning themselves with Democratic California and Connected Vermont to take this step.

The Kentucky result defied the state’s Republican-led Legislature, which imposed a near-total ban on the process and put the state’s proposed constitutional amendment to a vote. It also mirrored what happened in another red state, Kansas, where voters in August rejected an amendment to that state’s constitution to allow lawmakers to tighten restrictions or ban abortion.

Tuesday’s voting action came months after the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade and repealed the constitutional right to abortion that guaranteed women nationwide.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.

Supporters of the push to protect Michigan’s abortion rights collected more signatures than any other ballot initiative in the state’s history to get them before voters. It finally ends a 1931 abortion ban that had been blocked in court but could have been revived again. It also affirms the right to make pregnancy-related decisions about abortion and other reproductive services like birth control without interference.

On the Michigan State University campus, junior Devin Roberts said the students seemed “enthusiastic” and that he saw lines of voters pouring out of the school’s polling stations throughout the day. The voting measure is one of the main reasons for the high turnout, he said.

“There’s a lot of energy on campus right now for Prop 3, whether you’re ok with abortion or not,” Roberts said. “I think students want to have the same rights that their parents had when they were younger.”

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.

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.”

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

Kentucky 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 almost $1.5 million to fight it.

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.

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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