WASHINGTON (AP) — Abortion was on the ballot in several states on Tuesday, months after the Supreme Court overturned abortion rights in a decision that led to near-complete bans in a dozen states.
The most intense focus has been on Michigan, where there has been a push on the presidential battlefield to protect abortion rights in the state constitution, and Kentucky, a GOP stronghold already under litigation over a restrictive law.
Voters in firmly Democratic California and Vermont also decided on measures that would enshrine such rights in their state constitutions.
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.
In Michigan, supporters of the measure garnered more signatures than any other ballot initiative in the state’s history.
If passed, the measure would end a 1931 ban on abortion for good. A state judge blocked the ban, but another court could reinstate it after the Roe v. Wade was lifted in June. The initiative would negate that ban and reaffirm 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.”
According to AP VoteCast, a comprehensive survey of over 90,000 voters nationwide, about two-thirds of US 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.
Michelle Groesser of Swartz Creek, Michigan, said she opposes abortion for any reason, although she believes any ban would likely have exceptions to save a woman’s life or if a young girl becomes pregnant.
“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.
While he’s opposed to abortion, Bauer believes there should be exceptions to save a mother’s life or when a young girl has become pregnant, “but no one is willing to compromise at all … it’s either a yes or no vote.” .”
In Kentucky, voters were considering a voting measure that would change the state constitution to make abortion illegal.
The Republican-controlled Legislature has already passed a near-total ban. The voting measure, if approved, would undermine legal arguments by abortion rights advocates who challenge abortion restrictions. The two sides are scheduled to meet in court 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 since the Roe decision, abortion rights supporters have 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 the Republican-controlled legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the process entirely.
Kentucky voter Jim Stewart, 71, a registered Republican, said he opposed 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. Both men spoke at an elementary school in Simpsonville, a small town outside of Louisville.
In Vermont, the issue of reproductive rights arose after the Legislature passed legislation in 2019 to ensure abortion rights.
California has already passed several policies aimed at making abortion more accessible and has allocated millions of taxpayer dollars to help fund some out-of-state abortion trips. Voters debated agreeing to language that explicitly guarantees access to abortion and contraception in the state constitution.
Associated Press writer Tammy Webber of Flint, Michigan and Rebecca Reynolds of Simpsonville, Kentucky contributed.
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