Washington – Voters in disputed Michigan enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution on Tuesday, as they did in California, Vermont and Kentucky.
The votes were held months after the Supreme Court struck down the Roe v. Wade precedent and the constitutional right to abortion that had hitherto been guaranteed to women across the country. The decision in June has prompted near total vetoes in nearly a dozen states.RELATED
In Michigan, advocates of holding a referendum to protect abortion rights gathered more signatures than any other ballot initiative in state history. The rule definitively ends a ban on abortion introduced in 1931, which was blocked by a judge but another court could reactivate. The initiative also recognizes the right to make decisions without interference in relation to pregnancy, abortion and other reproductive services such as contraception.
On the campus of Michigan State University, third-year student Devin Roberts said students seemed “enraged” and that he had seen lines of voters leaving the university’s polling places throughout the day. The abortion issue was one of the main mobilizing factors, he said.
“There’s a lot of energy on campus right now about Proposition 3, whether you agree with abortion or not,” Roberts said. “I think students want to have the same rights that their parents had when they were young.”
Some two-thirds of American voters said abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to AP VoteCast, a broad survey of more than 90,000 voters nationwide. Just one in 10 said that abortion should be illegal in all cases.
About 6 in 10 also said they were angry or unhappy with the Supreme Court’s decision, compared with fewer who said they were happy or satisfied.
James Miller, 66, of Flint, Michigan, said he had his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters in mind when he voted for the measure.
“I think we should do the right thing for women,” she said. “It’s your body, it’s your privacy.”
Michelle Groesser, of Swartz Creek, Michigan, said she opposes abortion, though she thinks any ban would likely have a few exceptions. “In a perfect world, I personally want all life to be preserved,” she said.
Critics argued that Michigan’s measure could affect other state laws, such as the one that requires parents to be notified when a person under 18 has an abortion. Legal experts noted that changes to other laws would only come if someone sues and wins, a process that could take years and has no guarantee of success.
Still, the message seemed to have convinced some voters in Michigan, like Brian Bauer, 64, of Mundy Township, who said the proposal was confusing and had voted against it.
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Bauer was against abortion, although he accepted some exceptions, saying that “nobody is willing to include any concessions, it is a yes or no vote”.
In Montana, for its part, it was proposed to impose resuscitation attempts on newborns under the threat of criminal sanctions, even in the unusual situation of birth after an attempted abortion.
The result in Kentucky represents a rejection of the Republican-majority state legislature, which has imposed a nearly complete ban on abortion and put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. The result was similar to what happened in August in another Republican state, Kansas, where voters refused to change the state Constitution to allow lawmakers to tighten restrictions or ban abortions.
“As we saw in Kansas a few months ago, and in many other states last night, this is not a partisan issue,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “People are motivated and don’t want politicians to control their bodies and futures.”
Kentucky voter Jim Stewart, 71, said he had voted for Paul, whom he described as “the only one on television who says anything that makes sense.”
Stewart, who is registered as a Republican, said he opposed abortion but had voted against the amendment. “You have to leave some choice here.”
Al Smith, 83, voted in favor. “I don’t believe in abortion at all, under any circumstances,” he said. The two spoke at an elementary school in Simpsonville, a small town outside of Louisville.
The abortion issue was raised in Vermont after the state legislature passed a law in 2019 guaranteeing reproductive rights such as getting pregnant and access to birth control. Advocates for the Reproductive Freedom Voting Committee said Rue’s repeal meant “state-level protections are vital to safeguarding access to reproductive health care.”
California has already passed several measures aimed at making abortion easier and has set aside millions of taxpayer dollars to help pay for abortion travel. Voters decided whether to approve language that would explicitly guarantee access to abortion and contraception in the state constitution.
Voters in Montana were being asked whether to create criminal charges for medical personnel unless they do everything “medically reasonable and appropriate” to save a baby’s life after delivery, including the rare possibility of a miscarriage. after an attempted abortion.