In the 2022 election, Michigan, California, and Vermont voters successfully passed abortion protection referendums, while Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana voters rejected anti-abortion ballot measures. This outcome proved to abortion advocates that it is possible to prevent abortion restrictions from spreading across the nation post-Roe. Currently, there are 12 pro-abortion referendums in various stages of the ballot initiative process for the 2024 election. As of now, two referendums have been officially placed on the ballot, one in Maryland and one in New York.
On the 2024 Ballot
The Maryland Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment would add the fundamental right to reproductive freedom to the Maryland Constitution’s Declaration of Rights. Maryland currently allows abortions in the state but wants to ensure that abortion rights remain unchallenged by placing the right to an abortion firmly in the state’s constitution.
The New York Equal Protection of Law Amendment would amend the already existing Equal Protection Clause. If passed, the amendment would prohibit discrimination based on “ethnicity, national origin, age, [and] disability,” and “sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy.” The added language in the amendment offers a much-needed clarification. If the amendment is passed, those seeking abortions in the state of New York cannot be criminalized or discriminated against based on their pregnancy outcome. It would protect pregnant people against any adverse government actions, which have been happening all around the country since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022.
Qualified for the Ballot
The Florida Right to Abortion Initiative would provide individuals in Florida the constitutional right to an abortion before 24 weeks of pregnancy or when necessary to protect the patient’s health.
- The Arizona Right to Abortion Initiative would establish a fundamental right to abortion.
- The Colorado Right to Abortion and Health Insurance Coverage Initiative would prohibit the government from denying an individual the right to an abortion and would cover abortion services under health insurance plans.
- The Missouri Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment would amend the Missouri Constitution to allow for “the right to make and carry out decisions about all matters relating to reproductive health care.”
- The Nebraska Right to an Abortion Initiative would establish the right to an abortion until fetal viability.
- South Dakota Right to an Abortion Amendment would regulate abortion based on trimester.
Pending official review
The Arkansas Right to Abortion Initiative would prevent restrictions on abortion within 18 weeks of conception, in cases of rape, incest, or fetal anomalies, and in cases that protect the mother.
The Maine Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment has been proposed as an amendment to Maine’s constitution.
Determined to be “legally insufficient”
The Montana Right to Abortion Initiative would have amended the state constitution to allow individuals to make decisions about their own pregnancy.
There are also 6 anti-abortion referendums in various stages of the ballot initiative process for the 2024 election.
Cleared for Signature Gathering
- The Colorado Abortion Ban Initiative would define a “living human child” as human from conception, prohibit abortion, and criminalize performing abortion.
- Iowa No State Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment would amend the constitution to state that individuals have no right to abortion and that there will be no public funding for abortion in the state.
Nebraska Prohibit Abortion Procedures and Drug Initiatives would prohibit abortion except in cases that would preserve the life of the mother.
- The Missouri Regulations Regarding Abortion Amendment has six different amendments with various wordings, but all are anti-abortion amendments.
- Pennsylvania No State Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment would amend the constitution to say that there’s no tax-payer funded abortion or any abortions
- Wisconsin 14-Week Abortion Measure would prohibit abortion after 14 weeks of gestation.
Protecting abortion rights through ballot referendums is a key strategy in safeguarding bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. The outcomes of recent elections, where voters have upheld measures regarding abortion access even in seemingly conservative states, underscore the significance of this issue. Advocating for and restoring abortion rights is not just a matter of policy; it is a fundamental step towards creating a more just and equitable society for all.