November 10, 2022

3 Successful Ballot Proposals will Create State Rights to Abortion

Voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont voted "yes" on ballot proposals that will enshrine abortion as a right in each of those states' constitutions.

California's Proposition 1 is expected to pass. As of Wednesday evening (with 42% of votes reported), 65% of voters voted to approve the amendment. The proposed amendment would create a constitutional right to abortion and contraception. The state previously protected some children after 24 weeks gestation, but now all unborn children in California will be vulnerable to legal abortion at all stages of development.

Michigan's Proposal 3 was declared to have passed by a vote of 55.4% to 44.6% with 84% of the vote counted on Wednesday morning. The proposal creates constitutional rights to abortion and contraception. As its proponents have stated, it will surely be used to override Michigan's 1931 law that would have banned abortion in Michigan with the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

Additionally, it prohibits the state from “penaliz[ing], prosecut[ing], or otherwise tak[ing] adverse action against an individual based on their actual, potential, perceived, or alleged pregnancy outcomes.” Opponents argue that the amendment prohibits law enforcement from investigating infanticide because doing so is an "adverse action" against a "perceived pregnancy outcome."

Proposal 3 does allow the state to limit abortion after viability at around 24 weeks. It should be noted that babies born as young as 21 weeks have survived with medical assistance.

Vermont's Proposal 5 passed. As of Wednesday evening, the vote was 77.2% in favor, and 22.8% opposing. The amendment states, “That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.” This would allow abortion at all stages of development if the mother feels that giving birth will prevent her from determining her "own life course."

Kentucky's Amendment 2, on the other hand, failed. As of Wednesday evening, the vote was 52.4% opposing, and 47.6% in favor. This amendment would have declared that the Kentucky constitution does not contain a right to an abortion, nor does it require the state to fund abortion. This initiative would prevent activist judges from creating a state right to abortion without legislative support.