- Pro-choice advocates are working in multiple states to get abortion amendments on the ballot after the fall of Roe v. Wade in 2022.
- Ohio voters will vote on an amendment this fall that would make abortion legal up to birth if a physician determines it is necessary to protect the life of the mother, and activists in states like North Dakota, Oklahoma and Montana are in the early days of getting a draft amendment approved for a ballot vote.
- “The ballot measures put forward in states across the country are a coordinated effort on behalf of the abortion lobby to impose their extreme agenda on pro-life states,” Stephen Billy, vice president of state affairs for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Pro-choice activists in several states are attempting to put abortion amendments on the ballot that could enshrine the practice into law.
Lawmakers in multiple states have passed laws banning abortion at various stages since the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Pro-choice activists, however, are attempting to make headway to protect access in Ohio, Arizona, Nebraska, South Dakota and Florida by making abortion constitutionally protected.
Ohio’s proposed abortion amendment, which was introduced in February, would make the practice legal up to birth if a physician deems it necessary to protect the mother’s life, according to its text. GOP legislators introduced Issue 1 in May, which would have required proposed amendments to obtain a 60% threshold instead of just a simple majority, but it failedto pass during the Aug. 8 special election.
After the results in Ohio, Stephen Billy, vice president of state affairs for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the pro-life movement is learning from past mistakes and is preparing to push back against these initiatives.
“We have learned many lessons from our defeat in these fights, but the main takeaway is that we must define the issues at stake early and often with a simple message,” Billy said. “So far, in all of the state battles, our side has failed to take this approach, allowing the left and pro-abortion industry and allies to define the effort.”
Arizona activists filed paperwork on the same day as Ohio’s special election for an amendment that would allow an abortion to be performed up until birth if a doctor deems it necessary to protect the physical or mental health of the mother.
The state banned abortion after 15 weeks, unless there is a medical emergency, following the Supreme Court’s decision in 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to the legislation. The law also made it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in the state.
Nebraska appeared to follow Arizona’s lead after the political campaign committee “Protect Our Rights” submitted paperwork for an amendment to protect access to abortion, despite state legislators passing a 12-week ban in May, according to the Nebraska Examiner. The committee is still working on drafting specific language for the amendment, but it would require 10% of the registered voters in the state along with 5% of the registered voters being from 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties to get the measure put on the ballot.
Advocates in Florida have also been collecting signatures for an amendment, with organizers claiming in August that they had nearly half a million signees, according to NPR.
“As long as I have breath in my body, I’m going to continue to fight for freedom and liberation,” Trish Brown, who works with the grassroots organization Power Up People, told NPR. “I’m going to always continue to fight for being able to have control over my own body.”
Activists in South Dakota presented a proposal that would bar the state from creating restrictions on abortion before 13 weeks, and then would only allow some regulations, such as limiting abortions except in cases where the “physical health of the pregnant woman” is in danger, beyond 14 weeks, according to South Dakota News Watch. The measure is not supported by Planned Parenthood, which believes the measure is not far enough, according to The New York Times.
The amendments won’t make it onto this year’s ballots in the four states, but it could be a deciding issue for voters in 2024, according to the NYT. Several other states are still in the early stages of pushing abortion ballot initiatives; North Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Montana have made little official progress to get initiatives on the ballot.
“The ballot measures put forward in states across the country are a coordinated effort on behalf of the abortion lobby to impose their extreme agenda on pro-life states,” Billy told the DCNF. “We need political leaders and the movement to forcefully engage with these initiatives and we need to not only counter the deceitful messaging of liberal special interests but also the bias of the corporate media.”
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