(LifeSiteNews) – Abortion friends and foes alike in five states have prepared ballot initiatives for the fall midterm elections to set new rules around abortions in the new legal landscape established by Roe v. Wade.
According to an overview by Axios, California, Michigan, and Vermont residents will vote on proposed amendments to their state constitutions that would enshrine a state-level “right” to legal abortion.
When the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in June’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the U.S. Constitution “makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” it restored states’ ability to decide their own abortion laws. Pro-abortion activists hope to prevent state legislatures from doing so by establishing new “rights” to abortion in state constitutions.
Kentucky, by contrast, will vote on a proposed amendment with the opposite effect: clarifying that its constitution does not “secure or protect a right to abortion, or require the funding of abortion.” Despite the Dobbs ruling, abortion allies have gone to court to try to block pro-life laws from taking effect in the Bluegrass State.
And Montana is putting to voters not a constitutional amendment but a proposed state law that would recognize the personhood of preborn babies who survive abortions and guarantee they be cared for. Republican state Rep. Matt Regier said that while the bill could have been handled by the normal legislative process, it was deemed “pivotal” enough to pose it “directly to the people.”
The Associated Press added that the measure calls on medical personnel to take “all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life” of the newborn in the event of a botched abortion, essentially extending the protections of the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002 to private clinics.
Many are currently uncertain how public opinion will react to the new abortion status quo, especially with it arriving just months before the midterm congressional elections. A proposed amendment to clarify the Kansas Constitution does not protect abortion failed at the ballot last month, thanks in part to pervasive misinformation about pro-life laws’ impact of women facing medical emergencies.
Properly gauging public opinion on abortion has long been hobbled by inconsistently or inaccurately-framed poll questions, popular misconceptions about what abortion laws and rulings have and have not done, and discrepancies between what voters think of the issue and how they prioritize it. Ultimately, a more accurate read of the issue will likely not become clear until voters’ reactions to newly-enforced state laws start being reflected in elections themselves.