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2024 abortion state ballot initiative tracker

Following the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion rights has taken center stage in state-level politics. This has resulted in numerous state ballot initiatives being decided by voters this fall, many of which relate to abortion and either seek to protect or harm preborn children. As the legal landscape has shifted, both pro-life and pro-abortion advocates have increasingly turned to these initiatives as a means to advance their policy objectives. 

What is a ballot initiative?

A ballot initiative is a mechanism by which constituents can directly propose laws and constitutional amendments for a local or state government. Typically, this process is voted on by including it on the November ballot. Many states are now making progress to either include pro-life protections into state law or to oppose such pro-life measures, including amendments to codify pro-abortion laws into the state constitution. 

There are two primary methods by which ballot initiatives, such as a constitutional amendment, can be brought forth. The first requires a certain amount of signatures from citizens to be gathered, which varies between states. The second requires an initiative to be submitted to the state legislature, where legislators determine whether or not the measure makes it to the ballot.

As you will see in the below summaries, many states refer in their ballot initiatives to the term “fetal viability” to mean the age at which a preborn child can survive outside his/her mother’s womb. Currently, this age is estimated at 24 weeks of gestation, although this may fluctuate with future technological advancements.

Currently, several states already have abortion-related ballot initiatives, while others are still pending in the qualification process. Below is an overview of each state ballot initiative to be voted on this November:

On the ballot

COLORADO

What’s on the ballot: Colorado Right to Abortion – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative expands access to abortion by allowing health insurance plans, including government-funded plans, to cover abortions and enshrines a “right to abortion” in the state constitution.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirement to be on the ballot: 60% approval of voters to pass


FLORIDA

What’s on the ballot: Constitutional Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion

Summary: This ballot initiative amends the Florida constitution by barring the government from “prohibiting, penalizing, delaying, or restricting abortion” before fetal viability or to protect a woman’s health when a medical provider determines that it is necessary. This amendment would undo existing pro-life laws.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirement to pass: 60% approval of voters is required to pass


MARYLAND

What’s on the ballot: Maryland Right to Reproductive Freedom Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative establishes a “fundamental right” to abortion for women and prohibits the government from passing pro-life legislation that would restrict or burden this “right,” directly or indirectly. This amendment would further impede the enactment of pro-life laws.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirement to pass: 60% approval of voters required to pass


SOUTH DAKOTA

What’s on the ballot: South Dakota Right to Abortion Initiative – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative amends the state constitution to prohibit the government from enacting any pro-life policies to restrict abortion in the first trimester. It would also limit the government’s ability to protect life during the second and third trimesters and undo existing pro-life laws.

Result: Anti-Life, Pro-Abortion

Requirements to pass: 60% approval of voters to pass

Pending ballot status


ARIZONA

What’s on the ballot: Arizona Abortion Access Act – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative would establish a “fundamental right to abortion” and prevent the state from enacting pro-life policies before a preborn child has reached viability. Following fetal viability, the amendment also provides an exception to any pro-life laws if a doctor determines an abortion is necessary to preserve the “life or physical or mental health” of a pregnant individual. If passed, these measures would make it increasingly difficult for government officials to create and enforce pro-life laws.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirement to be on the ballot: 383,923 signatures are needed by July 3


ARKANSAS

What’s on the ballot: Arkansas Abortion Amendment of 2024 – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative would prevent state government from protecting preborn lives up until 18 weeks from conception and ensure access to abortion at all weeks in instances of rape, incest, the diagnosis of a fatal fetal anomaly, and when needed to protect the physical health or life of the mother. If passed, this would overturn current pro-life laws in the state.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirement to be on the ballot: 90,704 signatures needed by July 5


MISSOURI

What’s on the ballot: Right to Reproductive Freedom Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative establishes a woman’s “fundamental right” to abortion up to fetal viability. If passed, the government would only be able to enact pro-life laws that take effect after fetal viability, and the amendment would require that such laws must contain an exception for the physical and mental health of the mother.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirement to be on the ballot: 171,500 signatures needed by May 5


MONTANA

What’s on the ballot: Montana Right to Abortion – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative establishes a woman’s “right to abortion” in the state constitution and would prohibit pro-life laws from being implemented before the age of viability. Once a preborn child is considered viable, the state could then only protect life by restricting abortion if there are exceptions in place regarding the mother’s life and health. These changes will make it more difficult for future pro-life laws to be enacted.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirements to be on the ballot: 60,359 signatures by June 21


NEBRASKA  – 3 potential initiatives

What’s on the Ballot: Nebraska Right to Abortion – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This ballot initiative establishes a “fundamental right to abortion” in the state constitution up until the point of fetal viability and for any gestational period throughout the pregnancy when needed to protect the health or life of the mother. If passed, this initiative will undo existing pro-life laws currently in place, which protect life beginning at 12 weeks of gestation.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirements to be on the ballot: 120,000 signatures needed by July 5

What’s on the ballot: Nebraska Prohibits Abortions After the First Trimester Amendment – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative protects life during the second and third trimesters, with exceptions in instances of a medical emergency and cases of sexual assault or incest.

Result: Anti-abortion, Pro-life

Requirements to be on the ballot: 124,465 signatures needed by July 5.

What’s on the ballot: Prohibit Abortion Procedures and Drug Initiatives – State Law

Summary: This initiative creates a new law, referred to as the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act, that protects life by prohibiting surgical and chemical abortions, except when deemed necessary to save the life of the mother.

Result: Anti-abortion, Pro-life

Requirements to be on the ballot: 87,126 signatures needed by July 5


NEVADA

What’s on the ballot: Nevada Reproductive Rights Amendment – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative establishes a “fundamental right” to abortion in the state constitution up until the point of fetal viability, then at any gestational period to “protect, maintain or improve the health” or save the life of the mother. This initiative will further impede pro-life laws from being passed.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirements to be on the ballot: 102,362 signatures needed by June 26


NEW YORK

What’s on the ballot: Equal Protection of Law Amendment – Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative changes existing state civil rights protections in New York by amending the state constitution to additionally prevent discrimination based on “pregnancy outcomes and reproductive healthcare and autonomy” by considering it a protected class. These changes would further impede the government from enacting laws that protect life and may infringe upon existing religious liberty protections.

Result: Anti-life, Pro-abortion

Requirement to pass: This initiative received the number of signatures needed to be on the ballot. However, a recent ruling questioned the amendment’s legality (5/7/24). An appeal process is beginning and will likely be successful. Thus, the amendment will be put back on the ballot.


PENNSYLVANIA

What’s on the ballot: No State Right to Abortion Constitutional Amendment

Summary: This initiative establishes in the state constitution that residents of the state are not guaranteed a right to taxpayer-funded abortions and that there is no fundamental right to an abortion. This amendment would aid in the passage of future pro-life legislation and other restrictions on abortion.

Result: Anti-abortion, Pro-life

Requirements to be on the ballot: Pending legislative approval



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