Article  Life  Abortion

What you should know about abortion-related state ballot initiatives

In the wake of the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion rights has taken center stage in state-level politics, leading to various abortion-related state ballot initiatives this fall. As the legal landscape has shifted, advocates on both sides of the debate have increasingly turned to these ballot initiatives as a means to enshrine their positions in state constitutions. Here is an overview of the abortion-related measures that will appear in November 2024:

Arizona

Arizona is set to have a ballot initiative that would establish a “right to abortion” in the state constitution. This measure is being pushed by abortion rights advocates to reinforce the state’s current policy of allowing abortion up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. (The Arizona House of Representatives voted this week to overturn the state’s 160-year-old abortion ban, setting the stage for a repeal that would leave the state’s 15-week restriction on the procedure in place.)

Arkansas

Arkansas currently bans abortion, with the only exception of saving the life of the mother. Abortion rights advocates are attempting to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would allow abortions within the first 18 weeks of pregnancy and in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies, and to protect the physical health and life of the pregnant person.

Colorado

Colorado will have dueling ballot measures on abortion in 2024. One initiative would ban abortion throughout pregnancy, while another would amend the state constitution to protect reproductive rights, including access to abortion. Passing the pro-abortion amendment would require a 55% supermajority.

Florida

Florida currently bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but that will be reduced to six weeks on May 1. Amendment 4 would allow abortion in the Florida Constitution and protect abortion until about 24 weeks of pregnancy, stating in part, “No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay or restrict abortion before viability.” It will need approval from 60% of voters to pass.

Iowa

Iowa‘s Republican-controlled legislature has advanced a proposed constitutional amendment declaring that the state constitution does not recognize a right to abortion. This measure must pass the legislature again before going to voters. Iowa currently bans abortion after 20 weeks.

Maryland

Maryland voters will have the opportunity to enshrine the state’s existing abortion protections in the constitution. In 1992, 62% of voters affirmed their support for legal abortion in the state.

Missouri

Missouri currently bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with limited exceptions. Ballot initiatives are underway to either establish a constitutional right to abortion or enshrine a ban, with both requiring over 171,000 valid signatures to qualify.

Montana

Montana‘s Supreme Court has ruled that the state constitution protects the right to abortion. Abortion rights advocates are now seeking a constitutional amendment to further codify protection for abortion.

Nebraska

Nebraska voters may face multiple ballot measures related to abortion in the upcoming election. Currently, abortion is legal in Nebraska up until 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, that could change depending on the outcome of these potential ballot initiatives:

  • The “Right to Abortion Initiative” aims to amend the state constitution, establishing a right to abortion until the point of fetal viability. To qualify for the ballot, this measure requires approximately 125,000 signatures by the July 5 deadline.
  • The “Prohibit Abortion Procedures and Drugs Initiative” seeks to ban all abortion procedures and drugs, making exceptions only when necessary to save the life of the mother. Violating this law would be considered a felony offense. To appear on the ballot, this initiative needs more than 87,000 signatures by July 5.
  • The “Nebraska Prohibit Abortions After the First Trimester Amendment” proposes prohibiting abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies or cases of sexual assault or incest. This measure also requires nearly 125,000 signatures by the July 5 deadline to qualify for the ballot.

Nevada

Nevada voters will likely consider a ballot measure to enshrine the state’s existing 24-week abortion access in the constitution. This would require approval in both 2024 and 2026.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania currently allows abortion up to 24 weeks, but Republican lawmakers have advanced a proposed constitutional amendment declaring no right to abortion. This measure must pass the legislature again before going to voters.

South Dakota

South Dakota completely bans abortion except to save the life of the mother. Abortion rights supporters are attempting to get a measure on the ballot that would allow abortions during the first trimester.

These abortion-related initiatives demonstrate why it’s important for Christians and other pro-life advocates to be aware of what’s on our state ballots this fall so that we can speak up for our smallest neighbors. Together, we can bring hope to the public square by protecting those in the womb and promoting a true culture of life.



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