The pro-life movement had a rough day Nov. 8, with successful efforts to codify abortion rights in several states and defeating initiatives to protect life in others. It’s a sign that the movement to protect unborn lives has moved fully back to the states after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision ruled there was no constitutional right to an abortion and that the policy decision rested with the states.
- California voted in favor of Proposition 1, a ballot measure to change the California Constitution to guarantee a right to abortion and contraceptives. The measure prohibits the state from interfering with a “person’s reproductive freedom.” Critics of the measure, including advocacy groups such as the California Family Council and Pro-Life San Francisco, said Prop 1 removes all limitations on abortion by removing the state’s viability restriction. The proposition wrongly implied that contraception was threatened by the Dobbs decision.
- Michigan voters approved Proposal 3, a ballot measure that amends the state constitution to establish a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom.” Although the state may regulate abortion beyond fetal viability unless a physician determines an abortion is medically necessary, Prop 3 allows individuals to make all pregnancy-related decisions without interference. Critics of Prop 3 said the measure authorizes minors to obtain abortions without parental consent or notification and exempts abortionists from proper oversight. However, proponents of Prop 3 said it does not immediately invalidate parental consent laws unless the issue goes to court.
- Kentucky residents voted down Constitutional Amendment 2, a measure that would have changed the state’s constitution to state that there is no right to abortion or any requirement to fund abortion. The pro-life campaign group Yes for Life supported the measure, urging Kentucky residents to “protect tax dollars from funding late-term abortions.” The abortion advocacy group Protect Kentucky Access campaigned against the amendment, encouraging residents to vote no and “keep abortion safe and legal in Kentucky.”
- Montana voters defeated Referendum 131, a measure that states infants born alive at any stage of development after a botched abortion or induced labor are legal persons. The measure would have required medical care to be provided to born-alive infants, establishing a $50,000 fine and the possibility of as many as 20 years in prison for violating the law
- Vermont voters voted in favor of Proposal 5, an amendment to the state’s Constitution that guarantees a “right” to “personal reproductive autonomy” to all individuals in the state.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice