Abortion is once again on the ballot. This November, voters in Kentucky, Vermont, Montana, and California will vote directly on proposed ballot initiatives aimed at either expanding or limiting access to abortion.
Despite the fact that Kansas is a deep red state, the initiative lost by roughly a 20-point margin.
The upset for abortion advocates was accompanied by news that voter registration among women for the Democratic party spiked after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The voter spike plus the unlikely upset for abortion advocates in Kansas could be a harbinger of what’s to come in November, and specifically in the states directly voting on abortion.
But before we make any predictions, it’s worth looking at what voters will actually be deciding on.
In California, which already has some of the strongest abortion protections in the country, voters will be asked whether to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution.
Regardless of the vote’s outcome, abortion rights will remain protected by state law, according to CNN. California already has privacy rights included in its constitution, which the California Supreme Court has said protects the right to have an abortion.
Vermont is taking a similar tact. In November, voters will also decide whether to amend the state constitution to include abortion rights. Like California, Vermont is already pretty progressive when it comes to abortion.
According to Guttmacher, a reproductive and sexual health care research organization, the state currently has no major restrictions on abortion access.
That is obviously not the case in Kentucky and Montana, where the proposed ballot initiatives look a whole lot different than those in Vermont and California.
Montanans will be asked to vote on the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act.” The act would create criminal penalties for health care providers who don’t attempt to save the life of infants born after an abortion.
It’s worth noting that in Montana, abortion is already illegal after viability except to save the life or health of the mother.
In Kentucky, where abortion is currently banned in almost all cases, Republicans are asking voters to approve an anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution.
The amendment would change the state constitution to explicitly state that it does not protect the right to abortion or require funding for abortion.
These four ballot initiatives showcase the widening divide between states controlled by conservative and liberal politicians when it comes to abortion.
But in the fall, it will be up to voters in what is already shaping-up to be a heated midterm election, to weigh-in on what they actually think about access to abortion.