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Which States Could Have Abortion on the Ballot in 2024?
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By Associated Press
Published 3 weeks ago on
July 1, 2024

Nevada joins four other states in setting a referendum for abortion rights, reflecting the national push for voters to decide on the issue. (AP File)

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With Friday’s announcement in Nevada that voters will decide a ballot question in November on enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution, five states now have abortion questions set for referendums this year. And more could join them.

The U.S. Supreme Court removed the nationwide right to abortion with a 2022 ruling, which sparked a national push to have voters decide.

Since the ruling, most Republican-controlled states have new abortion restrictions in effect, including 14 that ban it at every stage of pregnancy. Most Democratic-led states have laws or executive orders to protect access.

Voters in all seven states that have had abortion questions before voters since 2022 — California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and Vermont — have sided with abortion rights supporters.

What is on 2024 Ballots?

Colorado

Colorado’s top election official confirmed in May that a measure to enshrine abortion protections into the state constitution, including requirements that Medicaid and private health insurers cover it, made the ballot for the fall election.

Supporters said they gathered over 225,000 signatures, nearly double the requirement of over 124,000 signatures.

Amending the state constitution requires the support of 55% of voters.

Those backing a dueling measure — a law to ban abortion — did not turn in signatures, and the measure will not go before voters.

Abortion is legal at all stages of pregnancy in Colorado.

Florida

The state Supreme Court ruled in April that a ballot measure to legalize abortion until viability could go on the ballot despite a legal challenge from state Attorney General Ashley Moody, who argued that there are differing views on the meaning of “viability” and that some key terms in the proposed measure are not properly defined.

Advocates collected nearly a million signatures to put a state constitutional amendment to legalize abortion until viability on the ballot, surpassing the nearly 892,000 required.

Sixty percent of voters would have to agree for it to take effect.

Abortion is currently illegal in Florida after the first six weeks of pregnancy under a law that took effect May 1.

Maryland

Maryland voters also will be asked this year to enshrine the right to abortion in the state’s constitution. The state already protects the right to abortion under state law and Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1. Abortion is allowed in Maryland until viability.

Nevada

The Nevada Secretary of State’s office announced Friday that a ballot question to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution has met all of the requirements to appear in front of voters in November.

Under the amendment, abortion access for the first 24 weeks of pregnancy — or later to protect the health of the pregnant person — would be enshrined. Such access is already ensured under a 1990 law.

To change the constitution, voters would need to approve it in both 2024 and 2026.

South Dakota

South Dakota voters will decide this fall on a measure that would ban any restrictions on abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. It would allow the state in the second trimester to “regulate the pregnant woman’s abortion decision and its effectuation only in ways that are reasonably related to the physical health of the pregnant woman.” An abortion ban would be allowed in the third trimester, as long as it included exceptions for the life and health of the woman.

The state’s top election official announced May 16 that about 85% of the more than 55,000 signatures submitted in support of the ballot initiative are valid, exceeding the required 35,017 signatures.

Opponents have sued to try to take the initiative off the ballot.

What’s on the Ballot in New York?

While not explicitly preserving a right to abortion, a reproductive rights question is on the ballot in New York. The measure would bar discrimination based on “pregnancy outcomes” and “reproductive healthcare,” along with sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin and disability. Abortion is currently allowed in New York until fetal viability.

The question was on the ballot, then removed in May by a judge who found lawmakers missed a procedural step when they put it there. An appeals court reinstated it in June.

Where Else Could Abortion Be on the Ballot in 2024?

Arizona

A signature drive is underway to add a constitutional right to abortion in Arizona. Under the measure, the state would not be able to ban abortion until the fetus is viable, with later abortions allowed to protect a woman’s physical or mental health. Supporters must gather nearly 384,000 valid signatures by July 4.

Abortion is currently legal for the first 15 weeks of pregnancy in Arizona. An Arizona Supreme Court ruling in April said enforcement could begin soon for a near-total ban that was already on the books. The governor has since signed a bill repealing that law. It is still expected to be in effect for a time, however.

Arkansas

Proponents of an amendment to allow abortion in many cases must gather nearly 91,000 signatures by July 5 for it to get it on the Nov. 5 ballot. The measure would bar laws banning abortion in the first 20 weeks of gestation and allow abortion later in pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, threats to the woman’s health or life, or if the fetus would be unlikely to survive birth. Because it allows abortion to be banned 20 weeks into pregnancy, the proposal does not have the support of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which includes Arkansas. The state currently bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions.

Missouri

Missouri abortion rights advocates turned in more than 380,000 signatures — more than twice the required 171,000 — for a measure asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion until viability. Local election officials have until July 30 to verify the signatures, then it’s up to the secretary of state to declare whether there were enough.

A group of moderate Republicans have for this year abandoned efforts for an alternate amendment that would have allowed abortion up to 12 weeks, with limited exceptions after that.

Abortion is currently banned in Missouri at all stages of pregnancy, with limited exceptions.

Montana

Abortion rights proponents in Montana have proposed a constitutional amendment that would bar the government from denying the right to abortion before viability or when it’s necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant person.

After a legal battle over the ballot language, the Montana Supreme Court in April wrote its version of the language that would appear on the ballot if enough valid signatures are certified. Sponsors were required to submit about 60,000 by June 21. They turned in nearly twice that many — about 17,000. Counties have until July 19 to verify them, and the secretary of state would have until Aug. 22 to determine whether it goes on the ballot.

Abortion is legal until viability in Montana under a 1999 Montana Supreme Court opinion.

Nebraska

Advocates are trying to collect about 125,000 signatures needed by July 5 to put a constitutional amendment before voters to protect abortion rights until fetal viability. A competing petition effort would add a constitutional amendment mirroring a law adopted last year that bans abortion after 12 weeks, with some exceptions.

Where Did Ballot Efforts Fail to Gain Traction?

Some efforts that sought to restrict or ban abortion have also failed to reach ballots. In Wisconsin, the House approved a measure asking voters to ban abortion after 14 weeks, but the legislative session ended without a vote from the state Senate.

Likewise, Iowa lawmakers ended their session without approving a measure asking voters to find that there’s no constitutional right to abortion. Pennsylvania lawmakers previously pursued a similar amendment, but it’s not expected to be added to the ballot this year.

A Louisiana measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution died in committee, one in Maine effectively died when it fell short of receiving the approval of two-thirds of the House and a Minnesota measure was not passed by lawmakers, either.

 

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