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HomeArticleHere’s the latest update on abortion measures up for a vote in 2024

Here’s the latest update on abortion measures up for a vote in 2024

Here’s the latest update on abortion measures up for a vote in 2024

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By Daniel Payne, Jonah McKeown

CNA Staff, May 22, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

The 2024 elections are less than six months away. While all eyes are on the presidential matchup, there are also numerous efforts by abortion activists to enshrine abortion rights in state codes and constitutions.

Nearly a dozen states are considering such measures ahead of the November elections. The efforts come after the 2022 repeal of Roe v. Wade, which returned to the states the power to legislate on abortion, resulting in nearly half of states enacting strong protections for babies in the womb.

CNA is tracking efforts by both pro-abortion and pro-life supporters to put abortion-related votes on the November 2024 ballot. See below for the latest updates on ballot measures around the country.

 

Abortion on the Ballot

Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, states across the U.S. have put the question of abortion policy before the people in the form of ballot measures. Click each state to learn more about past and future ballot measures affecting the legality of abortion.

Arizona

The political action committee Arizona for Abortion Access said in April that it had gathered more than 500,000 signatures to see its pro-abortion constitutional amendment put before voters in November. The threshold for the activists was about 383,000 and the deadline for signatures is July 3.

The proposed amendment would allow late-term abortions up to “fetal viability” — about 22-24 weeks — or later in pregnancy if a doctor deems it necessary for a woman to end the life of her child. The secretary of state’s office will still need to verify the signatures before the initiative can appear on the ballot.

Abortion is currently restricted in Arizona until the 15th week of pregnancy.

The state has been the focus of pro-abortion and pro-life activists throughout 2024 due to fights over an 1860s-era abortion ban still on the books in the state. Democrats and some breakaway Republicans succeeded in repealing the law at the beginning of May.

 

Arkansas

The pro-abortion group Arkansans for Limited Government has proposed ballot language to the attorney general that could result in a vote on abortion in November.

The originally proposed state constitutional amendment, an initial draft of which was rejected by the state attorney general in November, would forbid the state from restricting “access to abortion within 18 weeks of conception, or later in pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, [and] in the event of a fatal fetal anomaly.”

Arkansans for Limited Government did not respond to a query asking if they had secured enough signatures to put the amendment before voters in November. The group was still calling for signatures on its Facebook page last week; nearly 100,000 signatures must be gathered for the proposal to reach the ballot.

David Cox, the assistant director of the Little Rock-based Family Council, told CNA last year that “if passed, the amendment’s language would effectively erase decades of good, pro-life laws” in the state.

In Arkansas, abortion is illegal in nearly all cases except if a doctor determines that one is necessary to save the mother’s life.

 

Colorado

Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate in Colorado circulated dueling ballot proposals for 2024. For either amendment to reach the ballot, proponents needed to gather more than 124,000 signatures.

The pro-life initiative, which would have been added to the state statutory code, would stipulate that a living human child “must not be intentionally dismembered, mutilated, poisoned, scalded, starved, stabbed, given toxic injections known to cause death, left to die of the elements for lack of warmth or nutrition,” or otherwise killed.

It failed to gather enough signatures before its April 18 deadline.

The pro-abortion measure, meanwhile, would affirm state laws that are already in place that allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

Its language would amend the state constitution to say that the government “shall not deny, impede, or discriminate against the exercise of the right to abortion, including prohibiting health insurance coverage for abortion.”

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office said last week that the measure had secured enough signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

Abortion is presently legal at all stages of pregnancy in Colorado, one of only a handful of states that allow abortion at any time.

 

Florida

The pro-abortion group Floridians Protecting Freedom successfully gathered enough signatures to place its Right to Abortion Initiative constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

The proposed language of the measure would add a right to abortion before the point of “viability” to the state’s constitution if 60% of voters approve. It would also allow for abortions later in pregnancy if a woman’s doctor deems it necessary to end the life of her child.

The Florida attorney general in October 2023 had asked the state Supreme Court to block the effort, arguing that the initiative “does not satisfy the legal requirements for ballot placement.”

The court’s justices ruled in April that the measure could appear on the ballot.

In Florida, abortion is currently illegal after six weeks of pregnancy with limited exceptions.

 

Maryland

The proposed Maryland Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment would cement an abortion “right” in the state’s constitution and make it impossible for pro-life laws to be enacted. The amendment was added to the ballot by the state Legislature after passing by a supermajority vote (60%). It will ultimately be decided by the state’s voters on Nov. 5.

Maryland state laws on abortion were extreme even before Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022. In April of that year, the Legislature allotted $3.5 million per year for “abortion care” training there.

The Maryland Board of Public Works, meanwhile, in June of this year approved nearly $1.3 million in emergency spending to pay for a stockpile of two abortion drugs in response to a lawsuit that could take one of the drugs off the market.

Maryland currently places no gestational limits on abortion. Parental notice is required for a minor to have an abortion.

 

Missouri

The pro-abortion group Missourians for Constitutional Freedom announced in May that it had turned in more than 380,000 signatures to place its pro-abortion initiative on the November ballot. The measure, if passed, would amend the state constitution to establish a broad right to abortion.

A countermeasure, one that would have seen abortion legalized in the state, had been proposed by the Missouri Women & Family Research Fund. That group, which was launched by longtime Republican staffer Jamie Corley, argued on its website that the state should provide “reasonable exceptions for abortion care, protection for birth control, and immunity for mothers and doctors against criminal prosecution.”

To that end the group submitted multiple proposed constitutional amendments to the state in August. Yet the group suspended its campaign in February, with Corley stating that the dual pro-abortion campaigns could “create confusion and potentially split the vote.”

Abortion is illegal in Missouri with narrow exceptions for the mother’s life and/or health.

 

Montana

In April, the Montana Supreme Court said pro-abortion activists there could gather signatures to put a pro-abortion state constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

The measure, if passed, would “amend the Montana Constitution to expressly provide a right to make and carry out decisions about one’s own pregnancy, including the right to abortion.”

Activists need to gather more than 60,000 signatures by June 21 to place the measure on the ballot.

 

Nebraska

The pro-abortion group Protect Our Rights filed language with the secretary of state that could see abortion on the ballot in November. More than 87,000 signatures must be gathered for the proposal to reach the ballot.

The measure, if approved, would “amend the Nebraska Constitution to provide all persons the fundamental right to abortion without interference from the state or its political subdivisions until fetal viability.”

Backers of that measure did not clarify to CNA if they’ve reached enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. The deadline is July 5.

A proposed pro-life amendment, meanwhile, would amend the state constitution to outlaw abortion “in the second and third trimesters” except in cases of medical emergencies or when the baby is the product of rape or incest. Advocates with that amendment similarly did not respond when asked if they had secured enough signatures.

The state earlier this year limited abortion to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

 

Nevada

The pro-abortion coalition group Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom said in April of this year that it had reached “more than 50%” of its goal of collecting enough signatures to put a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Supporters of the initiative need 102,000 valid signatures by June 26 to qualify for the ballot.

The measure would affirm current extreme laws on abortion and add to the state constitution a “fundamental right to abortion” up to the point of “fetal viability.” It would also allow for abortions later in pregnancy if a woman’s doctor deems it necessary to end the life of her child.

The group has already met the threshold necessary to place the measure on the ballot, but an activist told local media that abortion advocates “want to make sure all of our data is absolutely correct” and are thus collecting double the number of signatures required. The pro-abortion group did not respond to a query from CNA asking whether it had met its signature goal since April.

Earlier this year Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo, a Republican, signed into law a measure to protect abortionists who violate abortion laws in other states and prevent health care licensing boards from disqualifying a person due to his or her participation in providing abortions.

Abortion is legal up until about 24 weeks of pregnancy in the state, or even later in pregnancy if the life of the mother is at risk.

 

New York

In New York, lawmakers initially succeeded in getting a proposed amendment on the 2024 ballot. It would have added a so-called “right” to abortion to the state constitution in the form of an equal rights amendment.

The amendment was added to the ballot by the state Legislature after passing by a majority vote in both chambers in two consecutive legislative sessions, as required by law. The proposal stipulated in part that state residents “shall [not] be denied equal rights under the laws [of the state]” on the basis of “pregnancy.”

But a state Supreme Court judge ruled in May that the measure could not appear on the ballot in November because the state did not follow the proper procedure in adding it. The state has vowed to appeal the decision.

Abortion is legal in New York through “viability,” though it is largely available after viability as well, given exceptions for the mother’s “mental health.”

 

South Dakota

The South Dakota secretary of state confirmed in May that a pro-abortion amendment would appear before voters on the November 2024 ballot.

The measure would establish “a constitutional right to an abortion” and allow the fatal procedure through all nine months of pregnancy. Signature-gathering was spearheaded by the pro-abortion group Dakotans for Health.

Abortion is illegal in South Dakota barring exceptions to save the mother’s life.

 

Daniel Payne
Daniel Payne is a senior editor at Catholic News Agency. He previously worked at the College Fix and Just the News. He lives in Virginia with his family.

 

Jonah McKeown
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.

 

 

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