Voters in four states move to safeguard abortion rights
U.S. voters spoke up for abortion rights Tuesday through ballot measures in four states in what was seen as a win for abortion rights supporters.
In Michigan, California and Vermont, voters approved measures that would amend their state constitutions to protect abortion, about four months after the U.S. Supreme Court removed the constitutional right to the procedure, the New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, Kentucky voters were asked to vote for a measure that would have said there was no right to an abortion at the state level. They rejected it.
For those in California and Vermont, which already have abortion protections, the measures strengthened those rights.
In Michigan, the decision makes a bigger immediate difference. Voters there approved an amendment to the state's constitution guaranteeing the right to abortion.
When the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was made in late June, that enlivened a dormant state law banning abortion. But the law is currently on hold through the courts.
Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who won reelection Tuesday, was clear about her support for abortion rights.
Michigan residents shared their feelings with the Times after the decision.
"I am totally against people who use it as a form of birth control, but not everybody is strong enough to carry a child if they're a victim of rape and incest—therefore, why should they be forced?" said Lisa Baldwin-Ryan, 58, who voted in favor of the amendment but supported the Libertarian candidate for governor.
Kristan Hawkins, president of an anti-abortion organization, Students for Life, said Michigan voters would later experience "buyer's remorse."
In Kentucky, voters made their voices heard just a week before the State Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a challenge to Kentucky's abortion ban. The state is considered reliably Republican.
Voters there nixed a ballot measure that would have denied any constitutional protections for abortion.
Samia Temsah-Deniskin, 38, told the newspaper she voted against the amendment "because women should choose what happens with their bodies.
"These rights are so important for women in particular," said Temsah-Deniskin, a photographer from Paris, Ky., who is pregnant and a mom already.
JoAnn Lewis, 63, of Lexington, Ky., spoke in favor of the other side.
"Life, once it is seeded, it needs to grow just like a garden—you've got to protect it," Lewis told the Times.
Abortion rights groups were happy with the result but warned that access remains an issue in the courts.
In Vermont, the constitutional amendment passed resoundingly, with about 77% of Vermont voters approving it, the Times reported.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who also won his reelection, called the new amendment protecting abortion in his state's constitution "a point of pride."
"It's a point of principle and it's a point of contrast," he said, "at a time of such mixed results all across this country."
More information: The Office on Women's Health has more on women's reproductive rights.
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