“People are tuned in”: How states are empowering voters to protect reproductive freedom
This November, Michigan and Vermont ballots will include measures to meet to the post-Roe moment — and organizers think their initiatives can serve as a blueprint for other states to follow.
It’s been almost a month since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that protected the right of pregnant people to seek abortion care. And in the weeks since, it’s become clear to pro-abortion rights Americans that Senate Democrats and the Biden administration are righteous in their anger about the decision but limited in their power to respond with a legislative solution to what many activists view as a public health crisis.
But if you set your sights at the state level though, you’ll find organizers in states like Michigan and Vermont rallying support to amend their state constitutions to restore the protections that the court’s conservative supermajority wiped away, despite 50 years of precedent.
If successful, these amendments would strengthen protections against future challenges from an anti-abortion movement that is both unsatisfied with rendering Roe obsolete and focused on a two-track strategy of advancing a nationwide abortion ban while making it illegal to cross state lines for reproductive health care.
In Michigan this November, the Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative will appear on the ballot, and, if passed, provide a state constitutional right to own the decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy.
At the same time, Vermonters will consider the Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment, which would add language to the state constitution that protects the right to personal reproductive autonomy and prohibits government infringement unless justified by a compelling state interest.
California, Kansas, Kentucky and Montana will also have abortion-related measures on the ballot, representing the most on the issue in a single year.
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