Voters in five states will be voting on various abortion issues during the midterm elections.
California, Michigan and Vermont have measures on their ballots that are backed by supporters of abortion rights. The measures in Montana and Kentucky are backed by supporters of abortion restrictions.
Voters in California are voting on Proposition 1. It asks whether voters want to "include existing rights to reproductive freedom—such as the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion and use contraceptives."
A "Yes" vote would add the right to the California constitution.
A "No" vote would not change California's existing laws. However, abortion rights would not be part of the state constitution.
Voters in Vermont are voting on Article 22. Similar to the California proposal, voters have the opportunity to protect the right to an abortion.
If approved, the following sentence would be added to the Vermont constitution:
"That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means."
A rejection of the amendment would not change abortion laws in Vermont. However, there would be no constitutional protection in the state for an abortion.
Voters in Michigan are voting on Proposal 3. A "Yes" vote would give individuals the right to have an abortion. It would also prevent the state from taking action against an individual who sought an abortion. An individual who assisted that person would also be protected.
A "No" vote would not guarantee those rights. Michigan currently has an abortion ban on the books from 1931. It's currently being debated in court. Under a "No" vote, the final court decision would likely determine abortion rights in Michigan.
Voters in Kentucky will decide on whether to add a line to the constitution that states abortions are not protected in the state.
"To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion," the amendment says.
A "Yes" vote supports including that line in the constitution. A "No" vote would keep the Kentucky constitution as is currently written.
LR-131 in Montana would impose criminal penalties on healthcare providers who do not provide "appropriate" medical care to infants "born alive" after abortion.
Medical providers could reportedly face up to $50,000 in fines and 20 years in prison for violating the law if it passes. According to Time, a previous version of the law was vetoed by former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
Voting on abortion
The votes in the midterm elections follow the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this year to overturn Roe v. Wade, which provided a constitutional right to an abortion nationwide.
Kansas was the first state to vote on the abortion issue after the Supreme Court's decision. Voters in Kansas rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled legislature to restrict or even ban the procedure.