Abortion Rights On The Ballot In 2024

Jamiesfeast – The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022 eliminated the national right to abortion, resulting in stricter abortion laws in over 20 states. However, the fight for abortion access continues at the state level. This year, numerous states are considering ballot measures that aim to either protect abortion access in state constitutions or impose further restrictions. These developments indicate that the battle over abortion is ongoing.

All six states that have already held votes on abortion access, including California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Vermont, have taken steps to protect abortion rights.

States trying to ensure abortion access


Abortion in Arizona is currently legal until 15 weeks of pregnancy, but with certain restrictions in place. Prohibitions are in place for abortions based on race, sex, or genetic abnormalities. Supporters of abortion access are working on gathering signatures to propose a constitutional amendment that would safeguard the right to an abortion until viability. Their goal is to collect 383,923 signatures by early July, and as of mid-January, they have already reached 250,000 signatures.


Arkansas currently has strict laws in place that prohibit abortions, allowing exceptions only when it is necessary to save the life of the mother. However, there is an ongoing effort by abortion rights advocates to introduce a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to an abortion up to 18 weeks of pregnancy. This proposed amendment aims to remove any restrictions on abortion in cases of fetal anomaly, rape, incest, or when the woman’s health is at risk. In order to move forward with this initiative, organizers are working towards the goal of collecting 90,704 signatures by the July 5 deadline.


Abortion is legally permitted in Colorado, and there is a proposed state constitutional amendment that aims to safeguard this right and ensure that health insurance coverage for abortions cannot be revoked. In order for this amendment to be included on the ballot, a total of 124,238 signatures is needed, along with 2% of the registered voters in each of the 35 Colorado state senate districts, as stated by the Colorado secretary of state’s office.


Florida previously permitted abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, in 2022, a 15-week ban was implemented, and later on, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a more stringent six-week ban into legislation. Currently, the 15-week ban is being disputed in the courts, with the Florida Supreme Court deliberating on whether the state’s right to privacy includes abortion. If the 15-week ban is upheld, the six-week ban would be enforced shortly thereafter.

A constitutional amendment is being proposed to prevent any restrictions on abortion until the fetus becomes viable, usually around 23 to 24 weeks. The organizers have successfully gathered enough signatures, and now the initiative will be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court. The court will hold oral arguments on February 7th to determine the approval of the initiative. If the ballot language is approved, the measure will be presented to the voters in November.


Maryland, known for its legal status on abortion, is now seeking to further solidify this right by enshrining it within the state constitution. Since 1991, the existing law has provided protection for abortion rights, specifically in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court imposes restrictions. In 1992, a referendum revealed that 62% of voters were in favor of upholding this law. Recently, the state House of Representatives voted 98 to 38 in favor of amending the state constitution to safeguard the right to abortion. This bill has successfully passed the state Senate as well. As a result, the amendment will now be presented to voters in November, where it will require a simple majority for approval.


Abortion rights advocates in Missouri are pushing for an amendment to the state constitution that would legalize abortion. Currently, abortion is only allowed in cases where it is necessary to safeguard the health or life of the woman. To get the measure on the ballot in November, supporters need to gather approximately 170,000 signatures from six out of eight congressional districts by the May 5 deadline, as stated by the Missouri secretary of state’s office.


In Montana, the legality of abortion extends until the fetus reaches viability. However, a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at safeguarding abortion access is being hindered by the Republican Montana attorney general, preventing it from reaching the ballot. In response, advocates for abortion rights have taken the matter to the Montana Supreme Court, seeking its intervention.


Nebraska implemented a 12-week abortion ban in May of last year. Advocates for abortion access are now seeking to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution through a proposed ballot initiative. This initiative aims to establish the right to an abortion until viability and ensure legal protection for maternal health and life. To move forward, supporters of the constitutional amendment need to gather over 120,000 signatures from registered voters. Additionally, they must obtain signatures from at least 5% of registered voters in a minimum of 38 out of the state’s 93 counties. The deadline for submitting signatures for ballot initiatives or referendums is July, which is four months before the general election.


Abortion is allowed in Nevada for up to 25 weeks and 6 days. In September of last year, a coalition of abortion rights organizations, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, filed a petition with the secretary of state’s office. The petition aimed to propose a ballot question that would protect abortion rights in the state constitution. Currently, the groups are actively collecting 103,000 signatures from Nevadans, with the goal of putting the measure on the ballot in November. The deadline for gathering these signatures is June 26. If the measure is approved by a simple majority, abortion rights will be reconsidered on the 2026 ballot, as a secondary passage is required to amend the state constitution.

New York

In New York, women have the right to seek an abortion until they reach 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, there are certain circumstances where abortion is permitted after this point, such as when the fetus is incompatible with life or when it is necessary to protect the mother’s life or health.
Coming up in November, voters will have the opportunity to vote on a state Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment aims to include various rights, including abortion and LGBTQ rights, in the state constitution. The amendment will be considered approved if it receives the support of a simple majority. The Democratic-majority Legislature has already approved the amendment in two consecutive state legislative sessions, first in July 2022 and then again in January 2023, allowing it to move forward to a statewide vote.

South Dakota

Abortion in South Dakota is considered a Class 6 felony, carrying penalties of up to two years in prison and a $4,000 fine for providers who perform non-life-saving abortions. Currently, the law permits abortion only when it is necessary to save the mother’s life, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. However, there is a movement among South Dakotans who support abortion access to amend the state constitution. Their goal is to allow abortions during the first trimester (which ends at around 12 weeks) and also permit second-trimester abortions if they are necessary for the mother’s health. To achieve this, they need to collect 35,017 signatures by May 7 in order to have the measure included on the ballot this fall. If the amendment passes, a simple majority is required. In June 2022, Dakotans for Health filed a petition proposing regulations for second-trimester abortions, with a focus on the physical health of the pregnant individual, as well as a ban on third-trimester abortions, with exceptions for cases where the life or health of the pregnant person is at risk.

Abortion bans on the ballot


The Iowa Legislature, controlled by Republicans, passed a six-week abortion ban in July, which is currently being reviewed by the judiciary. Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Iowa courts revoked a previous decision that protected abortion rights. Now, abortion opponents are advocating for a legislative initiative to enshrine a ban on abortion rights in the Iowa constitution. The proposed “no right to an abortion amendment” asserts that the state constitution does not recognize, grant, or guarantee the right to abortion or mandate public funding for abortion services. Before it can be added to the ballot in November, both chambers of the General Assembly must approve the measure in consecutive sessions.

Where do the presidential candidates stand on this issue?

Donald Trump

Donald Trump, the former president, frequently takes pride in his contribution towards the termination of the federal right to an abortion. During his tenure, he appointed three Supreme Court justices who played a crucial role in the majority decision to transfer the authority of abortion laws to individual states. Despite this, Trump has cautioned Republicans to exercise caution when it comes to advocating for an abortion ban, as it could potentially be a detrimental issue for their party. Additionally, he supports the inclusion of exceptions in abortion bans for cases involving rape, incest, and the life-threatening circumstances of the mother.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley has consistently expressed her support for a nationwide ban on abortion and her opposition to abortion access. However, she acknowledges the difficulty of passing such legislation due to the rigorous requirements in the Senate. As an alternative, she has vowed to seek common ground on this contentious issue.

“While on the campaign trail in November, she emphasized the importance of not using fear or judgment in addressing personal matters. Democrats have instilled fear in people, making them believe that their rights will be taken away, while Republicans have been quick to pass judgment. However, both approaches are flawed. Instead, we should approach these issues with respect.”

Joe Biden

President Biden’s reelection campaign is placing a significant emphasis on the belief that abortion access will once again inspire and mobilize voters in November, just as it did in 2022. If he secures a second term and the Democrats maintain majorities in both chambers of Congress, the president has promised to reinstate the protections for abortion as established by Roe v. Wade.

Abortion remains a significant issue in Senate races, with Ohio being no exception. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown faces the challenge of retaining his seat in a state that is increasingly leaning towards the right.

Leave a Comment