(The Hill) — Voters in California, Vermont and Michigan on Tuesday approved ballot measures enshrining abortion rights into their state constitutions, while those in traditional red states Montana and Kentucky rejected measures that would have restricted access to reproductive care.
The votes signal strength to efforts to support abortion rights after the Supreme Court in June ruled to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case and the constitutional right to the procedure it had guaranteed.
In August, Kansans also rejected a ballot measure that would have given the state legislature the authority to restrict abortion access through a state constitutional amendment.
The votes came amid high-profile Senate and House races, with some candidates running for office across the nation with hardline views on abortion access.
Already in post-Roe America, about half of all states have moved to restrict abortion access, even as polls show most Americans approve of the right to an abortion.
Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have proposed a 15-week national abortion ban, though other members of the party have supported leaving the issue up to the states.
Democrats, by contrast, had made protecting abortion rights a key plank of their midterm platform.
Planned Parenthood on Tuesday night tweeted that “the message is clear” from voters.
“The majority of voters don’t want politicians deciding personal medical decisions for them,” the reproductive health care rights group said.
Vermont became the first state to explicitly enshrine abortion rights into its state constitution after voters approved the state’s ballot measure, according to unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office.
In Michigan, Republicans had hoped to enact a 1931 law that would ban abortions in all cases except to save the life of a mother, which morphed into a legal challenge that worked its way up to the state’s high court.
On Election Day, however, Michigan voters were confronted with a ballot measure that would enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution, which would make the 1931 law and the court fight moot.
Voting results show 53 percent of Michiganders supported the measure, compared to 46 percent who voted to reject it, according to a New York Times tracker, in another victory for abortion rights.
In California, an overwhelmingly blue state, about 68 percent of voters approved a similar ballot measure enshrining abortion rights into the state constitution, while roughly 31 percent rejected it, according to local affiliate KRON, which is owned by The Hill’s parent company Nexstar.
Kentucky voters faced a ballot measure that would declare there is no right to an abortion in the state constitution, similar to the Kansas measure that was rejected.
According to The New York Times tracker, 52 percent of Kentucky voters rejected the move, while 47 percent supported it.
Montana voters, meanwhile, rejected a ballot measure to approve the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. The law declares any fetus or embryo that survives an abortion is a legal person and it criminalized doctors who do not try to save the life of a “born alive” infant.
About 53 percent of Montana voters rejected the ballot measure, while 46 percent supported it, according to The New York Times.