Since Roe’s reversal, the abortion lobby has had a one hundred percent success rate in advancing abortion policy through state ballot measures. In fact, they’ve had more success changing abortion policy through ballot measures than any other method of engagement.
In the last ten months, they’ve won referendums in six states and are now targeting pro-life states to create a so-called “right” to abortion in state constitutions—attempting to nullify state statutes that protect preborn babies.
The pro-life community needs to take this threat seriously, engage proactively and act strategically.
In each of the six states where the people directly voted on abortion policy, abortion activists have successfully turned-out abortion supporters. They’ve voted to approve abortion-friendly state constitutional amendments and halt measures meant to protect life in the womb.
In states traditionally friendly to pro-life laws (Kansas, Montana and Kentucky), efforts by the pro-life movement to advance protections for women and babies lost by large margins.
While in Michigan, California, and Vermont, the abortion lobby forged new ground and solidified gains by enshrining abortion entitlements in each state’s constitution.
On the heels of significant success, abortion activists now have their sights set on Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Many of these pro-life states currently have laws that protect babies in the womb.
But if the abortion lobby has their way, these pro-life laws will be rolled back as people in the state vote to amend state constitutions to protect the so-called “right” to abortion— effectively creating a “mini-Roe” in each state constitution.
Ohio is the next major battleground state to see this strategy play out.
In Ohio, abortion activists are running up against a July deadline to gather over 400,000 signatures to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. If passed, the amendment would enshrine abortion as a “right” in the state constitution.
Ohio state legislators are pushing back, attempting to raise the threshold of votes required to amend the state constitution from 50% to 60%. This August, Ohio will hold a special election to determine whether the passage threshold will be increased. The August vote may very well determine the November outcome.
Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood announced a new ballot initiative campaign to enshrine abortion in Florida’s constitution. The announcement came on the heels of Florida’s passage of a heartbeat law.
Abortion supporters in Florida must gather around 890,000 signatures by February 1, 2024, to put the measure on the November ballot in 2024. Florida already has the heightened requirement of 60% approval from voters for ballot measures to be successful in a general election.
The pro-life community must engage these fights proactively and strategically.
In terms of messaging, that means as soon as a state is targeted for an abortion-friendly ballot measure, the pro-life movement must be united and assertive in controlling the narrative. If they wait until all the signatures are gathered to start the campaign against the effort, they’ve already lost.
Pro-life states should pass laws now that make ballot measures more difficult to advance—for example, requiring a supermajority threshold of 60% approval for an initiative to become law. States may also consider amending the signature-gathering process and require signatures from more counties within the state.
The abortion lobby has found a winning method for advancing their grisly trade and halting pro-life efforts. They will continue to try to win ground through referendums.
The pro-life community must remain vigilant.
Certain and Possible Future State Ballot Measures on Abortion
- Ohio, would enshrine abortion in state constitution, citizen-led, signatures due July 5, 2023, for possible vote in November 2023
- Pennsylvania, would clarify no right to abortion in state constitution, legislatively referred, must be passed by legislature again for possible vote in November 2023
- Florida, would enshrine abortion in state constitution, citizen-led, signatures due Feb 1, 2024, for possible vote in November 2024
- Florida, would amend state law to declare right to life is unalienable, citizen-led, signatures due February 1, 2024, for possible vote in November 2024
- Iowa, would clarify no right to abortion in state constitution, legislatively referred, must be passed by legislature again, for possible vote in November 2024
- Maryland, would enshrine abortion in state constitution, legislatively referred, will be on the ballot in November 2024
- Nevada, would clarify no right to abortion in state constitution, legislatively referred, must be passed by legislature again, for possible vote in November 2024
- New York, would enshrine abortion in state constitution, legislatively referred, will be on the ballot in November 2024
- South Dakota, would make abortion legal by statute, citizen-led, signatures due November 5, 2023, for possible vote in November 2024.
Photo from Getty.