Left-wing activists in at least 11 states have launched efforts to place abortion on the ballot in November — and proposed constitutional amendments have officially qualified for the ballots in five of those states.

When the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision on June 24, 2022 — exactly two years ago — it overturned Roe v. Wade, which had invented a federal right to abortion for 50 years. The Dobbs decision thus returned the issue of abortion to individual states and their elected representatives, changing the nature of the struggle between the pro-life movement and the abortion industry.

Pro-abortion organizations and activists have stealthily turned to ballot measures in the hopes of shoring up the growing abortion complex in the shift from federal to state power.

Ballot measures are particularly effective as an offensive weapon because they are basically irreversible: they change a state constitution, take precedence over laws passed by state legislatures, and can only be overturned by another ballot measure. The measures are typically propped up by left-wing organizations and affiliates with deep pockets — like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU — out-of-state dark money groups, and billionaires with eugenicist leanings, oftentimes outspending pro-life organizations by double or triple.

Every single pro-abortion-related ballot measure since the fall of Roe has been successful. During the 2022 special elections, Kansans rejected a ballot measure that would have established that the state Constitution does not include a right to abortion. During the 2022 midterms, voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont codified abortion into their Constitutions. At the same time, voters in Montana rejected a ballot measure that would have given rights to babies born alive in botched abortions. Voters in Kentucky also rejected an amendment similar to the one in Kansas. Last November, Ohioans also voted to codify the supposed right to abortion in their state Constitutions via Issue 1.

RELATED: Decoding Democrat Joe Biden’s 2024 Abortion Playbook

State by state, Republicans have been working in many states to protect the unborn, while Democrats have expanded abortion nationwide via shield laws, telehealth, and tens of millions of dollars spent establishing their states as abortion havens. Last year saw the highest number and rate of abortions measured in the United States — there were an estimated 1,026,690 unborn babies killed in abortions in the formal U.S. health care system and a rate of 15.7 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, according to a report from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. That number is a ten percent increase in abortions from 2020.

While abortion activists and Democrats wage their state-level campaigns, President Joe Biden has made abortion and restoring a federal “right” to abortion the centerpiece of his reelection campaign — a stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s position that individual states should set their own abortion laws.

Biden’s intense focus on abortion is not unexpected, given that one in four Democrats are single-issue voters on abortion and that the majority of independents identify as “pro-choice.” The focus on abortion and painting Republicans as dangerous to women also seems like a ploy to distract from Americans’ top concerns under the Biden administration — the flailing economy and the border, which is essentially open — and potentially drive voter turnout to boost Democrats in other highly consequential elections. 

Abortion groups are already spending big and working closely with Democrats to set policy demands, should the party successfully capitalize on the issue and clinch control of Congress and/or the presidency.

Officially On the Ballot 

Colorado

Democrat Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office issued a notice in May approving an abortion measure to appear on the 2024 ballot.

The proposed abortion measure, put forward by the group Coloradans for Protecting Reproductive Freedom, would ultimately enshrine the right to unlimited abortion in the state constitution and would also override a 1984 measure that prohibits health insurance from covering abortions for public employees and those on public insurance.

“The right to abortion is hereby recognized. Government shall not deny, impede, or discriminate against the exercise of that right, including prohibiting health insurance coverage for abortion,” the proposed measure reads.

The Colorado measure would need the support of 55 percent of voters to pass.

Abortion is currently legal in Colorado throughout pregnancy.

Florida

The proposed abortion amendment in Florida is backed by Floridians Protecting Freedom — a coalition of left-wing groups that includes Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida — and bars the state from restricting abortion before viability (approximately 24 weeks) or “when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.”

The ballot summary states:

No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider. This amendment does not change the Legislature’s constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion.

Current Florida law does require minors to have the consent of a parent or guardian to have an abortion.

The abortion activists backing the measure surpassed the number of required signatures in January, and the measure will appear as “Amendment 4” on the general election ballot, according to state officials.

Abortion in Florida is currently restricted after six weeks of pregnancy, which is often when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

South Dakota

Republican South Dakota Secretary of State Monae Johnson released a statement in May announcing that her office approved an abortion measure to appear on the November ballot.

The South Dakota proposed abortion amendment, put forward by the group Dakotans for Health, would allow abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy and would only allow the state to regulate abortion in the second trimester in ways related to the physical health of the pregnant woman. The amendment would allow abortion to be regulated or prohibited in the third trimester, except when necessary to preserve “the life or health” of the mother.

Abortion is currently outlawed in the state, except to “preserve the life of the pregnant female.”

The measure would need a simple majority to pass, and would override the state’s current law.

Maryland

Maryland lawmakers voted in March of 2023 to place an abortion ballot measure in front of voters in November of 2024.

The proposed amendment states:

That every person, as a central component of an individual’s rights to liberty and equality, has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including but not limited to the ability to make and effectuate decisions to prevent, continue, or end one’s own pregnancy. The state may not, directly or indirectly, deny, burden, or abridge the right unless justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means.

A simple majority of voters need to approve it for it to pass.

There is already no limit on abortion in Maryland.

New York 

New York Democrats passed a measure, called the Equal Rights Amendment, for the second time last year, giving it the green light to go before voters in November.

The amendment, which would need a simply majority to pass, states:

No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws of this state or any subdivision thereof. No person shall, because of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, creed, religion, or sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy, be subjected to any discrimination in their civil rights by any other person or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state, pursuant to law.

A federal judge in New York threw out the proposed abortion and gender identity amendment in May, blocking it from the ballot. State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Doyle found that the New York Legislature did not follow the state Constitution when it approved the amendment language before obtaining a written opinion from the attorney general.

However, a state appeals court reversed the lower court’s decision last week, restoring the measure to the November election ballot. The panel of judges wrote in their opinion that those who sued to block the abortion amendment had missed a deadline to bring a legal challenge under a four-month statute of limitations, Associated Press reported.

The state Republican Party has vowed to appeal the case to the state’s highest court.

“We continue to believe the legislature violated the constitution when it adopted the proposal,” David Laska, a party spokesperson, said in an email to AP. “We will fight this proposal in the courts and, if necessary, at the ballot box.”

In New York, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and after 24 weeks if a woman’s health is at risk.

In the Works

Arizona

Arizona for Abortion Access — a coalition of groups including ACLU of Arizona, Affirm Sexual and Reproductive Health, Arizona List, Healthcare Rising Arizona, NARAL Arizona, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona — announced in April that it had amassed more than 500,000 signatures, well past the 383,923 required for the proposed amendment to qualify for the ballot in November. Over the weekend, activists released updated numbers saying they had collected approximately 800,000 signatures.

The proposed amendment would amend the Arizona constitution to declare that “every individual has a fundamental right to abortion” and bars the state from doing anything that:

Denies, restricts, or interferes with that right before fetal viability unless justified by a compelling state interest that is achieved by the least restrictive means.

Denies, restricts, or interferes with an abortion after fetal viability that, in the good faith judgment of a treating health care professional, is necessary to protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual. 

Penalizes any individual or entity for aiding or assisting a pregnant individual in exercising that individual’s right to abortion as provided in this section. 

Abortion is currently restricted in Arizona after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which is when an unborn baby is believed to be capable of feeling pain.

The Arizona Supreme Court allowed a near-total abortion ban from 1864 to go into effect over the 15-week restriction in April. However, Democrat Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs quickly signed a bill repealing the law on May 2.

The repeal will not go into effect until 90 days after its passage, but the Arizona Supreme Court granted Democrat Attorney General Kris Mayes’ request for an additional 90 days before the Civil War-era restriction can be enforced. The court’s order essentially narrows the amount of time in which the 1864 law can be enforced, if at all.

Arkansas

Pro-abortion activists are collecting signatures for a measure that would not allow the state government to “prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion services within 18 weeks of fertilization, which equates to approximately 20 weeks since the first day of the pregnant female’s last menstrual period.”

The amendment would also allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, a fatal fetal anomaly, or “to protect a pregnant female’s life or to protect a pregnant female from a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury.”

The Arkansas Abortion Amendment of 2024 is backed by a ballot initiative group called Arkansans for Limited Government (AFLG). The group has until July 5 to collect 90,704 signatures from registered voters in order to make it on the ballot in November.

The ballot measure would need a simple majority to pass.

Abortion is outlawed in Arkansas except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.

Missouri

Missourians for Constitutional Freedom said earlier this month that it collected 380,000 signatures — far past the 172,000 needed to qualify — and delivered the signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State for approval of its abortion measure.

Abortion is currently outlawed in Missouri, except for in medical emergencies or to save a woman’s life. The proposed amendment would allow abortion until fetal viability, which is generally considered to be around 24 weeks of pregnancy. The amendment also permits abortions after that point if “in the good faith judgment of a treating health care professional [an abortion] is needed to protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant person.”

The measure also states:

The Government shall not deny or infringe upon a person’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which is the right to make and carry out decision about all matters relating to reproductive health care, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, abortion care, miscarriage care, and respectful birthing conditions.

The right to reproductive freedom shall not be denied, interfered with, delayed, or otherwise restricted unless the Government demonstrates that such actions is justified by a compelling governmental interest achieved by the least restrictive means. Any detail, interference, delay, or restriction of the right to reproductive freedom shall be presumed invalid. 

The measure further states that no person “shall be penalized, prosecuted, or otherwise subjected to adverse action based on their actual, potential, perceived, or alleged pregnancy outcomes, including but not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion.”

“Nor shall any person assisting a person in exercising their right to reproductive freedom with person’s consent be penalized, prosecuted, or otherwise subjected to adverse action for doing so,” the measure reads.

Under state law, Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson may decide whether to place the measure on the August 6 primary ballot or the November 5 general election ballot, according to the report.

If the measure makes it to the ballot, it would need 50.1 percent support to pass.

Montana

Left-wing activists in Montana launched their signature collection effort in April to enshrine abortion into the state constitution and announced on Friday that they had obtained enough signatures for the measure to qualify for the November ballot.

The group pushing the measure, Montanans Securing Reproductive Rights, said it had submitted 117,000 signatures to state officials — more than the 60,300 needed to qualify, NBC News reported.

The proposed amendment would allow for abortions throughout pregnancy, per the judgment of a doctor to protect a woman’s life or health, and would prevent the government from penalizing anyone involved in the voluntary decision to have an abortion.

The proposed measure states:

CI-128 would amend the Montana Constitution to expressly provide a right to make and carry out decisions about one’s own pregnancy, including the right to abortion. It would prohibit the government from denying or burdening the right to abortion before fetal viability. It would also prohibit the government from denying or burdening access to an abortion when a treating healthcare professional determines it is medically indicated to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health. CI-128 prevents the government from penalizing patients, healthcare providers, or anyone who assists someone in exercising their right to make and carry out voluntary decisions about their pregnancy.

The coalition behind the ballot measure is comprised of pro-abortion groups including Planned Parenthood of Montana, ACLU of Montana, Forward Montana, and Fairness Project. The effort comes after Montanans voted against an amendment in 2022 that would have mandated that infants who are born alive, including those who survive botched abortions, are legal persons entitled to life-saving medical care.

Abortion is currently legal up to fetal viability in Montana, which is the stage of pregnancy when a baby has developed enough that it is able to survive outside the womb with medical intervention, typically around 22 to 24 weeks.

Nebraska

The Protect Our Rights campaign — a coalition endorsed by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska — is in the signature collection process for a proposed abortion amendment.

The group needs just under 123,000 signatures from 5 percent of voters in at least 38 of the state’s 93 counties for the measure to qualify for the ballot. The deadline is July 3, 2024.

The measure would amend the state constitution to read:

All persons shall have a fundamental right to abortion until fetal viability, or when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient, without interference from the state or its political subdivisions. Fetal viability means the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of the patient’s treating health care practitioner, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.

Republican Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen signed a bill in May 2023 that restricts abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy and outlaws “gender-affirming care” for minors. Before the 12-week limit was in effect, Nebraska limited abortions to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

If the measure makes it on the November ballot, it would not only need a majority to pass, it would also need the support of 35 percent of voters casting ballots.

Nevada

A coalition called Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, which includes pro-abortion organizations and Planned Parenthood affiliates, announced in May that it had submitted more than 200,000 signatures from registered voters, surpassing the 103,000 needed to qualify for the ballot in November.

State officials must review the signatures by July 8 in order to certify the proposed amendment for the ballot.

The proposed amendment would further expand the state constitution to include the “fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, and “abortion care.”

The amendment allows state lawmakers to regulate abortion after “fetal viability,” which is around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy, but allows abortions throughout pregnancy if “in the professional judgment of an attending provider of health care, [the abortion] is medically indicated to protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual.”

If the proposed measure passes in November, it would have to pass again in 2026 before being added to the constitution, per state law.

In Nevada, a statute was upheld through a referendum vote in 1990 allowing abortion through 24 weeks of pregnancy. The law allows abortions throughout pregnancy when the life of the mother is in danger or for health reasons.

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.

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