Democrats Race To Get Abortion on Swing State Ballots To Blunt Biden’s Sinking Poll Numbers

Abortion advocates are pushing ballot initiatives across the country, after a wave of success in seven states since the Dobbs decision.

AP/David Erickson
Protesters in support of access to abortion medication outside the Federal Courthouse on March 15, 2023 at Amarillo, Texas. AP/David Erickson

Democrats are racing to put abortion on the ballot in 2024 after seeing victories on every state ballot it’s been on since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The measures come after abortion advocates were encouraged by a wave of victories in off-year elections, including a measure to protect abortion in the state’s Constitution that passed by more than 13 percentage points in conservative-leaining Ohio.

The movement also saw a series of wins this election season on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, in the Kentucky governor’s race, and in Virginia’s legislature. 

In addition to Ohio, state ballot measures have been successful in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont since 2022’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. Now, abortion proponents are pushing ballot initiatives in states across the country, as Democrats cling to a winning issue that they hope can offset President Biden’s sinking approval ratings

In addition to the ballot referendums, Democrats have been campaigning heavily through advertisements on abortion, targeting women voters in key swing states. 

“Reproductive healthcare decisions are among the most personal a woman will ever make, they are choices that should be made by  you and your doctor, and the last people who should be involved are these guys,” says one such ad that ran this fall in key swing states for the Biden-Harris reelection campaign. It displayed clips of  Republican candidates President Trump and Governor DeSantis supporting measures against abortion. 

New York and Maryland already have questions on the ‘24 ballot to determine if each state will enshrine abortion into its constitution. A series of similar pro-abortion ballot efforts are underway in states ranging from Arizona and Colorado to Florida and Missouri, with traction coming in some states more than others.

In Nevada, a district court judge last week struck down an initiative petition that would have put the question of enshrining abortion in Nevada’s Constitution to a vote. The Coalition for Parents and Children that put sought to block the vote argued the petition was too broad since it extended beyond reproductive rights and included birth control, prenatal care, and postpartum care.

“This is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single subject rule,” the judge, James Russell said in his ruling, adding that the “too many subjects” on the ballot petition were not all “functionally related to each other.”

Abortion advocates have promised to appeal the decision to the state’s Supreme Court.

Nevadans for Reproductive Rights president Lindsay Harmon told the Associated Press that the group “will not let one judge’s misguided ruling deter us from giving Nevadans the opportunity to vote to permanently protect their reproductive rights in the Nevada Constitution.”

For right-to-life groups across the country, the fight is far from over as well. “Rest assured: the pro-life movement is more united than ever,” Protect Women Ohio, the group leading efforts against Ohio’s ballot measure, said in a statement on X. “We persevered for 50 years to overturn Roe v Wade. Ours is a movement that has always endured, and always will.”

The New York Sun

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