Left-wing activists across the United States are organizing and rallying to collect signatures for various abortion ballot initiatives ahead of 2024, following a string of similar successes after the fall of Roe v. Wade.
The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturned Roe, which had invented a federal “right” to abortion in the Constitution, and returned power 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, backed by the affiliates of large left-wing organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, have stealthily turned to ballot measures in the hopes of shoring up and even growing the abortion complex in the shift from federal to state power.
And so far, their plan is working — every single 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. On November 7, Ohioans also voted to codify the supposed “right” to abortion in their state Constitutions via Issue 1.
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.
These measures are propped up by national left-wing organizations with deep pockets, out-of-state dark money groups, and billionaires with eugenicist leanings, oftentimes outspending pro-life organizations by double or triple.
Here are the nine states to watch out for moving into the next election year:
A coalition of left-wing groups officially launched its effort last week to enshrine the supposed “right” to abortion into the Nebraska constitution.
Protect Our Rights, a coalition endorsed by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska, submitted proposed petition language to the Nebraska Secretary of State in October.
The proposed amendment would reportedly declare a fundamental right to abortion until “fetal viability” — which is generally considered to be between 22 to 24 weeks of gestation — or “when needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant patient,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.
“Under the petition language, the patient’s health care practitioner would determine fetal viability,” the report states.
The left-wing coalition must collect roughly 125,000 valid signatures by summer 2024 for the amendment to appear on the ballot next year.
For the measure to pass, it must receive a majority vote, in addition to at least 35 percent of voters casting ballots to approve of the measure.
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.
A group called Dakotans for Health has reportedly reached the required signatures needed to submit its abortion ballot initiative to the Secretary of State’s Office, but it will continue to gather signatures until it hits its goal of 60,000, the South Dakota Searchlight reported this month. The organization “expects to file ahead of the deadline and potentially by the end of the year,” the report states.
The proposed constitutional amendment 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 of health” of the mother.
The measure would require a simple majority of the votes to pass if it makes it on the ballot.
Abortion is currently outlawed in the state, except to “preserve the life of the pregnant female.”
Several groups have proposed pro-abortion amendments in Missouri, but one actually appears to be moving forward.
Missouri Women and Family Research Fund, headed by former congressional aide Jamie Corley, said the organization began its signature collection process amid litigation over the proposed ballot language, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Tuesday.
The ballot language, as is, would ask voters:
Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to:
allow no-excuse abortions through gestational age of twelve weeks;
change Missouri laws regarding the right to life;
allow abortions at any age without government interference before fetal viability in the case of rape or sexual assault with reporting requirements, incest, fatal fetal abnormality or risk to the health/safety of the mother;
limit the general assembly’s authority from refusing to appropriate funds to abortion providers; and
limit criminal prosecution/civil penalty of any person who performs, assists or provides support to induce, seek or obtain an abortion in any state?
The organization must collect 170,000 signatures by May 2024 in order for the measure to appear on the ballot. The measure could pass with 50.1 percent of the votes.
Abortions are currently outlawed in the state, except for in medical emergencies to save a woman’s life.
Floridians Protecting Freedom, a coalition of left-wing groups including Planned Parenthood and ACLU of Florida, is the main sponsor of an abortion ballot initiative in the Sunshine State.
The language of the initiative states: “Except as provided in Article X, Section 22, 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.”
The cited provision allows the state legislature to require parental notification before a minor has an abortion, with the option of a child asking a judge to grant permission.
As of last week, the coalition had collected more than 491,000 signatures of the 891,523 needed to place the measure, called the “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion,” on the ballot, WFLA reported.
The measure would need 60 percent of voters to cast a vote in favor of it for it to be codified into law.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) and various groups have asked the state’s Supreme Court to prevent the initiative from being placed on the ballot in 2024.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) notably signed a six-week abortion limit in April of 2023, replacing the state’s previous 15-week limit. The law makes exceptions for the woman’s life or health and in cases of rape and incest under certain conditions.
The 15-week limit is currently on hold while the Florida Supreme Court determines if it is constitutional. The six-week limit will go into effect if the high court upholds the 15-week limit.
“After that point, the measure would bar the state from restricting abortion care in situations where the health or life of the pregnant person is at risk, according to the treating health care professional,” the report states.
The group, which is endorsed by left-wing organizations like ACLU of Arizona and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, must gather 384,000 signatures by July 3 to qualify.
Chris love, one of the leaders of the group, told the outlet it has so far “met and exceeded” its monthly goals and is on pace to gather enough signatures.
The measure would need a simple majority to pass.
In Arizona, abortion is legal up to 15 weeks of pregnancy with an exception for the life of the mother.
In Nevada, abortion through 24 weeks of pregnancy was already codified in 1990 through a referendum vote.
Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, which is also partnered with Planned Parenthood affiliates, wants to 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.”
But on Tuesday, a Carson City District Court judge struck down the petition and called it “log rolling,” where a petition addresses one topic a voter is interested in, then adds several other lesser-known subjects, the Associated Press reported.
“This is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single-subject rule,” Judge James T. Russell said, according to KOLO-TV Reno, which first reported the ruling. “I’ve seen a lot of them over the years and in respect to this particular matter, there are too many subjects. Not all of which are functionally related to each other.”
The initiative petition supporters said they plan to appeal the decision to the Nevada State Supreme Court.
The organization must collect 103,000 signatures by June 26 for the measure to appear on the ballot next year.
Maryland lawmakers voted in March of this year to place an abortion ballot measure in front of voters in November of 2024.
The language of the 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 decision 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 interested achieved by the least restrictive means.
A simple majority of voters need to approve it for it to pass.
“Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in Maryland,” the Associated Press reported.
There is already no limit on abortion in Maryland.
Similarly to Maryland, New York Democrats put forward a ballot measure for voters to weigh in on in 2024.
Democrats passed the Equal Rights Amendment for the second time in January of this year, officially giving it the green light to go before voters in November.
The amendment states [emphasis added]:
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.
The amendment needs a simple majority to pass.
The coalition backing the measure, led by New Yorkers for Equal Rights, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the NAACP of New York, and an SEIU local, announced in June that it was spending $20 million to promote the amendment in statewide broadcast and digital ads and dispatch canvassers for a grassroots voter education effort, Politico reported.
In New York, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and after 24 weeks if a woman’s health is at risk.
A left-wing coalition in Colorado is in the early stages of creating a ballot initiative that would formally enshrine the “right to abortion” in the state constitution and end a ban on the use of state funds for abortions, Westword reported in August.
The group is called The Colorado Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Coalition, and is comprised of the ACLU of Colorado, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, the Colorado Organization of Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), New Era Colorado, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and ProgressNow Colorado, and Cobalt.
“It has been a collective ambition of the coalition to overturn that policy, and to also protect the abortion rights in the constitution in whatever way we can,” said Karen Middleton, president of the advocacy group Cobalt, which is one of the seven coalition members. “The wording is still being sorted out, but the intent is there.”
The group will have to collect signatures from at least two percent of voters in each state Senate district, which is approximately 125,000 people, according to Colorado Newsline. The amendment would need to approval of at least 55 percent of voters.
In Colorado, abortion is legal throughout pregnancy.
Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.