Midterm Voters Choose To Protect Reproductive Freedom

Voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont embraced constitutional amendments to protect abortion rights, while Kentuckians rejected an anti-abortion amendment.


Five states had abortion-related measures on their 2022 midterm ballots, and voters in all of these states seem to have sided with reproductive freedom.

In three states—California, Michigan, and Vermont—voters endorsed constitutional amendments protecting the right to an abortion, while Kentuckians voted against an amendment stating that there is no such right.

The California amendment—Proposition 1—alters the state's constitution to include a "fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives." With 41 percent of votes in, it's winning 65.2 percent to 34.8 percent.

The Michigan measure—Proposal 3—amends the state's constitution to include a "right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care." It's passing 55.8 percent to 44.2 percent with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting.

Vermont's Proposal 5 adds language to the state constitution stipulating that "an individual's right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one's own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means." With 90 percent of precincts reporting, 77 percent of voters approve.

Meanwhile, the only overtly anti-abortion measure on ballots yesterday looks to be failing. Kentucky's Amendment 2 would have added language to the state's constitution specifying that "nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion." With 86 percent of precincts reporting, the nos have it—52.5 to 47.4 percent.

Montana's "Medical Care Requirements for Born-Alive Infants Measure" seems to be failing as well. This would allow the state to bring criminal charges against doctors who didn't do everything possible to save the lives of any infant "born alive" after an induced labor, a Cesarean section, an abortion, or any other means. As opponents of the measure pointed out, infanticide is already illegal and doctors are already supposed to do everything possible to save the lives of viable infants who are born, no matter the circumstances. But there are tragic instances in which an infant is born so early or with severe birth defects so severe that it simply cannot survive on its own. Doctors and families in these cases may opt against prolonging their lives by any means possible.

If this measure passed, families would not be able to comfort, cuddle, baptize, or otherwise care for infants who would soon die, because doctors would have to spend this time attempting doomed resuscitating measures. And in some cases, this could mean forcing an infant in great pain to suffer longer before an inevitable death. While the measure was sold as a way to care for and protect babies, it could actually have resulted in cruelty toward infants and their families. With 80 percent of votes in, a majority of voters—52.6 percent—are rejecting the proposal.