The ballot could be the seventh such ballot to put the question of abortion directly to voters. In August 2022, voters in Kansas sent shock waves through the country when they rejected a ballot initiative brought by an anti-choice legislature, looking to confirm there was no right to abortion protected by the state’s constitution.
Voting 59% to 41% in favor of protecting abortion rights, the ballot reaffirmed an earlier decision by the Kansas supreme court in 2019 stating abortion is indeed protected in the state’s constitution, under the right to autonomy. The loss sent a stark warning to anti-abortion advocates that abortion restrictions may not be successful at the ballot box.
A string of similar wins for abortion rights during the 2022 midterms only added to that warning, when ballot initiatives brought in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont all further secured abortion rights when put to a popular vote.
Since the midterms, legislatures across the country have made moves to blunt the force of citizen-led ballot initiatives in states that allow them. At present, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Idaho, Oklahoma and North Dakota are all weighing bills that would make it harder for ballot initiatives to be passed.