Voters came out to support abortion access on Election 2022, likely helping prevent an expected “red wave” at the polls.
Illinois’ neighboring states of Kentucky and Michigan were among those that either expanded access or voted down proposed bans.
Kentucky’s vote follows a similar vote in Kansas over the summer. A proposed constitutional amendment would have barred a constitutional right to an abortion. That would have prevented any Kentucky state courts from opening access through court order. However, even though the vote hasn’t been finalized, it looks like it will be defeated.
Forward KY reported that the No side of the amendment vote is leading with 52.6% of the vote with 88% of precincts reporting in. While the Yes side could theoretically catch up, it isn’t likely. Even with the amendment failing, the state still has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Abortions are allowed only if the pregnant person’s life or health is in danger. Otherwise, any Kentucky resident needs to leave the state if they need an abortion.
But the defeat of the amendment does mean that courts will remain an option for activists.
Michigan voted out an existing abortion ban that dated to the 1930s. According to Michigan Advance, the statewide ballot proposal enshrines reproductive rights in the state constitution. The political news site reported the proposal has attracted 52.62% of the vote, with 79 of 83 counties reporting. The Associate Press has called the vote a victory for the proposal.
There were just the referendums closest to Illinois. NPR reported that in Vermont and California, both access havens, voters approved proposals to strengthen access. In Vermont, reproductive autonomy is now a constitutional right. The radio network reported the state is the first in the country to have such a right.
According to Politico, the threat to abortion access since the overturn of Roe v. Wade drove higher turnout across the country.