California Decisively Passes Abortion Rights Amendment—Here’s How Abortion Ballot Measures Fared In The Midterms


Californians voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to pass a ballot initiative to fortify abortion rights, one of five states that put measures on the midterm ballot that could strengthen or weaken abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade—here are the full results.

Key Facts

California (Approved): California voters approved a ballot measure that explicitly protects abortion and contraceptive rights in the state Constitution, with 68.3% of voters backing the proposal after nearly one-third of ballots were counted as of 10:40 p.m. local time, enshrining abortion rights in the state and opening the door for them to possibly be expanded further, NPR reports.

Vermont (Approved): Voters in Vermont also approved a ballot measure that amends the state Constitution to protect abortion rights and “ensure that every Vermonter is afforded personal reproductive liberty,” making certain abortion will remain legal in the state regardless of which party controls it, with more than 77.5% of voters approving of the initiative with 93% of the votes counted just after midnight on Wednesday.

Kentucky (Not Yet Called): Kentucky voters are considering a ballot measure that would amend the state Constitution to explicitly state it does not protect abortion rights, making it harder to challenge any state-level abortion bans.

Michigan (Not Yet Called): Voters in Michigan will decide whether to amend the state Constitution to explicitly protect reproductive rights, including abortion, which would nullify the state’s existing abortion ban from before Roe v. Wade was decided and ensure it can’t go back into effect.

Montana (Not Yet Called): Voters in Montana—where the state Supreme Court has already upheld abortion rights—are voting on a more narrow ballot measure that would expand rights for infants who are “born alive” after failed abortions, and allow healthcare workers to face punishments if they don’t give them proper medical treatment.


The ballot measures are far from the only races that will impact state-level abortion policies. Other races to watch include gubernatorial races in states where a Democratic governor could thwart GOP legislators’ efforts to restrict abortion—like Wisconsin, Florida and Georgia—along with state legislature races, state Supreme Court races and attorneys general match-ups, as those officials are tasked with enforcing state abortion bans.

Key Background

Abortion ballot measures took on new urgency in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, which led to a wave of state-level bans on the procedure. Outrage over the ruling has sparked support for putting abortion on the ballot, with Michigan’s measure attracting a record number of signatures in support of it going on the ballot and Kansas’ ballot measure that could have restricted abortion rights failing in a landslide vote despite the state’s conservative tilt. Polling has shown Americans are broadly in favor of abortion remaining legal and opposed to abortion bans—even in states where the procedure has been outlawed—making ballot measures a popular way for abortion rights advocates to capitalize on public support and circumvent anti-abortion rights lawmakers. Beyond the ballot initiatives, Democratic strategists have hoped more broadly that the Supreme Court’s ruling and abortion as a political issue would fire up their base and motivate them to go to the polls, though more recent polling has suggested voters’ interest in the issue has been somewhat waning.

What We Don’t Know

What states could be next to put abortion on the ballot. The Washington Post reports abortion rights advocates in such states as Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri are weighing whether to move forward with ballot measures in 2024 that would protect abortion rights.

Further Reading

Here’s Where Abortion Rights Are On The Ballot In The Midterms (Forbes)