Abortion is on the Ballot this November

In West Virginia, Oregon, and Alabamadangerous anti-choice ballot measures are up for a vote on November 6th.

It’s a scary time in our country, and there’s a lot on the line. A man who promised to overturn Roe v. Wade sits in the Oval Office. His second-in-command swore he would “see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash-heap of history, where it belongs.” Together, they weaponized a slim conservative majority in the Senate to put an anti-choice extremist who was accused of multiple counts of sexual assault on the Supreme Court — the fifth vote they would need to gut or overturn Roe.

Galvanized by Donald Trump’s blatantly anti-women agenda, anti-choice extremists are mounting new attacks on our reproductive freedom. It has never been more important than it is now that women take this country back. In November, we must take Congress back. In 2020, we must take the White House back.

Seven in ten Americans support Roe v. Wade, and we are FED UP with extreme anti-choice politicians interfering in our private healthcare decisions. Our reproductive freedom is on the ballot across the country in the sense that many districts will decide between pro-choice champions and anti-choice extremists. But in three statesWest Virginia, Oregon, and Alabamadangerous anti-choice ballot measures are up for a vote this November. They threaten to severely restrict abortion access or even ban the procedure outright.

West Virginia

In just a few weeks, West Virginians will vote on Amendment One, a ballot measure that, if passed, would:

“Amend the West Virginia Constitution to clarify that nothing in the Constitution of West Virginia secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the requires the funding of abortion.”

West Virginia is one of nine U.S. states with a pre-Roe, near-total criminal ban on abortion that is currently unconstitutional and unenforceable. It’s also one of 26 states that currently have a state government in which the governor and both legislative chambers are anti-choice. It’s crystal clear what West Virginia’s anti-choice politicians are up to by putting this measure on the ballot: they’re paving the way for the state to criminalize abortion. If Amendment One passes, West Virginia politicians could fast-track legislation that would criminalize abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is rolled back. It’s exactly what anti-choice organizations have been planning and funding for decades, all while trying to hide their extremist agenda behind the battle cry “Abortion should be sent back to the states!” They’re not fighting for federalism — they’re looking to weaponize state governments to punish women.

West Virginia currently provides public funding for abortion coverage when it is medically necessary, which is well beyond the extremely narrow set of circumstances offered in most states (usually only life endangerment of the pregnant person, rape, or incest), but this ballot measure would dictate that nothing in the state’s constitution requires the funding of abortion. If passed, this amendment would not only eliminate coverage of medically necessary abortion care, it could also eliminate funding for abortion in the cases of life endangerment of the pregnant person, rape, or incest. Cutting these funds off would have a disproportionately devastating impact on communities that already face immense barriers to accessing quality care, especially the 29% of the West Virginian population that relies on Medicaid for essential healthcare.

Alabama

Like West Virginia’s dangerous Amendment One ballot initiative, Alabama’s Amendment Two makes anti-choice extremism official state policy. This measure would amend the Constitution of Alabama to:

“Declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

Put simply, the amendment would open the door to banning abortion statewide. Similar to West Virginia, Alabama has a pre-Roe criminal ban on abortion that cannot currently be enforced as long as the protections under Roe v. Wade are intact. It also has as a state government in which both legislative chambers and the governor are anti-choice. If Amendment Two passes on November 6th, the state will pave a clear path towards banning abortion outright in Alabama.

Oregon

Unfortunately, this wave of attacks on reproductive freedom is not limited to red states. Oregon is the only state in the country that hasn’t passed any abortion restrictions since the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, making it the seemingly most pro-choice state across the nation. But that fact hasn’t stopped Oregon’s anti-choice extremists from collecting just enough signatures to put a dangerous anti-choice initiative on Oregon’s ballot. Measure 106 would:

“Amend Constitution; prohibit spending ‘public funds’ directly/indirectly for ‘abortion”

While there have been restrictions on federal funding for abortion that limit coverage — except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment of the pregnant person — since 1976, Oregon is one of the seventeen states that allow state funds to ensure that low-income people are better able to access their constitutional right to abortion. If passed, Measure 106 would reverse the state law that guarantees coverage of abortion, disproportionately impacting low-income Oregonians, as well as with teachers, nurses, firefighters, and other public employees who receive their insurance coverage from the state. This initiative is nothing but a backdoor ban on abortion to restrict access only to those can afford to pay out of pocket. It would set a dangerous precedent of cherry-picking which medical procedures will or will not be covered by public insurance and reduce access to healthcare.

Our Rights Are on the Line

It’s more obvious than ever that reproductive freedom is literally on the ballot. If passed, these restrictions will impact countless women, many of whom already struggle to access care. Low-income women, women of color, transgender and nonbinary people, and women living in rural areas who already face barriers in accessing abortion will be disproportionately impacted by these initiatives.

We have a huge opportunity on November 6th to push this country forward instead of letting anti-choice conservatives turn back the clock on all of our hard-won progress. If you’re in West Virginia, vote “no” on Amendment One. If you’re in Alabama, vote “no” on Amendment Two. If you’re in Oregon, vote “no” on Measure 106.

If you’re a voter in any of the states across the U.S., vote no on anti-choice extremists who want to roll back our rights. It’s time for the pro-choice majority in this country to put a pro-choice majority in our Senate, our House of Representatives, our governor’s mansions, our state legislatures, our mayors’ offices, and more. It’s time for our representatives to actually represent us.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is fighting for reproductive freedom for every body.

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