Kentucky, Michigan voters approve protecting abortion rights


Supporters react as preliminary results come in for Michigan Proposal 3 on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Detroit, Mich. Abortion rights supporters won in the four states where access was on the ballot Tuesday, as voters enshrined it into the state constitution in battleground Michigan as well as blue California and Vermont and dealt a defeat to an anti-abortion measure in deep-red Kentucky. (Ryan Sun/Ann Arbor News via AP)


Voters in reliably red Kentucky rejected a ballot measure aimed at denying any state constitutional protections for abortion while voters in battleground Michigan enshrined abortion rights in their state’s constitution — joining Democratic California and Vermont in taking that step.


The Kentucky result bucked the state’s Republican-led Legislature, which had imposed a near-total ban on the procedure and put the proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot. It also mirrored what happened in another red state, Kansas, where voters in August rejected changing that state’s constitution to let lawmakers tighten restrictions or ban abortions.


The Tuesday ballot measures came months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion it guaranteed to women nationwide. The decision in June has led to near-total bans in a dozen states.


Supporters of the push to protect abortion rights in Michigan collected more signatures than any other ballot initiative in state history to get it before the voters. It puts a definitive end to a 1931 ban on abortion that had been blocked in court but could have been revived. It also affirms the right to make pregnancy-related decisions about abortion and other reproductive services such as birth control without interference.


On Michigan State University’s campus, junior Devin Roberts said that students seemed “fired up” and that he had seen lines of voters spilling out of the school’s polling places throughout the day. The ballot measure was one of the main drivers of the high turnout, he said.


“There’s a lot of energy for Prop 3 on campus right now, whether you agree with abortion or not,” Roberts said. “I think students want to have the same rights that their parents had when they were younger.”