Everywhere Abortion Access Is on the Ballot in November

Even if you don't think your state matters in the national conversation on abortion care, it does.

Hungry for more midterms reading? We’ve got you covered. Ahead of the November 8, 2022 election, we’ve got voter guides covering state and local races in 16 cities plus details on everything from everywhere issues like LGBTQ+ rights and cannabis legalization are on the ballot to how to locate your polling place. Head to Thrillist’s midterm elections hub page for more.

On June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in a landmark decision that has already impacted abortion access across the US. The ruling dismantled our constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy—under all circumstances, including rape and incest—and instead, awarded that power to individual states.

Most abortions are now banned across 13 states, including the stereotypically red Texas, Alabama, and Tennessee. And while we can't snap our fingers and reinstate Roe, the midterm election will have a powerful impact on abortion care in our country.

"It is important to go into the midterms understanding this: who wins could determine which states protect access to abortion and whether national politicians have the votes to realize their ultimate goal, a national abortion ban," a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes Shwetika Baijal told Thrillist.

The first step (beyond registering to vote) is understanding the viewpoints of candidates on your ballot and what they represent. According to Baijal, we will see a stark contrast in platforms across key states.

"In Arizona, you've got Senator Mark Kelly, who co-sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act and has promised to do everything he can to protect abortion rights, up against Blake Masters, an extreme, Trump-endorsed candidate who called abortion 'demonic,'" she said.

Planned Parenthood Votes has done the heavy lifting for us. The organization has broken down where candidates stand on the issue in key states like Georgia and North Carolina. If your state is not included in the guide, go straight to the candidates. You can call or email those on the ballot to find out their position on the issue.

Much of the country is facing pivotal races that will ultimately decide—on both local and federal levels—whether Americans will have access to even life-saving abortion care.Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan, Maine, Montana, Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin are among the most important states in this election when it comes to this issue, Baijal said.

According to Ballotpedia, there are six specifically abortion-related measures on ballots across the country this year—which is actually a record. If voted through, California, Michigan, and Vermont will establish abortion as a state-wide constitutional right, while the Kentucky measure is looking to enact an amendment to its own state constitution stating that the state of Kentucky does not recognize any right to an abortion. Montana voters will also see an abortion-related measure on their ballots, but the legislation is not related to state constitutional rights to an abortion.

Should Michigan's amendment pass, it will look slightly different than California's and Vermont's. Rather, the amendment would include a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined by abortion, contraception, and other matters related to pregnancy. Vermont's amendment is phrased as a constitutional right to "personal reproductive autonomy," while California's states that the state can't "deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions" including a decision to have an abortion.

In Kansas, a consistently Republican-voting state, abortion access was already confirmed in an August vote.

But for those that might not feel a direct threat to their healthcare freedom—maybe you live in New York or California with historically pro-choice majorities—here's a bit of advice: don't get too comfortable. Who is ultimately elected in the US House of Representatives and the Senate will influence the floor majority and, ultimately, what bills are pushed forward.

"Abortion rights are on the ballot everywhere, because with Roe overturned, there is no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion. Anti-abortion politicians have been chipping away at the right to abortion for more than 40 years and they used a multi-pronged approach to get us here: they focused on state chambers, governor seats, judges, and more," Baijal said. "Ensuring we have champions for sexual and reproductive health care in all these seats is vital if we want to be able to make decisions about our own bodies. At the federal level, anti-abortion lawmakers have already introduced legislation to ban abortion nationwide."

Here's the good news—beyond the fact you have a stake in these decisions just by voting—abortion access is motivating women to the polls. Baijal reports that women are outpacing men by 12% in new registrations and 62% of those female voters are Democrats.

"Voters are motivated and energized like never before, and this November, we’ll see them elect champions for abortion rights up and down the ballot, and all across the country," she added.

Heading out to the polls this year is a first and important step in the fight to maintain abortion care in this country, but for those concerned about access, there are other avenues of support too. You can donate to abortion funds (here's a comprehensive list) and independent abortion clinics, join a rights rally, or speak to your family members on the issue and why it matters to you—you might be able to add one more pro-choice vote to the ballot with the facts.

You can also call your representatives in Congress to voice your support for the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA), a piece of federal legislation that would secure the right to abortion in every state despite the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe.

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.