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The Next Battlegrounds: 5 States Where the Abortion Fight Will Unfold

After a significant win for abortion rights advocates in Ohio, attention is now turning to a handful of purple and red states where the fight for abortion rights is expected to intensify.

Ohioans recently passed a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights, which is a notable achievement in a state that has become increasingly conservative. Advocates are now seeking to amend state constitutions in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and South Dakota to establish or reinforce existing abortion protections.

These efforts could mobilize Democratic voters in a crucial presidential election year. Here are the five states where the abortion fight is likely to unfold next:

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Nevada:

Abortion access is safeguarded in Nevada for the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions made if the physician believes it is necessary to protect the woman’s life or health. Abortion rights advocates want to bring the issue back to voters and enshrine these protections in the state constitution.

The proposed constitutional amendment ensures reproductive freedom as a fundamental right and protects access to a range of reproductive healthcare services, including abortion.

The amendment allows for abortion up until fetal viability, with exceptions made to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health. The amendment also prohibits the state from penalizing patients or healthcare providers involved in obtaining or performing abortions.

Advocates have until June 26 to collect 103,000 signatures from voters to place the amendment on the 2024 ballot. It will need to be reapproved by voters in 2026 for implementation.

Arizona:

A coalition in Arizona launched a campaign in August to place an abortion rights measure on the 2024 ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment asserts that every individual has a fundamental right to abortion and protects access until fetal viability.

The amendment prevents the state from interfering with an abortion after fetal viability if it is deemed necessary by a healthcare professional to protect the pregnant individual’s life or health.

Similar to the Nevada amendment, it also prohibits the state from punishing those assisting patients in obtaining abortions. The coalition must collect 383,923 signatures before July 3, 2024, to bring the measure before voters.

Currently, abortion is legal in Arizona until 15 weeks of pregnancy, pending a decision by the Arizona Supreme Court on an 1864 abortion law that severely restricts abortions.

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Florida:

Florida has become a focal point in the abortion rights fight after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban. However, the ban is on hold as the state Supreme Court considers a 15-week abortion ban.

Abortion rights advocates launched an initiative to protect abortion access by seeking a constitutional amendment in the state. The proposed amendment ensures that no law can prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when it is necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by their healthcare provider.

Advocates need to submit 891,523 signatures by February 1, 2024, to qualify the amendment for the ballot. If successful, the measure would require a 60 percent voter threshold for approval.

State Attorney General Ashley Moody has appealed to the state Supreme Court to prevent the measure from going before voters, alleging that the amendment uses misleading language to deceive voters.

Credit: DepositPhotos

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Missouri:

In Missouri, two groups are working to bring the abortion issue to the ballot in response to the state’s current abortion ban, which only allows exceptions for medical emergencies.

Missourians for Constitutional Freedom filed 11 different constitutional amendments, all emphasizing the protection of an individual’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom.

Some amendments specify when the General Assembly can regulate abortion, while others mention gestational limits or fetal viability. The Missouri Women and Family Research Fund has also submitted multiple petitions with different amendments, some including exceptions for specific circumstances.

Groups have until early May to collect over 171,000 signatures for the measures to be considered by voters. Critics, including Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, argue that the proposed amendments would lead to unregulated and unrestricted abortions.

South Dakota:

Dakotans for Health is seeking signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment in South Dakota to broaden abortion access. The amendment states that during the first trimester, the state cannot regulate a pregnant woman’s abortion decision.

During the second trimester, the state can only regulate abortion if it is reasonably related to the woman’s physical health. After the second trimester, the state can prohibit or regulate abortion, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the woman.

Abortion is currently almost entirely banned in the state, with only an exception for the mother’s life. The group has until May 7, 2024, to gather 35,017 signatures for the measure to appear on the ballot.

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Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!