This story has been updated to reflect the 2022 midterm election results.
It’s been, to say the least, a difficult year for abortion access, as the June overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court set the stage for reproductive rights to be challenged in all 50 states. However, as the results of the 2022 midterm elections come in, it appears some major victories for the abortion-rights movement were won across the country. Below, see the five states where abortion rights were impacted most by the outcome of the midterms:
This historically red state was already affected by an abortion trigger law after the fall of Roe, and anti-abortion activists have lent support to a ballot measure stating that nothing in the state’s constitution protects the right to an abortion. While votes are still being counted, 52% of Kentucky voters have rejected that measure, Amendment 2, so far.
A 1931-era anti-abortion law that provides zero exceptions for cases of rape or incest was effectively struck down by Michigan voters in this year’s midterms, constituting a major win for state-by-state reproductive rights in the post-Roe era.
The legal question of personhood—as it relates to fetal viability—was raised yet again in Montana, where voters weighed in on a law declaring that an embryo or fetus is a legal person with a right to medical care if it is born prematurely or survives an attempted abortion. This type of so-called born-alive law would impose criminal penalties of up to 20 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine for any health care worker who doesn’t try to save what the proposal calls a “born-alive infant” or fetus. Only 80% of votes are in as of Wednesday morning, but so far voters appear to be rejecting this initiative (albeit by a narrow margin).
This Election Day, Californians voted by a wide margin to enshrine the right to abortion and contraception in the state constitution through an amendment introduced earlier this year by Governor Gavin Newsom that makes the state among the most progressive in the country with regard to abortion rights.
An amendment to Vermont’s state constitution establishing the right to “personal reproductive autonomy” was approved by voters on the 2022 midterms ballot; the amendment reads that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”