As Ohio became the 7th state in a row to protect reproductive rights, abortion activists are already gearing up for a significant challenge in 2024 – putting abortion rights on the ballot once again. Organizers are working in at least nine states to continue this momentum and enshrine abortion protections in state constitutions. The potential states include Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri, Nevada, Arizona, Maryland, New York, Colorado, and Florida.
Of course, it will be easier said than done.
Just last week, a Nevada judge rejected a proposed abortion rights ballot initiative, calling it too broad and misleading. The petition’s language described a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomies, tubal ligation, abortion and abortion care. Judge James T. Russell told KOLO-TV Reno that the ballot initiative included “too many subjects. Not all of which are functionally related to each other.” The pro-abortion group leading the efforts, Nevadans for Reproductive Rights, is expected to appeal the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court. Nevada voted overwhelmingly in 1990 to guarantee the right to an abortion up to 24 weeks.
However, activists are feeling optimistic about their prospects in Arizona, Maryland, New York and Colorado. Arizona for Abortion Access is in the process of collecting the necessary signatures from registered voters for their referendum and are currently exceeding their monthly goals. With Maryland and New York’s state legislatures solidly led by Democrats, measures are already set to be on their November ballots. And Colorado is expected to follow suit.
A Ms. magazine and Feminist Majority Foundation poll conducted by Lake Research Partners last year found that 55% of young women voters in battleground states say abortion and women’s rights combined are the top issues that will determine their votes. The overturn of Roe has activated abortion right supporters to make their voices heard at the ballot box, and 2024 will be no different.