When American voters go to the polls tomorrow, they will not only be voting on candidates but also on many ballot measures put forward to address policy and regulatory issues at the state level. And in three particular states, these measures involve an especially critical issue: abortion.
On Tuesday, voters in Oregon, West Virginia, and Alabama will be asked to decide whether or not to amend their states’ constitutions regarding the issue of abortion. The proposed amendments in Oregon and West Virginia are similar in that they both address the use of public funds to pay for abortion, while Alabama’s measure proposes an updated definition of personhood.
In Oregon, Measure 106 is also referred to as the “Ban Public Funds for Abortions Initiative.” The measure addresses whether or not public funds should be allowed under the state’s constitution to go toward paying for abortions, excluding cases that are deemed medically necessary or where funding is required under federal law.
West Virginia’s ballot measure takes the issue of taxpayer funding a step further. Amendment 1 is a state constitutional amendment that was added to the ballot by the state legislature. It states, “No constitutional right to abortion. Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”
The West Virginia measure is being opposed by the state’s Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. Manchin is known for commonly breaking rank with his fellow Democrats and voting pro-life. However, he will not be supporting this pro-life measure in his very own state.
Finally, Alabama may have the weightiest measure of the three states. Proposed by the state legislature, Amendment 2 reads,
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended; to declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.
If passed, the impact of this amendment within the state could be crippling to the abortion industry.
While this has been an overview of the state ballot measures regarding abortion, it is important to know what measures you will be voting on in your state come Election Day. Please take a moment to visit your state’s Secretary of State website and educate yourself on the issues at hand — and make sure to vote on Tuesday.
Photo credit: Anna Levinzon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0