Three states gave voters the chance to weigh in on abortion access this election cycle: Oregon rejected the prohibition of public funding for abortion while West Virginia doubled down on its pre-Roe anti-abortion law and Alabama approved Amendment 2, a “personhood” measure that could effectively end abortion in the state.
In Alabama, just 18.4 percent of residents voted for Amendment 2 — but with less than one-third weighing in at the polls overall (1,520,611 total) the measure passed with a solid majority. The amendment declares, “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.”
Willie Parker, an abortion provider and board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued a statement following yesterday’s midterm results: “In my home state of Alabama, a law passed that is so vague and dangerous that it strips away the rights of pregnant people and could ban any abortion in the state. Also, in West Virginia, a ban on abortion funding passed, where the impact will be felt most on women with low incomes, who will continue to face significant barriers to abortion access. I am heartbroken for my patients and the people of Alabama and West Virginia.”
As West Virginia’s pre-Roe abortion prohibition remains on the books (it is essentially moot as long as it’s overridden by current multiple Supreme Court decisions), the very narrow vote on Amendment 1 does not immediately change the legality landscape in that state. The right to abortion remains protected unless a precedent-changing decision is issued by the Supreme Court, which now has a solid 5-4 conservative majority. What has changed is…