Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Abortion Initiatives Might Be on the Ballot in as Many as 12 States

Ballot measures protecting abortion have already been officially approved in six states: Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and South Dakota. Organizers in three other states say they have enough signatures already. These are Arkansas, Missouri, and Montana. Abortion rights groups are working on Arizona and Nebraska. In Pennsylvania, an initiative written by the previous state legislature that would ban the use of public funds for abortions needs to pass the legislature again to get on the ballot. In New York, a conservative judge threw the initiative out, so it is in the courts now.

Here is a rundown of where the abortion initiatives stand now. The process is ongoing, though.

State Current limit Summary Status Needed
Arizona 15 weeks Allows abortions to viability Submitted 50%
Arkansas Banned Allows abortions to 20 weeks Submitted 50%
Colorado No limit Allow state funding On the ballot 55%
Florida 6 weeks Allows abortions to viability On the ballot 60%
Maryland To viability Enshrines multiple reproductive rights On the ballot 50%
Missouri Banned Allows abortions to viability Submitted 50%
Montana No limit Allows abortions to viability Submitted 50%
Nebraska 1 12 weeks Allows abortions to viability; life of the mother later Gathering signatures 50%
Nebraska 2 12 weeks Grants fetuses personhood Gathering signatures 50%
Nevada 12 weeks Allows abortions to viability; life of the mother later On the ballot 50%
New York 24 weeks Allows abortions to viability Conservative Judge killed it 50%
Pennsylvania 24 weeks Denies public funding In legislature 50%
South Dakota Banned Allows abortions to 26 weeks On the ballot 50%

The abortion initiatives may get people to the polls, but there is no guarantee that they will all vote Democratic. In Florida, 60% is needed, so many Republicans will be needed. Politico did some interviews with moderate Republicans who will vote the Republican ticket but also vote for the abortion initiative. Due to the high 60% barrier set in the state Constitution, the initiative is probably on the edge. It might pass and it might not. But based on recent history, even in ruby-red South Dakota, it has a pretty good chance.

Republicans are also thinking about abortion, but for a different reason than the Democrats. Prominent anti-abortionists are concerned that Donald Trump may weaken the Republican platform on abortion to help his election campaign. They want the platform to state that Republicans support a federal law banning almost all abortions. What they are afraid of is Trump changing this to say that the issue should be left to the states and there should not be a federal law. Them's fightin' words to many anti-abortionists.

Of course, without 60 votes in the Senate, no law about abortion can pass the upper chamber unless the party in charge abolishes the filibuster. Nevertheless, a position that the matter is up to the states, changes it from a moral imperative to just another political issue, like tax rates. To the anti-abortionists, saying that it is up to the states is like saying banning murder is up to the states.

The platform will officially be adopted at the convention. Trump knows this and has made sure that all the members of the platform committee are loyalists who will do what he tells them to do. He wants to keep abortion hardliners off the committee. In addition, he wants the platform committee to meet in secret with no one except his hand-picked allies there. Having a floor fight over the platform is something he wants to prevent.

For the abortion fanatics, it will be take-it-or-leave-it. They are certainly not going to vote for any Democrat. Staying home will also help the Democrats, so they have no place to go. Trump knows this, so he can barrel forward and ignore them. (V)

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