Montana vote adds to win streak for abortion rights backers

Nov 10, 2022, 3:18 PM | Updated: Nov 11, 2022, 4:04 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Abortion rights supporters secured another win Thursday as voters in Montana rejected a ballot measure that would have forced medical workers to intercede in the rare case of a baby born after an attempted abortion.

The result caps a string of ballot defeats, months after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade galvanized abortion-rights voters.

Michigan, California and Vermont voted to enshrine abortion rights in their state constitutions, and Kentucky voters rejected an anti-abortion amendment in a tally that echoed a similar August vote in Kansas.

Abortion rights groups said the outcomes show that voters across the political spectrum support access to abortion, even after a dozen Republican-governed states legislatures adopted near-total bans in the wake of the Roe decision. Anti-abortion groups, on the other hand, say they were outspent in the state races and point out anti-abortion candidate victories.

Like voters nationwide, only about 1 in 10 voters in California, Michigan, Montana Kentucky or Vermont said abortion should generally be illegal in all cases, according to AP VoteCast.

The Montana ballot measure would have raised the prospect of criminal charges carrying up to 20 years in prison for health-care providers unless they take “all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life” of an infant born alive, including in the rare case of a birth after an abortion.

Doctors and other opponents argued the law could keep parents of babies born with incurable diseases from spending peaceful moments with their infants if doctors were forced to attempt treatment.

“Today’s win sends a clear message to state leadership: Montanans demand our right to make private health care decisions for ourselves and our families … without interference from politicians,” said Hillary-Anne Crosby, a spokesperson for the Compassion for Montana Families.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Matt Regier of Kalispell, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Abortion is legal in Montana up to 24 weeks, generally considered the point of fetal viability as was legal under Roe. The state Supreme Court has blocked restrictions passed last year in the Republican-controlled Legislature, and previously held the state’s constitutional right to privacy protects access to abortion.

Kentucky, on the other hand, is one of the states with a near-total ban on abortion that has an exception for health of the woman but no exceptions for rape and incest.

In both Montana and Kentucky, voters overwhelmingly support carving out exceptions for women who seek abortions, AP VoteCast found. At least 8 in 10 Kentucky and Montana voters said their state should generally allow abortion if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and if the mother’s health is seriously endangered by the pregnancy.

About 4 in 10 voters in the two states said women should be able to end a pregnancy for any reason at all.

The defeat of Kentucky’s ballot measure explicitly denying any abortion protections in the state constitution doesn’t change its strict abortion ban. But the outcome will likely help keep alive a lawsuit challenging the law ahead of a hearing set for next week.

In Michigan, meanwhile, voters passed a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion rights and also gave Democrats full control of state government for the first time 40 years.

Men and women in Michigan were similar in their support for the ballot measure protecting abortion rights, VoteCast found. But younger voters were much more likely than older voters to support the measure. About 7 in 10 voters under 45 voted to protect abortion rights, compared with about 6 in 10 voters ages 45 to 64 and about half of voters 65 and older.

Women in Kentucky were more likely than men to vote down the effort to block abortion rights, 60% vs. 50%, but there were not significant differences across age groups.

In both Michigan and Kentucky, urban and suburban voters were more likely than small town and rural voters to vote for abortion access. In Kentucky, and to a lesser extent in Michigan, college educated voters were more likely to vote for abortion access than those who did not have college degree.

In both states, self-described moderate voters overwhelming backed abortion access. Even among conservative voters, roughly a quarter voted to grant abortion access.

In California, majorities of voters across gender lines, age groups, education levels and community types voted in support of abortion rights, according to VoteCast.

Michigan state Sen. Winnie Brinks, who will become the chamber’s first female majority leader, told reporters that affirming reproductive rights would be one of the Democrats’ top priorities.

“You’re going to see us echo the issues that the voters resoundingly approved on the ballot,” she said. “We will be a state where equality is valued.”


Associated Press writers Hannah Fingerhut, Amanda Seitz and Sarah Rankin in Washington; Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, and Amy Beth Hanson in Helena, Montana, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

3 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

7 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

7 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

8 days ago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump helps serve food to Texas Natio...

Associated Press

Trump receives endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit to a US-Mexico border town

Donald Trump picked up the Texas governor’s endorsement Sunday during a visit to a U.S.-Mexico border town.

9 days ago

Eric Trump, executive vice president of Trump Organization Inc., speaks to the media as he leaves f...

Associated Press

Lawyers in Trump’s civil fraud trial are ordered to clam up about judge’s communications with staff

Eric Trump testified Friday that he was relying on accountants to ensure the accuracy of financial statements.

26 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Montana vote adds to win streak for abortion rights backers