How Voters In West Virginia, Alabama, & Oregon Decided Abortion Measures

photographed by Sage McAvoy.
Voters in three states have decided on ballot measures related to abortion rights. In West Virginia and Oregon decided on ballot measures regarding funding for abortion care. In Alabama, voters decided on a constitutional amendment that affirms the "rights of unborn."
In West Virginia, voters approved Amendment 1, to add language to the West Virginia Constitution stating that "nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion." This blocks public funding for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, and fetal anomalies, and would also ban Medicaid from covering the procedure. This negates a 1993 state Supreme Court decision that affirmed a right to abortion care and state Medicaid funding for abortion in the state.
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In Oregon, voters struck down a similar measure. The initiative, known as Measure 106, was a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit public state funds from paying for abortion. This measure was added to the ballot following the passing of the Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017, which required insurers in the state to provide coverage for abortions and an array of reproductive health services at no cost to patients. The requirement still stands.
Voters in the state of Alabama approved a ballot measure known as Amendment 2, which gives fetuses the same rights as people. It adds language to the state constitution that says "it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children."
The amendment adds that the state constitution “does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” This makes Alabama the third state, after Missouri and Utah, to formally protect a "right to life," according to Re.wire News.
Although this amendment doesn't make anything illegal, it could open the door to the criminalization of some forms of contraception and in-vitro fertilization.
Alabama already has a so-called "trigger ban" on the books that would make abortion immediately illegal if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe V. Wade.
"In addition to banning all abortion care if Roe v. Wade is overturned, this amendment is so far-reaching that it would allow the state to prosecute women for using IUDs, emergency contraception, and IVF or even for missing prenatal care appointments or not being able to leave an abusive partner," The Very Reverend Katherine H. Ragsdale, Interim President & CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), said in a statement. "Instead of protecting Alabama women and families, Amendment 2 jeopardizes their health and well-being."
This post has been updated throughout.
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