Friday, November 7, 2008

States Say No to Abortion Bans: All Anti-Abortion Ballot Initiatives Fail

California, South Dakota, and Colorado each had ballot initiatives that would place limitations on abortions and voters rejected them all. In California, Proposition 4, the third effort in four years to enact a law requiring parental notification before a minor can have an abortion, failed once again. Californians clearly understand that such restrictions are harmful to some young women. The fact that the vast majority of young women turn to their parent’s supports the idea that parental notification laws are just another tactic to make abortion services less accessible.

In Colorado, Amendment 48, an amendment that would officially define a fertilized egg as a “person” under the state constitution failed. “Opposition to the measure came from voters of all age groups and majorities of men and women,” reports an article from National Partnership. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised the leaders of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and their state-based allies for leading the successful campaign to defeat Amendment 48. "Tonight's victory belongs to the vast majority of Coloradans who acted on their pro-choice values and rejected this extreme abortion ban,” Keenan said. “Coloradans’ common sense prevailed.”

In South Dakota, Measure 11, a bill to criminalize all abortion with the exception of rape and health endangerment, also did not pass. The initiative proposed to criminalize abortions - with a penalty for doctors of up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 fine. Last year, a similar bill that would have made abortion that contained no exceptions was rejected 56% to 44%. This year, despite the fact that the altered bill, included exceptions for rape, incest and pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the woman, the bill was still rejected 55% to 45%.

This loss in South Dakota takes a big toll on the anti-abortion groups’ momentum. "South Dakotans have affirmed by their votes tonight that no vague law can account for every individual circumstance. And that is precisely why women and families, not the government, should make these personal healthcare decisions," said Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, in a LA Times article.
This election we can celebrate an amazing victory for women's rights. The people have said no to anti-choice propaganda and the demonizing of pro-choice laws, and maybe just maybe the anti-choice groups will get the hint and give it up.