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.