Republican-led legislatures are pushing to block statewide ballot measures on abortion in 2024, following a series of defeats on the issue.
Further abortion restrictions have proven unpopular in multiple ballot measures since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. Legislators in Missouri and Mississippi are now pushing to keep the issue in the hands of lawmakers.
The Mississippi House passed a measure banning residents from putting abortion initiatives up for a vote on a statewide ballot.
“It took 50 years … to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Mississippi House Speaker Jason White, a Republican. “We weren’t going to let it just be thrown out the window by folks coming in from out of state, spending 50 million bucks and running an initiative through.”
In Missouri, pro-life groups are pushing legislation that would require an existing abortion ballot measure to win a majority vote in five of the state’s eight congressional districts, in addition to a simple statewide majority.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Mississippi argue the measure is “undemocratic.”
“This is an extremely undemocratic way to harm access to reproductive health care,” pro-choice operative Sofia Tomov told AP. “It’s infringing on people’s ability to participate in the democratic process.”
The GOP push comes as blue states like New Jersey advance extensive protections for abortion. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and the state’s Legislature are pushing efforts to cover out-of-pocket costs for women who decide to have an abortion.
Ten states, including New Jersey, require health insurers to cover abortion services, but it is the only one of those states that allows out-of-pocket costs, according to nonprofit KFF, which researches health care issues.
The governor’s push for the legislation comes after Democrats expanded their majority in the state legislature and during a presidential election year in which the party hopes the issue of abortion will propel their candidates across the country to victory in November.
Fox News’ Landon Mion and the Associated Press contributed to this report
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