GOP Prevents Voters From Having Say On Abortion Rights

Following the lead of other states’ anti-abortion initiatives, such as Ohio’s last year, lawmakers in Mississippi and Missouri are trying to block voters from getting a vote on abortion rights.

Those in favor of abortion rights and Democrats in the legislature see these moves as attempts by Republicans to undermine the democratic mechanisms that allow people to have a say in the creation of state legislation. Voters in seven states have either safeguarded abortion rights or rejected efforts to limit them in statewide elections since the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to abortion in 2022. The Democratic Party has promised to use the issue as a rallying cry in all of this year’s campaigns.

The passage of a bill prohibiting the statewide placement of abortion issues on the ballot was a major accomplishment for the Mississippi House of Representatives. Abortions are illegal in Mississippi unless the woman’s life is in imminent danger or in situations of rape or incest, making it one of the states with the strictest abortion regulations in the nation.

According to Democratic lawmaker Cheikh Taylor, “terms and conditions” have no place in direct democracy. In an effort to get a ballot initiative back on the ballot in Mississippi, which hasn’t had one since the state Supreme Court declared that the process was null and void in 2021 due to the need that signatures be collected from the five former U.S. House districts in the state. Since the lawsuit that overturned Roe v. Wade started in Mississippi, several Republicans in the House argued that the people should not have the power to decide whether or not to alter abortion legislation.

Initiatives in Missouri would have to gain more than just a simple statewide majority to be approved, according to a plan backed by anti-abortion groups. This is because the state has eight congressional districts. This follows a few days of efforts by a Missouri group advocating for abortion rights to introduce a constitutional amendment to the state. Claiming that Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is trying to sabotage the initiative by tampering with the measure’s ballot summary, abortion rights organizations in Missouri have condemned Ashcroft.