These 23 states can all change their constitutions to protect abortion
Amendments such as these can take one of two routes to the vote. In each state, legislators can vote to approve amendments, which are then required to interfere with voters before they are passed (except in Delaware, where only legislature approval is required). Thus, both California and Vermont began the process of enacting their new abortion protections. Most Democrat-led legislatures can easily do the same, though not all, as some states need supermajorities that Democrats currently lack — and we can be sure Republican lawmakers won’t help.
But there is another way: In 18 states, voters can bring changes to the ballot themselves by collecting a sufficient number of signatures, as activists in Michigan are doing in 2022. Such citizen-led changes are often even more important because they can protect abortion rights in purple states, where they are under threat, and even in red states, where Republicans have banned the procedure.
Proponents in Ohio, for example, have already begun collecting signatures to send an amendment to voters this fall, and there is good reason to believe they will be successful. Polls show that majorities in almost every state support access to abortion, and last year voters in three conservative states — Kansas, Kentucky and Montana — all rejected voting measures that would have restricted reproductive rights.
Regardless of which method they use, the vast majority of these states could pass abortion law changes by 2024, although a handful (possibly including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Nevada) require such measures to be passed twice, giving them the earliest to complete the process could be 2026. Either way, as Republicans furiously work to restrict abortion where and how they can, now is the time to act.