‘My Main, Core Issue’: Abortion Was the Driving Force for Many Voters

Ms. Kopman said that she and almost everyone she knew had previously just accepted abortion as a human right and a fact of life.

“This makes me really sad to have to codify it in the Constitution,” she said.

Voters in Vermont, another liberal state where abortion is already protected by law, also opted to add protections to their Constitution. In Montana, voters rejected a proposed law that would have required medical interventions to save those that the state defines as “born alive” infants.

In Raleigh, N.C., Nancy Bush, a retired nurse, said she chose candidates based on whether they supported abortion rights. Abortion is legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the state’s Democratic governor has pledged to stop any attempts by the Republican-controlled legislature to pass new limits.

“I don’t like abortion, I prefer no abortion, but certainly the rights of women come over that,” said Ms. Bush, 79.

The resonance of abortion rights was not limited to Democratic voters. In Kentucky, where the Republican senator Rand Paul cruised to re-election, voters also rejected an attempt to amend the State Constitution to say there is no right to abortion. That result keeps the door open to a legal challenge to Kentucky’s abortion ban that the State Supreme Court will hear next week.

“I believe in personal agency and personal autonomy, and bodily autonomy is a big part of that,” said Jacob Ballard, 21, a music education major at the University of Kentucky in Lexington who voted against the amendment.

In August, in the country’s first major post-Roe test of abortion at the ballot box, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected an attempt to remove abortion rights from their state’s Constitution, a race that showed the political potency of the issue. Representative Sharice Davids, a Democrat from the Kansas City area, emphasized her support for abortion rights in her successful re-election campaign.

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