Ten states may have anti-abortion initiatives and five may have anti-affirmative action initiatives on the November state ballots. Women's and civil rights groups are gearing up to fight these initiatives.
Currently, anti-abortion extremists are circulating petitions to add more anti-abortion constitutional amendments on the ballots in Colorado, Montana, and possibly Georgia, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Oregon. These so-called "personhood initiatives" declare that a fertilized egg is a "person" who enjoys "inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of the law." These measures threaten not only abortion itself, but IUDs, emergency contraception, and in vitro fertilization clinics.
In Missouri, a new group called "Stop Forced Abortions" is gathering signatures for a measure that would address what they claim are the long-term physical, psychological and emotional problems caused by abortion. The ballot initiative would require doctors to extensively review any so-called medical literature on abortion and investigate each patient's background and lifestyle. It also would require doctors to certify that the abortion was necessary to avoid a woman's death or prevent permanent disability. The proposal would subject doctors to lawsuits from women who later regretted their decision to terminate a pregnancy, and would offer no exception whatsoever for the victims of rape or incest.
In California and South Dakota, extremists are working to once again place anti-abortion initiatives on their ballots. We defeated these efforts in 2006, but antis are pushing the CA parental notification initiative and the SD abortion ban (with only minor modifications) forward.
Affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly is leading efforts to qualify ballot measures in five states (MO, CO, AZ, NE, and OK) that would ban affirmative action for women and people of color in public education, public employment, and public contracting. An identical measure was approved in CA in 1996 and it is wrecking havoc on educational opportunities for African American and Latinos, as well as dramatically reducing opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses to win state contracts.