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October-31-00

Lesbian and Gay Rights, Abortion on State Ballots

In Maine, voters have the opportunity to ratify a gay and lesbian rights measure passed by the state legislature. Measure 6 would extend protection against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and credit to “all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation.” In 1997, after an intense right wing campaign, Maine voters vetoed an anti-discrimination law, but recent polls show Measure 6 has widespread voter support: 66 percent favor the measure, with 22 percent opposed and 12 percent undecided.

Colorado voters will face another anti-abortion ballot measure this year: Amendment 25, misleadingly dubbed the “Women’s Health Information Act.” The measure, supported by the far-right group Focus on the Family, would require a 24-hour waiting period for all abortions, would require the state to produce and provide to doctors specific information to be offered to women seeking abortions that outline “an abortion’s risks, what a fetus might feel, local adoption agencies, the father’s financial responsibilities, and much more.” Doctors would also be required to provide statistics on how many women watched or read these materials, and how many then decided to have an abortion; doctors who did not comply would be committing a felony.

A recent poll of likely voters in Colorado shows 49 percent opposing the restrictions and 48 percent in support – a change from a September poll that showed 56 percent of voters supported Amendment 25 and only 35 percent opposed it. This tight race mirrors the 1998 elections, when Colorado voters narrowly rejected a ban on late term abortions 52 percent to 48 percent. Colorado is the only state facing an anti-abortion ballot measure after successful pro-choice defeats of anti-abortion measures in Washington State and Oregon. Be sure to visit Women’s Election Central, an online election night watch at www.feminist.org. Women’s Election Central will track emerging results of women’s races around the country and provide analysis of the gender gap.

Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation – November 4, 1998; Portland Press Herald - October 7 and September 27, 2000; Denver Post – October 30, 2000; NARAL; Human Rights Campaign; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report – October 31, 2000

   

     

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