Victory for Unborn Life in Maine

Apr 10, 2024

AUGUSTA, ME – A proposed state constitutional amendment in Maine that would have enshrined a right to kill unborn babies up to birth has failed in the Maine legislature and has been disqualified for the November 2024 ballot.   

In Maine, both legislative chambers are required to pre-approve any constitutional amendments with a two-thirds majority vote before its placed on the ballot for voters to then ratify or reject. This week, the Maine House voted 75-65 in favor of the pro-death amendment but well short of a two-thirds majority vote. The Maine Senate voted 20-13 in favor but fell four votes short of the required supermajority which prevents the amendment from going to the voters.

The proposed amendment, LD 780, would have asked the people of Maine whether they favored amending the state constitution “to declare that every person has a right to personal reproductive autonomy.” If it had been allowed to become part of the state’s constitution, authorities in Maine would not have been able to “deny” or “infringe” an elective abortion without a compelling state interest. In other words, the proposal would have offered Maine voters abortion without limits. Maine is already one of the most permissive abortion states where the practice is legal up to the point of viability.

In 2018, when the overturning of Roe v. Wade seemed to be on the horizon, the citizens of Alabama, Louisiana, and West Virgina amended their state constitutions in favor of protecting unborn life. The people of Alabama guaranteed a right to life for the unborn and both the people of Louisiana and West Virginia declared there was no right to abortion in their states. However, since June 2022 when the U.S. Supreme Court did in fact overturn Roe, voters in California, Michigan, Vermont, and most recently Ohio, have amended their state constitutions making abortion a “fundamental right” in their states. 

While Maine will not see a constitutional amendment regarding abortion this year, currently at least 12 other states in 2024 have pro-abortion or pro-life amendments vying for the ballot, and in some cases, states have opposing initiatives. 

Ten states, which include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and South Dakota, all have ballot initiatives that are attempting to codify abortion access or enshrine abortion as a state constitutional right. Currently, only in Maryland has an initiative secured a place on the ballot. If approved by voters, Maryland’s proposed amendment would grant a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom” and enshrine the right to abortion in the state. 

Initiatives in only four states, which include Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania, are attempting to guarantee the right to life for unborn babies or declare no right to abortion. Notably, both Colorado and Nebraska have two separate and opposing efforts on abortion. In Nebraska, one amendment would provide a “fundamental right to abortion without interference from the state” until fetal viability while the other amendment would protect unborn children from abortion after the first trimester. In Colorado, the “Equal Protection of Every Living Child” amendment would define a “living human child” as a human being beginning at the moment of conception and prohibit the intentional harm of that child in the womb. Then on the other hand, Colorado’s “Right to Abortion” initiative would codify abortion rights and health insurance coverage for abortion. Both Iowa and Pennsylvania initiatives would declare their state constitutions do not provide a right to abortion or a right to public funding for abortion. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Staver stated, “Abortion amendments like the one in Maine and other states are an attempt to legalize human genocide and are reprehensible. The right to life is an inalienable right that comes from God, not government. All human life is sacred, and citizens should act to defeat the pro-death amendments and support the amendments that protect life.”

For more information about states with proposed constitutional amendments regarding abortion, visit Liberty Counsel’s website here.

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