Campaigners on both sides scramble ahead of referendums in Kentucky, Montana, California, Vermont and Michigan.

By Poppy Noor, The Guardian

When Kansans voted overwhelmingly to protect abortion this summer, the 59-41 referendum margin in the deep-red state sent shockwaves through the country, inspiring pro-choice advocates and sending anti-abortion campaigners scrambling for an unexpected political dogfight as five similar ballot initiatives approach in November.

Womens March in Washington demanding continued access to abortion after the ban on most abortions in Texas and looming threat to Roe v Wade in upcoming Supreme Court

The abortion referendums – in Kentucky, Montana, California, Vermont and Michigan – have seen both sides organize extensive campaigns.

In Kentucky and Montana, red like Kansas, it was Republicans and anti-abortion advocates who brought the initiatives with the aim of removing abortion protections from state constitutions.

They say the Kansas loss was an outlier because the language on the ballot in that referendum was too confusing for the result to be reflective of Kansans’ will. Hoping to avoid the same fate, the Kentucky ballot will ask voters to agree with the statement: “Nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

Although Kentucky is reliably Republican, its supreme court – which will decide, a week after the referendum, whether the state’s current abortion ban is viable – does not yet clearly lean one way on abortion rights.

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