Don’t overlook what’s at the heart of these anti-abortion efforts

In a key victory for supporters of abortion rights, organizers behind the effort to enshrine abortion rights in Missouri’s constitution announced Friday that they had secured enough signatures for the proposed amendment to go before voters in November.

It’s part of the groundswell of such voter-led initiatives to improve abortion access in several states. Earlier last week, abortion rights organizers in South Dakota said that they likewise had surpassed the number of signatures required for a proposed constitutional amendment to appear on the state ballot this fall.

But as momentum grows, so have efforts by anti-abortion advocates — and their allies in state legislatures — to prevent voters from weighing in on abortion at all.

Organizers behind Missouri’s ballot initiative said opponents had sent text messages to voters in an effort to scare them out of signing the petition. And in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill that allows voters to remove their signatures from ballot petitions.

But those aren’t the only examples of Republicans using less-than-democratic means to prevent voters from weighing in on abortion access: In Ohio, Missouri, Florida and Mississippi, conservative lawmakers blatantly sought to change the ballot initiative process in their states.

In Arizona, where a proposed constitutional amendment to expand abortion access is likely to appear on the ballot this fall, a leaked strategy document revealed the extent to which state Republicans are willing to mislead their own voters.

In all, about a dozen states are in the process of determining whether abortion rights will be on the ballot in November. As we get closer to the election and hear more about the threats to democracy posed by Donald Trump and his allies, don’t lose sight of these anti-democratic efforts at the state level.

The way that Republicans are treating some of these initiatives tells you everything you need to know about their respect for democracy.

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