Health concerns drive voters to back several initiatives

Voters in 37 states had more than candidates to choose Tuesday. There were more than 150 statewide measures on ballots this midterm election, and several involved health-related issues such as taxes on feminine hygiene products, Medicaid expansion, abortion access and legalizing the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. Based on the preliminary vote results, here’s what some voters went for and what they rejected.


Alabama and West Virginia voted measures into their constitutions that restrict abortion.

Alabama’s Amendment 2 adds language to the state Constitution to give a fetus the same rights as a human who has been born.

Abortion rights supporters worry that the amendment could be used to criminalize some forms of in-vitro fertilization and contraception. There are also concerns that should the US Supreme Court end Roe v. Wade, this amendment would be a “trigger ban,” meaning abortion would be outlawed in some states.

This “personhood” ballot measure doesn’t have exemptions like in other states’ laws that carve out the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.

West Virginia’s Amendment 1 narrowly passed. Also known as the No Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment, it explicitly states that its Constitution has nothing in it that “secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” Unlike Alabama’s law, it has an exception for rape, incest, fetal anomaly or threats to the woman’s life. It also restricts Medicaid funding for abortions.

a definite yes to Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana, taxes it at 4% and guarantees that the money will be spent on health care services for veterans. Amendment 3 and Proposition C, which would also have legalized medical use but would have spent the tax revenue differently, failed.

In Utah, voters seem to be saying yes to Proposition 2, which means individuals with qualifying illnesses will get access to medical marijuana.

Health care

Voters in Utah, Idaho and Nebraska, mostly Republican-dominated states, voted yes to expand Medicaid eligibility to people under 65 whose income is 138% of the federal poverty level. In Utah, that expansion is going to be funded in part by a sales tax increase.

Montana voters