Washington, DC – This week, Politico, Forbes, TIME, and Vanity Fair covered Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall’s comments about the path forward for protecting access to abortion care through ballot measures after Kansas voters resoundingly defended abortion rights on Tuesday.
Politico: The Kansas victory is also emboldening progressive organizations like the Fairness Project, a national group that advocates for ballot measures as a strategy for getting around GOP state legislatures and governors on everything from Medicaid expansion to transgender rights and abortion. “Ballot initiatives are a phenomenally powerful tool when there’s a disconnect between the popularity of an issue and what’s being enacted by politicians. And every poll in the country shows that disconnect when it comes to abortion rights,” said Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall. “This is really the next frontier, and already advocates are starting to think about the pathways for 2023 and 2024.” While fewer than half the states allow citizens to gather signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, Hall said many of those that do are “right on the front lines of the battle for reproductive freedom,” including Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota…
“Some of these places you may think are so deeply red that no measure to protect abortion could ever succeed,” she said. “But don’t write off these states. No matter where you live, there is hope on the horizon.”
Forbes: “We need serious and continued investments in and attention on the ballot measure process, particularly for citizen-initiated measures so that voters can take matters into their own hands,” Hall said. “We will keep up our work with partners and organizations to advance citizen-initiated ballot measures to protect reproductive rights in states across the country, starting this November in Michigan and Vermont.”
TIME: The ballot measures are a particular focus for abortion rights supporters, who hope to enshrine the right even in places where state legislators would like to restrict it. Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which is working with groups like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU on ballot measures in Michigan and Vermont, said the Kansas vote is proof of a strategy she has been working on for years. The Fairness Project has seen success supporting ballot measures on other issues including raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and decriminalizing marijuana.
“We have succeeded in using ballot measures on a much broader scale to advance issues that have previously been associated purely with the progressive end of the spectrum and in a lot of places that previously the Democratic Party or the left wing of the political spectrum have written off,” she says. “There’s no place we shouldn’t think strategically about using this tool to proactively protect reproductive freedom.”
Vanity Fair: “I think in this post-Dobbs moment, we are all coming to grips with just how wide the gulf is between what popular opinion is on where and how and when abortion should be legal, and the actions that we are seeing proliferate in any given state, and whether that’s because deeply antiquated laws are coming back into effect or because of recently passed trigger laws or new legislative action—it has been swift, it has been galling. It has been shocking to many people,” Kelly Hall, the executive director of the Fairness Project, a group that campaigns for progressive ballot initiatives, said in an interview.
The Fairness Project is actively supporting citizen-initiated ballot measures to defend reproductive rights, including with a broad coalition of partners in Michigan to advance a ballot measure to affirm reproductive freedom in the Michigan state constitution. Last month, that campaign turned in more than 750,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot in November. The Fairness Project is supporting a similar campaign to protect the right to choose in Vermont, and is working through its Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign to protect the ballot measure process in states where direct democracy is under attack.
If you would like to interview Kelly Hall, Executive Director of Fairness Project, please email email@example.com.