Abortion rights advocates see success at ballot boxes nationwide

As the battleground over abortion access has shifted to states, abortion rights supporters are celebrating a larger-than-expected turnout on Election Day in five states; California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont, where abortion was on the ballot.

"Knocking on doors, making calls, sending text messages, writing postcards, you name it we were involved and on the ground in some of these key states," said Shannon Olivieri Hovis, California Director of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Olivieri Hovis says they had more than 4 million volunteers getting out the vote nationwide.

In California, Proposition 1 passed overwhelmingly, to guarantee access to abortion and contraception in the state constitution.

Michigan and Vermont also passed constitutional amendments to protect abortion access.

"I think it's pretty striking that not only did the pro-choice measures pass in the states where they were on the ballot such as Michigan, California, and Vermont,  but you also saw voters reject efforts to restrict abortion in Kentucky and Montana. And those are more conservative states," said Eric Schickler, Co-Director of the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies

Kentucky voters rejected a Republican-proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate abortion rights.

The vote in Montana to create criminal penalties for abortion remains unexpectedly too close to call.

"You cannot take away a fundamental right without expecting a real backlash," said Olivieri Hovis, "It is again validating and affirming to the 8 in 10 Americans who support the legal right to abortion and did not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned and do not support abortion bans being enacted in their states." 

"Naturally, the next battle will be in the courts," said Catherine Hadro, Spokeswoman for the No on 1 Campaign.

Opponents of abortion with the No on 1 Campaign in California say they are committed to keeping their coalition intact and active.

"Knowing how organized and energized our coalition is throughout the State of California. I know we are motivated to work together," said Hadro.

Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential race, it seems likely abortion could again be on the ballot nationwide.

"Having it on the ballot at the same time as a presidential election is likely a way to get Democratic voters to the polls, get them enthused, and also win over some swing voters," said Shickler, "So I think we're likely to see that kind of push in 2024."

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at jana.katsuyama@fox.com and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.