Voters in the US state of South Dakota rejected a tough abortion law, crushing the hopes of campaigners, who wanted to use the bill to change national laws on terminating pregnancy.
Supporters of the bill had hoped the law, which prohibits termination except to save the life of a pregnant woman, would be challenged in court, potentially leading to a reversal of the 1973 Supreme Court decision on the Roe v Wade case that legalised abortion.
Elsewhere, Arizona became the first state to defeat an amendment banning gay marriage. The 27 other states that have considered such motions have all backed them. Missouri also approved a measure backing stem cell research (www.ap.org).