Abortion advocates are making major midterm victories across the country

Abortion advocates are making major midterm victories across the country


Voters across the country scored a string of crucial abortion rights victories on Tuesday in the first nationwide election since the Supreme Court’s abolition. Raw vs. Wade in June.

The biggest surprise came in Republican-leaning Kentucky, where an anti-abortion amendment was defeated, potentially paving the way for restoring access to abortion in a state with one of the nation’s most restrictive bans.

In Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Democratic) was partially re-elected by presenting herself as a champion of abortion rights, voters approved a ballot initiative that would enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution — preventing the imposition of the 1931 abortion ban.

On November 9, Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan) made statements after being re-elected as Governor. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Nick Hagen/The Washington Post)

And in North Carolina, Republicans failed to win an outright legislative majority against a veto, ensuring that Democratic Governor Roy Cooper would continue to have the power to block abortion restrictions in a state that has become an important access point for people seeking abortions across the Southeast. .

Track results as abortion access hangs in the balance

A string of abortion rights successes confirmed the political trend that emerged in August, two months after the fall of Ro, when voters in conservative Kansas rejected an anti-abortion amendment similar to the one that was defeated in Kentucky. The results showed how even as Republican lawmakers seize a moment to impose more restrictions, much of the public sees the issue differently — about 6 in 10 mid-term voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to polls.

Polling Network polls also found that nearly 3 in 10 voters said abortion was the most important issue in their vote, and about 4 in 10 voters said they were “angry” about it. Ro flipped over.

Tamara Widder, state director for Planned Parenthood Coalition in Kentucky, said a “uniform message” was emerging from the 2022 midterm elections: “Abortion crosses partisan lines.”

Activists on both sides of the issue have been keeping a close eye on a few major nationwide competitions where the future of abortion access is still in the balance. Several judges’ contests have been seen as pivotal to abortion rights, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Democrats Josh Shapiro and Tony Evers were the expected winners, as well as Arizona, where the competition is still very close.

Arizona is one of several Republican-controlled states that cite a century-old law as a rationale for rolling back access to abortions. (Video: Julie Yoon, Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

In Michigan, nearly half of voters said abortion was the most important issue determining their vote, according to polls, ranking far above inflation as the most important. Abortion was also the top voting concern for voters in Pennsylvania, with more than a third of voters choosing abortion as a major issue, according to polls.

Voters in powerful Democratic states also cast ballots for abortion on Tuesday, as both California and Vermont approved an amendment explicitly protecting abortion rights in their state constitutions.

Arizona court halts near-total abortion ban

In Kentucky, many Republican voters appeared to cast ballots for the abortion rights side even as they reelected the most conservative senator, Senator Rand Paul. The Kentucky referendum would have amended the state constitution to make it clear that it did not protect the right to abortion, making it nearly impossible to challenge anti-abortion legislation in court.

Abortion has been almost entirely illegal in Kentucky since the summer. For the resumption of abortions, abortion rights advocates Will be need to secure an additional victory next week, when the Kentucky Supreme Court will have the opportunity to decide whether the state constitution protects abortion rights.

Kentucky judge reimposes state abortion ban, retreating from lower court

Dawn Riley, a 55-year-old independent agricultural consultant in Kentucky, said the anti-abortion amendment was a “very big leap” for many.

“I really feel like people ultimately don’t want this intrusion into their private lives,” said Riley, who worked for Senator Mitch McConnell (right) in the late 1980s. “I think the arguments of children and grandchildren who have fewer rights than their mothers will resonate. Moving forward and not turning back the clock is a big part of the message.”

During the campaign, Wieder, of Planned Parenthood in Kentucky, said her team frequently encountered Republican voters plotting to cross party lines over the amendment. She added that many voters expressed concern about women being denied health care across the country due to the recent abortion ban.

“This case had a real resonance with them,” Vader said.

A playbook published by the Kentucky abortion rights movement mirrors the one that proved successful in Kansas this summer. Protecting Kentucky Access, a group of abortion rights organizations working to defeat the amendment, hired the same campaign manager who led the Kansas effort, spreading some of the same messages they thought worked in Kansas—Americans should be free to make health care decisions without government interference.

How Kansas became a leader in abortion rights

Protect Kentucky Access has tried to expand its base of supporters, trying to appeal to both traditional abortion rights advocates and small government advocates who might be wary of government bypass.

The anti-abortion camp, Yes to Life, focused on activating the massive anti-abortion Kentucky voter. According to the 2014 Pew Research Center Religious Landscape Study, 57 percent of Kentuckians believe Abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, making Kentucky one of the most anti-abortion states in the country.

In the finer points of the letter, groups on each side of the Kentucky referendum frustrated their opponents with what they said were misleading messages.

Titus Foulkes, a 28-year-old anti-abortion activist who worked in Kentucky with Students for Life, blamed “misinformation” for the failure of the amendment, accusing abortion rights advocates of mischaracterizing the ballot initiative in their campaign.

“We’ve had a lot of confusion about what these ballot initiatives mean and what they do,” he said. “It’s hard for people to understand that.”

People said he feels confident that public opinion will “stable” about abortion over the next year, as people eventually become more supportive of anti-abortion measures.

Michigan’s abortion ballot measure to be rolled out to voters in November

Many Michigan voters, including those not affiliated with a political party, said they voted for the measure so that politicians wouldn’t say whether a woman could seek an abortion.

Phryne Merrill Myers, 22, and her father, Kirby Merrill, knocked on door after door on Monday night in Royal Oak, Michigan, the first time the pair had been competing.

Meryl Myers said it was “terrifying” to think that a doctor might lose his medical license for trying to help her get basic health care.

“Row your voice,” Kirby Merrill replied, referring to a phrase used by abortion rights advocates to mobilize their base to defeat anti-abortion candidates.

Kim Belware reported from Louisville. Rachel Rubin reported from Detroit. Emily Joskin contributed to this report.

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