Abortion-rights activists celebrate wins in midterm elections

Abortion-rights activists celebrate wins in midterm elections

Pro-choice Democrat Governor-elect of Kansas Laura Kelly, and anti-abortion Missouri Republican Senator-elect Josh Hawley. (Photos: Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP, Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

The abortion-rights movement in the United States is finding much to celebrate in the midterm elections, though activists concede that victory is relative in this political landscape.

Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade. The votes were somewhat close, but clear — 58 percent voted in favor in Alabama and 52 percent did so in West Virginia.’ data-reactid=”24″>There were a few clear advances by anti-abortion forces on Election Day, specifically constitutional amendments passed by voters in Alabama and West Virginia. The Alabama version declared that fetuses have legal rights and that the state constitution does not include a right to abortion, while the West Virginia amendment says that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or the funding of abortion.” Both would effectively ban abortion in those states should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade. The votes were somewhat close, but clear — 58 percent voted in favor in Alabama and 52 percent did so in West Virginia.

In addition, anti-abortion senators flipped seats in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota, and possibly added even more such senators in Arizona, Florida and Mississippi, where ballots are still being counted. This will likely mean that any anti-abortion Trump judicial nominee will face no significant opposition in the Senate, though with the confirmation of Kavanaugh abortion-rights groups have already assumed that the court is unlikely to protect Roe v. Wade — making further anti-abortion justices less of a threat.

A sign-up sheet at the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project LA County’s Politics, Sex, & Cocktails fundraiser on October 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Planned Parenthood)

While notable, these were the only major victories by those who would limit abortion access. For those who would protect and expand it, Tuesday was a more wide-ranging night, particularly if the ground game is now focused on the states.

Democrat Tony Evers.’ data-reactid=”42″>Similarly, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who sharply cut Planned Parenthood Funding causing the closing of five clinics, and proposed a complete ban on abortion should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade, lost his reelection race to pro-choice Democrat Tony Evers.

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, left, and Lieutenant Governor candidate Mandela Barnes appear at a post election party at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (Photo: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

There were similar defeats of anti-abortion gubernatorial candidates in Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

In all, a Planned Parenthood spokesman said, “We won more governors who are for reproductive health care than we have in 25 years.”

Medicaid expansion — in many ways a proxy vote for abortion access — was passed by voters in the conservative states of Utah, Nebraska and Idaho. Medicaid expansion was a central pledge of the victors of the governors races in Maine and Wisconsin.

“Far more elected officials today than yesterday are going to be working to protect access to abortion and reproductive health in this country,” Laguens said.

changing view of abortion among voters. A Pew poll in the lead-up to election day found that 61 percent of Democratic voters say abortion is critically important to their vote, compared with 38 percent who said the same in 2008.  Similarly, a PRRI survey found that more than half of Democrats (47 percent) describe abortion as a critically important issue to them compared with just 40 percent of Republicans (40 percent). This is a sharp reversal of decades of data showing Republicans far more likely to base their vote on the issue.’ data-reactid=”61″>The results are potentially evidence of a changing view of abortion among voters. A Pew poll in the lead-up to election day found that 61 percent of Democratic voters say abortion is critically important to their vote, compared with 38 percent who said the same in 2008.  Similarly, a PRRI survey found that more than half of Democrats (47 percent) describe abortion as a critically important issue to them compared with just 40 percent of Republicans (40 percent). This is a sharp reversal of decades of data showing Republicans far more likely to base their vote on the issue.

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