As the Midterm elections are set to commence on the 8th of November, pressing social issues like abortion rights are going to be looming over the minds of voters as they step up to the polling booths.
Its been over 3 months after the landmark Supreme Court verdict overturned Roe v. Wade and established that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion. Exercising their new power on the legislature, more than 12 states have already enacted a full ban on abortions and several other states have mandated restrictions.
The Future of Abortion Rights Could Be Affected by the Midterm Elections
Democrats are arguing that the court verdict is an attack on the fundamental freedoms of women and it can act as a threat to other rights, including same-sex relationships and marriage.
President Joe Biden promised on 18th October that if elected with a majority, the Democratic party will codify abortion protections as a national law through congress.
The right to abortion will be contested officially on the ballot in 5 states on this coming election day: California, Michigan, Vermont, Kentucky, and Montana.
At the state and local levels, Alaska, Kentucky, and Montana have ballot initiatives that could amend their state constitutions to make abortion illegal and establish fines and prison sentences for violations.
In Michigan, where abortion is legal, if the democrats fail to win the gubernatorial seat, abortion rights in the state could change. If Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is standing for reelection in Michigan, has a lead in the polls. If she loses, anti-abortion policies including a potential ban on birth control pills like Plan B might be established in the ‘Great Lakes State’.
Vermont is considering amending its constitution to protect abortion rights under Article 22 on the ballot. According to the proposed amendment, “An individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”
Kentucky’s Constitutional Amendment 2 will ask voters if they want to amend the state constitution to explicitly state that there is no protection for the right to an abortion. However, the passing of the amendment does not mean abortion will be made illegal. The general assembly will have to decide on laws and regulations regarding abortion access in the state.
Political experts are accusing Democrats of using abortion rights as a way to mobilize voters. According to the reports published by The New York Times, the Democrats have spent close to eight times as much as the Republicans on abortion-related ads throughout the country. Targeting a particular group of the population and making them feel their rights are under threat, possibly amplifying the situation to register more poll numbers on election day, is a well-established political strategy that has been at play.
The Republicans have their own problems to deal with as the overturning of Roe v. Wade seems to have energized the voters ahead of the Midterms.
Over fear of losing a considerable number of suburban women voters in the election, the Republicans are not heavily invested in rousing the abortion rights debate ahead of election day.
Some Republican candidates have changed their stances on the abortion subject.
Some of them are even considering providing exceptions for incest or rape cases while others have erased their stances from their campaign websites completely.
The Midterm elections have come exactly 2 years into the current tenure of Joe Biden. It will choose governors in 36 states, attorney generals in 30 states, and Secretaries of State in 27 states. The future of America’s policies and legislature at the federal, state, and local levels will take shape after the election. It will impact America’s image in the global landscape and set the stage for the 2024 presidential elections as well.