Abortion rights advocates say Tuesday’s midterm elections are good news, but abortion enemies also have reason to celebrate.
“This election is a major victory for women of color, LGBTQ people and anyone in this country who cares about access to reproductive health care,” said Deirdre Schifeling, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, the arm policy of Planned Parenthood, a women’s health care nonprofit group. “These results show that women have had enough.”
Democrats took control of the House after a record number of voters. The Republicans retained control of the Senate. With a Democratic majority in the House, Congress no longer has the votes to defeat Planned Parenthood, said Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
With a Democratic majority in the House, Congress no longer has the votes to defeat Planned Parenthood.
However, voting initiatives to restrict the right to abortion were passed in Alabama and West Virginia on Tuesday. Alabama passed a constitutional amendment to “recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.”
The Alliance for a Pro-Life Alabama, an anti-abortion group that campaigned for the amendment, celebrated its adoption on Tuesday as a victory for those who oppose abortion on moral and religious grounds. However, reproductive rights advocates say the measure is vague and it is not yet clear how it will affect access to abortion.
Republicans say they oppose “taxpayer funded abortion.” Anti-abortion groups say unborn children have the right to life, believe life begins with fertilization, and oppose abortion on moral grounds. They include a range of views ranging from those who believe abortion is bad in all circumstances to others who believe it is acceptable in cases of rape, incest or when a woman’s life is in danger. .
Pro-choice groups say access to a safe and legal abortion is a critical health issue for women. “In my home state of Alabama, a law passed is so vague and dangerous that it takes away the rights of pregnant women and could ban all use of abortion in the state,” said Willie Parker, medical doctor. and chairman of the abortion board. Physicians for Reproductive Health advocacy group in New York.
“Because we all love someone who has had or will need abortion care, I know that regardless of personal feelings about abortion care, we can all agree that no one, especially politicians, should not interfere with health care decisions. ”
Voting initiatives to restrict the right to abortion were passed in Alabama and West Virginia on Tuesday.
Alabama’s measure will likely have no immediate effect as it stands, but it would make abortion illegal if Roe v. Wade was overturned – a distinct possibility under the newly majority conservative Supreme Court.
Four other states in the United States – Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota – have similar so-called trigger laws that automatically ban proceedings in the state if Roe v. Wade is canceled. The Alabama amendment will also prevent state funding from being used for abortion-related health costs, even in cases of rape or when the life of the pregnant woman in question is in danger.
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West Virginia passed a similar constitutional amendment that said “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires funding for abortion. The amendment is expected to pave the way for ending Medicaid funding for abortions in the state. West Virginia and Alabama are currently two of the 17 U.S. states that authorize Medicaid funds to pay for abortions. In 2017, West Virginia’s Medicaid program paid $ 326,103 for 1,560 medically necessary abortions for low-income women, according to the Associated Press.
In Oregon, voters rejected a measure that would have banned taxpayers’ money to be spent on elective abortions.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health think tank based in Washington, DC, the most common reason women seek an abortion is the inability to financially support a child. .
National Right to Life, an abortion advocacy group, celebrated a number of Republican victories for anti-abortion candidates on Tuesday night, including South Dakota Senate candidate Kevin Cramer, Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz, Florida candidate for governor Ron DeSantis, and Josh Hawley of Missouri, who beat pro-choice candidate Claire McCaskill for the Senate.
Despite these victories and the two voting measures adopted, reproductive rights advocates at Planned Parenthood called the evening a victory. Some 71% of voters oppose the cancellation of Roe v. Wade, according to a July Wall Street Journal and NBC News poll. “We know that the attacks on abortion access will not stop just because of last night’s election,” Singiser said. “But we don’t think that indicates the American people’s perspective on abortion.”