Abortion Wins Elections Again

abortion is healthcare
Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is freedom. Abortion is a human right.

Key Facts & Toplines:

  • Several states voted this week to protect access to abortion
  • Democrats and progressives came together in coalitions to fight back
  • Abortion on the ballot in 2024

Looking back

In 2022, Republicans on the Supreme Court removed our long-protected federal abortion rights, and following that, Republican-run states attempted to do the same in our legislatures and elections. Texas’ trigger law made abortion illegal here quickly after the SCOTUS ruling. 

Subsequent elections to the Roe decision addressed whether we as a people would personally fight back. We did. Two months after Roe, during the August 2022 Kansas special election, citizens kept abortion legal by voting against an amendment to their constitution. That was the first set of elections after Roe, and already a victory. Again, in the 2022 midterms, every state that had abortion on their ballot voted to keep it legal, with California, Michigan and Vermont explicitly preserving abortion access

Now in 2023

This week, Ohio's voters enshrined abortion as a state constitutional right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions” through a ballot measure. The win on Issue 1 came despite Republican trickery: they tried to sue the state ballot board first so it didn’t even get to voters, then forced a special election to raise the margin of victory. They failed. This gap between the people’s priorities and their Republican representatives’ actions conjures the image of Greg Abbott calling a fourth special session for his own agenda on voucher programs, but we digress. Abortion galvanized and motivated voters. 

Meanwhile, Virginia blocked a Republican trifecta, taking control of its legislature this November, showing the Republicans who campaigned for a 15-week ban that their policy won’t win in Virginia or any other state. Even individual positions matter in these races. Multiple governorships were won by abortion advocates, including Kentucky’s reelected Governor Andy Beshear. 

Notably, each of these victories were in primarily battleground or even red states. Moreover, “turnout for the [Ohio] ballot measure was actually driven by voters in right-leaning counties.” Combined, these points suggest that even in the reddest of states, voters will show up to protect abortion rights: human rights.

More than a year later, Justice Samuel Alito’s words ring in our ears as a challenge: 

"It’s time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The decision “allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process” and that “women are not without electoral or political power.” 

Looking ahead — abortion on the ballot in Texas

Texas does not have direct citizen ballot referendums, that’s too much democracy. But you can personally fight back before you vote, starting with the Democratic Primary in March and through the general election in November, with races from President of the United States, to your local member of the Texas Legislature: