Yesterday was Election Day in some parts of the country, and as the political dust settles today, one result stands out: Reproductive freedom won big.
Most notably, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to protect abortion rights. This makes Ohio the latest Red State to protect reproductive rights. The results are particularly striking because the vote means that a legal right to abortion will now be enshrined in the state constitution.
The vote is also significant because Ohioans decided to buck the advice of leading Republicans in the state, just about all of whom opposed the ballot initiative, known as Issue 1. Voters also weren’t swayed by a misleading public relations campaign funded by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, which ran ads suggesting that protecting the right to abortion in the Ohio Constitution would lead to infanticide.
Reproductive rights influences races
Abortion was not directly on the ballot in Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania, but the issue played a decisive role in outcomes there. In Kentucky, incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear (D) fended off a challenge from Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who took a hard line on abortion. During the campaign, Beshear highlighted his support for legal abortion.
Virginia voters kept Democrats in control of the state Senate and flipped the House of Delegates from Republican to Democratic control. Glenn Youngkin, the state’s Republican governor, had hoped to win a GOP majority in both chambers and tighten access to abortion. Democrats have made it clear that Youngkin’s plan is DOA.
In Pennsylvania, voters sent Daniel McCafferty to the state’s supreme court. McCafferty, a Democrat who supports legal abortion, defeated Carolyn Carluccio. Abortion was a significant issue in the race. WHTM-TV in Harrisburg reported, “Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, Democrats hammered the issue of abortion rights in the state election, attacked Carluccio and argued that the Republican candidate could not be trusted to uphold abortion protections in Pennsylvania.”
Abortion opponents are scrambling
Opponents of legal abortion are aware that they have a problem on their hands. Writing on The Conversation, a website that features articles by academics, Anne Whitesell, assistant professor of political science at Miami University, noted that some anti-abortion groups are calling for dialing back the references to religion that often pepper their arguments.
These organizations,” Whitesell wrote, “are increasingly choosing to speak less about religion and more about human rights and science to combat the narrative that the anti-abortion movement is solely a Christian movement.”
It won’t work. Americans can see what lurks behind the desire to control our reproductive lives – a putrid cocktail of religious extremism, puritanical zealotry and Christian Nationalism.
Last night, voters in several states declined to consume it. They will not likely be the last.