With Fall of Roe, Abortion Becomes Top Election Issue

The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. WadeThis issue immediately dominated the attention of the midterm races across the nation. Democrats promised to protect federal abortion rights while Republicans called for the banning of the practice in many states.

Though the high court’s 5-4 ruling to eliminate a constitutional right to abortion was not unexpected—Politico leaked a draft of the decision in May—it still came as a gut punch to Democrats, who quickly moved to energize their base and court independents to their campaigns ahead of the November elections. Recent polling has shown that 66% support abortion rights as enshrined. Roe.

“We must elect more senators and representatives who will codify a women’s right to choose into federal law once again,” President Joe Biden said Friday at the White House. “This fall, RoeIt is up for election. Individual freedoms will be on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot.”

Mike Pence (former Vice President) is considering a run for the presidency in 2024. He joined other prominent Republicans to celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling and pledged to continue to push to expand abortion restrictions. “Having been given this second chance for life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law and in every state in the land,” he said in a statement.

More than half of America will feel the immediate effects from Roe’s repeal. The Supreme Court has ruled that 13 states already have trigger laws that are designed to restrict or ban abortions. Roe. Ten states, in addition to California and Texas have their own laws prohibiting abortions that were established before 1973’s landmark decision.

Natalie Polito in Washington Square Park New York City on June 24, 2022.

M. Levy, TIME

It is expected that abortion will remain a central issue in all elections across the nation, but it will be especially relevant in certain races. The outcome of these races may determine whether or not abortion access continues in those states.

Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race will feature one of these candidates. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is a Democrat and has pledged to stop any legislation passed by the GOP-controlled legislature to restrict or outlaw abortion rights. “Our Republican legislature will send a bill to our next Governor’s desk to ban abortions in Pennsylvania,” he tweeted Friday. “Without Roe, the only thing stopping them is the veto pen of our next Governor.”

Shapiro’s opponent, Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano, is promising voters the exact opposite. “Roe v. Wade is rightly relegated to the ash heap of history,” Mastriano said on Friday. “As the abortion debate returns to the states, Pennsylvania must be prepared to lead the nation in being a voice for the voiceless.”

It is possible that abortion will be considered in many congressional races. However, how much and how strongly it will play remains a mystery. Republicans will not be able pass any further restrictions on abortion if there is a Democrat at the White House until at least 2024. But many Democratic voters are skeptical their party can effectively counteract the effect of Friday’s ruling if given the chance.

A draft of the ruling was leaked to Congress in May. Many Democrats spoke out against the requirement for codification Roe into federal law. In the Senate with 50 Democrats and 60 Republicans, it was evenly split. The attempt failed to make it through the filibuster. Chuck Schumer of New York was the Majority Leader and wanted to modify filibuster rules for codification. Roe A simple majority vote. This effort failed when Senators. Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Silena of Arizona were both moderate Democrats who refused to support this maneuver in order to defeat Republican opposition.

That dynamic isn’t likely to change anytime soon. It’s why Democratic candidates for the Senate are staking their claim on changing the filibuster rules to pass abortion protections, as well as other progressive priorities.

“I think the Senate needs to reform the filibuster and pass it,” Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio, tells TIME. “We passed it out of the House. The Senate passed it and the bill died. This must be passed by the Senate. It’s imperative for us to get that done—and that would mean reforming the filibuster.”

Ryan, a Republican senator from Ohio is running to fill the seat of Tim Portman. It’s one of the few opportunities Democrats have in 2022 to turn a red seat blue. Standing in Ryan’s way, however, is J.D. Vance is the most-sold author in Vance’s history Hillbilly Elegy He became an icon of right-wing extremism. (Vance secured the GOP nomination after getting Donald Trump’s endorsement.) The latest polling shows Ryan and Vance running neck-and-neck.

Abortion, Ryan says, will help to move the needle in his direction, especially as Mike DeWine, Ohio’s Republican governor, and a GOP-controlled state legislature are moving to ban the procedure, and Vance has been an outspoken opponent of abortion rights.

“Just look at his record,” Ryan says of Vance. “I don’t want to overly politicize today, but like he said, ‘Rape is inconvenient.’ He is for zero exceptions. Zero. Ohio has a candidate that you would vote for if you felt the same way. But they should at least know what they’re getting into. He’s the extreme of the extreme.”

Vance, for his part, extolled the Supreme Court’s evisceration of Roe on Friday. “Today is a great day,” he saidA statement. “We now enter a new phase of the pro-life movement.”

“Some of our efforts will be federal, and others local,” Vance added, “but all will be focused on the simple principle that life is worth protecting—from the moment it begins until its natural end.”

The high court’s decision on Friday quickly triggered a passionate reaction from voters. Within minutes after the ruling’s announcement, thousands of Americans gathered outside the high court in downtown Washington, most of them in support of abortion rights.

The grievances of pro-choice advocates were numerous. Pro-choice activists were angry at the conservative majority of judges who reversed a constitutional rights to abortion after almost 50 years. They also reacted furiously at a right wing movement that had worked for decades to make such a decision. And they were upset at a Democratic Party which was apparently powerless in stopping it.

On June 24, 2022, protestors for abortion rights gathered outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Jason Andrew for TIME

“Establishment Democrats are the reason for this,” an exasperated Nadine Seiler told TIME steps away from the marble courthouse, “because they are gutless and spineless, and they don’t want to push the issue.”

Seiler, who is 57 years old, views the subject as deeply personal and difficult. She was born in Trinidad to a mother who didn’t want her. Her mother had to have the unplanned pregnancy because abortion in many cases is illegal in the Caribbean country. “I was mistreated, neglected, and up to this day, it still affects me,” says Seiler, who now lives in Waldorf, Maryland. As we spoke, demonstrators in the background were screaming “Get your rosaries off my ovaries!”—referring to the fact that four of the five justices who voted to overturn RoeThey are Catholic.

Some outsiders rejoiced in what they saw to be a victory for the sacredness of life.

Alexa Petre, a 19-year-old, traveled from Nashville, Tennessee, to Washington, D.C., ahead of the controversial decision. “I chose to come here because I have three adopted siblings,” she told TIME. “They’re my everything and I can’t imagine if their birth mother had chosen something different.”

In many other states, Americans now have to deal with this new reality. Clinics in Wisconsin immediately cancelled abortions that were scheduled on the same day. “We are seeing immediate consequences,” Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin’s state treasurer and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, tells TIME. “This is not just a hypothetical. It’s a reality.” Wisconsin is one of the 10 states with a pre-existing law to prohibit abortions; the state never rescinded a 173-year-old statute that criminalizes the procedure.

Godlewski will be running for the August primary in an effort to challenge Republican Senator Ron Johnson. According to her, abortion will be the core of her campaign. Candidates who pledge to protecting abortion rights are more likely to be elected, she states.

“Something that I am hearing a lot, especially since the leak, has been how frustrated people are that we haven’t codified this earlier,” says Godlewski. “We’ve had 50 years to get this done. I think we need more pro-choice Democratic women at that U.S. Senate table because they would have prioritized this a long time ago.”

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