Democrats see the abortion win as a springboard for 2024, as the GOP struggles to find a winning message
WASHINGTON (AP) — Voters have thrown their support behind abortion rights in Ohio, Virginia Elsewhere, Democrats are looking to build on those victories by using the issue to boost election turnout and shape next year’s races for the White House, Congress and other elections.
Ohio provided the clearest picture on Tuesday of the importance of this issue, more than a year after the US Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion nationwide. Voters in the increasingly Republican-leaning state It was resoundingly approved Amend the state constitution to protect access to abortion services.
Democrats also exploited this issue Virginiariding to regain control of the Legislature and, in Kentucky, the tender Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear A second term after making abortion rights central to his campaign in the heavily Republican state.
Election night was an energizing moment for Democrats who hope abortion rights will draw voters to the polls in the 2024 presidential election. The campaigning and amendment results in Ohio, the only state to put abortion on the ballot this year, are a prelude to Similar ballot measures It is expected to be put to a vote in several states next year. This includes Arizona and Nevada, which play pivotal roles in the race for the White House.
Abortion will also be at the heart of the slate of state Supreme Court races in 2024.
For the anti-abortion movement, the most recent defeat came after Roe Miscellaneous messages He struggled to win over voters in a state that became… Ground for experiment. The scope of the abortion access victory in Ohio suggests that a significant number of Republicans voted for it amendment, signaling deep divisions in the party over its next steps.
Elizabeth Smith, director of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the anti-abortion movement is “on its heels” after turning into wrong information And Fear mongering In Ohio, it’s a losing cause.
“It has become clear that the majority of Americans support abortion rights and want abortion to remain legal and accessible, and the anti-abortion side knows that,” Smith said.
According to AP VoteCast, a national poll of more than 94,000 voters, 63% of voters in the 2022 midterm elections said abortion should be legal in most or all cases. About a third of voters said it should be illegal in all or most cases.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group SBA Pro-Life America, said the Ohio results “serve as a warning sign for the Republican Party heading into 2024” and “proved that this is not a formula for success for the Republican Party.”
“The real lesson from last night’s loss is that Democrats will keep abortion front and center throughout the 2024 campaigns,” Dannenfelser said in a statement. “The GOP consultant class needs to wake up. Candidates must dedicate money and messaging to counter Democrats’ attacks or they will lose every time.
Anti-abortion groups said the outcome was fueled by millions Campaign donations Abortion rights supporters have flocked to the race in Ohio, including large donations from out-of-state groups.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which advocates for abortion rights, spent more than $9 million on races in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia this year, more than $6 million of which went to Ohio, said Deirdre Schiefling, the ACLU’s chief policy and advocacy officer.
The messaging problem for anti-abortion groups runs deeper than their loss in Ohio.
In Virginia, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin tried to rally voters behind GOP legislative candidates by putting forward what he and other Republicans felt was a compromise approach: a proposal to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for rape, incest and pregnancies. Where the mother’s life was in danger.
Youngkin floated his “reasonable limits” as an alternative to the outright abortion ban or six-week bans in place in some Republican-controlled states, and several GOP candidates in swing districts have publicly supported the proposal.
He. She Did not succeed. Democrats wondered whether Youngkin and Republicans would do so Continue If they end up controlling the governor’s office and the legislature.
“Youngkin was supposed to be the guy who showed Republicans how to win on abortion, and he failed miserably,” said Minnie Timaraju, president and CEO of Reproductive Freedom for All, a group formerly known as NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The governor thought he was giving the playbook to Republicans, but he actually gave the playbook to Democrats on how to help voters connect the dots between the candidates and their policies on abortion.”
Democrats have made it clear that they intend to make this issue a central issue in the race for the presidency and on the ballot next year.
Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement that “Americans overwhelmingly support President Biden and the Democrats’ vision for this country” and “this same choice will be before voters again next November.”
In a new sign that the administration is trying to tie its electoral prospects to the results, Vice President Kamala Harris made a rare appearance before reporters in the White House corridor on Wednesday and said: “It was a good night and obviously the president and I have a lot of work to do to win the election.” We are re-elected. But I am confident that we will win.”
In the Republican presidential primaries, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott And Florida Governor Ron DeSantiswho signed a six-week ban in his state, said they would support a national 15-week abortion ban. Other candidates They were more vague in their answers.
This was done by former President Donald Trump, who nominated three Supreme Court justices who helped overturn Roe v. Wade He refused to say Whether he would sign a national ban and he warned that the issue could be politically difficult to campaign on. Trump said he could “live with” the measure being blocked by individual states or nationally through federal action.
In the wake of the vote in Ohio, Republican presidential candidate and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy said on CNN that abortion opponents need to talk about the issue differently to get more support. He has it Express support for states that have enacted six-week bans, but he also said he would not support a federal abortion ban.
“Our pro-life movement, which I’m a part of, needs to be better about the way we discuss this issue, and actually talk about greater access to adoption and foster care — on top of that — and even go further in terms of sexual responsibility for men,” he said. Ramaswamy, who lives in Ohio.
Ohio was the seventh state since overturning Roe to support ballot measures protecting abortion rights or to reject measures intended to limit access.
And in states where abortion could go directly on the ballot in 2024, abortion rights advocates said they are watching Ohio’s elections closely. Chris Love, senior counsel for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, said Ohio “has set an example” for Arizona in strategizing and building a statewide coalition of advocacy groups.
In a demonstration of the impact of abortion on election races, voters in Pennsylvania on Tuesday elected Democrat Dan McCaffrey to an open seat on the state Supreme Court. Although Democrats hold the majority on the court in that swing state, McCaffrey has made defending abortion rights central to his contest with Republican Carolyn Carluccio.
Several anti-abortion groups have indicated that how they respond to the string of losses will be among the most important policy debates for Republicans heading into 2024. One thing seems certain: They plan to leverage their influence within the party to make sure they continue the fight for abortion. Abortion restrictions remain a priority for their candidates.
“We have persevered for 50 years to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Ohio Women’s Conservancy, which has led anti-abortion messaging in that state, said in a statement Tuesday night. “Ours is a movement that has always been and always will be.
“Tomorrow, work will start again,” the group said.
Associated Press writer Seung-Min Kim contributed to this report.
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