Editorial Excerpts, December 2022

Published: December 12, 2022

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, leaving the right to control one’s own body and decision to be a parent to the whims of state lawmakers, it fell to advocates and voters to fight to protect reproductive rights. A record six measures concerning abortion were placed on state ballots this year across the country.

By Tuesday night, voters made their wishes clear—they want to maintain their access to abortion. Of the five measures on the Nov. 8 ballot, four have won by resounding margins and a fifth has a healthy lead.

“It may be a new day in the way this issue is being thought about,” said Nancy Northup, the chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, citing the victory of abortion rights in liberal, moderate, and conservative states alike. “I hope this will be seen as a nonpartisan issue that is about rights and health.”

The Supreme Court said in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case overturning Roe, that decisions about reproductive rights should be left to the people and their lawmakers. It’s ludicrous that politicians should be allowed to decide how much or how little individuals can control their bodies. But having been dealt that grim reality, advocates and voters have shown they will use the ballot box to win back what should never have been lost.

Polls continually indicate that a majority of Americans support the right to abortion and disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish that right. And the results so far on all the abortion-related measures on the Nov. 8 ballot show that voters—in states from the most liberal to the most conservative—want their reproductive rights upheld. That is a powerful and profound statement that must not be ignored.

Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2022

In Michigan, Vermont, and California, voters in Tuesday’s midterm elections overwhelmingly approved ballot initiatives that will enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions. In Kentucky, voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have protected the state’s near-total abortion ban from legal challenges. And in Montana, voters nixed a measure that would have criminalized health care providers who do not make every effort to save the life of an infant “born during an attempted abortion” or after labor or Caesarean section.

Americans all over the map turned out to defend reproductive freedom. The wins served as a rebuke to the Supreme Court, which in June stripped away the constitutional right to abortion, and as a warning to lawmakers who seek to make medical decisions that should be left up to women and their doctors.

The Kentucky and Montana results follow those in Kansas, another Republican-leaning state, where voters rejected in August a constitutional amendment that would have ended abortion protections. These results underscore that most Americans generally favor abortion rights—and that a gap too often exists between what voters want and what lawmakers enact.

Questions of reproductive rights also appear to have influenced some candidates’ races. Republicans had tried to deflect attention from abortion to other issues, such as inflation or crime. But in exit polls, almost 3 in 10 voters said abortion was the most important issue affecting their votes; about 4 in 10 voters said they were “angry” about the June court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and its nearly 50 years of constitutional protections.

Short of an unlikely Supreme Court reversal, the best way to restore women’s reproductive rights is for Congress to codify Roe’s protections in federal law. …

The Washington Post, November 10, 2022