In June, the U.S. Supreme Court rescinded Roe v. Wade. People responded strongly in protest; how political candidates address abortion could affect the outcome of the 2022 mid-term elections.
Kansas could be an example for states like Wisconsin and Georgia to address abortion in the midterm elections. Recently, Kansas passed an abortion referendum.
Abortion in Kansas was legal until 22 weeks ago. According to the New York Times, 922,321 people voted on the referendum. A recount occurred in 9 out of 107 of the state counties, but the votes counted remained unchanged.
Places that were “increasingly Democratic” determine if this referendum passed. However, this did not happen. In republican-majority counties, anti-abortion candidates did not fare well. Cities and suburbs, on the other hand, played a pivotal role in the legislation.
The assumption was that the primary electorate would be small and mostly Republicans. However, this was changed after Roe v. Wade got overturned.
Kansas’ strategy to sway voters
Pro-abortion advocates in Kansas used “conservative-sounding language about government mandates and personal freedom” to convince voters. Additionally, they spoke to “independents, Libertarians and moderate Republicans.”
“We were able to engage folks in a nonpartisan conversation about this issue, and that is something I think that really played to our strengths,” Ashley All, a spokeswoman for Kansas for Constitutional Freedom stated to journalists earlier this month.
Another tactical move was fundraising – both Democrats and Republicans raised nearly $12 million. Those who backed the abortion referendum received funding from the Roman Catholic Church.
“It doesn’t ban abortion or remove exceptions – that’s just a scare tactic,” Peggy Dunn, Mayor of Leawood, Kansas, stated in an ad.
Value Them Both financed the ad and were in support of the amendment as well. They raised $2.45 million this year, where much of this money came “from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Kansas City, Kan.”
Furthermore, the Catholic Diocese in Wichita donated $550,000. In total, Value Them Both used over $6 million for advertisement.
Meanwhile, Republicans saw an increase in financing, mainly from pro-abortion groups. An ad by Kansas for Constitutional Freedom said that the amendment “could lead to a full ban of any abortion in Kansas.” They put forth over $6 million.
How will the fight for abortion fare in Wisconsin and Georgia? In what way will the candidates rally their constituents?
In June, The Daily Beast reported that Tony Evers, Wisconsin Governor, promised to block an abortion ban. He mentioned that any district prosecutors who want to enforce this ban will not be appointed.
How Wisconsin politicians approach this grave matter is critical: in 1849, Wisconsin enacted a “near total abortion ban.” When Roe v. Wade passed in 1973, the law was rescinded. Then, on June 24, 2022, it was reversed.
Currently, abortions are banned unless it is used to save a woman’s life. In addition, doctors performing abortions will be punished – more specifically, they will spend six years in prison and will have to pay a substantial fine.
Wisconsin Republicans appear to have softened on the controversial topic of abortion. Last month, Republican gubernatorial candidates debated. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, businessman Tim Michels, and state Rep. Tim Ramthun are the nominees. One of the topics they discussed was abortion.
Each candidate stated that they would provide resources to women who get pregnant, while Kleefisch mentioned that new mothers who get pregnant will be treated with empathy.
Additionally, she said that she will ensure they will be provided with adequate resources. Kleefisch stands behind the abortion ban.
She added that Democrats try to convince women that they have chosen between a baby and their goals. In the debate, Michels mentioned that every option should be accessible to them, including adoption.
Ramthun added that pregnancy crisis centers must be more prepared to help pregnant women and that the adoption process should be universally smoother.
In Georgia, Democrats seem to have a plan in place. Once Roe v. Wade was overturned, a federal appeals court decided to enact the law.
In 2019, an abortion law narrowly passed in Georgia. The law bans abortions after six weeks. According to NPR, given the outrage about the bill, there could be a chance for the Democratic party to win people over. Because of the turnout in Kansas, there is a good chance for Stacey Adams, who is the Democrat running for governor in Georgia, to win.
“What that signals to us here in Georgia is that we have the same power,” Adams stated.
She added that Georgia isn’t extremely conservative: they are divided. Yet, when it comes to abortion, that evaporates.
Abrams and Democratic state Rep. Shea Robert to other women’s stories about abortion. Also, Roberts shared her own story, which occurred 15 years ago. Part of Roberts’ reelection campaign is to reach “Republican and independent women” about abortion.
Republicans focused on abortion briefly. As soon as the federal appeals court permitted the 2019 law to move forward, they reacted with joy. However, Republicans haven’t said much else. Mostly, they have focused on the economy and the dissatisfaction with the president to appeal to voters. About $3,073,754 million was donated to fund abortion restrictions.
“We are overjoyed that the court has paved the way for the implementation of Georgia’s Life Act,” Gov. Brian Kemp stated.
This upcoming midterm election is pivotal for abortion advocates and opponents and will be a crucial period in American legislation.