How Overturning Roe V. Wade Will Affect Elections

On June 24th, 2o22, the Supreme Court released the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, which overruled the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade in 1973. The decision to overturn allowed states to restrict and even ban abortion procedures. This decision faced public outcry from many after trigger bans came into affect in multiple states during the following weeks. To date, 14 states have placed near total bans on abortion, while other states have imposed gestational limits. Many states, like Texas and Louisiana, make no exceptions for rape or incest. West Virginia is the most recent state to join those strictly limiting abortion, with a bill being signed into law on September 16 by Governor Jim Justice (R).

Though abortions are sought out by all types of people, minority groups and low-income Americans are disproportionately represented in abortion statistics. According to data collected by the CDC in 2019, 38% of those who obtained abortions were Black and 21% were Hispanic. A review from the Guttmacher Institute states that in 2014, “49% of abortion patients had a family income below the federal poverty level.” 

The Turn Away Study, led by a group called “Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health” (ANSIRH), took a deep dive into finding how denying women abortions affects their mental and physical health as well as their socioeconomic status. According to American University in Washington DC, the study found “that denying … women an abortion creates economic hardship and insecurity that lasts for years. Compared with women who obtained their desired abortion, women denied the abortion had lowered credit scores as well as increased debt, bankruptcies, and evictions.” The study also found that women who had been denied an abortion have incurred more debt, which was often found to be further overdue.

In the months after the Dobbs decision, many Americans are wondering whether the reproductive rights of women, and others who can get pregnant, will continue to be limited. With midterm elections coming up, as well as the presidential elections occurring in 2024, the overturning of Roe V. Wade is set to play a major role in upcoming election cycles. According to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit political encyclopedia, there will be six abortion-related measures on ballots during 2022 elections— the most of any recorded election.

Kansas allowed their residents to vote on abortion rights during their primaries. Voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would deny a right to abortion.

Additionally, California voters will decide if reproductive rights should be enshrined in their constitution – protecting both abortions and the ability to get birth control. Michigan and Vermont will have similar measures on the ballot.

Both Democrats and Republicans have used abortion to bolster their campaigns. Republicans hold the decision up as an example achieving their policy goals. Democrats have used abortion issues to energize slow-to-vote Democrats since many Democrats are pro-choice, shifting the focus from Biden’s low approval ratings as of late due to rising inflation.

Backlash against restrictive abortion policies has caused some candidates to change their messaging. NBC News first reported that Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters removed anti-abortion language from his website. 

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