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  • Writer's pictureAanya M.

Why overturning abortion could ruin republicans party chances

On June 24, 2022, the supreme court overturned Roe V. Wade, creating a political shift in the United States. Roe v. Wade was a major legal decision on January 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court overturned a Texas state law prohibiting abortion, essentially legalizing the practice throughout the United States. The court determined that a woman's right to an abortion was implied in the right to privacy guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before Roe v. Wade, abortion had been outlawed in much of the country since the late 1800s.

The majority opinion of the overturn, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. They are all appointed by Republican presidents with three of them appointed by former president Donald Trump. More than 59 percent of Americans, including 67 percent of women, opposed the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the 1973 decision, according to a CBS News/YouGov response poll, and 52 percent thought the decision was a "step backward" for the nation.

Last week, Kansas voted to protect abortion rights by 18 percentage points. This comes as a major surprise because, in the 2016 Kansas election, Donald Trump won by nearly 20 percentage points and by 15 in 2020. Donald Trump won the 2016 election in part thanks to his pledge during the campaign to pick Supreme Court justices who were against abortion rights. Even in a deeply red state like Kansas, there are still far more registered voters who favor abortion being always legal than against it (by 25% to 11%, respectively, according to Civiqs's state polling statistics).

Though many Republicans have been pro-life all their lives, some believe there should be exceptions. Especially in cases of incest, rape, and the possibility of a mother dying during childbirth. 38% of Republicans believe that abortion should be legal in all/most cases. Abortion may even be a bigger deal than most think, especially since a lot of Republican states have trigger laws in place that ban abortion. "There has traditionally been asymmetrical mobilization on the issue of abortion. In the past, abortion was a more substantial driver of turnout for Republicans than Democrats," Rebecca J. Kreitzer, associate professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Newsweek. Now that might change. "However, as previously unenforceable bans on abortion go into effect, Republicans may find themselves facing uncomfortable scrutiny from mainstream voters who oppose such radical changes to abortion access," Kreitzer argued.

“What happened in red Kansas last night is a reflection of what is happening across the country and what will continue to occur through the November elections,” Senator Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor. “If it’s going to happen in Kansas, it’s going to happen in a whole lot of states.” The strong abortion rights vote in Kansas, he said, will continue into the November elections, “and Republicans who side with these extremist MAGA policies that attack women’s rights do so at their own political risk.”

Indiana became one of the first states to pass a near-total ban on abortion, without taking their citizen's views into consideration. More than 2,000 Hoosiers signed a letter warning lawmakers against passing further abortion restrictions, hundreds of Republican women being among them. Liz Childers describes herself as a lifetime Republican. A registered voter and active party member. "Personally, I am 100 percent a pro-life person,” Childers said. “I would never make the decision (to have an abortion), there are too many options. But, then the other part of me, the Republican, the woman part of me, believes there should be no one that can tell me what I can and cannot do with my body."

The Supreme Court has overturned a basic right to healthcare, rolling back decades of progress for women’s rights. The long-term consequences of this may drive Suburban women away from the GOP. The right to abortion is a winning issue, now and will be during midterms.

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