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The new landscape of the fight against abortion

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Perhaps the biggest immediate change was in abortion policy. While an overwhelming majority of Americans have long told pollsters that the choice to have an abortion should be left to a woman rather than the law, the issue has long been seen as a moral drag on candidates. that she was unwinnable. Those who opposed abortion were more likely than pro-abortion supporters to make the issue the deciding factor in their vote.

The decision toppling Roe and the intermediaries changed that dynamic. A September poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 24% of Americans said they would only vote for a candidate who shared their views on abortion, up from 18% a decade ago. The shift was greatest among Democrats, who tend to support abortion rights: 35% said they would vote only for a candidate who shared their stance on abortion, double the percentage who had said the same thing two years earlier. Among Republicans, who are more likely to oppose abortion, only 21% said they would only vote for a candidate who supports their position, down from 32% in 2020.

In exit polls after the midterm elections, voters of all political stripes said abortion rights were their number one issue.

“Resist the urge to see this as a one-off, one-off midterm election story, and instead see it for what it is, part of an upward trajectory of a powerful movement,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, which supports abortion rights, urged reporters on a conference call last month. “The tides are turning.”

With anti-abortion ballot measures failing in red states like Montana and Kentucky, some abortion rights activists are arguing to go more on the offensive, with measures like Michigan’s establishing a right reproductive freedom in the state constitution.

“Voting measures are at their most effective when there is a major disconnect between what voters want and what their elected officials are doing,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which helps campaigns for initiatives voting cards in red and purple states. “Abortion is squarely in that abyss in almost every place in the country.”

But ballot initiatives are not a guarantee, or a solution, everywhere. Seventeen states allow citizens to initiate ballot measures, and this figure includes several blue states that have already protected the right to abortion. There are about ten states that prohibit abortion and authorize citizens’ initiatives. “It shrinks the map,” Ms Hall said.

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nytimes

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