Wednesday, September 27

Kansas victory shows Democrats can fight for abortion rights and win

It wasn’t even close to being a close election: it was a blowout. With an unexpected turnout and a huge difference in results, Kansas voters Tuesday rejected a measure that, if approved, would have removed the right to abortion from their state Constitution. Nearly 60% of voters in this deeply conservative state rejected the anti-abortion measure. Only about 40% supported it.

The so-called “Value Them Both” law would have drastically devalued women in Kansas. The bill sought to amend the state Constitution, in response to a 2019 ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court, which established that abortion is protected by the state’s Bill of Rights, which guarantees “equal and inalienable rights” for all citizens.

Unlike the United States Supreme Court, the Kansas Court rejected the idea that civil rights are frozen in time, immutable, and tied to when the document was originally ratified. Instead, he extended those equal rights to women. “We now ask ourselves: is this bill of rights anything more than an idealized aspiration?” the Court wrote. “And, if so, do substantive rights include a woman’s right to make decisions about her body, including the decision to continue her pregnancy? To these questions we answer yes. Overwhelmingly, by a margin of about 20 points, Kansas voters agreed with the Court.

It was the first electoral proof of support for the right to abortion since the Supreme Court of the United States annulled the sentence in June. Roe v. Wade, and the results were unequivocal. Even in the conservative state of Kansas, support for abortion rights is overwhelming. Even in the conservative state of Kansas, abortion restrictions are offensive to them.

Rejection of anti-abortion measures

In theory, this should not surprise us. Americans have a wide range of opinions about abortion, but in general, the notion that women and others should have the legal right to terminate their pregnancy is very popular, receiving between 60% and 70% support. Consequently, ballot initiatives asking voters to restrict abortion tend to failmaintains the correspondent of nyc magazineIrin Carmond.

A measure that would have granted right of person to fetuses and embryos failed in the very conservative state of Mississippi in 2011. A move that was intended ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, failed by a wide margin in an unusually high turnout municipal election in 2013. When South Dakota passed an abortion ban in 2006, abortion rights advocates managed to gather enough signatures for the measure to be put to a popular vote. The electorate also rejected it.

The ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States that annulled the ruling Roe v. Wade it is especially unpopular with the public and has sparked renewed passion for the pro-choice cause. According to a CNN poll, 63% of Americans – almost two-thirds – say they oppose the Court’s ruling. Just over half, 51%, say they are “strongly” opposed. This public outrage clearly translates into votes. After the court reversed the Roe ruling on June 24, many states saw a spike in new voter registrations. In Kansas, 70% of those new voters they were women.

Dirty game

There were some signs that anti-abortionists were nervous, even before their resounding defeat on Election Day. They played dirty. The vote was scheduled for a day of blinding heat and primary elections [para elegir candidatos para las elecciones legislativas de noviembre]when turnout is typically low and Republicans tend to fare better.

In the days leading up to the election, a Republican-aligned Nevada company sent text messages to Kansas voters. “Kansas women are losing their choice on reproductive rights,” the messages read. “Voting YES on the Amendment will give women a choice. Vote YES to protect women’s health.” An affirmative vote on the constitutional amendment would have been a vote against abortion rights. Clearly, anti-abortion Republicans didn’t think they could win on their own merits. Turns out they couldn’t.

But one would never know how overwhelmingly popular abortion rights are if one were to go solely by the behavior of Democrats, who for the past three decades, and since Donald Trump’s victory in particular, have been loath to defend at all costs. reproductive rights and other issues of the so-called “culture war”.

The party’s centrist leadership calculates that only economic issues – defined, in practice, as issues affecting white men – can arouse voter enthusiasm. The Government of President Biden was inert and inept in his reply to Dobbs [el caso que llevó al Supremo a anular Roe v. Wade] by agreeing to take only the flimsiest and least risky steps to restore access to abortion, alienating large sections of his base as he tried to keep the spotlight on his efforts to curb inflation. Biden hardly ever says “abortion.” He gives the feeling that he would prefer not to talk about it.

But the results in Kansas suggest it should. The abortion vote drew massive turnout. Abortion rights garnered significantly more electoral support than Joe Biden in most Kansas counties. It is an issue of the so-called “culture war” that made voters turn out en masse to vote for an issue on the Democratic agenda. The outcome in Kansas demonstrates that reversal of the ruling Roe v. Wade it has created a moral emergency to which the voters will respond. Ignoring these “culture war” issues doesn’t make the Democrats look sensible and moderate, it makes them look like cowards running from the fight.

What the Republicans want to do to America, especially when it comes to abortion rights, is unpopular. And what is more important, it is undemocratic and immoral. This is a fight voters want to be involved in. It’s time for the Democratic Party to unite.

Translation by Julian Cnochaert