Why is this midterm election important for reproductive rights?
Voting with reproductive rights in mind this election is vitally important given the precarity of abortion access from state to state. The person in charge of your state can have a lot of power over abortion rights– especially right now. For example, Pennsylvania's Democratic governor was able to protect the state's abortion access by vetoing numerous bills attempting to restrict it.
There are also several state-specific proposals up for election in certain states that pertain to abortion access and reproductive rights. Additionally, voting with reproductive rights in mind includes protecting trans people and their right to access safe, affordable health care.
Here's why people feel so strongly about voting right now
In case you're looking for more perspective from others, we talked with 11 people from all walks of life about why voting with reproductive justice in mind this midterm is so important.
It's about preserving the right to bodily autonomy
"The right to abortion isn't just about terminating a pregnancy; this is about the government believing it has a right to say what one can and can't do with their body, health, and choice to have a child. This, just like the hundreds of bills introduced against trans people, is about restricting and controlling bodily autonomy– not just abortion."— Casey, a social worker
Despite being tired, showing up is still important
"I am so tired of saying this; my abortion was 20 years ago, and my life as I know it wouldn't have been possible without it. The ruling this summer gutted me, but we need to vote to protect the mangled, but still alive, right to abortion in the U.S."— Autumn, a collegiate librarian
It's important because abortion access is now up to individual states
"The midterm elections this year are so so so important; it's so vital that you get out there and vote. This is especially true if you live in a state whose abortion rights are up in the air. Look at your local voting guides and make sure you vote to protect reproductive rights."— Matthew, a unitarian universalist pastor
Just because you're in a blue state, doesn't mean your abortion access is safe
"Don't think because you live in a blue state that you are safe and that your right to abortion is set in stone. The 2024 election will determine who we have in the presidential office, and that person could issue a complete ban on abortion. This midterm election is important to vote for reproductive rights, so we are as strong as possible for the next election as well."— Rachel, a sixth-grade math teacher
Abortion is historical and important
"No law will ever tell me what is right to do with my body when I know the truth about abortion, and it's a vital place in history and medicine. However, it's important to vote in this election to make sure that what access to abortion we have left stays that way."— Jennifer, a marketing specialist
We need pro-choice elected officials at every level
"The Dobbs decision reversed Roe v Wade and sent it back to the states. It's important to vote for those that support bodily autonomy for those of us with uteri. We need votes that support reproductive rights and justice at all levels, from Senators, House of Reps, and Governors to state government, city government, school boards, and more.
They took away the rights of people to decide what happens in and to their bodies. They are coming after birth control next. Republican candidates have said they will come after IVF and Plan B (emergency contraception). No more #gynoticians (politicians who think they are gynecologists). As a doctor, a person with a uterus, and a mother of two young women, I say leave medicine to the health professionals. My body, my choice. Your body, your choice. My body, my religion. Your body, your religion.
You should not have the right to push your religious beliefs on my body. Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value."— Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, co founder of Pandia Health.
They're coming for bodily autonomy at all angles
"I am tired of hearing the statement that this fight will come for gay rights or trans rights next; they're coming from bodily and individual autonomy from all angles. This election may have you feeling helpless, but every office at the federal, state, city, and even school board is important right now."— Axel, a volunteer coordinator
It's important to maintain the democratic majority
"If the Democrats hang on to Congress, your reproductive rights have more hope of being protected… if the Republicans win, there's a lot at stake: Two-thirds of Republicans oppose laws that prohibit abortions in case sexual assault, incest, and rape. They also allow private citizens to sue people who help with abortions and criminalize people who get one, which will not only take your reproductive rights but also jeopardize the security of your personal information.
There are five states with ballot measures relating to abortion rights. These are California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont. If you live in a different state, you can elect candidates who are openly pro-choice and have platforms for protecting your reproductive rights. Remember that reproductive rights are human rights. It's not only about sex education. It's also your access to abortion, contraception, and safe reproductive services."— Collen Clark, a lawyer at Schmidt and Clark
Vote to support programs that will affect people hit hardest by abortion bans
"This election represents the gender and human rights battle of the century. With the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, we lost 50 years of progress in the fight for gender justice, and our own bodily autonomy is under threat.
In some states, it's already been taken away. Without abortion access, the health and economic security of millions of people are at risk. Additionally, voters should support policies that benefit working people, women, and families who will be most impacted by abortion bans, particularly poor women and women of color."—Noreen Farrell, the executive director of Equal Rights Advocates
Abortion bans impact infertility and IVF choices
"Reproductive rights affect not only people who are seeking an abortion but also people who need medical care for infertility. It is naive to think that politicians are considering the complete health care needs of people in all stages of life. When I asked my congressional representatives about their position on abortion, it was apparent that they had not done the basic research about what procedures and consequences of limiting health care for families.
I am a 40-year-old married mother of 2 in Nashville. I own my own business in tourism. I suffered from infertility for several years before the birth of my children. With help from my doctor, I was able to conceive two children.
I personally met with my congressional representative John Rose this summer to express my concerns over limiting contraception and healthcare access with a total abortion ban. Even though he stated he used IVF for his two children, I was completely dumbfounded by his lack of awareness of the restrictions that he has voted and campaigned for in regard to reproductive rights."—Casey Peavey, a tourism business owner
Voting is especially important in select states
"Republicans have told us they intend to enact a national abortion ban if they gain enough control of Congress. The US already has the highest maternal mortality rate. Recent studies show us that within the first year of a national abortion ban, maternal deaths would see a 24% increase. We also know at the state level, states with the strictest abortion laws have the highest maternal mortality rates. Where is it particularly important? This is such a complex question, so it is hard to answer.
Three states have ballot initiatives: Alaska, Kentucky, and Montana. But in Kansas and Pennsylvania, the main thing securing abortion access today is a Democratic governor (so far). If that seat were to be lost to a Republican, restrictions are likely to follow. Nebraska, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona are also states with access hinging on this election outcome.
What is at stake—for the entire country—is a national abortion ban. Despite Republicans scrubbing the issue of abortion from their websites, they have repeatedly said they intend to enact a national ban. At the state level, some states risk losing access completely. This could look like anything from criminalizing the doctor with five years to life in prison to punishing the pregnant person or anyone who assists them. Other states could see their access severely restricted, such as so-called heartbeat bills that ban abortion around six weeks."—Danielle Kramer, sex therapist and clinical sexologist
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