From the Left



A New Generation Offers New Hope for Abortion Rights

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Elections send messages. When the voters failed to come up with the “red wave” for which Republicans dreamed, they did happen to send a very different message of hope: Reproductive rights are making a comeback.

That was not necessarily supposed to happen, if you followed the conventional wisdom of pollsters and pundits in the days leading up to the midterms.

In the backlash immediately following the Supreme Court’s blockbuster Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision in June, Democrats saw a surge in support as the party that would more reliably work to restore abortion rights.

But those hopes began to fade as more recent polls showed abortion losing ground as a motivating issue for voters as Republicans hammered President Joe Biden’s approval ratings over such issues as runaway inflation — an unwelcome byproduct of the administration’s pandemic relief measures — and a perceived rise in crime rates.

Yet, Republicans stopped measuring the drapes for a Republican takeover when their red wave failed to materialize — and everyone’s attention turned to the question of “why?”

Sure, Democrats were expected to suffer losses of congressional seats because of the midterm curse that traditionally afflicts the party not occupying the White House. But this time, exit polls show, they avoided a rout largely because of an unexpected resurgence of fear and rage over abortion rights overturned by Dobbs.


“Abortion is on the line,” said Democrats, and in four states it quite literally was.

A record number of abortion-related proposals popped up on ballots this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Michigan, Vermont and California, voters in Tuesday’s elections overwhelmingly approved ballot initiatives that will enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions.

In traditionally conservative Kentucky, voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have protected the state’s near-total abortion ban from legal challenges.


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