AP

Abortion access could hinge on state election results

Oct 30, 2022, 6:22 AM | Updated: Oct 31, 2022, 7:48 am

Former Kansas Democratic Party Chair and state Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon, left, speaks during a...

Former Kansas Democratic Party Chair and state Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon, left, speaks during a rally for a new group, Keep Kansas Free, while former Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, right, a Republican, watches on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, outside the statehouse in Topeka, Kan. The group formed to urge voters who support abortion rights to back like-minded candidates and retain Kansas Supreme Court justices on the bench as ways to protect abortion access. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

(AP Photo/John Hanna)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The online commercials in a state Senate race in some Raleigh, North Carolina, suburbs make an ominous claim, similar to one repeated across the country ahead of the Nov. 8 election: The Republican candidate “wants to strip away our reproductive rights.”

The Republican, Mark Cavaliero, says the Planned Parenthood-affiliated political action committee behind the ads is misrepresenting his views, which he says stop short of endorsing a complete abortion ban in one of the Southern states with the fewest abortion restrictions. “There should be some limit,” he said in an interview. “Where that limit is is up for discussion.”

The same theme is echoing in elections across the country in the first nationwide election since the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that protected the right to abortion nationally.

Now, it’s a state-by-state question that’s the subject of ballot measures in some states and is a major issue in many elections across the U.S. on Nov. 8. Outcomes of elections for governors, state lawmakers, supreme court justices and attorneys general could determine abortion access. Beyond that, a nationwide ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy has been proposed in Congress.

Abortion-rights groups and Democratic candidates are sounding alarms that Republicans would curtail access. Republicans, even those who have supported abortion bans, are campaigning mostly about other issues, including inflation and crime.

Still, it’s clear that certain Republican victories could result in abortion restrictions.

“We’ve got states like Kansas, Pennsylvania, even Georgia, and Wisconsin where the governor’s races or state legislature races could determine perhaps where these states go on abortion rights, even though abortion isn’t directly on the ballot,” said Linda Goler Blount, president of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, also says results from the election will shape abortion policy. “If Republicans are elected, we may be able to pass some measures,” she said in an interview.

In North Carolina, where both chambers of the legislature are under GOP control, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has twice vetoed bills that would have restricted abortion, which is currently barred after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions for urgent medical emergencies for the pregnant woman.

The equation could change if Republicans can pick up two more seats in the state Senate and three in the House, giving the party enough members to override vetoes from Cooper, whose term runs another two years.

That’s why Planned Parenthood Action PAC North Carolina has been airing ads targeting Cavaliero and other Republicans in districts where voting margins are expected to be tight. It’s part of a nationwide campaign that planned to spend $50 million.

Democratic incumbent Sydney Batch recounted at a recent campaign event about how, when she was in the state House in 2019, she was present to vote against a veto override even though she was recovering from a mastectomy.

“My colleagues and I will continue to show up because we believe that medical decisions and bodily autonomy of every woman in North Carolina should be in their hands,” she said.

Cavaliero said he doesn’t want to ban abortion entirely and is not the “anti-abortion extremist” that the ad calls him.

“I take a very reasonable position,” he said. “I feel like at some point during the pregnancy, abortion becomes a real problem.”

While Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have supported restricting abortion, there’s no consensus on how to do it.

That’s been a theme since June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling made bans into realities, leaving even abortion opponents divided on details.

The two states where lawmakers have passed new bans since June — Indiana, where enforcement is on hold amid a legal challenge, and West Virginia — did so only after debates that led to including exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

Polling has shown that most voters want abortion to remain legal. That was reflected in the first election on the issue since Roe was overturned, when Kansas voters rejected a ballot measure in August that would have allowed lawmakers to tighten restrictions or ban abortion.

Kansas Democrats are rallying voters by focusing on abortion access.

At a recent meeting in the town of Wamego, local Democrats wrote postcards to voters urging them to protect abortion rights. Kathy Swenson, a 71-year-old retired teacher, summarized the message: “If you think your rights are protected just because of Aug. 2, you’re wrong.”

Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat in a state where Republicans control the Legislature, is seeking re-election. Her Republican opponent, Derek Schmidt, and the GOP candidate for attorney general, Kris Kobach, have promised to defend existing restrictions against any court challenges.

Three years after a state supreme court ruling that found the Kansas Constitution protects abortion rights, Kansans for Life is urging supporters to vote against retaining five of the six justices who are on the ballot.

Also being closely watched is the governor’s race in Arizona, where a ban on abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation is in effect while courts decide whether to allow enforcement of a law that would ban abortions at all stages of pregnancy.

In Pennsylvania, the election of a new governor could keep the status quo — abortions allowed up to 24 weeks — or install a Republican-controlled government that would be expected to roll back abortion rights. The current governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, has vetoed restrictions passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro has made abortion access a prominent feature of his campaign, raising it at a recent event with union members in Philadelphia. “The other side, they love to talk a good game about freedom, right?” Shapiro said. “Let me tell you something: it’s not freedom to tell women what they’re allowed to do with their bodies.”

Republican Doug Mastriano used his opposition to abortion to help win the primary, saying “life” was the most important issue. He has downplayed that view during the general election campaign, dropping it from his stump speech and handing the microphone to his wife, Rebecca, to bring it up.

“As conservatives, as Republicans we very much believe in women’s rights,” she told a rally in Erie in October. “In fact, we carry the torch on that. First of all, we believe in a woman’s right to be born.”

Since the Supreme Court ruling, bans on abortion at any stage of pregnancy have been adopted or kicked in in a dozen states. In a 13th, Wisconsin, clinics have stopped providing abortions amid uncertainty about whether an 1849 ban applies.

There, Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul is suing to overturn the ban — a move supported by the Democratic governor, Tony Evers. Both are up for election this year in a state where Republicans control the Legislature.

The GOP candidate for governor, Tim Michels, supported the ban during the primary. He now says that if he’s elected, he would sign a bill granting exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

In liberal Oregon, one of a handful of states with no abortion restrictions, the issue looms large in the gubernatorial election.

Republican Christine Drazan says she would follow the law if elected governor in a state that has helped fund abortion care for women throughout the Northwest.

In a September debate, Democrat Tina Kotek said that’s not enough.

“A governor can do a lot of damage even if there’s a law on the books: stopping agencies, not being a champion, not moving resources to help Oregonians,” she said.

___

Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon; and Lindsay Whitehurst in Washington contributed to this article.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

9 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

10 hours ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

15 hours ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

17 hours ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

3 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Abortion access could hinge on state election results