The fate of abortion rights is now in the hands of voters after the Supreme Court on Friday overturned decades of settled precedent in its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that abortion is not a right under the U.S. Constitution.
Now that state legislatures are able to pass bills that restrict abortion, the outcome of elections for governors, attorneys general, and state lawmakers will determine whether abortion remains legal and how draconian bans will be.
Thirteen GOP-controlled states already have on the books "trigger" laws, bans on abortion designed to take effect once the constitutional right to abortion was denied by the Supreme Court.
However, in other states, Democratic governors and other officials have served as a firewall against abortion bans, firewalls that will crumble if Republicans win key elections in those states in November. Nearly every GOP candidate for the positions have said they support bans on abortion, some even in cases in which the life of the pregnant person is at risk.
Democratic groups are promising to continue the fight for abortion rights even after the court has struck down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion.
"Make no mistake: abortion is on the ballot this November, and we, the pro-choice majority in this country, will hold them accountable," Laphonza Butler, president of EMILY's List, which supports Democratic pro-choice female candidates for political office, said in a statement. "We will replace them in offices across the country, up and down the ballot with Democratic pro-choice candidates who will fight for our rights and freedom, with women who will work to expand access to anyone who needs it."
These are the states where abortion rights are at risk if Republicans win elections in November 2022.
The state of Wisconsin has an abortion ban on the books from 1849.
The law says that anyone who performs or assists in an abortion is committing a felony carrying a maximum six-year prison sentence.
However, Wisconsin Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, who is running for reelection in November, said he would not enforce it.
"Even if courts were to interpret that law as being enforceable, as attorney general I would not use the resources of the Wisconsin Department of Justice either to investigate alleged violations of that abortion ban or to prosecute alleged violations of it," Kaul told the Associated Press in December.
Former state Rep. Adam Jarchow and county attorney Eric Toney, Republicans running to replace Kaul, have both said they would enforce the 1849 law.
"As a pro-life father of two, I will always support the right to life," Jarchow said in May, while the AP reported in December that Toney said, "I am proudly pro-life and I will defend the police and defend our Wisconsin laws, including our abortion ban, if allowed."
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is also up for reelection. As governor, he has the power to veto any further abortion bans the Republican-controlled Legislature tries to pass.
Evers' possible GOP opponents have expressed their opposition to abortion.
Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said she is against abortion even in the case of rape or incest, explaining, "I don't think it's the baby's fault how the baby is conceived."
Businessman Tim Michels, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, said, "Every life is precious, and as governor, I will work with the legislature to ensure the lives of the most vulnerable are protected.
Michigan's abortion ban law has been on the books since 1931. It makes abortion a felony with a maximum four-year prison sentence. Pregnant people who get abortions can be charged, as can doctors.
Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has said she won't enforce the law, which are currently facing court challenges filed by Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights advocates.
"As I've repeatedly made clear, I will not use the resources of the Attorney General's office to enforce an unconstitutional law that will allow the state into our bedrooms and doctor's appointments, interfering with our fundamental reproductive rights," Nessel tweeted after the Supreme Court decision was released on Friday.
Nessel's likely GOP opponent, Matt DePerno, who describes himself as "100% pro-life without exception," has said he will enforce the law.
Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has supported abortion rights in her state, is also up for reelection.
Republican Garrett Soldano, who is running to unseat Whitmer, opposes abortion in cases of rape or incest, telling an interviewer in January, "What we must start to focus on is not only to defend the DNA when it's created, but however, how about that we start inspiring women in the culture, to let them understand and know how heroic they are and how unbelievable that they are? That God put them in this moment and they don't know, that little baby inside them may be the next president."
Republican candidate Ryan Kelley's website says, "Science and data prove that a new life, a new body, and a new strain of DNA begins at conception. Michigan law must uphold this basic biological principle. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is endowed to each individual, including unborn human lives." On his Facebook page, Kelley says, "What does pro life mean to me? Pro life means to honor the creation of life from conception."
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has vetoed three anti-abortion bills sent to him by the Republican-controlled Legislature, but Wolf is term-limited and cannot run for reelection in November.
Democrats have nominated current Attorney General Josh Shapiro to run for governor in November. Shapiro supports abortion rights and would veto any anti-abortion legislation.
"I will not let our daughters grow up in a world where they have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had in Pennsylvania," Shapiro tweeted after Friday's decision. "The stakes in this post-Roe world are clear. Either we're going to safeguard their right to choose, or it'll be ripped away with no exceptions."
According to the opposition research organization American Bridge 21st Century, Mastriano told a gathering of voters in York County, Pennsylvania, "I will move with decision, decisive decisiveness here to sign these bills, whether it's my heartbeat bill or Stephanie Borowitz’s bill or Down Syndrome Protection Act ... So on day one, I have a series of executive orders, and just for everyone's comfort out there, executive orders are powers that a governor can wield. But you obviously want to back up the legislation. So the codified in the law. So after my eight years are up, the next governor can't overturn them."
Reprinted with permission from American Independent.
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