Abortion becomes a ‘huge motivator’ in governor races

Between the first Supreme Court action in the Texas case – a law banning abortion after six weeks of gestation may go into effect Wednesday – and an upcoming trial that will bring the Roe versus Wade Precedent moves abortion law to the fore in the 2022 mid-term elections. The next big abortion case of the Supreme Court will be heard in the new term of the court from autumn this year and is expected to be decided next summer, months before the elections.

“We are at this historic moment when the court decided to include a major abortion case. There has been a crescendo, ”said Mallory Quigley, vice president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, about Women’s health organization Dobbs v. Jackson. “Much will depend on what the outcome of the Dobbs Case is. We all on the pro-life side hope that the result is that the handcuffs will be removed from the governors. “

Even before developments this week, McAuliffe was trying to increase his support for abortion law. Virginia is one of three gubernatorial competitions this year, along with New Jersey and the California Recall, and has long been considered a political trailblazer.

Earlier this week, McAuliffe started a new TV commercial Attack on Glenn Youngkin, his Republican opponent, with a doctor who said Youngkin had an “extreme right-wing agenda” on abortion. AdImpact, a political ad tracking service, reported spending over $ 92,000 on the ad since its launch on Tuesday over 200 times across the state in two days. The ad, along with an older second ad that also attacked Youngkin for abortion, accounted for 50 percent of the campaign’s total airs for that period, including prime-time spots such as ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise.

When asked for a comment or an interview on the Texas ban, Youngkins’ campaign pointed to a press gagle at a Tuesday event hosted by Virginia FREE, a group of companies, at which Youngkin did not directly respond when asked if he was the Texas Prohibition supported. “My main focus is on keeping Terry McAuliffe off his extreme agenda” on abortion, he says in the clip shared by the campaign. “I am for life. I believe in exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger. “

Texas law makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

McAuliffe pounded Youngkin on the subject as duplicitous and referred to a video secretly recorded by The Undercurrent, a liberal grassroots political web show, and shared it on the American Independent website. (The Independent is funded in part by the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge.)

In the video, which was first released in early July and later featured in a McAuliffe ad, Youngkin says, “When I’m governor and I’m a majority in the [state] House, we can go on the offensive. But as a campaign issue, unfortunately, that won’t win my independent votes that I need to get. ”In a statement at the time, Youngkin spokesman Matt Wolking said in one Email the Washington Post that “this deceptively recorded audio shows that Glenn Youngkin is saying the same thing no matter who he’s talking to,” and attacked McAuliffe.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, which hosts a large anti-abortion rally every year in Washington, wrote in an email that she expects her home state of Virginia “to be important when it comes to an abortion debate goes”. both McAuliffe and his successor, Governor Ralph Northam, for comments the incumbent governor Made during a battle for abortion in 2019.

March for Life plans to hold a Virginia rally in Richmond, capital city, later this month, the third annual march in the state. “We expect the event will inspire voter turnout in the November elections,” she wrote. Speakers have not yet been announced.

And in California, Democrats tried to lift the ban in less than two weeks ahead of the recall elections this month. The embattled Democratic governor Gavin Newsom tweeted that the Supreme Court had “gutted women’s suffrage” and allies quickly linked him to the recall.

The head of Planned Parenthood in California took the moment to urge voters to decline the recall. Abortion rights activists have activated their supporters in the past few weeks and used the threat to fuel resistance to the recall. “There’s no question that in two weeks’ time access to abortion will be on the ballot,” Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said in a statement.

Many of the Republican recall candidates are against or have remained silent on the issue, with the exception of former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who supports abortion as a legal option. It’s also unclear how much a Republican governor could restrict abortion law in California, given the state has one of the strongest abortion protections in the country and both houses in the state have super democratic majorities – something radio host Larry Elder, the leading Republican candidate in the recall election, noted during a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s not on my priority list,” Elder said of abortion. “And in the unlikely event that Roe versus Wade is upset … we have 2/3 of the super majorities in the [legislature] … and there is no way these two-thirds will suddenly become pro-life like Larry Elder. “

Candidates and activists on both sides said they believe the Texas decision combined with the looming Dobbs In this case, the abortion policy could motivate voters to participate. “It will be a cornerstone of races in ’21. And I expect it will play an important role in many races in ’22,” said New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association, which is up for re-election in 2022.

Lujan Grisham said the issue would be particularly prominent among women with college degrees, a key part of the democratic coalition, as well as women in suburbs and urban areas. She noted that this was a particularly strong issue among the democratic grassroots and said that during her 2012 pre-election victory in Congress, she ran “exclusively” for reproductive rights.

Gubernatorial elections will be held in 36 states between 2021 and 2022, and all but two states will vote for the state legislature. Nationally, 54 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in most cases, while 42 percent think it should be illegal, according to a recent publication NBC News Poll.

But while the 2022 landscape isn’t just being tackled in blue areas like California and Virginia, Lujan Grisham said she believes the topic has become relevant “now for women and their families everywhere and in every pocket” of the country. She said she expected the DGA to highlight the problem in advertising and other contacts.

Quigley of SBA List said her organization will focus on attracting two different types of voters: “people who care about life who may be tired in recent election cycles,” and those who support abortion restrictions , but may consider voting for Democratic candidates on other topics.

“Whether it’s climate change or healthcare or immigration or in 2020, just personality,” Quigley said. “If we explain to them the difference that exists between the two candidates on this issue, and these sharp, sharp contrasts that exist, they can be persuaded to vote for life.”

The anti-abortion group has already started knocking on doors in Georgia and Arizona, two states that will have competing Senate and gubernatorial races in 2022 create new constraints for voting in several states.

For his part, McAuliffe predicted a backlash compared to his most recent candidacy for governor. “I saw that from ’13,” he said. “It only motivates the democratic base first of all.”

Victoria Colliver and Alice Miranda Ollstein contributed to this report.

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