They took to the streets and protested, they knocked on doors and hung on the phone, they met in living rooms and movie theaters. This went on for weeks in Michigan, where the US midterm elections on November 8 not only voted for MPs and the governor. But also about the question of whether abortion remains legal or the restrictive rules from 1931 should apply again. And now the women and men who have prevailed in favor of liberal provisions are celebrating.
In June, the Washington Supreme Court delivered the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade overturned in 1973, when the right to abortion was declared constitutional. According to the new arbitral award of the very conservative Supreme Court, the individual states must again decide what applies where. Michigan, for example, almost ended up back in the days when Herbert Hoover was US President. Then there shouldn’t even have been an abortion after rape and incest.
But in the course of the decision of the chief judges, which received worldwide attention, things started to move in this area between the great lakes. Women in particular gathered and organized to stop the relapse into a distant past. A referendum was launched, as it had been in Kansas before and now in other states as well. In Michigan it was the so-called Proposal 3suggestion 3.
Even for some Republican voters, the tightening would have been too much
The Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer campaigned for it and meanwhile blocked the old law, her election campaign revolved not least around the topic abortion rights. There were organizations like the association “Reproductive Freedom for All” or the activists from “Red Wine & Blue”, mostly women from the suburbs. Recently it has been said again and again that many of these suburban women would also have turned to the Republicans. But even for parts of the Republican electorate, such a tightening of the abortion rules would have been too much, at least the Democrats won now. Especially the Democrats.
The referendum on Proposal 3 was adopted on America’s big election day with a majority of almost 60 percent of the votes cast. Michigan buries the outdated abortion ban and writes new, very liberal requirements in the state constitution. In Vermont and California, too, voters decided that women should make decisions about their own bodies and consult with medical professionals instead of lawyers. In Kentucky, home of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, an amendment failed.
They made history, declared the “Reproductive Liberty Ballot Committee” in Vermont. “Michigan, we did it!” tweeted the action group “Reproductive Freedom For All”, which also includes doctors and nurses. “Thank you to everyone who volunteered, put up a sign and voted #Proposal3 in this election!” This is “a historic victory for access to abortion in our state and in our country” and paves the way for future efforts nationwide, said spokeswoman Darci McConnell. And Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Governor of California, says: “We have affirmed that we are a true liberty state.”
For a long time it looked as if inflation would be the top issue after all
In these three states, as in Kansas before that, these initiatives prevented pregnant women from fleeing to neighboring states, abroad or to back rooms if they wanted or had to terminate their pregnancy. If necessary, they would have driven from Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, through the tunnel over to Warren in Canada. And it showed in these votes in the framework of the Midterms also how the debate about abortion influenced the overall outcome of the election.
Only a few months ago, after the end of “Roe v. Wade”, it seemed that this discussion was the Democratic Party could save. Then it looked as if it was now mainly about the enormously increased prices at the gas pumps and in the supermarket, in favor of the Republicans. This election Tuesday finally showed that the Republicans had underestimated the outrage over the revised abortion ruling by the Supreme Court and the Democrats benefited from the mobilization.
In California, Gavin Newsom defeated his Republican rival as clearly as Gretchen Whitmer defeated her anti-abortion opponent Tudor Dixon in Michigan. It’s a “damn good feeling” to be from Michigan, re-elected governor Whitmer tweeted. “Abortion was, is and will remain legal in Michigan.”