The election last Tuesday, November 7, showed us once again not only how essential voting is for our democracy but that voting is a public health issue that has implications for every single aspect of our lives. Voting is one of the ways we determine our futures: whether it be how or if we plan our families, the environment future generations will live in, how we will keep communities safe, and so much more. This election cycle, abortion was once again on the ballot, and abortion once again won the day in Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, from ballot initiatives to state legislatures to governors to state Supreme Courts.In Ohio, voters overwhelmingly voted in support of Issue 1, which enshrined a constitutional right to abortion in the State’s Constitution. The measure ensures “an individual right to one’s own reproductive medical treatment,” including abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, continuing a pregnancy, and miscarriage care. We are thrilled to see yet another data point confirming that abortion is health care, and voters are determined to see access to this essential care protected. We hope this ballot measure is a first step towards the future we all want to see – where everyone can get the care they need when they need it.
We look forward to working with state advocates and organizers on the ground to push back against existing dangerous and medically unnecessary abortion restrictions in the state. We would also be remiss not to say explicitly how appreciative we are of the decades of organizing work led by Black and brown organizers for making this happen.
In Virginia, this election cycle was critical as the fate of abortion access in Virginia was clearly in the balance. Voters overwhelmingly turned out to elect officials that will ensure access to abortion care remains possible in Virginia. As one of the remaining states in the South not burdened by extreme abortion restrictions, we are relieved and thankful to all those who worked hard in Virginia to ensure this outcome.
And the wins didn’t stop there. In Kentucky, Governor Beshear, who has been consistently supportive and affirming of abortion access, won re-election. In Pennsylvania, abortion rights and election integrity were core issues in the state’s Supreme Court race, and the candidate affirming both won the day.
Overall, this election showed us what we’ve long known – abortion is incredibly popular. Not only is it a winning issue, but voters recognize that how they vote impacts their own health and well-being and the health and well-being of their families and communities. Policymakers at both the state and federal levels must continue to take this to heart and do everything in their power to protect access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health care.
Until next time,
Director of Public Policy