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A Reflection On The Midterm Elections

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November 20, 2018

The midterm elections were a tough time for anyone invested in seeing progress for reproductive rights. While most were focused on candidates, wins in the House of Representatives and the Senate, many narrowly missed reproductive rights amendments that passed that set states back years in regards to protecting the safety of those seeking effective reproductive rights legislation.

Alabama and West Virginia both rolled back the rights of so many on November 6th.

West Virginia’s Amendment 1, which blatantly states that “Nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to an abortion or requires the funding of an abortion,” will roll back any and all state funding to abortion providers in the state in the future.

Alabama’s Amendment 2 goes one step further by saying explicitly to “declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion” — giving rights to unborn babies and fetuses.

This is horrifying. These amendments will aid in the dismantling of Roe vs. Wade and many more like them will be the foundation that anti-choice supporters will use to justify the right to equal access to be stripped away on the basis of popular public opinion.

Alabama’s Amendment 2 language has even more harmful effects as the “right to life” clause will be detrimental to folks if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.  It could strip immediate rights to those seeking safe and legal healthcare within the state. This would include services that may be needed to save a parent’s life and elective services as well.  

We know that access to safe and legal abortion services are limited in said states, so the approval of these amendments will further seek to disenfranchise those on the margins. Black and brown folks in disenfranchised communities who need immediate access to abortion services will be drastically harmed by these latest amendment approvals if passed into law.

While Alabama and West Virginia are following a legacy of divisive abortion access legislation that is taking the country, organizers, doctors, and lawyers all across the country will continue to fight for equal access for all in these specific states.

The work is never done.

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