Abortion advocates were already alarmed with advances made by pro-lifers in state houses around the country. NARAL Pro-Choice America reports that pro-lifers enacted more laws over the past two years than in the previous decade combined. Now, they face even further defeats.
While pro-lifers added seats in both the House and Senate in the midterm elections, it is in the state houses where most of the pro-life action has taken place, and it is there that pro-lifers expect to make the most gains after November’s victories.
Pro-lifers are ultimately stymied by the Supreme Court decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which gave the country abortion on demand through all 9 months of pregnancy. So, pro-lifers have been forced to get creative in ways to limit abortion in the states, including enacting regulations of abortion clinics that have forced dozens to close.
Politico points out that Arkansas, for example, has had a Democratic governor who has vetoed pro-life measures. The recent election has brought Arkansas a Republican in the governor’s seat.
After 11 victories this fall, Republicans now control two-thirds of the state legislatures. The GOP holds control in more than half the state legislatures, and they hold the governorship in 31 states.
The Susan B. Anthony List did a victory dance shortly after the November elections. They spent upwards of $15 million to elect pro-life women and walked away with significant victories. They claim 37 wins out of 46 targeted races, an 80% success rate, mostly at the federal level but with a few state-wide races for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.
How effective have some of these state legislative efforts been? A few years ago, Texas had 40 abortion clinics. Now, it has less than ten and counting.
In the cross-hairs are states like Tennessee. Pro-lifers in that state passed a statewide referendum in November that says their constitution does not protect abortion. Tennessee has been the South’s abortion outpost because of a long-standing decision of the left-leaning state supreme court that Tennessee protects a right to abortion to a greater degree than the Federal Supreme Court. This has effectively blocked any changes in state-wide laws and has made Tennessee an abortion clinic oasis in a region largely opposed to it. The referendum is expected to open the floodgates of restrictions and regulations and begin to close clinics.