Tuesday proved to be an important, and very mixed, day in the ongoing battle over abortion rights. The bad news: The Supreme Court, in a 5–4 vote, made the disappointing decision to allow Texas to keep enforcing its new abortion restrictions. However, the good news is that, despite an anti-abortion campaign offensively comparing women who get abortions to Nazis who committed genocide, Albuquerque, N.M., voters rejected a ban on abortions after 20 weeks by a 10-point margin. This vote hopefully forecloses future attempts to ban abortion on the municipal level.
Taken together, these two stories serve as a reminder that the anti-choice movement is politically unpopular and therefore can only get its way through backdoor legislative methods and legal chicanery. Time and time again, when asked to consider abortion at the polls, voters say they want it to be legal. Ballot initiatives to ban abortion were voted down twice in South Dakota. “Personhood” laws defining fertilized eggs as people in order to ban abortion have also failed to attract voters, even in a state as conservative as Mississippi.
Anti-choicers may not be able to convince voters, but unfortunately, the Texas situation shows that one of their strategies has legs: Using falsified claims of concern for “women’s health” to pass a bunch of medically unnecessary regulations that exist strictly for the purpose of shutting down clinics. Sadly, for many people, the only way they learn that abortion access is disappearing is when they try to get a legal abortion and find out the local providers have all been drummed out of existence.