cloudy.png
Thursday May 26th, 2022 8:49PM

Democrats hope threat to abortion rights will rouse voters

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Vulnerable Democrats from Nevada to New Hampshire are promising to make abortion a centerpiece of their political strategy heading into the midterm elections, betting that an intense focus on the divisive issue can rally their voters to beat back a red wave and preserve their narrow majorities in Congress.

Strategists in both parties suggest it may not be so easy.

Democrats have been sounding the alarm on abortion rights in nearly every election cycle this century, including last month's stunning defeat in the Virginia governor's race. In most cases, it's Republicans who have shown to be more motivated by the issue.

Still, as the Supreme Court's conservative majority signals a willingness to weaken or reverse the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent, Democrats insist they can convince voters that the threat to women's health is real and present in a way it wasn't before.

“This isn’t crying wolf. This is actually happening," Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is facing a difficult reelection test in Nevada, said in an Associated Press interview. She took to the Senate floor Wednesday and warned, “The reproductive freedom of women everywhere is in jeopardy,” before casting her Republican opponents as “anti-abortion extremists” in the interview.

The new intensity is prompted by the high court's deliberation over a Mississippi law presenting the most serious challenge to abortion rights in decades. In nearly two hours of arguments Wednesday, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority suggested they may uphold a Mississippi law banning all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and possibly allow states to ban abortion much earlier in pregnancy. Current law allows states to regulate but not ban abortion up until the point of fetal viability, at roughly 24 weeks.

The court’s final ruling is expected in June, just ahead of midterm elections that will decide the balance of power in Congress and in statehouses across the country.

Already braced for a rough year, Democrats have been searching for an issue that can both energize a base deflated by slow progress on various issues in Washington and repair the party's strained relationship with suburban voters, who may be drifting back toward the GOP in the months since former President Donald Trump left office.

Abortion rights could be it, but it's not necessarily a silver bullet, said Democratic pollster Molly Murphy, who recently surveyed voters across several battleground states on the issue.

“It's the question I ask myself,” she said.

Democrats likely will not win on abortion if they simply recycle the arguments that Republicans are trying to roll back abortion rights, Murphy said. To be successful, they must argue that Republicans are spending their time and energy attacking women's reproductive rights at the expense of issues like the economy, the pandemic and health care. She also encouraged Democrats to focus on Republican-backed measures, like one in effect in Texas, that would penalize health care professionals and the women involved in some abortion cases.

Murphy's guidance acknowledged the nuances of public opinion on abortion rights.

A June AP-NORC poll showed 57% of Americans said that in general abortion should be legal in all or most cases. But the same poll showed many Americans question whether a woman should be able to get a legal abortion “for any reason,” and most said abortion after the first trimester should be restricted.

In the second trimester, about a third said abortion should usually — but not always — be illegal, while roughly as many said it should always be illegal. And a majority — 54% — said abortion in the third trimester should always be illegal.

Privately, some Republicans concede that a wave of dramatic new state restrictions on abortion that could follow the court's ruling could change the conversation and disrupt their momentum heading into 2022. Twelve states have “trigger laws” that would immediately ban all or nearly all abortions if Roe is overturned, and other GOP-led states would likely move quickly as well. But Republicans also express confidence in their ability to focus on other issues.

That was the case last month in Virginia's race for governor, where Democrats and their allies invested heavily in trying to tie GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin to a new Republican-backed Texas law that bans most abortions. Democrat Terry McAuliffe's closing message centered on both former President Donald Trump and abortion.

And while Youngkin's campaign privately worried that the abortion focus might hurt him, particularly among suburban women, Youngkin prevailed in part by shifting the conversation toward parents' frustration with local education.

“I didn’t see abortion as a big issue,” said Linda Brooks, who chairs the Virginia Democratic Party's women’s caucus, pointing instead to schools and Trump as the biggest factors in her state's recent elections. “It’s just not on people's' minds.”

Only 6% of Virginia voters called abortion the most important issue facing the state, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the electorate.

In fact, the issue seems more relevant for Republicans. In last year's presidential election, VoteCast found that the 3% of voters who said abortion was the most important issue facing the country voted for Trump over Democrat Joe Biden, 89% to 9%.

A significant portion of the electorate simply doesn't believe that the court will overturn Roe, acknowledged Jenny Lawson, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s vice president of organizing and engagement campaigns. But Lawson said she thinks that could change quickly.

“The court is doing that work for us," Lawson said. “The world has changed. What happened yesterday was earth shaking.”

David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, vowed that the party would put “the threat that Republicans pose to women’s health care front and center in Senate campaigns." And vulnerable Senate Democrats in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire leaned into the issue Wednesday and Thursday.

Sen. Maggie Hassan, another vulnerable Democrat on the ballot in 2022, joined a handful of New Hampshire voters protesting Wednesday outside the Supreme Court. In a subsequent interview, she warned that the court was “on the verge of gutting Roe v. Wade.”

“If the Supreme Court won’t protect a woman’s fundamental decision-making rights, and won’t respect a woman’s role as a full and equal citizen in a democracy, it leaves people at the mercy of a state legislature like the one we’re seeing in New Hampshire," Hassan said.

New Hampshire, like states across the West, has a long bipartisan history of supporting abortion rights — even Republican Gov. Chris Sununu describes himself as pro-choice — but the state's Republican-led Legislature has been moving aggressively to enact restrictions in recent months.

In Nevada, a libertarian-leaning Western state, voters passed abortion rights protections in 1990, and any changes to state law would require another ballot initiative. Former Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval supported abortion rights while in office, and in 2014 the state party removed an anti-abortion plank from its platform.

But as attorney general, current Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt joined GOP colleagues from other states in court briefs supporting strict abortion limits in Texas and Alabama. Last July, 12 Republican governors and more than 200 Republicans in Congress asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe in legal briefs related to the Mississippi case.

Laxalt said he looks forward to standing “for the rights of the unborn” in the Senate.

“Catherine Cortez Masto and the Democrats are desperate to distract Nevadans from the massive job losses, sky-high inflation and open border anarchy they have presided over," Laxalt said in a statement in response to questions about the latest Supreme Court case. "Hiding behind this issue will not save them from the judgment of Nevada voters.”

___

AP writers Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada, and Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Omicron confirmed in man who attended NYC anime convention
Health officials say the omicron variant of the coronavirus has been found in a Minnesota man who attended an anime convention in New York City in November
5:46PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Celebs, fashion, 24k chicken wings at Miami Art Basel
The official Art Basel show is back in Miami with all its eccentric glory, a dizzying list of celebrity attendees and dozens of spin-off shows already generating buzz, including a 10-year-old child painter and a $4 million Banksy sale
5:46PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Charging decision anticipated for Michigan shooter's parents
A prosecutor considering criminal charges against the parents of a boy accused of killing four students at a Michigan school says their actions went “far beyond negligence”
5:43PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Death of bullied Utah girl draws anger over suicides, racism
The mother of a 10-year-old Utah girl who died by suicide is speaking out about the bullying and racial harassment that her daughter endured
4:57PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Man arrested in death of Jacqueline Avant, music icon’s wife
A 29-year-old man has been arrested in the death of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, who was fatally shot at the Beverly Hills, California, home she shared with her husband, legendary music executive Clarence Avant
4:53PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Deal reached to reduce Yellowstone's bison herd by 600-900
As many as 900 bison from Yellowstone National Park could be shot by hunters, sent to slaughter or placed in quarantine this winter in a program that seeks to prevent the animals from spreading a disease to cattle
4:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Women's tennis' China stance could be unique, cost millions
The stand the women's professional tennis tour is taking in China over concern about Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai's well-being could cost the WTA millions of dollars
3:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
Germany's Merkel at farewell ceremony: Don't tolerate hate
Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Germans to stand up to hatred, at a military ceremony bidding her farewell after 16 years in office
3:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
Omicron and delta spell return of unpopular restrictions
Governments around the world are weighing new measures for populations tired of hearing about restrictions and vaccines as the coronavirus delta variant of COVID-19 pushes up cases in Europe and fears grow over the omicron variant
2:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Michigan 15-year-old charged in Oxford High School shooting
A 15-year-old boy has been denied bail and moved to jail after being charged in a Michigan school shooting that killed four students and injured others
11:32AM ( 6 hours ago )
US warns Russia as Kremlin talks about war threat in Ukraine
The Kremlin has voiced concern about a possible escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine's separatist conflict as the U.S. issued a strong warning to Russia to stay away from Ukraine
11:26AM ( 6 hours ago )
Michigan teen, 15, charged in Oxford High School shooting
A 15-year-old boy has been denied bail and moved to jail after being charged in a Michigan school shooting that killed four students and injured others
10:27AM ( 7 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Durbin: Prisons chief has 'no intention of reforming' system
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is lambasting the director of the beleaguered federal prison system, saying he has “no intention of reforming the institution.”
4:41PM ( 1 hour ago )
Capitol riot committee has interviewed 250 people so far
The chairman of the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection says the committee has interviewed about 250 people so far
4:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
US appeals court to rehear Tennessee abortion ban argument
A federal appeals court has signaled it might be willing to let another restrictive abortion ban take effect, this one in Tennessee
3:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Germany locks unvaccinated out of public life; mandate looms
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says people who aren’t vaccinated will soon be excluded from nonessential stores, restaurants and sports and cultural venues
12:57PM ( 4 hours ago )
Virginia House control in balance as vote recount begins
Election officials in Virginia have begun the painstaking process of recounting votes in one of two unresolved races that will settle whether Virginia Republicans have reclaimed the majority in the House of Delegates
12:41PM ( 5 hours ago )
Lawmakers reach deal on spending bill, but hurdles remain
Congressional leaders reached agreement on a spending bill that would keep the government running through mid-February
11:56AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
South Africa accelerates vaccination campaign amid surge
South Africa has accelerated its vaccination campaign with pop-up sites in shopping centers and at transportation hubs a week after the discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus
3:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Norway reports omicron cases linked to company party
Authorities in Norway say at least 50 people in Oslo have been infected with the omicron coronavirus variant
2:22PM ( 3 hours ago )
Scientists use stem cells to create models of pre-embryos
Scientists are using human stem cells to create a structure that mimics a pre-embryo and can serve as a research alternative to a real one
12:24PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Health
Haley to receive GOP group's highest award at The Citadel
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is being feted at The Citadel, where a Republican group is making her the first woman to receive its highest honor
1:21PM ( 4 hours ago )
Trump was COVID-positive before debate, ex-aide says in book
A book by Donald Trump's ex-chief of staff says Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first debate in September 2020 with Joe Biden and days earlier than that diagnosis was previously disclosed
6:16PM ( 23 hours ago )
Trump was COVID positive before debate, ex-aide says in book
A book by Donald Trump's ex-chief of staff says Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first debate in September 2020 with Joe Biden and days earlier than that diagnosis was previously disclosed
5:50PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections
Leftist wins Honduran presidential vote after rival concedes
Honduras' ruling party has conceded defeat in presidential elections, giving victory to leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro and easing fears of another contested vote and violent protests
11:03PM ( 1 day ago )
Honduras' ruling party candidate concedes presidential race
The presidential candidate from Honduras’ ruling party has conceded that opposition candidate Xiomara Castro won Sunday’s election
8:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Appeals court orders release of some Mueller report passages
A federal appeals court is directing the Justice Department to disclose certain redacted passages from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report that relate to individuals who were investigated by prosecutors but not ultimately charged
7:42PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Chris Christie aims to shape future for GOP and for himself
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been on a PR blitz promoting his new book
8:21AM ( 5 days ago )
Michael Cohen ends prison term after Trump-related crimes
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says he has completed his three-year prison term and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement investigations
12:32PM ( 1 week ago )
Charlie Kirk exploits racial divide to reach Gen Z
Right-wing provocateur Charlie Kirk has built a well-funded and growing organization aimed at reaching the next generation of conservatives
11:57AM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Justices signal they'll OK new abortion limits, may toss Roe
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority justices are signaling they will allow states to ban abortion much earlier in pregnancy
10:13PM ( 19 hours ago )
$71M fund set up for victims of NY doctor charged with abuse
Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital have announced a settlement with 79 women who say they were sexually abused by former gynecologist Robert Hadden
8:59PM ( 20 hours ago )
Abortion debate epicenter: Mississippi clinic stays open
As the U.S. Supreme Court heard a Mississippi case that could topple abortion rights nationwide, the state’s only abortion clinic was busier than ever
12:11PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Omicron confirmed in man who attended NYC anime convention
Health officials say the omicron variant of the coronavirus has been found in a Minnesota man who attended an anime convention in New York City in November
5:46PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Celebs, fashion, 24k chicken wings at Miami Art Basel
The official Art Basel show is back in Miami with all its eccentric glory, a dizzying list of celebrity attendees and dozens of spin-off shows already generating buzz, including a 10-year-old child painter and a $4 million Banksy sale
5:46PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Charging decision anticipated for Michigan shooter's parents
A prosecutor considering criminal charges against the parents of a boy accused of killing four students at a Michigan school says their actions went “far beyond negligence”
5:43PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Manfred, Clark divergent views point to lengthy lockout
Hours into Major League Baseball’s first work stoppage in 26 years, Commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark presented diametrically opposed views of each side’s negotiating positions that point to a lengthy lockout
5:39PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Roe v. Wade nearly fell 30 years ago. Can it survive again?
We’ve been here before, with the fate of abortion rights throughout the United States in doubt and awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court
5:30PM ( 23 minutes ago )