Abortion rights won big during midterms. Are voters punishing GOP stance?

An activist carries a sign that says “protect abortion access, not your body, not your choice,” in San Francisco, California, May 14, 2022. Photo by Shutterstock.

Abortion rights were on the ballot in five states during this year’s midterms. Voters in California, Vermont, and Michigan enshrined the right to an abortion in their state constitutions. Kentucky residents rejected a measure that would have amended its constitution to deny abortion protections. Montana voters appear poised to reject a measure that would have given legal personhood rights to any infant “born alive” at any gestational stage.

Mary Ziegler, a professor at UC Davis School of Law, says constitutionalizing abortion “creates a great insurance policy that essentially it will be harder to change that status quo.”

She adds, “We know that also, just based on exit polls nationally, that abortion was one of the top two issues for voters, and the leading issue for Democratic voters, certainly helping to turn out Democratic voters, and also probably to motivate some Independents.”

She points out that Michigan and some other places showed signs that Republicans were getting punished for their positions on abortion.

“It seems like Republicans will still manage to get a majority in the House. And so even in states that they still control, I think there'll be a real reckoning in terms of how far they want to go in regulating abortion.”



  • Mary Ziegler - law professor at UC Davis, author of “Dollars For Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement And The Fall of the Republican Establishment” - @FSUCollegeofLaw