Reproductive Freedom Is a Major Winner in KY, VA Elections
Last night, all eyes were on Virginia and Kentucky as bellwethers of what’s to come in 2020. In Virginia, Democrats flipped both the state Senate and the House of Delegates, with Democrats who champion reproductive freedom withstanding attacks from anti-choice groups seeking to spread disinformation in the final days of the campaign in order to distract from the Republican party’s hugely unpopular agenda to ban abortion.
Reproductive Freedom is a Political Winner – in Red, Blue & Purple States
And in Kentucky, pro-choice Democrat Andy Beshear, a NARAL-endorsed candidate, defeated extreme anti-choice incumbent Matt Bevin to win the governor’s race in one of the reddest states in the country.
Americans across the country — in red, blue, and purple states — support reproductive freedom and candidates would be wise to make clear their commitment to ensuring every woman can make her own decisions about how, if, and when to raise a family. Seventy-seven percent of Americans support Roe v. Wade, and while Republicans are pushing an extreme agenda to ban abortion completely, fewer than a quarter of even their own supporters agree with that stance.
VIRGINIA: Voters Send Reproductive Freedom Champions to Richmond
In 2017, voters in Virginia sent the most diverse and progressive freshman class ever to Richmond and nearly flipped the House of Delegates, a harbinger of what was to come in 2018 when Democrats took back the U.S. House of Representatives, creating the first-ever pro-choice majority in the House. This time in Virginia, voters sent a clear message rejecting anti-choice extremism and sending champions for reproductive freedom to Richmond.
Pro-Choice Candidates Weathered Disinformation Attacks
The Republican party, anti-choice candidates, and right-wing groups used disinformation around abortion later in pregnancy and post-birth palliative care in a desperate attempt to pull out close elections. Prominent anti-choice group Susan B. Anthony List spent over $100,000 in an independent expenditure in Virginia targeting key Democratic incumbents and challengers and over $700,000 in Kentucky. It is clear that the anti-choice movement is using the odd-year elections in Virginia and Kentucky to test run the strategy of deploying disinformation in advance of 2020.
GOP Extremism is an Electoral Liability
Meanwhile, Republicans with a track record of backing anti-choice policies that would harm women and families tried repeatedly to appear more centrist and deflect attention from their conservative record. Some even minimized references to their party affiliation, a clear sign of the political liability of allegiance to a party hell-bent on banning abortion outright.
In Virginia, 72% of Virginians think politicians shouldn’t prevent a woman from making decisions about pregnancy or abortion for herself. And a clear majority of Virginians say abortion later in pregnancy should be legal if the woman’s health is at risk.