News Updates

Abortion access and the midterms

The Nation

When a local paper asked candidates running for an open seat representing northeastern Wisconsin’s 55th State Assembly district to name “the most pressing issue facing Wisconsin,” Democrat Stefanie Holt immediately named reproductive freedom. “Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban puts women at risk of adverse health consequences due to penalties imposed on physicians providing reproductive health care and appears to require a woman to carry to term a pregnancy resulting from rape and incest,” said Holt.


The June decision by the US Supreme Court’s activist majority to strike down protections outlined in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision made abortion a front-and-center election issue in every state. But especially in those states where antiquated anti-abortion laws are still on the books. My home state of Wisconsin is one of them, and the 2022 midterm elections will decide whether a law passed in the 19th century will take away rights in the 21st century.


The key word is “elections.” The issue of abortion rights in Wisconsin, and in other states nationwide, goes beyond the high-profile races for US Senate seats and governorships that dominate the news. As I wrote on Tuesday, races for attorney general posts matter because AGs are in a position to decide whether to enforce archaic anti-abortion laws. The same goes for elections for local prosecutor posts.


State legislative seats also matter. Where Republicans are in charge of legislatures and Democrats are in charge of governorships—as is the case in Wisconsin and Michigan—contests for seats in state legislatures are vital. These lawmakers will decide in 2023 whether to enact new anti-abortion laws or to repeal old ones.


In Wisconsin, where Republicans hold big majorities in both chambers thanks to hyper-partisan gerrymandering, the GOP is trying to flip a few more legislative seats so that they can override Governor Tony Evers’s vetoes. The incumbent Democrat, who is running for reelection, has vetoed Republican attempts to undermine reproductive rights for the past four years. So not only is turnout crucial for Evers, but it’s just as important for other Democratic nominees in hotly contested races like the one Stefanie Holt is running. If pro-choice candidates like Holt lose, all bets are off. The same goes for legislative races nationwide.


For Americans who want to cast their votes to defend abortion rights, it’s necessary to vote the whole ballot—from the top to the bottom.


John Nichols,

National Affairs Correspondent

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Michele Merritt on Why We Should Be Fighting for a World Without Adoption
Like many, before the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I watched Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation and knew reproductive freedom was in imminent danger. What many pro-choice proponents failed to see at this point, however, was how adoption was almost certainly going to be leveraged as an alternative to abortion and, more importantly, how this leveraging would affect those of us supposedly saved by anti-choice legislation—adoptees.


If you had asked me what I thought of Barrett’s nomination 10 years ago, I undoubtedly would have been dismayed by her anti-choice views. But I would not have given much thought to her being an adoptive parent of Black children from Haiti, nor to her pro-adoption stance. This is because until I had children of my own, I had not been forced to reckon with my own adoption and how it had impacted me. This led me to interrogate the adoption industry itself, which is steeped in a myriad of social injustices, much like the child welfare system generally, as scholars like Dorothy Roberts have so convincingly shown.


Before Roe v. Wade was overturned, my research had already zeroed in on how unethical adoption in the United States is and how adoption is not any kind of consolation for stripping folks of their right to choose abortion. Not only this, but being an adopted person who has always championed reproductive freedom—indeed, being an adoptee who has herself had an abortion—I could no longer remain silent about the false equivalence being drawn between adoption and reproductive choice.


Adoption is many things, most of which are far more nefarious than society wants to admit. But it is not a reproductive choice.


Read more here.

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Read all of the latest abortion news and analysis from The Nation here.
What We’re Reading

‘The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher’: Abortion, Democracy and the Woman Who Could Be Michigan’s First Black Woman Justice (The 19th)

What Happens When Doctors Don’t Learn How to Do Abortions? (VICE)

The Post-Roe Abortion Underground (The New Yorker)

Risking Everything to Offer Abortions Across State Lines (The New York Times Magazine)

Getting an Abortion in Italy Can Be Difficult. Is It About to Get Much Tougher? (Euronews)

Post-‘Roe,’ Abortion Bans Will Increase the Separation of Black and Brown Families (Rewire News Group)

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