Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Battlegrounds, ballot measures, and bright spots

Repro Nation Monthly | September 2023
Battlegrounds, ballot measures, and bright spots
When in the midst of a challenging time, it’s easy to miss the bright spots. But the past month has brought quite a few good-news stories.


Just in the past week, Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom announced that it filed for a petition initiative to get abortion rights on the 2024 ballot. Advocates are hopeful that Nevada will become the next state to codify abortion rights in the state constitution—and they have good reason to believe they will succeed. As we’ve seen since the Dobbs ruling, when abortion is on the ballot, voters will defend their reproductive rights. If Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom succeed at getting the needed signatures, the ballot measure will join a growing number of 2024 abortion-related ballot measures, including ones in Maryland and New York.


Read  Nation abortion access correspondent Amy Littlefield’s recent coverage of the abortion rights movement’s unresolved question about viability language in ballot measures here.


And, Wisconsin abortion clinics opened their doors after more than a year of legal limbo following the Dobbs decision, which raised serious concerns about enforcement of an 1849 law that criminalized the provision of abortion care in most circumstances. A Dane County Circuit judge ruled in July that the 1800s-era law doesn’t apply to abortion, paving the way for providers to resume offering this essential service. “There is no such thing as an ‘1849 Abortion Ban’ in Wisconsin,” wrote the judge.


Meanwhile, Lynn Fitch, the attorney general who took the case that overturned Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court, is up for reelection this November. Nation national affairs correspondent John Nichols spoke with the Democrat seeking to unseat AG Fitch, Greta Kemp Martin, about her uphill battle. Martin—an advocate for abortion rights, workers’ rights, and civil rights—had this to say about the race: “Just because our attorney general orchestrated the Dobbs case, that doesn’t mean that Mississippians are in agreement with her. The polls show that people do not agree that Dobbs should be the law of the land.” Although Mississippi is currently red-red, as John notes, Democrats have held the AG office for a number of years, so there is precedent for her campaign.


Last but not least, if you’re still looking for a reason to feel hopeful about the future of abortion rights, look no further than Mexico, where the Supreme Court there has decriminalized abortion, ruling “that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion as a crime.” Advocates are cautiously watching how the ruling will be applied, particularly in the most conservative centers. But it’s a big step forward in the global fight for reproductive freedom.


In solidarity,


Regina Mahone

Senior Editor

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What We’re Reading

Labor Rights Are Reproductive Rights (Rewire News Group)

In Poland, Testing Women for Abortion Drugs Is a Reality. It Could Happen Here. (The New York Times)
Planned Parenthood Hoped to Meet the Post-Roe Moment, But Layoffs Shake Its Staff (The Boston Globe)
San Antonio City Council Approves $3.7 Billion Budget Including Funds for Reproductive Healthcare (Texas Public Radio)
Marriage Could Mean Losing Life-Saving Benefits for People With Disabilities. So They’re Protesting. (The 19th)
The End of Roe Is Having a Chilling Effect on Pregnancy (Politico Magazine)
Women Challenge Abortion Bans in Three States After Emergency Care Denied (The Guardian)
The Child Welfare System Is Failing Children, Separating Black and Brown Families (Teen Vogue)
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