Saturday, October 11, 2014

Will the Right's Relentless War on Women Prove a Boon to Dems in the Midterms?

Kristen Doerer, The American Prospect
October 10, 2014

Nine Senate seats remain toss-ups. Republicans need six of those seats to win the Senate. Women voters could keep that from happening, but only if they show up to vote.

On Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider the Texas law that shut down thirteen clinics in the state, leaving only eight abortion clinics open in a state where 5.4 million women are at reproductive age. The Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, and Planned Parenthood challenged the original ruling last Tuesday on the basis of the constitutionality of a provision in the law that abortion doctors must have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the abortion clinic—a measure many doctors claim is unnecessary. The measure effectively closes most abortion clinics in Texas.

This law is just one of the latest attacks on women’s rights in the Republican war on women. But will it, and all of the anti-woman legislation and court decisions leading up to it, amount to a greater voter turn out in the 2014 midterms? Will it encourage more single women—who overwhelmingly favor Democrats—to vote?

In Texas, come October 29, nearly one million women in the state will have to travel 300 miles round trip to find a safe, legal abortion. The man who brought back some of these restrictive provisions from the dead is the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who appealed a lower court ruling on behalf of the state. He also happens to be the Republican candidate for governor. Running against him is Democrat Wendy Davis, who famously filibustered the abortion bill in 2013. It appears that with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision not to reconsider the restrictive abortion law, women’s rights are back in the forefront of that election.

After the economy, people who vote Democratic cite women’s rights as the most important issue influencing their decision in the midterm elections. And Republicans have presented women with plenty of reasons to turn out to the polls to vote against them. Some Democratic legislators are taking the opportunity to fire away at Republicans and putting women’s rights at the front of their campaigns.

(More here.)

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