The decision of the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overruling Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) may be the best worst thing to happen to Democratic politics in recent years.
It's moving voters, and if there was any doubt of that, look at the results in Ohio this week, where a thinly disguised referendum designed to make it more difficult to pass a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights failed at the polls on Tuesday.
Republicans had proposed an initiative to require a supermajority of 60% to amend the state Constitution — a special new requirement intended to make it more difficult to pass an abortion rights amendment come November. The biggest supporter of the initiative was the D.C.-based Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
Voters smelled a rat — and turned out in record numbers to vote no.
The amendment lost by 14 points in a state that Donald Trump carried by eight points. We may not be as narrowly divided, not on every issue, not nearly as polarized, as the purveyors of fake news would have you believe.
That bodes well for the efforts that began this week in another key state, where the effort is to place a constitutional amendment on abortion on the ballot in November of 2024.
The more states with abortion on the ballot in November 2024, the more the issue will drive votes to Joe Biden.
This week, pro-choice groups in Arizona announced that they had united and would begin a petition drive to collect enough signatures to put an amendment on the ballot in November 2024 protecting a woman's right to choose abortion prior to viability.
The logic behind these efforts is simple and straightforward. Abortion drives votes. The polls are clear. Choice dominates.
More than 60% of all Americans support Roe v. Wade.
The Republican Party doesn't know how to deal with that without offending its base, which expects it to be proactive with a losing hand, a strategy that is doomed to failure.
So it continues not only to fight losing battles against constitutional amendments proposed by pro-choice coalitions but also to engage in expensive and poorly conceived efforts like the one in Ohio, which was designed to circumvent the coming constitutional battle; Ohio is the only state with abortion on the ballot this November, and both sides have raised millions of dollars.
The coalition supporting the Arizona initiative includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, NARAL Arizona, Affirm Sexual and Reproductive Health, Arizona List and Healthcare Rising Arizona. Current law in Arizona bans most abortions after 15 weeks.
The proposed amendment provides for a right to choose abortion prior to viability, typically 22-24 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for the life or health of the mother.
The opposition is ready for a fight. In a statement, Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy told reporters, "Our initial viewing of the measure reveals an extreme power grab by an industry that sees no limits to abortion."
Maria Birnbaum, the Arizona state director for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told reporters the proposal was "repugnant to the values of our state," because "Arizonans believe in protecting the unborn and serving their mothers."
The point is: If the coalition can collect enough signatures, the voters will decide. And they will be the same voters who will be choosing who Arizona sends to the Electoral College.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Gov. Katie Hobbs, D-Ariz., expressed her support for the coalition's effort and said she was "confident that Arizonans will vote for reproductive freedom next November."
Susan Estrich is a politician, professor, lawyer and writer. Whether on the pages of newspapers such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post or as a television commentator on countless news programs on CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS and NBC, she has tackled legal matters, women's concerns, national politics and social issues. Read Susan Estrich's Reports — More Here.