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Guess what, women can vote! Is this why even diehard anti-abortion Republicans are backtracking? | Arwa Mahdawi

By on September 13, 2022 0

ODo you want to know a fun fact about women in the United States? They represent half of the population and they have the right to vote. Pissing them off en masse is a risky political move — as Republicans are quickly finding out. A few months ago, it looked like the Republicans were going to decimate the Democrats in the midterm elections in November; now they are on much more fragile ground. A recent Wall Street Journal poll found that 60% of voters support abortion rights in most or all cases, and that the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade earlier this year is “the most likely question to have them voted on in November”. In the two weeks since Roe’s overthrow, the number of people registered to vote increased by 10%, with new female voters far outnumbering male ones.

Cue furious right-wing backpedaling on women’s rights. Many Republican candidates for Congress have removed or changed references to abortion from their online profiles in recent months, reports The Washington Post. Colorado State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, for example, no longer refers to the “sacredness of life” on her campaign website. Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters also pressed the delete button. In an interview this year with Catholic media, Masters compared abortion to “child sacrifice,” saying, “It has to stop.” Last month, he toned down his language and clarified that he simply supported “banning very late and partial birth abortion”. He also changed his website so that it no longer proclaims that he is “100% pro-life” and instead says: “Protect babies, don’t let them be killed”, followed by: “Democrats lie about my views on abortion”.

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen has also moved away from publicly embracing radical views on abortion. In March, Jensen said in a radio interview that he would “try to ban abortion… There’s no reason for us to have abortions.” In a video posted in July, Jensen said his previous comments were awkward and announced he supported abortions in cases of rape or incest or if the woman’s life was in danger. (Thank you, sir, it’s very kind of you to suggest that it’s okay for a woman not to be forced into childbirth if she will almost certainly die doing it!)

There is nothing wrong with politicians changing their minds; on the contrary, politicians should be commended for thoughtfully evolving their positions based on feedback from the people they represent. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. What’s happening here is that a lot of Republicans are morally bankrupt idiots who are content to tone down their rhetoric to win elections and are likely to quickly revert to their extremist agenda as soon as they take office. That’s what Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh seemed to be doing, after all. Senator Susan Collins, one of the few Republicans to support abortion rights, said she would nominate Kavanaugh because he had reassured her that he was a big fan of legal precedents and that he would not wouldn’t knock Roe down. Although others have disputed Collins’ account of what Kavanaugh said.

We are often told that abortion is a divisive issue. The thing is, no. In poll after poll, most Americans argue that abortion is largely legal. Look at Kansas. Last month, the conservative state voted decisively to reject an election measure that would restrict abortion rights. (A “ballot measure” is a form of direct democracy where proposed legislation is approved or rejected by voters rather than lawmakers.) Instead of reflecting on what happened in Kansas, United States Republicans States are now working overtime to try to make it harder to pass ballot measures.

Republicans may be doing their best to suppress democracy, but it’s not dead yet. “For those of you who think women are inferior, remember you’ve been warned,” Republican Sen. Sandy Senn from South Carolina recently told his colleagues. “I think it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the November election. Because this problem is huge. You don’t think women will vote for a single question on something like this? Because they will. The problem is that where there is a will, there is often a Republican way to overthrow it.