November 10, 2014 — Although abortion-rights opponents "now have the majority in the U.S. House, the Senate and expanded power in state legislatures across the country," voters in last week's midterm elections showed "once again ... that when it comes to personal decisions about pregnancy, health, and family, they strongly favor ... access to legal and affordable birth control and abortion," Kimberly Inez McGuire, director of public affairs at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, writes in a USA Today opinion piece.
In close races where the Republican candidate won, the winners were decided "not because of the candidates' stances on abortion and contraception, but in spite of them," she argues. She cites the examples of Sen.-elect Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and other antiabortion-rights Republican candidates who "decided to grasp (albeit disingenuously) at over-the-counter birth control as their policy lifesaver, hoping that they could use that as a buffer against claims that they were anti-women's health."
According to Inez McGuire, "These maneuvers by conservatives to distance themselves from extreme anti-abortion, anti-woman policies, while appealing to voters on other popular priorities, are no surprise," given that "women, young people and voters of color" make up a growing "share of the electorate" and "firmly support basic rights like the right to healthcare and the right to end a pregnancy."
She adds as a caution to newly elected conservative politicians: "We did not vote for you to restrict abortion, to make it harder to get birth control, or to tell us whether we should become a parent," noting that "[w]hen the vote was strictly about abortion," such as on "personhood" ballot measures, "we as a country said 'no' to politicians meddling in our personal decisions" (Inez McGuire, USA Today, 11/9).