Saturday, November 11, 2017

These 2017 Election Winners Backed Reproductive Rights — And You Can Thank Women For That

Bustle (Nov. 8, 2017): These 2017 Election Winners Backed Reproductive Rights — And You Can Thank Women For That, by Lauren Holter:

Earlier this week, advocates for reproductive rights won many state and local elections. Planned Parenthood's director of political communications, said "voters spoke really loud and clear that they want to see women’s rights protected." 

In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam, who was endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America, won the governor's race against Republican Ed Gillespie who has previously stated that he would like to see abortion banned. The winner of the lieutenant governor's seat beat out a candidate who had sponsored a bill which would have required women to have a vaginal ultrasound before an abortion. In the Virginia House of Delegates, Democrats took back the majority by flipping 14 seats, the majority of which were won by women. 

In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy “trounced Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno” for the governor’s seat. Chris Christie, the current New Jersey Governor, has recently rid family planning services from the state’s budget. Murphy during his campaign promised to support family planning service providers like Planned Parenthood, while Guadagno stated that “she wouldn’t restore family planning funds if elected.”

In the state of Washington, Manka Dhingra's campaign focussed on reproductive health care.  She won her state senate race giving Democrats the majority. Dhingra has previously said, “women need to be able to make their own health care choices and part of that means ensuring access to affordable, reliable contraception, and equal access to all reproductive options.”

These wins come just a few months after leaders of the Democratic Party “wouldn’t have a litmus test on abortion in 2018.” The victories from Tuesday night prove that candidates who “champion abortion access” can win elections.

Women Democrats also won is several mayoral elections across the country. “While none of these women explicitly ran on reproductive rights platforms (and most abortion legislation happens on the state level), more Democratic women in office typically means more people publicly advocating for women’s rights.”

Maya Rupert, senior director of policy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, emphasizes the importance of representation, stating “And the fact that multiple cities have elected female leaders represents a huge opportunity to center the issue of reproductive rights at the local level.”

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