In Former Confederacy, GOP Wasn't Careful What They Wished For

Florida’s near-total abortion ban took effect this week, marking a brutal milestone for abortion rights activists nationally: From South Carolina to Texas, the South is now a virtual abortion care desert—a once unthinkable reality that could sway votes this November.

Lone outlier North Carolina has a 12-week ban that could potentially offer a glint of hope for pregnant patients in the Southeast. As Politico reported, that means a Miami resident seeking abortion care past six weeks of pregnancy would need to drive 11 hours north to North Carolina. But if they couldn’t withstand the state’s 72-hour waiting period, they would need to venture another four hours north to Virginia, where abortion care is still legal up to the point of viability, or roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy.

But for most patients in the South, and certainly the neediest among them, the reality is that reaching any place that could offer abortion care in a timely fashion is now out of reach. 

“Our patients are screwed,” Robin Marty, executive director of the West Alabama Women’s Center, told Politico. The abortion clinic became a reproductive health center following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade

“This is the point where it all starts to crumble,” Marty warned.

The Biden campaign marked the South’s devastating new reality by sending Vice President Kamala Harris to Jacksonville to rail against “another Trump abortion ban” going into effect.

But one has to wonder if a near-total ban on abortion in an entire region of the country could impact American women’s psyches—and their votes—far more than most political analysts believe.

Polling certainly suggests that it could.

A Civiqs tracking poll of state-by-state attitudes on abortion policy shows that current laws in several key presidential states are profoundly out of sync with voter attitudes. 

Here’s how support for abortion being “legal in all/most cases” compares with “illegal in all/most cases” in the following states:

  • Florida: +21 legal in all/most cases.

  • Arizona: +19 legal in all/most cases.

  • Georgia: +19 legal in all/most cases.

  • North Carolina: +18 legal in all/most cases.

It’s worth taking stock of where the race currently stands, as tragic stories start to emerge and Southern women who imagined they could take refuge in Florida in the worst of circumstances suddenly realize they no longer can.

The current polling isn’t super sunny for Biden, with Donald Trump holding advantages in every one of the critical Southern states at hand, according to the 538 state aggregates:

But Arizona is already within reach for Biden, and without it Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes gets exceedingly difficult—as is the case with both Georgia and North Carolina. Notably, Trump holds the biggest lead in Florida, which is also the most pro-choice of the four.

The Republican assault on reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy is so pervasive that nearly one-half of U.S. women of childbearing age now live in a state where abortion is banned after six weeks—or banned altogether.

We’ll get a clearer view of how the GOP’s abortion ban strategy is playing for Trump around the time of the Democratic National Convention in August. After all, Trump has loudly taken credit for building the Supreme Court bench that overturned Roe v. Wade and made every one of those bans possible, and he has explicitly endorsed the “states’ rights” that allowed them to enact each draconian restriction.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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