Election 2012 — Why It’s Crucial for Choice & What You Can Do About It

If ever there was a time when the outcome of an election matters for Mainers who care about reproductive rights, this is it! For two major reasons.

This November, voters in Maine will be asked to make a choice for almost all of our elected officials  — President, U.S. Senators & Representatives and State Senators & Representatives. That’s right, our ballot will include all of those folks. That’s the first reason to get out and vote for choice this fall.

Here’s the second reason.The 2012 election could very well determine whether abortion will continue to be legal and accessible in the U.S.

How is this possible? To answer that question, let’s break it down by each race.

Those of who care about a woman’s right to choose should be watching the presidential race closely for one main reason — the next president will likely nominate at least one new Supreme Court Justice.

This is a crucial issue. Over several decades, anti-choicers have managed to move the Supreme Court to the right.  At this point, the court is generally divided 5-4 on cases involving abortion rights. This means that if our next president nominates even one justice,  we could be facing a Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Three members of the court, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia are age 75 or older. The retirement of any one of them in the next four years is highly likely. For a more detailed explanation, check out this NARAL report.

Lest you think this is just alarmist propaganda from pro-choice advocates, let me say that the anti-choice movement is totally focused on this election and they absolutely understand that the outcome of the presidential race will determine the future of legal abortion in the U.S. Check out this recent article at lifenews.com to see what I mean.

Okay, now let’s talk about the races for the U.S. House and Senate. The highly polarized 112th Congress has only 154 fully pro-choice House members out of 435, and 40 of 100 senators. In 2011, the House and Senate debated bills targeting the elimination of federal funding for family planning, abortion training restrictions, attacks on medical abortion and attacks on insurance coverage for abortion. Until they can turn back Roe v. Wade, anti-choice advocates will keep increasing restrictions on abortion and family planning services.

And last, but certainly not least, we have the Maine House and Senate races.  The 2010 elections ushered in many anti-choice lawmakers. Although they ran on the issues of jobs and the economy, these social conservatives wasted no time promoting their anti-choice agenda. Five anti-choice bills were submitted during the last session. Although we were able to defeat all of them, we fully expect the same sorts of bills to be submitted in the coming year. Especially if social conservatives continue to increase their numbers in the Maine House and Senate.

Many people don’t realize how pivotal the state-level races are — and how much happens in Augusta that directly affects our lives. We need to know where our local candidates stand on issues of family planning and abortion access.

There you have it. For Mainers the November 2012 election matters in a big, big way.  And that’s why I’m taking part in NARAL’s Blog for Choice 2012.

The Blog for Choice 2012 question is:

What will you do to elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?

Here’s what the FPA pledges to do in order to protect reproductive health access and rights this year:

  • We will provide you with information and resources on the issue of reproductive health and abortion rights. Things like this Ms. Blog post about what to ask candidates to determine where they stand on the issue.
  • We will continue to spread the word about how this election will determine the future of women’s access to reproductive health care services and abortion rights.
  • We will continue to monitor and report on developments in D.C. and in Augusta that affect a woman’s right to decide what happens with her own pregnancy.

If you’re wondering what you can do to protect abortion access and rights in 2012, here are some ideas:

  • Learn about the issues — subscribe to this blog,  join the FPA Action Network and sign up for NARAL’s email list so you can stay informed of new developments as the election season progresses.
  • Share this information. Talk with your friends and family members. Help them understand why the outcome of the 2012 election is crucial to reproductive rights for women in the U.S. and in Maine.
  • Vote and encourage others who care about abortion access to vote as well.

As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, abortion has been legal in U.S. since I was 13 years old – for the last 39 years. Neither I nor my adult daughters know what it’s like to live in a country where women do not have the right to make decisions about their own pregnancies. I’ve heard the stories of illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade and I hope my daughters and all the young women of their generation never have to consider such risky procedures. That’s why I’m doing my part to elect pro-choice candidates in 2012.

What about you? What’s your reason for supporting abortion rights and what will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?

~ Nancy

P.S. Not convinced yet? Check out these powerful comments from Kate Brogan, our VP of Public Affairs.

Every single one our senators and representatives in D.C. and in Augusta has been faced with unprecedented decisions in the past year. And that will continue. Even if you never paid attention to elections before — because you didn’t think you had to — you’ve got to pay attention now.


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