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Will the pro-abortion vote help Biden in swing states?

Photo: Andrew Harnik Getty Images via Agence France-Presse Pro-choice activists demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court on April 24 in Washington.

Stephanie Marin

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  • United States

In this section taken from the American Election Courier, our journalists answer questions from our readers. Click here to subscribe.

Would the pro-abortion vote of women and men be enough to move things in favor of Joe Biden in certain swing states ? – Serge Emond

An interesting question, but very complex, according to the experts consulted!

We must first ask ourselves whether this theme will be crucial for voters when checking their ballot.

Previously, abortion was a rather secondary concern for them, we emphasize from the outset game Véronique Pronovost, doctoral student in sociology and feminist studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

But in two years, the number of voters who called it a main and determining issue increased from 27% in 2022 to 32% in 2024 — a “significant” increase, and a record, notes the researcher at Observatory on the United States of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair.

Mary Ziegler, professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of California at Davis, specializing in rights reproductive and American conservatism, believes that abortion will have repercussions on the presidential election. But to the point of translating into decisive support for the Democrats ? “It’s hard to say. »

She recalls, however, that this divisive issue weighed in the balance during the mid-term elections in 2022 and that, in general, this seems to have helped the Democrats .

The role of the president

On the other hand, not all Americans necessarily make the link between a vote for the next tenant of the White House and abortion.

Because of the cancellation in June 2022 of the decision Roe v. Wade, which constitutionally protected the right to abortion, the power to legislate and impose restrictions on the voluntary termination of pregnancy has fully returned to the hands of the States.

In short, even if pro-abortionists are dissatisfied since the invalidation of Roe, some may wonder what the outgoing president , Joe Biden, can really do about this if he is re-elected, continues Professor Ziegler.

Whoever is elected as head of the United States will, however, be able to choose the next justices of the Supreme Court. Those appointed by Republican Donald Trump after his election in 2016 changed the course of history by participating in the drafting of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the one that overturned Roe v. Wade, recalls assistant professor of political science at McGill University Kelly Gordon, who has a keen interest in conservative political movements and reproductive justice.

Two years of mobilization

Was the mobilization of the troops on the subject of abortion successful -you, and enough, to influence the outcome of the vote ?

Activists outraged the day Roe v. Wade was invalidated in June 2022 promising that abortion would be a major issue in the next presidential election.

And there is mobilization, notes law professor Carrie Baker, from Smith College, in Massachusetts, specializing in feminist studies and reproductive rights. Pro-abortionists mobilized in 2022 in swing states, and there was no red wave, she said.

Historically, there was a significant group of pro-abortion people who were, however, not very politically mobilized and a small anti-abortion group who were very motivated and “very vocal.” After the cancellation of Roe, the situation changed: access to abortion became more of an issue for pro-choice women and Democrats became more mobilized , notes Professor Ziegler. “While usually, it is the hobby horse of the Republicans,” adds Mᵐᵉ Pronovost.

On the other hand, the pro-abortion movement “is a little out of breath”, because it has its hands full, particularly to keep as many clinics open as possible, and cannot be present on all fronts, she adds.

On the Democratic side, we saw Joe Biden grab this issue with both hands, since he clearly understands its political benefits, noted Kelly Gordon.

There was also a major tour by his vice-president, Kamala Harris, to promote reproductive freedom across the country.

On the side of anti-abortion activists, there is mobilization, but subject to significant obstacles, explains Mᵐᵉ Pronovost. “Because they had such a resounding victory with Dobbs, they know that they cannot press too hard on this issue, and this is also why, I think, Donald Trump has backed down a little in recent months. » The Republican Party does not want to lose voters located more in the center of the political spectrum.

In any case, Trump can boast of having done more than his predecessors : “He can sit on his laurels,” she adds.

Women’s vote will not be enough< /h2>

According to expert Kelly Gordon, women's votes will not be enough to grant victory to Joe Biden.

D first, because gender is only one factor among others that influence voting, as are age, religion and political affiliation.

And then there are other concerns women have when they go to the polls: among younger women, issues of discrimination are more important, while among older women, it’s inflation and the cost of health care, Pronovost analyzes based on recent polls.

In short, the women’s vote, like that of men, “is not monolithic,” she concludes.

The level of restrictions on abortion in a given state can also play a role in the extent to which it will be an important issue for its voters, which “can vary from state to state,” notes Professor Gordon.

And then, we must not forget that in addition to the choice of president and various elected officials, we will find on the ballots of several states in November a referendum question on abortion.

These referendums complicate the political situation. A woman who supports reproductive freedom can express this position in a referendum, but prefer candidate Trump because he better embodies for her solutions to economic problems, for example.

All these variables in the voter profile, from the abortion situation prevailing in each of the 50 states to the presence of a referendum question or not on the ballot, thus complicate predictions of the results of next November 5 .

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116