How the Midterm Elections Could Impact the Future of Abortion Rights

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, right? Abortion is on the ballot this midterm election season. If you’re feeling a little cynical about this, it’s hard to blame you. I, too, get a panicked fundraising email from Nancy Pelosi at least once a day. But the truth is that the 2022 midterms really are make-or-break for abortion rights in states all over the country.

So, let’s put Pelosi and the rest of the Congressional Democrats on mute for a second and break it down.

In Congress

As long as the Supreme Court remains as stacked in the anti-choice column as it is now, the only way to reinstate the right to an abortion in all 50 states is through Congress; and to do that, we need the Senate. You may remember that the Democrats actually passed a bill in the House of Representatives—The Women’s Health Protection Act—that would guarantee the right to an abortion, but it failed in the Senate because Democrats didn’t have the 60 votes to pass the filibuster and didn’t have the majority needed to overrule the filibuster to pass this bill.

Passing legislation would be a big deal, but it’s not the only thing Congress can do to protect abortion rights. A pro-choice majority in the House and Senate might also be able to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment, which would guarantee equal protection under the Constitution regardless of sex. Technically, the deadline for ratification of the ERA has passed, but what if the Senate just voted to extend the deadline? With equal protection under the Constitution, it becomes that much harder to argue against the right to an abortion for everyone who chooses one.

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