How abortion plays into the 2022 midterms

Elections 2022

(NewsNation) — On Friday, House Republicans introduced their “Commitment to America” agenda, which takes aim at the way Democrats have handled crime, immigration and the economy, among other issues. But one hot-button question barely received a mention: where the GOP stands on abortion.

When asked about the topic, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told NewsNation he thinks voters will side with Republicans and accused his political opponents of advocating for laws that would allow abortions all the way up to the baby’s birthday — although it’s unclear who Jordan was referring to specifically.

Last year, House Democrats passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion nationwide. But as conservative critics pointed out, the bill would have banned any restrictions on abortion all the way up to birth if a single health care provider determined that continuing the pregnancy “would pose a risk” to the patient’s “life or health.”

The legislation didn’t make it through the Senate.

Last week, Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced his own federal legislation, proposing a bill that would ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks.

Recent polling suggests questions around abortion have become more important to voters following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

As of late August, a majority of registered voters (56%) said abortion is very important to their vote in the upcoming midterms, up from 43% in March, according to Pew research.

Surveys also indicate Americans’ views on the issue may be more in line with the typical Democratic candidate than with hard line Republicans.

As of May, the percentage of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” sits at 55% — the highest proportion since 1995, according to Gallup. By comparison, just 39% of Americans consider themselves “pro-life.”

In June, 61% of people said abortion should be legal “in all or most cases,” Pew found.

NewsNation spoke to multiple Republican women in Chester County, Pennsylvania who felt their pro-choice views are no longer welcome in the party. They say they’re reconsidering who to vote for in the upcoming election.

“There’s no room for the (political) center anymore; the center has been trampled,” said lifelong Republican Sandy Arnell, who identifies as pro-choice and feels alienated by the party’s position on the issue.

In August, Republican lawmakers in Indiana passed a near-total ban on abortion but included limited exceptions for rape and incest and to protect the life and physical health of the mother. The ban has since been blocked by an Indiana judge.

There is some evidence to suggest the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, which returned legal questions around abortion back to the states, has been a galvanizing force, particularly for women.

An analysis by The New York Times found an increase in the number of newly registered female voters across multiple states in the month after the SCOTUS ruling.

Like most political issues, surveys show the majority of Americans fall somewhere in the middle on abortion — believing it should be legal in some cases but illegal in others.

The vast majority of Democrats (95%) and Republicans (79%) think abortion should be legal if the pregnancy was caused by rape. Most people in each party also agree that abortion should be legal if the mother’s health is seriously endangered or if there’s a strong chance of serious health defects in the fetus.

Perhaps the most important variable that influences Americans’ views on abortion is when the procedure is performed.

According to Gallup polling from May, 67% of respondents said abortion should “generally be legal” in the first three months of pregnancy but only 36% thought so for abortions in the second trimester. That support drops to 20% for abortions in the last three months of pregnancy.

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