Dana Verkouten / AP
In the nearly two months since a conservative majority of justices on the Supreme Court indicated open to significant new restrictions on abortion, money has poured into the anti-abortion group’s political fundraiser. Susan B. Anthony List.
According to figures shared with the Associated Press, the organization has secured $20 million in pledged financial contributions, five times more than it had at the start of the election year in the calendar year. the organization’s 30-year history. Before the recent increase, the corporation signed off on its biggest political budget ever, $72 million, for 2022. That’s nearly $20 million more than the amount. they spent in 2020, a year that includes the presidential election.
This cash outlay virtually guarantees that the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, anticipated by the summer, will do nothing to quell what has become one of the most heated issues in the United States. Ky. Opponents of abortion say they will inject their new-found resources into the November election.
Once the decision is made, “there will be a lot of focus on all the states and the midterms,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
The Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. If the law is upheld, anti-abortion activists say much of the attention will turn to Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Kansas. These are states that have Republican legislatures but Democrats take over as governors, each of whom will contest the November election.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade’s ruling that women have a constitutional right to abortion, governors in Michigan and Wisconsin will be powerless to overturn restrictions in their states that predate the decision. determined in 1973.
But these governors will be the only obstacle to new measures passed by GOP legislatures, including outright bans on the procedure.
Terry Schilling, chair of the socially conservative American Principles Project, said a Supreme Court decision “is really just the beginning of the work”. “The groups have really gotten on well with state leaders and invested in campaigns at the local level in these swing states, trying to gain control in divided governments. .”
Abortion rights advocates, already feeling highly alert at the prospect of defeat at the Supreme Court, are well aware of how important governors’ races are to their goals.
“Really, governors in many states will be our backers,” said Jenny Lawson, vice president of organization and electoral campaigns for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “When decisions are made for the states, it’s these governors who can protect access.”
She declined to disclose how much the group is budgeting to support pro-abortion rights candidates.
A number of re-elected Democratic governors increasingly highlight their commitment to protecting some form of access.
“And as long as I’m governor, that’s what I’m going to do,” Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said at a news conference last week marking the 49th anniversary of Roe’s decision.
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“I’m proud to stand with so many Michiganns in defending their right to safe and legal abortion,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer tweeted last week, organizers of the vote to defend the right Abortion in the state constitution has eliminated a step procedure. Over the weekend, Whitmer tweeted that the right to abortion was “hanging by a rope” in the Supreme Court.
For their part, there’s no denying abortion opponents are optimistic as the Supreme Court’s decision draws near. Thousands of people gathered on a cold day in Washington last week for the March for Life program, expressing joy and optimism about the prospect of Roe being exposed.
But the political implications of such a move could be destabilizing for both sides. A decision to dramatically reduce access to abortion could invigorate Democrats into the fall campaign.
According to a December poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the issue is rising in the Democratic Party’s priority. The poll found that 13% of Democrats listed abortion or reproductive rights as an issue they would like the federal government to address. This is up from less than 1% of Democrats who made it a priority for 2021 and 3% of those who listed it in 2020.
Lawson predicted a court ruling restricting or ending federal abortion rights would “promote anger and outrage and cause realignment at the polling place.”
There is also a risk for religious conservatives, who have spent decades working on the issue and forging an unlikely alliance with Donald Trump to achieve their goals. The three-times-married former president who once expressed support for abortion rights ended up taking three justices to the Supreme Court, reshaping it dramatically to intimidate Roe.
But if those judges can’t overturn that decision or agree to some compromise, conservatives could be deeply frustrated and feel less interested in participating in the midterm elections. . The GOP has caused pain in the past, especially since Republican-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts helped uphold President Barack Obama’s special health care law, another issue that has taken hold.
But for now, competitors say they are gaining momentum.
“It’s different now,” said Dannenfelser.
Beaumont reports from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press writers, Mark Sherman of Washington and Scott Bauer of Madison, Wis., contributed to this report.