ICYMI: Teen Vogue Highlights Electing Democratic Governors as Crucial for Protecting Abortion Rights
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: “We can’t give up. Generations are counting on us.”
With Republican governors and candidates threatening reproductive rights, a new report from Teen Vogue highlights the importance of electing Democratic governors who will protect and expand the right to choose.
In Michigan, GOP primary candidate James Craig calls himself “unapologetically pro-life” and even refuses to say if he would allow exceptions in the cases of incest or rape. Gov. Whitmer’s veto is the last line of defense against Michigan reverting to a Texas-style abortion ban.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is an outspoken supporter of reproductive rights and has increased access to abortion during his term. He, too, is facing off against anti-choice Republicans like Dean Heller, who’s running in full support of the Texas ban.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills says, with a conservative Supreme Court, “it’s going to fall on the state to pick up the cause and do the right thing by women.” Teen Vogue stresses the importance of re-electing Gov. Mills against extreme anti-choice Republican Paul LePage.
Read more on the critical importance of electing Democratic governors here:
The state official who signed this extreme abortion ban into law, Republican Greg Abbott, is one of 36 governors whose seats are up for grabs in the 2022 midterm elections. And activists are trying to make it clear just how much power this office holds on everything from abortion rights to voting access. Teen Vogue spoke with governors and activists in three closely watched states about their hopes, fears, and strategy ahead of the midterms.
With a Republican majority in the Michigan House and Senate, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer tells Teen Vogue her veto is the last line of defense between Michigan resembling Texas on women’s reproductive health. At the end of September, Whitmer vetoed $16 million in anti-choice legislation, which included $1.5 million for “pregnancy resource centers,” which are known for dissuading women from going through with an abortion. With a 6-3 conservative majority in the Supreme Court and major cases challenging Roe v. Wade on their docket, Whitmer sees why people would be discouraged. But, she says, “we can’t disengage because it’s so ugly and maddening. We have to redouble our efforts. We can’t give up. Generations are counting on us.”
Whitmer is facing a tough reelection campaign, facing off against Republican James Craig, who calls himself “unapologetically pro-life.” In a recording obtained by the Metro Times, he mused that he might allow exceptions for incest or rape. For Kristen Harter, a community organizer with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan (PPAM), “that’s not how it works. To stand for abortion is to stand for all that abortion is — for the right to get one.” Harter says that the days after the Texas ban went into effect were the first time they truly felt Roe was in jeopardy. In their work with PPAM, they want to shift the conversation from abortion as a moral decision to abortion as a health care decision.
The battleground state of Nevada is currently helmed by Governor Steve Sisolak, who is an outspoken supporter of Planned Parenthood. In a 2018 ad, he showed his support for the organization alongside his daughters, Ashley and Carley. “It’s a personal issue to me. I raised two daughters by myself and there are certain things that young girls just don’t talk to their dads about and reproductive rights are one of them,” Sisolak tells Teen Vogue. “I took them to Planned Parenthood and they took advantage of the services and counseling that were offered.” The governor says he’s thankful the resource was there for his daughters and he wants to maintain it for other people across his state.
Throughout his time in office, Sisolak has gone against the national trend of restricting reproductive rights, moving to expand abortion access in Nevada. In the wake of the Texas abortion ban, some people are even traveling to Nevada to access care. But all that could change in 2022. Sisolak is fighting to keep his seat and while there isn’t an official Republican nominee yet, Dean Heller announced his plans to join the race after praising Texas’s abortion ban. “The people I’m running against are trying to take Roe back. They love what Abbott has done and I find great concern in that,” Sisolak tells Teen Vogue. “I don’t want to go back to where you have back-alley abortions and people traveling across state lines. These are decisions that should be made between a woman and their doctor, not the government.”
Current Maine governor Janet Mills is facing off against anti-choice former governor Paul LePage in 2022. “One election can change the course of a state,” Mills tells Teen Vogue. “We governors have to hold the line and protect women at every stage.”
Like Thea, the makeup of the Supreme Court is top of mind for Mills who says that “now that [Trump’s justices] have lifetime appointments, anything goes. If the Supreme Court does overrule Roe v. Wade, whether directly or indirectly, it’s going to fall on the state to pick up the cause and do the right thing by women.”