2023 Election Results: Abortion Wins Big

When analyzing Tuesday’s election results, one point becomes glaringly apparent: Abortion. Wins.

Abortion won (big) in Ohio. Abortion won in Virginia, where Democratic lawmakers pledged to voters to keep Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s anti-abortion and anti-education policies at bay—and voters delivered. Abortion helped keep Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in office, who has made his pro-abortion-rights position clear. 

Ms. breaks down the results from the elections we were watching—plus a few other notable ones.

The Last Two Years Saw Record Wins for Women in Politics Worldwide. How Can Election Rules and Voting Systems Shape Opportunities for Women?

While the U.S. is making slow progress toward political parity, other countries are making more significant gains over time.

This month, RepresentWomen released the Golden Year Analysis, which identified the factors influencing global progress toward gender parity in politics in 2021 and 2022. Of 85 countries that held elections in these years, 43 achieved a “golden year” by electing a record-high number of women to their national legislatures.

While this is certainly cause for celebration, gender-balanced governance remains far from reach for many countries, including the United States. 

The Trump Trials Are Set to Begin in Georgia

Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell—both former lawyers for Trump—were indicted by a Fulton County grand jury in mid-August, alongside 17 others, including Trump himself. All 19 co-defendants are charged under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

On Thursday, Oct. 19, Powell pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts—five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties, and one count of conspiracy to commit theft—making her the second defendant to flip on Trump and cooperate with prosecutors. Powell was supposed to go to trial on Monday with co-defendant Chesebro. With Powell’s plea deal, Chesebro will go to trial solo next week.

“The basic thrust is, is that while all of those defendants did slightly different things and engaged in slightly different discrete acts of criminal activity, they all were engaged in one unlawful purpose, which was to overturn the 2020 election,” said Anthony Michael Kreis, a professor at the Georgia State University College of Law, on a recent episode of On the Issues with Michele Goodwin.

Asian Americans Are a Powerful Voting Bloc. It’s Time for the Political World to Start Acting Like It

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing racial group in the U.S. and a powerful voting bloc. Yet, they remain underrepresented in almost every industry, including politics. 

AAPI voters feel ignored and overlooked by both political parties. And there are only two AAPI senators—Mazie Hirono and Tammy Duckworth—and 19 representatives currently serving at the federal level. There have only been six AAPI governors in the history of the U.S., none of whom are currently in office. 

Electing Asian American and Pacific Islanders isn’t just about visibility; it leads to better policies, better lives and improved livelihoods. Investing in AAPI organizing and representation can’t wait.

Arizona Ballot Measure in 2024 Elections Could Protect Abortion Rights by Amending State Constitution

On Aug. 8, a coalition of Arizona organizations announced the filing of the Arizona Abortion Access Act, which would place a proposed constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on Arizona’s November 2024 general election ballot.

“Every Arizonan should have the freedom to make decisions about their bodies, their lives and their futures,” said Chris Love, senior advisor for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. “We know the work for achieving reproductive freedom is an uphill battle, and this ballot initiative is the next critical step in our renewed drive to protect the health and freedom of our patients and our communities.”

A Pioneer in the Fight for Pregnancy Justice: The Ms. Q&A With Lynn Paltrow

In 1987, Attorney Lynn Paltrow defended Pamela Rae Stewart, a California woman criminally charged for failing to follow medical advice while pregnant. This case was one of the first attempts to criminalize a pregnant person for their actions and argue that fetuses have constitutional rights. In 2000, Paltrow started National Advocates for Pregnant Women, now called Pregnancy Justice, to defend pregnant people against criminalization and other deprivations of their rights.

“With half the population capable of pregnancy, what we have to do is change the conversation so that it is clear we are not just defending abortion, we are defending the personhood of the people who sometimes need abortions, but who always need to be treated as full rights-bearing, constitutional persons.”

When Voters Vote, They Vote for Abortion—So Republicans Want to Make It Harder to Vote

Where voters are allowed to have a say, they give a resounding “yes” to abortion rights. Instead of adjusting their politics accordingly, the GOP just makes it harder for voters to vote.

There is a direct relationship between authoritarianism and opposition to abortion rights. After all, what is more authoritarian and more a rejection of basic individual freedoms, than believing the government should be able to force you into pregnancy and motherhood?

(This essay is part of Women’s Rights and Backsliding Democracies project—a multimedia project made up of essays, video and podcast programming, presented by Ms., NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network and Rewire News Group.)

Reproductive Rights Supporters See a Path to Victory: Letting the Voters Decide

There is great reason to look at direct democracy as an opportunity to address the disconnect where the elected leadership does not reflect the needs and the will of the voters—and there is a reason conservative lawmakers want to close that window, as they are attempting to do in Ohio.

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2023 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get the issue delivered straight to your mailbox!)