How Communities Across the US are Navigating Republicans’ Abortion Bans and Book Bans
The right’s war on freedoms continues, workers fight to claw back power, and a tragic shooting shatters a North Carolina community.
Welcome to From the Frontlines, a bi-weekly newsletter featuring the local political stories you need to know from key states ahead of the 2024 election.
If you’ve paid attention to politics for the past 15 months, you know that Republicans have stepped on one rake after another with regard to abortion policy since the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade.
The party’s complete refusal to reconsider or moderate its support for extreme abortion bans was almost certainly the driving factor that cost the GOP control of several governor’s mansions, multiple state legislatures, and the US Senate in last year’s midterms.
You’d think that Republicans might learn their lesson, but after spending 40 years capitalizing on the energy of the anti-abortion Christian right and promising to ban abortion, the GOP is now in a lose-lose situation: either ban abortion and piss off the broad majority of voters who support reproductive freedom, or lose grassroots support from a key segment of their base.
That politically risky choice—which leaves women as political footballs to be kicked by a party ruled overwhelmingly by men—is why you see Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin reportedly prioritizing a 15-week abortion ban if Republicans win control of the Virginia General Assembly in this November’s elections.
Youngkin won a tight race in 2021 in a purple, but blue-leaning state in what were near-perfect political conditions that are almost certainly impossible to replicate this year. For context, Democrats outperformed Republicans by 3% in the 2022 House races in Virginia, while losing by nearly 3% nationwide. But Youngkin is plowing ahead anyway—perhaps because some GOP donors have convinced themselves he is the new non-Trump alternative of the future—even as recent history suggests proposing an abortion ban could easily cost his party control of the General Assembly.
If he succeeds and is able to pass an abortion ban into Virginia law, we know what will happen in the commonwealth, because it’s already happening in other states like North Carolina (where Republicans banned abortion after 12 weeks this year) and Iowa (where Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to take away women’s reproductive freedom). Doctors will leave or refuse to move there, healthcare shortages will worsen, the quality of care will decrease, and ultimately, all women will suffer.
Community members and local leaders in these states, and others, are pushing back on the right’s war on reproductive freedom—and other freedoms—and highlighting the devastating toll, as today’s round-up of stories shows.
Let’s jump right in with the stories you need to know from the past two weeks:
Arizona: Op-ed: Biden Is Helping Revitalize My Community, but There Is More to Do
“When I became mayor, we had 20 years of deferred upgrades on our roads,” Mayor Mila Besich of Superior, Arizona writes in an op-ed. “Fortunately, the Biden administration…made historic investments in infrastructure. And now states and localities are receiving long-overdue funding to upgrade our roads, bridges, and waterways.” Read the full story here.
More from Copper Courier:
Florida: DeSantis’ Record Faces Scrutiny After Nazi Kills 3 in Racist Attack in Jacksonville
Last month’s tragic mass shooting in Jacksonville stands at the crossroads of two hot-button issues for Floridians: gun violence and race. That growing tension came to a boil when more than 200 people loudly booed Gov. Ron DeSantis as he took the stage to speak at an evening vigil held a block from the shooting site. Read the full story here.
More from Floricua:
Iowa: Doctors Say Iowa Abortion Ban Could Worsen OB-GYN Shortage
“Nobody wants to come in and practice medicine with this government looking over your shoulder, where you feel like you can’t protect your patients and care for them and worry about threats on your own medical license,” said Dr. Amy Bingaman, an OB-GYN at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines. Read the full story here.
More from Iowa Starting Line:
Michigan: UAW President: Biden Backs Workers With Billions of Dollars for Union Plants
At a press conference last week, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced that about $10 billion in federal cash will be loaned out to automakers—specifically to upgrade facilities that pay above-average wages and are located in communities that have long relied on automotive manufacturing to support their economies, including several cities across Michigan. Read the full story here.
More from The ‘Gander:
Nevada: What to know about Nevada’s new street vendor law
Bertin Gonzáles is one of countless street vendors who makes a living selling food, fruits, and other products in The Silver State. Most of these vendors are Latinos and sell their goods without a permit, due to the language barrier and difficult-to-understand bureaucratic web of state and local laws. But a new state law could help Gonzáles and others sell their goods legally starting next year. Read the full story here.
More from The Nevadan/El Nevadense:
North Carolina: NC Abortion Ban Will Hurt the Local Economy, Small Business Leaders Say
At a discussion in Raleigh late last month, local business owners warned that North Carolina’s new 12-week abortion ban not only puts lives in danger, but threatens the state’s economic livelihood. Read the full story here.
More from Cardinal & Pine:
Pennsylvania: Thousands of ‘Essential’ Workers Rally in Philadelphia for Better Pay
Thousands of janitors and office building workers from across the East Coast rallied in Philadelphia last week as their contracts are set to expire starting in October. Over 70,000 workers from Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C. and other cities are facing cuts in hours and wages. Read the full story here.
More from The Keystone:
Virginia: Republicans Plan Abortion Ban If They Win Statehouse In November
A source familiar with the governor’s plans says that passing a 15-week abortion ban will be his legislative priority if Republicans win majority control of the state House and Senate in this fall’s elections. Read the full story here.
More from Dogwood:
Wisconsin: State Supreme Court’s Conservatives Go Public With Their Unhappiness About No Longer Being in Charge
Recently-published emails are allowing the public to see the intense disagreements the three remaining conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are having with the four liberal justices, who now control the court’s agenda and work routines. Not all of the content in the emails is new, however, since two of the conservatives have already used press leaks, tweets, and interviews to complain about what it’s like to be in the minority after 15 years of control. Read the full story here.
More from Up North News:
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