Brenna Lyons, a young mother who lives in Augusta, Georgia with her husband and toddler son, suffered a miscarriage last spring. She needed a “dilation and curettage,” a procedure that is used to remove tissue from a woman’s uterus during an abortion.
Georgia didn’t yet have a law prohibiting abortions after six weeks. In case, she shouldn’t have been impacted by the law because her fetus was no longer alive and had a heartbeat.
Lyons still wonders if her doctors would have taken her word for it if the law had been different at the time. Could they have stopped the procedure in order to stay out of trouble legally? Would she have been required to terminate the pregnancy at home on her own rather than seeking urgent help?
Lyons, who is once more expecting, claims that these questions trouble her and her female friends who have gone through similar things. They are keen to cast their votes next month.
“I have friends in Arkansas who have voiced the same kind of concern that the law just puts that hesitance there, that pause” on what’s legal and what’s not, she said.
“Whereas when we had a constitutional right (to an abortion), our doctors felt like they could do what they needed to do to protect us,” she said. Poll watchers are examining whether women like Lyons and her friends could act as a kind of wild card that swings the outcome of close races as the country moves closer to a midterm election next month in which Republicans have high hopes for significant gains.
A survey conducted on Tuesday and funded by the right-leaning think tank American Enterprise Institute found that abortion rights are now much more important to younger female voters than other issues like inflation, crime, and immigration. Additionally, a vast majority of young women agree that abortion should be legal, with nearly half saying there should be no restrictions at all.
The survey was conducted in August, weeks before the midterm elections, so it is unclear whether this passion will translate into votes, but the abortion debate in the US today is emerging as a sort of “generational defining moment” that may have an impact on future elections, according to Dan Cox, director of AEI’s Survey Center on American Life.
“No one cares about this issue more than young women,” he said. “In fact, and I’ve never seen this before in roughly 15 years of polling, abortion is ranking as the most important issue” in that group.
Though the final effect is not yet clear. The fact that the majority of voters aren’t the women most directly affected by abortion restrictions, specifically Black women living in the South where bans are most prevalent, complicates the election outlook.