Saturday, November 11, 2023

The New Math

 Last year, the Pew Research Center reported this: "Currently, 61% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% say it should be illegal in all or most cases."

I am not a statistician, but my elementary teacher's understanding of decimals, percentages and fractions tells me that stacks up to just about two thirds of the country supporting a woman's right to choose. Given that this information was available to the public over the past year, it does make one wonder why states would be trotting out legislation banning abortion in all or most cases. So far, thirteen states have bans on a woman's reproductive rights. These were enacted as "Trigger Laws" after Roe v. Wade was overturned, meaning that legislatures in Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming had laws in the can, waiting for the moment when the Supreme Court decision was struck down to enact their bans. It may not surprise you all to hear that, for example, North Carolina's pending prohibition on abortion was created in 1973 shortly after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. Contrast that with the folks in Illinois who had their own Trigger Law in place, but they repealed it in 2017. 

Since June of 2022, there have been a number of states that figured they could just go ahead and push anti-abortion laws through their legislatures after the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. So far, none of these have passed, with voters in Kansas just a couple months later lining up in a reflection of the Pew report, with sixty percent turning back a ballot measure to restrict a woman's right to choose. Forty percent supported it. The plan to "let states decide" seems to be working, but perhaps not in the way that conservative types had hoped. 

This past Tuesday, voters in Ohio went to the polls to decide on an amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee the right to have an abortion. The preliminary results were fifty-six percent "yes" and forty-four percent "no." Other states followed this trend by confirming Democratic control of state houses and governorships, reaffirming what we already knew: most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

As it turns out, it's not really hard math at all. An elementary school teacher can do it. 

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