The campaign manager says introducing a vote on abortion could increase Democratic support in the race for the US House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Suzan DelBene told reporters Friday that ballot questions on abortion access that will go to voters in several states in November could support vulnerable Democratic candidates in swing districts — potentially increasing the risk that the U.S. House will change color from red to red blue.

“As a result, we have consistently seen massive voter turnout in elections since November 2022,” DelBene said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “And I have no doubt that we will see this all the time.”

The Washington state Democrat, who was elected to Congress in 2012 and is leading the House Democrats’ campaign this election cycle, said reproductive rights will also be a key issue for voters in swing districts where there is no question about access to voting.

“People across the country support women’s reproductive rights,” DelBene said. “And that will be a huge problem. And for some people, that is the problem.”

Congressional Democrats have failed to restore nationwide abortion protections that existed for nearly 50 years under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling.

The Supreme Court’s conservative justices voted to overturn these two rulings in the 2022 Dobbs decision, writing that “the power to regulate abortion is returned to citizens and their elected representatives.”

The court is expected to rule on two additional abortion access cases this summer, months before voters head to the polls.

The case, originally filed in Texas, seeks to determine whether access to mifepristone, one of two pharmaceuticals used in medical abortions, can remain available as is or revert to pre-2016 prescribing instructions. Court heard oral arguments in March.

The second casein Idaho has to do with whether doctors who provide abortions as “stabilization care” when a pregnant patient’s life or health is in danger are protected from prosecution under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

As the Supreme Court ended nationwide protections for abortion access, voters in several states – including Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan AND Ohio — voted to maintain or enshrine access to abortion as a right.

Voters in many other states, including Arizona, Florida AND Montanathey will likely have the issue directly on their ballots later this year, as will candidates from the president down.

Federal legislation

DelBene said Friday that Democrats would introduce legislation to restore nationwide abortion protections if they retake the House.

“This will be one of our top priorities – ensuring the re-passage of the Women’s Health Act,” DelBene said. “But I also hope that we keep the Senate and that we can move forward.”

The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter shows Republicans are on track to gain between one and four Senate seats, possibly moving that chamber of Congress from blue to red.

If Democrats flip the House, it would mean a continuation of divided government regardless of who wins the presidential election.

Cook Political Report forecasts 203 seats are at least leaning toward Democratic control, and 210 are rated as Solid, Likely or Weak Republican. That leaves 22 seats in the “reject” category, for a total of 218 needed for one party to control the house.

Jessica Taylor, CPR’s U.S. Senate and Governors editor, wrote in an update released Friday that the upper house “remains uncertain for Democrats.”

“There is no room for error — and if President Joe Biden loses re-election, he will already have lost his majority, whether he governs in all competitive seats or not,” Taylor wrote.

Young voters

DelBene said over breakfast at a Washington hotel that turnout would be “critical” and that Democrats would be especially focused on younger voters showing up at the polls.

“Traditionally, younger voters haven’t turned out in such large numbers,” she said. “So this is absolutely the highest priority.”

DelBene raised several questions about whether these younger voters would actually support Democratic candidates or Biden, given the increase in protests on college campuses and concerns within the progressive wing about the rising civilian death toll from the ongoing war in Gaza.

DelBene said the most critical issues for younger voters are “making sure that they will have economic opportunities in the future and that they will be in a situation where they will have the same opportunities that their parents thought they would have, and have the same rights and freedoms.” that their parents had.

Candidates in purple districts should speak “authentically” to voters when asked about their position on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, she said.

“My advice to candidates has always been: ‘It’s important that you have an authentic voice and talk about what you would do and how you feel in a given situation.’ Because people can tell when someone wrote a script, but they don’t really talk about their feelings,” DelBene said. “I think on an issue this important, it’s really important for people to talk authentically about where they stand and what they think should happen.”

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