Vote today! Because if the GOP wins the Senate, we’ll be wasting a lot of time fighting about abortion


Sen. Mitch McConnell, who will likely become majority leader if the Republicans win the Senate, is just waiting to push a 20-week abortion ban.

Remember how much time the GOP-led House of Representatives has spent putting our reproductive rights and health up for debate over the last couple years? And that’s even though everyone knew their extremist agenda would never make it past the Senate. If the Senate falls under Republican control after today’s election, all those anti-choice bills proposed in the House–to defund Planned Parenthood, to allow all employers to refuse their employees contraceptive coverage, even to define life at fertilization–can’t just be ignored.

And the first one that would threaten our abortion rights would likely be a 20-week abortion banEmily Crockett at RH Reality Check writes:

Chances are good that, if Republicans seize control of the U.S. Senate on Election Day, they will try to push through a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation nationwide.

The House passed a 20-week abortion ban last summer, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced a companion bill in November. That legislation was blocked by Senate Democrats earlier this year.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will likely become majority leader if he wins his re-election campaign next week and if Republicans win the Senate, has promised his base that the bill is a priority for him.

“We are taking very seriously the threat that Mitch McConnell has repeated, that he is eager to take on the 20-week ban,” Donna Crane, vice president for policy at NARAL Pro-Choice America, told RH Reality Check.

Crane said that the Republican-dominated House has passed the 20-week ban and could easily do it again, and that women could lose a crucial “firewall” against attacks on their rights if Democrats lose the Senate.

Granted, the President’s veto would likely prevent such a ban from becoming law. But some advocates think that isn’t even a sure-fire guarantee. As Emily notes, anti-choicers could insert the ban “into must-pass spending bills that require only a simple majority,” and, as Robin Marty warns, “threats of government shutdown could be enough to make [Obama] put the veto pen away.” At the very least, we’d be in for two years of constantly having to remind our Congressional representatives that we’re pretty damn fond of reproductive health care and birth control–pulling our focus away from what’s happening on the state level, where abortion rights are truly being lost.

Vote today! Because Joan Jett says so
Vote today! Because the GOP is really, really hoping you won’t
Vote today! Because reproductive rights are lost when Republicans gain control of state legislatures

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation