Vote today! Because reproductive rights are lost when Republicans gain control of state legislatures


Remember what happened right after the last mid-terms?

One-time Congressional candidate and Feministing friend Krystal Ball has a great piece on the importance of the midterm elections today. She reminds us what happened in 2010, when the GOP took control of many state legislatures, ushering in an unprecedented barrage of anti-choice state laws

For many voters and political observers, the big question in the 2014 midterm election is which party will end up in control of the U.S. Senate. The answer will impact presidential nominations, future legislation and greatly influence the remainder of President Obama’s term. But real policy changes in this country will happen at the state level, with massive implications for all Americans, and especially American women.

Remember the 2010 midterms? I was running for Congress at the time so every detail of that cycle is indelibly stamped on my brain. The economy was terrible (as opposed to merely bad as it is now). The bloom was not yet off, the tea party rose, and candidates were coming up with all sorts of innovative ways to explain just how big the national debt was (If you stacked dollar bills to the moon …).

Of course we all remember the end result on Election NightNancy Pelosi’s time as speaker came to an unceremonious end; Republicans moved into governors’ mansions across the country and notably, Republicans gained control of an unprecedented number of state legislatures. MichiganNew HampshireIowaAlabamaNorth Carolina and more all had legislative chambers flip to GOP control. Republicans picked up more than 675 legislative seats, the largest swing of any party since 1938.

But no one could have predicted what would happen next.

Virtually all the Republican campaign rhetoric had focused on “out of control spending” and the evil Obama-Pelosi monster. But, as it turned out, Republicans had failed to mention a few other agenda items. Once they had control of state legislatures, Republican state leaders immediately set out not just to cut budgets, but also to pass voter suppression laws and to wage an all out, record breaking war on women’s rights.

The backlash to the GOP extremism of the last few years means that many Republicans have attempted a moderate makeover going into this election. Politicians with long records opposing reproductive rights, like Gov. Scott Walker, are suddenly downplaying their anti-choice credentials. But as Ball writes, “There is absolutely no reason to think that handing more state legislative bodies to Republicans will be any different in 2014 than what we got in 2010.” Let’s not let a repeat happen.

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.

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