Repro Rights Roundup: November 10, 2017

Welcome to the Repro Rights Roundup!

Every week, A is For will be taking a look at the most relevant news in the fight for reproductive justice. For our very first roundup, this past Tuesday’s election has given us a tremendous amount of hope!

In addition to the many local races across the country, Virginia and New Jersey chose new statewide officials. From north to south, California to the New York island, sea to shining sea, the message was clear: fuck this, man. Voters all over these here United States made their displeasure known and their voices heard with a wave that swept into office a diverse gang of progressive-minded public servants. There’s something to love pretty much everywhere you look, but for our purposes, let’s focus on the Old Dominion itself: Virginia.

The election results in Virginia are great for anyone who needed a little fuel in their Hope-in-Your-Fellow-Americans tank, but they are especially great for women. So great, in fact, that your humble rounder-upper - who is a Virginia voter, a lifelong Virginian, and a human woman - still can’t quite wrap her head around it.

  • Ten of the 15 seats that are confirmed to have flipped (four races are being recounted at the time of this writing) were won by women, including two Latinas, a Vietnamese-American immigrant, an out lesbian, and the first openly* trans state legislator in history.

  • The woman who co-sponsored the infamous transvaginal ultrasound bill was defeated by a pro-choice man in the lieutenant governor’s race.

  • And in the race for governor (which the national media barely paid attention to at all) one of the staunchest male allies women have ever had in Richmond defeated a man who would threaten our rights at every turn. Governor-elect Ralph Northam ran on an unapologetically pro-choice platform, making his nearly single-handed defeat of said ultrasound bill a cornerstone of his campaign. He never hid or softened his support of a woman’s right to bodily autonomy for the sake of political expediency.

  • Fifty-four percent of Virginians - an historic number that includes those of us in the culturally Southern parts of the state, not just our Yankee cousins in Northern Virginia - voted to protect abortion rights. This makes two statements: first of all, don’t sleep on the South. The states north and west of us do not have a corner on progressive politics; we just have more roadblocks than you do. And more importantly, if a purple state with deep red pockets can elect a governor whose platform includes a woman’s right to choose by not just a plurality but an undeniable majority, then the rest of the country has no excuse to keep pussyfooting around about abortion. Standing up for abortion rights is now literally part of a winning message.

Let this good news give you the spark you need to gear up for 2018. We’ve got a lot of work to do. But as Virginia showed us on Tuesday, sometimes the good guys win.

*The first transgender state legislator was Althea Garrison of Massachusetts, who was not out at the time of her service.