A recent poll conducted by NARAL and Planned Parenthood revealed an interesting finding to come out of this month's midterm elections. Women's health was reported as a critical issue to both candidates and electorate, with a large majority of voters supporting access to birth control and abortion.
"This data confirms what candidates know and what we have been seeing for many months on the campaign trail: Running on an anti-choice platform is a loser," says Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Historically a back-burner issue in elections, this year, both Republicans and Democrats saw a lift when vocalizing support for birth control and abortion access. Many previously anti-choice candidates publicly moderated their stance to reflect the values of citizens on both sides of the aisle. "That’s a huge shift,” comments Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president. "This data clearly shows that voters didn’t elect politicians to restrict women’s access to health care, and voters will hold them accountable to what they promised."
The poll states that 78% of the electorate believes the government should not restrict abortion access. It's a powerful statistic given the recent surge in abortion restrictions and clinic shut-downs. Guttmacher reports that more restrictions were enacted between 2011 & 2013 than in the entire previous decade.
Paradoxically, these new numbers show that voters, by and large, don't support these actions. Perhaps the midterms didn't shake out the way many of them wanted. But, Republican or Democrat, it appears the tide is turning toward support for women's health and rights in both parties. That can only be good news for 2016.