Midterm Elections’ Effect on Abortion


(Evie Ngyuen / The University News)

A poll conducted by SLU YouGov, a research group at Saint Louis University, found that 48% of voters would choose to have the Missouri abortion ban reversed. This statistic isn’t representative of the landslide victory of Republican pro-life Senator-elect Eric Schmitt, in last Tuesday’s midterm election win over pro-choice candidate Trudy Busch Valentine. With a supermajority in the state House and Senate, the Republicans have a hold on Missouri. “You don’t expect Democrats to win in Missouri,” says freshman and life-long Missouri resident, Jessica Quin.

Most voters did not expect the Democratic Senate candidate, Valentine, to have a chance. It is possible that her pro-choice stance on abortion could have led to her defeat given the other legislation that straddled party lines, like the legalization of recreational marijuana. “No Democrat is really going to win statewide office [in Missouri],” says Steven Rogers, a member of the research group YouGov and political science professor at SLU, “She did probably get some votes from some constituencies because of how pro-choice she was” he added. However, these votes were not enough for Valentine with a mere 868,000 votes compared to Schmitt’s 1.1 million.

With the newly elected claiming their seats, the question of whether there will be any change for abortion rights in Missouri remains. “If you want something done on abortion in Missouri, it is going to have to be done by the initiative,” Rogers said. The initiative petition process gives citizens the opportunity to submit an issue they would like to be addressed in the next general election and petition for signatures before presenting it to the Secretary of State.

It then goes through a series of certification assessments before being put on the ballot for the next general election. This is how marijuana was legalized last Tuesday. Because the Republicans in office support the ban and little power is held by the Democrats, there is nothing other than the possible initiative petition process to expect for abortion rights being voted on in the next general election. Unless the supermajority in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate is diminished, it is unlikely any Democratic issues will be passed.

Quin reminds community members affected by abortion bans that “you can still go out of state to get an abortion.” Although legal abortion services are still available in nearby Illinois, abortion bans will continue to affect those who have financial or legal barriers in accessing out-of-state abortions.