Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Opinion | Alabama election just adds to a national narrative

Courtesy of Marilyn Lands

On March 26, Alabama House District 10 was forced to hold a special election following the resignation of David Cole, a Republican facing felony voter fraud charges.

The results were shocking. Not only did the seat flip to the Democrats, but it did so by 25 points. The winner, Marilyn Lands, won by championing abortion rights and fighting the Alabama Supreme Court’s recent controversial ruling on in vitro fertilization.

In a presidential election year, a dramatic victory for Alabama’s minority party is especially shocking and significant. It primarily reflects that, as seen in 2022’s failed “red wave,” abortion remains a losing issue for the GOP.

After Alabama’s Supreme Court threatened IVF access for moral issues similar to those motivating opponents of abortion rights, Alabamians were shocked and outraged. Lands’ campaign centered on IVF and on Alabama’s total abortion ban. The campaign repeatedly showcased how Alabama women have to risk prosecution for seeking potentially life-saving health care.

“Our legislature must repeal Alabama’s no-exceptions abortion ban, fully restore access to IVF, and protect the right to contraception,” Lands said in a statement to her supporters following her victory over Madison City Council Member Teddy Powell.

Furthermore, District 10, which includes parts of Huntsville and Madison, is not the only place where restrictions on abortion are coming under fire in Alabama. After Alabama’s attorney general, Steve Marshall, threatened to prosecute women who leave the state for abortions, the Yellowhammer Fund — an abortion advocacy and reproductive justice organization — opened a lawsuit against him.

In this lawsuit, the Yellowhammer Fund asserts that Marshall is unconstitutionally threatening to restrict free speech, travel, states’ rights and due process. Lands herself can relate to the women under threat by the attorney general, having shared her own story of ending a nonviable pregnancy.

Moreover, District 27 will also hold a special election on July 16. After Lands’ victory, Republicans losing ground there would only solidify the power of abortion on the ballot.

Her landslide victory shows that women are continuing to bring the fight for bodily autonomy to the ballot, which could play a vital role in November, when the presidency, House of Representatives, and 33 Senate seats will be at stake.

When the GOP attempted to use abortion bans as political instruments in 2022, the results were damning to the party’s cause. While they expected to gain a monumental majority in the House and take the Senate majority, Republicans managed only to take a meager majority in the House and even lost a Senate seat.

Yet, as November looms, former President Donald Trump has touted his efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, stripping women of abortion rights. And, after a Florida court paved the way for a six-week abortion ban, Trump’s campaign has promised to provide a definitive statement on his stance toward abortion in the next week.

It is yet to be seen whether he will support the almost complete ban or waver at championing such a drastic measure. As Lands’ definitive victory shows, backtracking may be the favorable decision when trying to rally more voters than President Joe Biden, who focuses much of his campaign on women’s rights.

In many ways, Biden’s warning to Supreme Court justices during his annual State of the Union address rings true in Alabama.

“Women are not without electoral or political power,” Biden said. “You’re about to realize just how much.”

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