Why your vote matters now more than ever to women across the country

Midterms elections are on November 8th, and reproductive rights are on the ballot

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Students of Muhlenberg College, I implore you to listen with an open mind: your vote matters now more than ever to women across the country. It is easy to feel as though your voice is insignificant, or swallowed by American masses. How could a singular person’s opinion change the fate of the country? 

Welcome to Pennsylvania: where the midterm election, which takes place on November 8th, 2022, is about to determine the fate of women everywhere. Pennsylvania is notoriously a swing state; meaning that there is a small margin between the Republican party and the Democratic party in terms of the state’s popular vote. The party that holds the political majority in Pennsylvania is fluid; one year it could be a blue state with a Democratic majority, but it could then be a red state with a Republican majority come the next election. Given that the scale between the two is sensitive to tipping, every voter registered in the state of Pennsylvania has the potential to sway the election in favor of their party. The small margin makes it easy to gain the majority. In turn, the party that holds the majority strongly affects the legislation it carries out. 

Welcome to Pennsylvania: where the midterm election, which takes place on November 8th, 2022, is about to determine the fate of women everywhere.

Ever since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022, it has been a trend amongst red states to make an effort to ban or restrict their citizens’ access to abortions—i.e Alabama, Louisiana, Missisippi, Texas and ten others—according to am NPR.org article last updated on Oct. 11, 2022. In addition to the fourteen states that have already implemented bans and restrictions, nine states have them on hold, meaning that they are trying to put them into effect in the coming months. It is likely that if Pennsylvania swings red in this midterm election, that it will follow the footsteps of these other red states. 

The affect that this has had on people seeking an abortion is one that is seldom discussed. In order to fully understand the severity of turning into a red state, we must understand the consequences that come with overturning Roe v. Wade. According to an article released in the New York Times this past week, the number of legal abortions performed has dropped by 6% since the overturn, which only took place about five months ago. Scarily enough, the total decrease in abortions is likely to be lower than this cited estimate, as the data does not include abortions outside the regulation of the U.S. healthcare system, such as self-managed abortions that do not involve a medical provider. The article claims that women have been resorting to unsafe practices in order to obtain the care they need; such as buying over-the-counter ulcer pills online or from other countries in order to terminate their own pregnancy. Many women may also try to cross state borders, but there are many financial consequences that come with that: travel fees, not getting paid for time off of work, etc. Without access to safe and legal access to abortion, it is evident that the health and well-being of women is severely at risk. 

The time to act is now.

The pro-life vs pro-choice argument has been prominent for centuries, and one that will likely not dissipate for years to come. In the midst of all of this heated debate, women are struggling. The time to act is now. It is hard for individuals to make change on their own, but by casting our ballots on November 8th, we can all begin to take steps towards a safer state for women.

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