How will the evisceration of abortion rights affect the election in Texas?

I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows.

Less than two hours after Politico reported Monday evening that the U.S. Supreme Court appeared ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, Beto O’Rourke leaped into action.

“It’s never been more urgent to elect a governor who will always protect a woman’s right to abortion,” the Democratic gubernatorial candidate tweeted.

The next morning, he hosted an Instagram Live with Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood and the newest member of his campaign. By noon, he emailed supporters asking for a donation to help him fight for reproductive rights. He quickly scheduled abortion rights events in Austin and Houston through the end of the week.

O’Rourke, who is polling 11 points down from Gov. Greg Abbott, is seizing on a moment that Democrats have long feared was coming — the end of a constitutional protection for the right to have an abortion. But many Democrats said they’re hopeful that the looming threat of such a stunning political sea change could provide the strongest opportunity yet to energize their voters heading into an election year in which Republicans have been expected to dominate in Texas and beyond.

“Everyone’s got to pull their oar in the same direction, and we’ve got to do it with a common purpose,” said Wendy Davis, a former Democratic state senator who rose to prominence in 2013 for a 13-hour filibuster of a bill to restrict abortion access in Texas. “I know I intend to really lean into that message as we go into November — that we have a real opportunity to break through and elect Democrats at the statewide level from Beto O’Rourke down in a way that we haven’t before.”

The poll cited is one by the Texas Politics Project; It was from mid-April, so well before the draft opinion leaked. It was also the first poll result we’ve seen since mid-March, and looking at the Reform Austin poll tracker, it’s on the high end of results for Abbott. I suppose it made sense to cite the most recent polling data, but a little more context might have helped.

Beyond that, who knows? Maybe there will be a polling effect – the first national poll since the opinion leaked didn’t show much of an effect, but it’s very early days. It’s also important to remember that the words and actions, or lack of actions, by the various political actors will have their own effect, either to amplify or dampen people’s initial reactions. We also don’t know how long any of this may last, or if the official release of the opinion, whether toned down a bit or not, will stir everything up again or just get an echo of the current reaction since it will be in a sense old news. There’s a 100% chance that numerous red states will use the Dobbs ruling as a springboard for all kinds of crazy things, and who knows how that will go. Right now, there are big crowds attending protest rallies and Beto events that are doubling as protest rallies; Beto’s been drawing good crowds for months now, but the protest part of it is new. How long will that last? What will Greg Abbott and his team of dark artists do with the millions he’s been hoarding in response? What might come along to take attention away from what is happening now? Like I said, I don’t know. Neither do you, and neither does anyone else. We’ll all learn about it in real time.

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4 Responses to How will the evisceration of abortion rights affect the election in Texas?

  1. Kibitzer says:


    Re: “What will Greg Abbott and his team of dark artists do with the millions he’s been hoarding in response?”

    As Beto and the Tex-Dems are self-destructing with their feticide obsession, Abbott doesn’t even have to do anything. He will, of course, continue to campaign, campaign, campaign, and spend, spend, spend, but he might as well just lay back and prevail by default.

    I mean seriously, folks, how are you are going to be majority-capable as a single-issue outfit? Not to mention the single issue being a moral/ethical one, rather than an economic one, and involving – on the Dem side – the cult-like celebration of uterus evacuation, fetus destruction, and human tissue disposal. And with disproportionate involvement of brown and black wombs and fetuses at that.

    Unsavory. Off-putting. Plain sick.

    Regular birth may be messy, too, but there you have a bundle of joy as the reward for what was endured, and the blessings of parenthood along with the challenges, and a sense of immortality. You will die, but if you have raised kids, a part of you will live on in them and may give you comfort even if you don’t believe in an afterlife for yourself and your mate. And even if you do, all dogs may not go to heaven; or end up in Nirvana, Valhalla, or the land of milk and honey, and approved anytime apples and second bites in paradise — with a nod to greater trans-mortem mystical diversity and inclusiveness.


    And, as a strategic matter in regards to overcoming minority-party status in the long run, how is it not demographic suicide for the Tex-Dems to reduce the birth rate in the core Democratic constituency?

    Sad to see that there is no viable vote choice for the mainstream, with both parties moving toward extremes and catering to zealots on the fringes.

    How many additional votes are there on the outer fringes?

    What do you gain with a zero-tolerance policy for moderation and compromise, not to mention intraparty space and allowance of viewpoint diversity, deliberation, and dissent?

  2. Joel says:

    kibizter – supporting some level of legal abortion IS the mainstream position. it’s only one side of this debate (or all the debates, really) that has fallen off the idelogical spectrum. there is one party that supports the most popular position on this and virtually every other issue and one that doesn’t.

    bemoaning the lack of a moderate alternative is just proof that you can’t recognize the moderates. IOW, it is a sign of your own personal extremism.

    and you can shove your sensationalistic and morally accusatory language.

  3. C.L. says:

    “… the cult-like celebration of uterus evacuation, fetus destruction, and human tissue disposal. ”

    And in 3, 2, 1…. que the dog whistles.

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