May 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

4 Democratic women legislators to watch in a post-Roe America

Photo illustration of Jen Jordan, Louise Lucas, Mallory McMorrow, and Nikki Fried.

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade and send decisions on abortion rights back to the states, it would usher in a new era of power, influence and visibility for statewide politicians across the county.

Why it matters: We're in the midst of a political moment that could jumpstart the national profiles of Democratic politicians, especially women.

Jen Jordan, Georgia state senator and attorney general candidate

During the 2019 fight over Georgia’s 6-week abortion ban, Jordan gave a speech about her experiences with miscarriage. It captured national attention and vaulted her to the forefront of the state's reproductive rights movement.

What's happening: Now in a statewide race to become Georgia's first woman attorney general, Jordan is continuing to embrace her voice on the issue in the wake of the Roe draft decision leak.

  • She’s currently exploring possible legal remedies at the state level for an attorney general to pursue, should Roe be overturned.

What she’s saying: Jordan told Axios while she didn’t intend to become a face of this issue, and almost didn’t give the 2019 speech, she thinks that — especially as a lawyer — "I am the person to take on this fight."

Louise Lucas, Virginia Senate president pro tempore

In Virginia, any GOP efforts to tighten abortion restrictions would have to get through the state Senate, where Democrats still hold a one-seat majority and Lucas is the party’s 78-year-old ceremonial leader in the chamber.

  • "I have one message tonight. When [GOP Gov.] Glenn Youngkin comes to take away our abortion rights — he is going to run into a BRICK WALL," she tweeted Monday night.

What to watch: Lucas spent the week fundraising, reminding supporters that all 40 senators are up for re-election next year. "We will need to raise an enormous amount of money," she wrote.

Mallory McMorrow, Michigan state senator

McMorrow made national news — the New Yorker called her "a role model for the midterms" — with an assertive floor speech last month in response to accusations from a Republican colleague that she was grooming and sexualizing children.

  • Her emphatic tone and plain speaking stood in contrast to more milquetoast responses from other Democrats nationwide when faced with patently false statements amid the country's deepening culture war.

The bottom line: "We have to let go of the idea that this is politics as usual," she told the New Yorker.

Nikki Fried, Florida agriculture commissioner and gubernatorial candidate

Fried has emerged as one of Gov. Ron DeSantis' most outspoken critics over the last year, and she currently trails U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in a primary battle for the right to take on DeSantis in the fall.

  • She's using this moment to uplift women, but also take on both men — including leading a fundraising push blasting Crist, who was once a Republican, for his pro-life stance during his prior stint as the state's governor.

What she's saying: "We make sure that we are standing on shoulders of the women that came before us and we are fighting for the next generation of women to make sure they have access to affordable reproductive health care," she told a rally this week.

Axios' Joe Guillen, Emma Hurt, Ben Montgomery, Ned Oliver and Selene San Felice contributed to this report.

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Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Jen Jordan is a Georgia state senator, not a state representative.

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