May 4, 2022 - Politics

Georgia politics prepares for a post-Roe v. Wade world

Photo illustration of abortion protest signs representing opposing sides in front of the US Supreme Court

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

In Georgia, a state that saw an emotional, polarized battle over a six-week abortion ban in 2019, the specter of a Roe v. Wade decision looms large in the already-tight midterm elections.

The big picture: Rep. Nikema Williams, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, said a reversal of Roe v. Wade would make Georgia’s midterms “a referendum on reproductive freedom.”

Catch up quick: Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, the leading Republican candidate, championed Georgia’s 2019 anti-abortion law. On Tuesday, he vowed to continue defending the “strongest pro-life law in the country.”

  • Presumptive Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams said she is “enraged” and “appalled” by the implications of the leak. She promised to “defend the right to an abortion” if elected.
  • In an interview with the AJC she said her campaign will "lean into and lead on that issue."
  1. Yes, but: This leak could factor into Kemp’s primary. His leading challenger, former Sen. David Perdue, went further than Kemp in saying he would call for a special legislative session to “ban abortion” if elected.

Driving the news: Sen. Raphael Warnock, who’s also up for re-election, tells Axios the abortion issue is worth eliminating the Senate filibuster rule over, though the prospects for that change are dim.

  • “Reproductive rights are established law,” Warnock said. “It’s a constitutional right. And no Senate procedure is more important than that. I think today is different than yesterday, and every senator needs to be heard on this question.”
  • Warnock declined to say whether the news changes his campaign, but reiterated that he’s been "consistent" as a "pro-choice pastor." He also warned of "far-reaching implications" of a decision for workers and the LGBTQ+ community.

Meanwhile: Leading Republican Senate hopeful Herschel Walker reiterated his anti-abortion stance on social media.

  • “As a Christian and a father, I am pro-life, and Senator Warnock is not,” he said. “There are many differences between us, this is one of them.”

Of note: Democrats consistently reference polling on the abortion issue to back their case. In a January poll by the AJC, 68% of Georgians did not support the reversal of Roe.


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