Abortion: In the days and weeks prior to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, we began to see an influx in campaign ads focused on protecting the right to an abortion, and now that the court's far-right majority has stripped that right away, Democrats have continued to focus on the topic at all levels of the ballot.
The issue may be most salient at the state level, where Democrats have the chance to strengthen abortion rights or block Republican attempts to eliminate them. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, for instance, touts legislation he recently signed into law as Roe's demise loomed ever nearer. The ad begins with news clips announcing the ruling, followed by Lamont's own narration. "Women deserve the right to make their own decisions about their health care, and about when they want to start a family," says Lamont. "That's why we enacted the strongest protections for a woman's right to choose in the country."
Lamont's claim is in fact well-supported: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern said the bill "would transform Connecticut into a sanctuary for legal abortion" (in an article very much worth reading) and called it "the gold standard for pro-choice legislation in the post-Roe era." The governor's likely Republican opponent, Bob Stefanowski, has refused to publicly say whether he supports or opposes the measure, even though his own running mate voted for it.
Democrats running for Congress are of course stressing abortion as well. Washington Sen. Patty Murray's newest ad features an OB-GYN who warns, "You think women's reproductive health care is safe here in Washington? Not with Mitch McConnell's handpicked candidate in the U.S. Senate, Tiffany Smiley." Listeners then hear a clip of Smiley saying, "I am 100% pro-life," after which the physician accurately says Smiley's "first vote will be to make Mitch McConnell majority leader, and they will work to ban abortions nationwide." (In a separate direct-to-camera spot, Murray blasts the Supreme Court ruling and says, "I won't stop fighting until we guarantee reproductive freedom for every American.")
Similarly, Rep. Susie Lee, who represents Nevada's 3rd District, is reportedly spending $500,000 on a new ad attacking her Republican challenger, April Becker. Again noting the Supreme Court's decision, Lee's narrator slams Becker for being endorsed by Nevada Right to Life, which she says "wants to make all abortion illegal—no exceptions." By contrast, the voiceover concludes, Lee is backed by Planned Parenthood and "will protect our right to choose, always."
Notably, in all three of these cases, these ads are targeted toward the general election. And though Connecticut and New York are both blue states, Lamont beat Stefanowski by just 3 points during their first matchup in 2018—despite the blue wave—while Murray survived a scare the last time she faced re-election during a strong GOP year, winning by just 5 points in 2010. Lee, meanwhile, represents swingy turf in the Las Vegas area that would have backed Joe Biden by a close 52-46 margin.
The question now, though, is whether Democrats will continue to press hard on abortion rights for the remaining four-and-a-half months between now and Election Day.