ACLU Statement on Reproductive Freedom Victories in the 2023 Elections

November 7, 2023 9:30 pm

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NEW YORK — Voters across the country showed up at the polls today to support the right to abortion and create critical protections for women and pregnant people to make the best decisions for themselves during pregnancy. In Ohio, voters overwhelmingly passed Issue 1 to enshrine a right to reproductive freedom, including access to abortion, contraceptives, and miscarriage care, in the state constitution. In Virginia, by electing a pro-abortion rights majority in the state Senate, voters repudiated an attempt to pass a 15-week abortion ban.

Statement from Deirdre Schifeling, chief political and advocacy officer, American Civil Liberties Union:

“Tonight’s elections are a critical victory for reproductive freedom. From Ohio to Virginia and Pennsylvania, voters across the political spectrum once again sent the clear message that politicians won’t get away with passing abortion bans and denying people access to essential health care. The passage of a state constitutional amendment to protect the right to reproductive freedom in Ohio demonstrates the broad support for abortion care. Knowing how deeply unpopular their agenda is in Ohio, anti-abortion politicians worked at every turn to lie and deceive voters and even tried to prevent them from having a voice. Thankfully, Ohioans saw through these tricks and turned out in droves to vote to protect abortion.

“The ACLU was proud to play a key role in the Ohio campaign from the early exploration process to being deeply embedded in every facet of the strategy and operations through Election Day. And 0ur work with our affiliate in Virginia ensured voters weighed in to protect abortion access and reject an abortion ban. Building on this year’s success, we will continue to use the full force of our organization to support advocates across the country in finding the best paths forward to restore abortion rights in their states — and pass federal protections for abortion to put an end to extreme bans once and for all.”

In Ohio, voters approved a state constitutional amendment to end an extreme abortion ban and ensure Ohioans have the right to make their own decisions about pregnancy, including abortion, birth control, and miscarriage care. The ACLU has played a key role in the undefeated streak for abortion ballot measures since Roe was overturned, including in Ohio where we were deeply involved in supporting the ballot measure at every step, from the exploration phase through getting out the vote.

  • The ACLU, as well as the ACLU of Ohio and other ACLU affiliates, collectively invested more than $6 million to support the ballot measure in Ohio and provided strategic expertise across different areas of the campaign, including around organizing, policy, and communications.
  • The ACLU mobilized supporters from across the country to call voters in Ohio and deployed more than 50 ACLU and ACLU affiliate staff members from across the country to help get out the vote in Ohio in the lead up to Election Day.

In Virginia, voters delivered a key majority in the state Senate to protect reproductive freedom and stop bans on abortion. Now, there will continue to be a critical firewall to efforts by anti-abortion politicians to pass an extreme abortion ban in the last southern state with access to care.

  • The ACLU spent more than $1 million on direct mail and digital ads to educate voters on candidates’ stances on abortion in five key Senate districts and six House districts.
  • In addition, the ACLU of Virginia also organized volunteer events in Henrico and Virginia Beach to mobilize supporters.

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