Midterm Elections Create New Opportunities to Advance Reproductive Freedom and New Checks on Efforts to Rollback Abortion Rights and Access

November 7, 2018
Contact: Marisa Rodriguez, [email protected], 956-607-9952

NIRH Action Fund Applauds Partners in States Around the Country Whose Victories Have Created Opportunities to Protect Abortion Access

Governors’ Races and State Legislative Chamber Flips in Key States Bode Well for Future of Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

New York – Against the back drop of a newly elected U.S. House of Representatives that now supports reproductive health, comprised of more women and people of color than ever before, the midterm election also ushered in similar state-level victories that will enable advocates to secure new protections for reproductive health, rights, and justice. The National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund (NIRH-AF) has partnered and worked closely with state-based organizations around the country, including in New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Delaware, to secure election night victories that ensure those states are now or can continue to be poised to lead the way on abortion rights and access. These victories represent an imperative – and what the nation needs – in the wake of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The victory of candidates from Delaware to Oregon is a sharp rebuke of the Trump Administration’s concerted campaign to eviscerate reproductive rights and represents the start of a significant sea change in the way voters are holding candidates accountable on their views on reproductive freedom,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund. “This election proves that voters want candidates to be clear on where they stand and, from coast to coast – in red, purple, and blue states – candidates ran and won by vocalizing their support for access to reproductive health care, including abortion.”

NIRH Action Fund is especially proud of its investments and partnerships across the country that yielded a variety of victories for reproductive freedom. These include:

  • New York flipped its state Senate to a decisive pro-choice majority, solidifying a state government fully supportive of abortion rights and access for the first time in decades, paving the way for passage of state-level protections early in the next legislative session.
  • Oregon voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have withheld abortion coverage from public employees and those eligible for Medicaid, while electing key statehouse champions and their current pro-choice Governor.
  • New Mexico elected the most diverse and women-centric ballot the state has ever seen, including new legislative champions who will be important allies to their newly elected pro-choice Governor.
  • Massachusetts voters jettisoned the state’s most vociferously anti-choice member of their House of Representatives, building on their legislature’s historic vote to decriminalize abortion in the Commonwealth.
  • Delaware voters rewarded legislators who repealed their criminal abortion ban with re-election, while adding new allies to their ranks.

We applaud our partners in these states:  NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware, Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico, and Strong Families New Mexico.

The NIRH Action Fund is also heartened by victories in Governors’ races in states such as Connecticut, Kansas, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin, and that critical state legislative chambers flipped in Colorado, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. These wins set the stage for both new advances for proactive policy initiatives as well as protection against additional state-level limits on reproductive rights and abortion access.

At the same time, it is clear that there is still more work to be done. The passage of West Virginia Amendment 1 and Alabama Amendment 2 – ballot measures that roll back abortion rights and access – is further evidence that advocacy at the state and local level has never been more important.

“Despite some heartbreaking losses after hard-fought campaigns, NIRH and the Action Fund remain committed to expanding reproductive freedom around the country, regardless of the political makeup of any given state,” Miller continued. “Arm in arm with our partners around the country who are committed to advancing health, rights, and justice, we will continue fighting to guarantee that every person has the right and ability to access quality reproductive health care, including abortion.”


The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) builds power at the state and local levels to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.

The NIRH Action Fund conducts nonpartisan advocacy and electoral engagement to advance reproductive freedom in states and cities across the country.