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On the 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, State Legislatures Remain on the Frontlines of Protecting Abortion Access

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WASHINGTON– Monday, January 22 marks the 51st anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe. v Wade, which protected the constitutional right to abortion access until it was overturned by a majority Republican-appointed Supreme Court in 2022.

Dobbs v. Jackson reverted the decision around abortion access to the states, overturning Roe and paving the way for 24 state legislatures to pass restrictive, draconian, anti-abortion legislation. The reversal of Roe was a political earthquake that created a patchwork of state regulations, ultimately stripping millions of people of their reproductive freedom and creating life-or-death challenges for patients across the country. 

With this in mind, the split screen of reproductive freedoms pursued by state Democrats versus state Republicans couldn’t be starker. Every single state with a Democratic-controlled legislature has taken steps to protect or expand reproductive rights.

Democratic leaders in Michigan and Minnesota have protected abortion access in state law, while Republican lawmakers across the country have been hellbent on banning abortion access – going so far as to introduce a 15-day abortion ban in New Hampshire and allowing homicide charges for people who have abortions in Missouri. Voters across the country have made clear they want their fundamental freedoms protected, and building Democratic power in the states is the only path to guaranteeing those rights in a post-Roe reality. 

With all of this being said, one point remains clear: State legislatures are on the front lines of the fight for abortion access. 

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Heather Williams issued the following statement:

“Overturning Roe opened the floodgates of Republicans’ crusade against reproductive freedom, with state legislatures emerging as the number one battleground. Americans across the country are now facing life-or-death situations in Republican states that have criminalized and banned abortions. By sending decisions over reproductive freedoms down to the states, Supreme Court justices have placed access to life-saving care in the hands of everyday state legislators – underscoring how important winning at the state legislative level is for Democrats in 2024. 

“Abortion is on the ballot again in 2024, and state legislative races are the most important level of the ballot to protect this fundamental freedom. In a post-Roe world, we must be all hands on deck in building Democratic power in states to stop the onslaught of attacks on reproductive freedoms.”  

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is the official Democratic Party committee dedicated to winning America’s state legislatures and building state infrastructure. Over the last decade, we have fought cycle-over-cycle to gain a dozen new legislative chamber majorities and we are leading the effort to bring national attention and investment to our ballot level. State legislatures are the building blocks of our democracy and have the closest connections to Americans’ day-to-day lives. From protecting fundamental freedoms and voting rights to growing the middle class, the DLCC and state legislators are moving the Democratic agenda forward and shaping the future of this country.

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