Our subject line is no exaggeration. Ahead of the 49th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Saturday, and with the future of abortion rights at risk in the courts, the impact of governors on Americans’ ability to access reproductive health care is at an all-time high. If Roe is overturned, it will be up to governors to either secure Americans’ right to reproductive justice — or pass Texas-style laws that restrict their constituents’ economic, medical, and personal freedoms and right to privacy.
While for years, Republicans have made it clear that they are dedicated — no matter how unpopular, undemocratic, and dangerous it may be — to overturning Roe v. Wade and banning abortion across the country, 2022 gubernatorial candidates from Arizona to Pennsylvania have united around an anti-choice platform so extreme it risks endangering the support of their own voters.
“Republican candidates for governor are running on a far-right platform that would have been unthinkably radical just years ago,” said Alexandra De Luca, spokesperson for American Bridge 21st Century. “They are openly bragging that as governors, they will support forcing a pregnant person to give birth, even if their health is at risk, and even if they’re the victims of rape or incest. They want to turn friendly neighbors into government enforcers. There is no more moderation in the Republican Party, especially as far as this class of candidates is concerned. They are full-fledged extremists.”
In Nevada, the alleged “moderate” choice in the race, former Senator Dean Heller, said he admired Texas’ SB8 and that he wants “the most conservative pro-life laws enacted in the state of Nevada” — despite the fact that the right to abortion before 24 weeks is affirmed under the state constitution.
Across the state line in Arizona, frontrunner and conspiracy theorist Kari Lake called for a “carbon copy” of the Texas law — which does not include exceptions for rape or incest — and said falsely that in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court “engaged in legislative policymaking and fabricated a right to an abortion.” One of her primary opponents, failed statewide candidate Matt Salmon, has also said he loves the Texas bill.
In Michigan, where a nearly-century-old law that makes providing an abortion a felony will be re-instated should Roe be overturned, gubernatorial candidate James Craig said in a secret recording that as governor, he would block any attempts by the democratically-elected legislature to protect reproductive rights. Again, he is not alone. Once-fringe positions are mainstream. Tudor Dixon has said outright that she would refuse to allow an abortion procedure even if the pregnant person would die without one — a disturbing and increasingly popular opinion among Republican candidates.
Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Rebecca Kleefisch spent her time as Scott Walker’s LG working to pass an unpopular abortion ban, which has made performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to three and a half years in prison. She supports banning abortion before most people know they are pregnant. Her likely opponent, Kevin Nicholson, confirmed that he supports banning abortion in all cases, including in cases of rape and incest.
Georgia candidates Brian Kemp and David Perdue are busy squabbling with one another about their perceived differences, but Kemp’s attempted unconstitutional ban — which was later struck down by the courts — is not one of them. They are in complete agreement.
Lastly, in Pennsylvania, the enormous field of a dozen candidates are unified on one thing: Their support for Texas-style abortions bans in the Commonwealth. Doug Mastriano introduced a very similar six-week ban in the legislature; as governor, he could use the Republican-dominated legislature to pass that bill immediately. So would the rest of them.