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Alabamian Marilyn Lands Wins a Victory for Women's Rights

Don’t Mess With Women’s Rights, Abortion or IVF—Congratulations Marilyn Lands! –April 7, 2024


               In the June 24, 2022 “Dobbs” opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court, as we all know, overturned the 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision which gave women the choice or right to have an abortion. In that awful ruling, however, the High Court stated that “Dobbs” was not deciding whether other methods women used for conception or contraception were affected by “Dobbs’” reversal of “Roe.” Did any reasonable person really believe that the zealous anti-choice advocates would be satisfied with this decision? Did they think that such rabid anti-choice believers would leave what women do in their bedrooms with their partners alone, or continue, instead, to hack away at how women chose to conceive or not conceive? If anyone thought that the anti-choice group would just rejoice in their “victory” and “fold up shop,” they were beyond naïve and should have bought a bridge in Kings County, New York dirt cheap right then. Following the “Dobbs” decision, many other states tightened or passed stringent anti-abortion laws. Instead of removing the abortion issue from American politics, the High Court tossed this “hot button” matter right back to the states. With 50 states now involved and national and state politicians being forced to take sides, abortion became a raging political wildfire. Most GOPers backed restricting abortion in any way possible, while most Democrats, including President Biden, adopted the pro-choice position and often stood up for codifying the “Roe” decision into national law. Presidential party platforms and nominees as well as down-ticket races made abortion rights or the lack of them a litmus test for candidates. Even special elections called to replace retiring or resigning state and national politicians put abortion rights at the forefront. In addition to abortion, some anti-choice fanatics are now pushing for banning IVF or in-vitro fertilization. In that procedure, multiple embryos are created but are implanted into a woman who wants to conceive only one at a time. The non-implanted embryos are indefinitely frozen or sometimes destroyed, which anti-choice groups label an act of “murder” like abortion (See, Astor, M., 3/27/24). In Alabama, abortion has been banned at all stages of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape and incest. In February, 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos were people with rights, which upended IVF in AL, and gave anti-choice groups in other states a way to limit a women’s right to conceive (See, 3/27/24).


         On March 26, 2024, in a special election in heavily GOP AL, aptly nicknamed “The Heart of Dixie,” Democrat Marilyn Lands defeated her GOP rival for a seat in the AL State House (, Astor, 3/27/24). Let’s look at who Lands is, what issues she used, and the national implications of this race.


          Pontiac, Michigan native Marilyn Lands (65) was raised in Huntsville, AL. Her father worked for NASA. After graduating from Virgil I. Grissom High School in 1976, Lands earned her Bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a Master’s degree at the same school. Lands attended Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University where she studied Counseling Psychology.  She began her career as a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor. She later worked in aerospace and banking for several years, before entering politics ( On March 26, 2024, in a landslide election in “dripping Red” AL, Lands clobbered her GOP opponent, Madison City Council member Teddy Powell, who had once worked as a Defense Department Budget Analyst. With all precincts reporting, Lands took 63% of the vote to Powell’s 37% to win a seat in the AL House of Representatives. The AL 10th House District (HD) is no safe “Team Blue” area. In 2020, Donald carried this HD by a 49%-48% spread, even after these voters had seen how he had behaved in the Oval Office for nearly four years. In 2022, GOPer David Cole defeated Lands in a contest for the AL 10th HD by a seven- point margin, 52%-45% (, Richards, Z., 3/26/24, The 2024 special election was being held because Cole resigned and pled guilty to voter fraud (, Astor, M., 3/27/24). Lands swept nearly every area in the HD 10th winning by 26 points, more than former U.S. Democratic Senator Doug Jones’ 23 point spread in 2017. In Jones’ election, the AL HD 10th went against its normal Republican voting habits only because the GOP candidate, former AL Supreme Ct. Justice Roy Moore, was a pervert who pursued teenage girls. 


          So how did Lands win this normally suburban GOP Southern area? She made her campaign all about protecting women’s reproductive rights. She campaigned on access to abortion which AL has banned and protecting IVF (in-vitro fertilization). Lands hit hard at AL’s anti-abortion law that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Ct. struck down “Roe v. Wade.” She also argued that the AL law that passed the legislature and was signed by GOP Gov. Kay Ivey did not protect couples who wanted to use in-vitro fertilization. This law only protected clinics from liability for using this procedure, and, therefore, did not overturn the recent AL Supreme Ct. decision that frozen embryos were “people with rights (See, Richards).” And politicians who often are successful make issues personal. In the area of protecting reproductive rights, Lands did just that. In her campaign, she spoke about the fact that she was able to obtain an abortion 20 years ago because “Roe” was then the law of the land. She needed this abortion because of a catastrophic fetal diagnosis (See


           And how did her GOP opponent Teddy Powell handle female reproductive rights? He didn’t. He focused on issues like infrastructure and downplayed the importance of reproductive rights. Powell told “Politico,” “It’s certainly an issue that needs to be dealt with, but not our top issue. I don’t think that this is the issue that wins or loses the race.”  How utterly wrong Powell was! If reproductive rights was a key winner in “Dripping Red” AL, which Lands’ win demonstrated it was, it will be an even bigger one in swing and “Blue” States that Democrats can use against GOPers in November, 2024.


              After her victory, Lands declared, “Today, Alabama women and families sent a clear message that will be heard in Montgomery and across the nation. Our legislature must repeal Alabama’s no-exceptions abortion ban, fully restore access to IVF, and protect the right to contraception.” The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), which supported Lands’ candidacy, spread Lands’ victory statement across the country (, Richards, 3/26/24). DNC, Democratic National Committee Chair, Jaime Harrison, noted that Lands’ special election victory, “the first since the devastating decision by the Alabama Supreme Court that stopped IVF was a referendum on MAGA Republicans’ out-of-touch extremism on reproductive rights. Marilyn Lands’ victory demonstrates that voters aren’t going to sit idly by while MAGA Republicans lay the groundwork for a national abortion ban (DNC Statement, 3/27/24).” The Biden White House additionally took notice of Lands’ key special election win. Biden-Harris Campaign Manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez noted that Lands’ victory in Alabama should be a “major warning sign” to Donald Trump after the Democrat (Lands) made the state Supreme Court’s controversial in-vitro fertilization ruling a cornerstone of her successful campaign Tuesday in flipping a state House seat from “Red” to “Blue.” Chavez Rodriguez added that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, made possible by Trump nominating three conservative justices, paved the way “for attacks on women’s freedom like we saw in Alabama.” She further noted, “Tonight’s results should serve as a major warning sign for Trump: voters will not stand for his attacks on reproductive health care. This November will be no different (Koplowitz, H.,, 3/26/24).”


                  In his most recent State of the Union Address, President Biden noted that when the Supreme Court overturned “Roe v. Wade,” that institution noted that “Women are not without electoral or political power.” Biden then added, “Clearly those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women in America.” Translation: Don’t mess with women’s reproductive rights. Biden then promised, “If you the American people send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you, I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again (, State of Union 2024 Address).”


                   With these comments about abortion in his State of the Union speech, President Biden is betting heavily that a backlash to the GOP’s success in overturning “Roe v. Wade” and other attempts to restrict women’s reproductive rights will yield a Democratic House, add more Democratic Senators, and help re-elect him as well (See, biden/state-union-key takeaways-biden -address). Everywhere reproductive rights have already been an issue, including in “Red” Kansas and “swingy” Ohio, GOPers have come up on the short end. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 4 million births per year in the U.S. are via IVF.  An overwhelming majority of Americans, 86%, support keeping IVF legal. This survey was taken less than two weeks after the AL Supreme Ct’s decision calling frozen embryos and fertilized eggs “children” under state law and subject to legislation related to the wrongful death of a minor. In an Axios /Ipsos Poll, about 66% disagree with the AL ruling, with 45% strongly opposed to this decision (, 3/04/24, Nazzaro, M.) Although Lands’ victory does not change the anti-choice outlook in the AL legislature where the GOP easily holds both state houses, the Lands election sends a message to Democrats nationwide to emphasize women’s rights as a strong issue in Campaign 2024.  Democrats must continue to be the pro-choice party, while GOPers contort themselves into pretzel fashion over IVF and being anti-choice. Democrats and moderates must vote in droves plus in November, 2024 to protect women’s rights.    










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