There was something unusual about the governor of Alabama signing into law legislation that severely restricts access to abortions in that state. It’s not unusual that the bill passed in both chambers of the heavily Republican state or that the Republican governor then made it law.
What’s unusual is that the final approval of the bill was done by a woman, Gov. Kay Ivey (R). To that point, it was mostly Republican men who’d pushed the bill forward.
We looked at vote tallies for antiabortion laws in three states, assessing how many men and women in each party supported the measures. In Alabama, there were enough votes from Republican men alone to pass the bill in both the state House and Senate. Alabama is unusual though: Because a number of legislators in the state House declined to vote on the bill that they opposed, twice as many women voted for it as against it.
Early on Thursday morning, the Missouri Senate passed a bill that passed the state House back in February. (The measure will now return to the lower chamber for final passage.) In that state, once again, there were enough votes from Republican men to carry the day in both chambers of the legislature. Unlike Alabama, about as many women voted for the law (all Republican) as against it.
Missouri was also unusual because several Democratic men joined the majority in passing the law. Generally, party is a much better predictor of votes on these bills than gender, but there are still defectors.
Consider Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a “heartbeat” bill into law last week. Again, the vast majority of votes to pass the legislation came from Republican men. In Georgia, though, a state that’s less robustly Republican, five Republicans defected from their party to oppose the legislation — including two women. (One Democratic man voted for it.)
In total, the laws passed by a margin of 367-154 in the six chambers we looked at. Of those 367 votes, 322 came from men, 318 of them Republican. In other words, 7-of-8 votes in support came from men, nearly all of them Republican.
Of the 154 votes against, 79 came from women — more than half.
A large part of that discrepancy comes from the fact that far more women who are in the legislature in these states were elected as Democrats. In Georgia, for example, three-quarters of the women in the House and Senate are Democrats.
Ivey, Alabama’s governor, wasn’t elected to her current position. She became governor in 2017 after the sitting governor resigned for using state money to cover up an affair. Ivey’s predecessor was a man.