A sobering assessment from Religion News Service: 

If there was one clear winner in the November midterms, it was abortion rights.

Five months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which granted women a right to an abortion, voters across the country Tuesday (Nov. 8) clearly signaled their displeasure, both through ballot measures and through Democratic wins.

In California, Vermont and Michigan, voters approved ballot measures enshrining abortion rights into their state constitutions. In the traditionally red states of Montana and Kentucky, voters appeared to reject measures that would have restricted access to reproductive care. (Montana’s “born alive” measure had not yet been called as of Wednesday afternoon but appeared headed toward defeat with 82% of the vote in.)

Abortion rights also appears to have played a role in staving off a projected “red wave” of Republican victories. Just prior to the midterms, pundits predicted abortion might not be as galvanizing an issue for Democrats, for whom abortion rights has been a key plank. Those predictions proved wrong.

Several governors’ contests, including in Pennsylvania and Michigan, which Democrats Josh Shapiro and Gretchen Whitmer won, were seen as pivotal for abortion rights. Abortion was a top concern for voters in those states.

In North Carolina, Republicans failed to win a veto-proof legislative supermajority, ensuring that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will continue to have the power to block abortion restrictions.

Concern about abortion ranked No. 2 among the issues driving voters to the polls, according to exit polls, with 27% of voters saying it “mattered most” in casting their ballot. (Inflation was No. 1, with 31% of Republicans and Democrats saying it was the issue most on their minds.) That same exit poll showed 60% of midterm voters think abortion should be legal.

Read more.