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Recently, a draft of the U.S. Supreme Court’s initial majority opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization revealed a decision to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent.
The draft was unexpected, but its contents were not surprising. And then Senate Republicans again struck down the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill which would have codified Roe and protected abortion rights.
Pro-choice supporters demonstrate at the state Capitol on April 13, 2022, in Frankfort, Kentucky, as lawmakers debate overriding the governor’s veto of an abortion measure. (AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner, File)
For a minority of Americans, this might all feel like steps in the right direction, but for the majority of Americans, this is a time of uncertainty and fear. Yes, right now, abortion is still legal, but Republicans are playing a dangerous game with the fundamental rights of all Americans, and they must be stopped. Here’s why.
Denying people the right to decide when or whether they should start a family isn’t about religious beliefs or morality, it’s about power and control. And Republicans are going to the extreme.
There was a time when some Republican lawmakers did believe in the right of people to control their own bodies, but others have simply ignored an almost 50-year constitutional right.
Republican lawmakers have been working to limit abortion access state by state, law by law, with the goal of criminalizing abortion and punishing those who get one. This year alone, anti-choice lawmakers have passed more than 500 restrictions on abortion care.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, 26 states are poised to take action to prohibit abortion affecting 36 million women of reproductive age. This will disproportionately impact communities already affected by abortion bans and restrictions, including people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and low-income communities.
Secondly, Republicans must be stopped because they will not stop at banning abortion, which by the way, won’t stop abortions. They have signaled and have started to attack the ways in which many women prevent unintended pregnancy.
In the wake of the SCOTUS leak and the failed WHPA vote, Republicans in states across the country have suggested bans on restricting birth control.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves refused to rule out the possibility that his state would ban certain forms of contraception. He avoided questions about what would happen next if Roe v. Wade is overturned, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that limiting access to contraceptives isn’t what Mississippi policymakers are focused on “at this time.”
Rep. Brent Crane of Idaho confirmed he would hold hearings to consider banning IUDs and the contraceptive pill Plan B.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee recently denounced Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 case that struck down a state law that restricted married couples’ access to birth control. And each of the Republican candidates running for state attorney general in Michigan also denounced the Griswold precedent.
Republican legislators in Louisiana are working on an abortion ban that would “arguably criminalize in vitro fertilization and forms of birth control.”
So while Republicans continue to move further and further away from the majority of Americans who don’t want to see their fundamental right to abortion taken away, Democrats who are pro-choice will continue to protect these fundamental rights because Americans have been clear: they overwhelmingly support reproductive freedom.
EMILY’s List will continue to fight to elect Democrat pro-choice women at all levels of government. And for this reason, we have joined with Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL on a massive electoral push to collectively spend $150 million on the 2022 midterms for a public education campaign that combats dangerous, unprecedented attacks on abortion rights across the country.
And for those Republican lawmakers who have taken up the banner of being “pro-life,” why won’t they indeed protect and care about life by expanding health care, child care, and paid family leave in their states?
Why won’t they address the fact that the United States has the highest maternal death rate in the developed world, which disproportionately impacts Black women. The U.S. also has a high infant mortality rate.
When asked repeatedly to support programs that would reduce the likelihood of unintended pregnancies and improve maternal and infant health, again and again, Republican politicians have refused.
Democrat pro-choice women leaders all over this country are protecting and have pledged to protect our rights – from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is suing the state to prevent the reinstatement of a pre-Roe Michigan ban to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who recently announced new legislation to establish a state program that would provide financial resources to abortion providers in New York to Nan Whaley, who’s running to be governor in Ohio, and has promised to block any laws that might lessen a woman’s freedoms.
Ending abortion rights won’t eliminate abortions. Banning and restricting access to it will make it harder and more dangerous for people who seek these services. And as an American, I’d much rather have people in office who protect my rights rather than abuse them to gain power.