House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning colleagues in a new letter that Republicans will push to ‘criminalize’ abortion – with contraception and in vitro fertilization under threat following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion.
‘Republicans have made clear that their goal will be to seek to criminalize abortion nationwide,’ Pelosi wrote in a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter – as Democrats are facing pressure from their own base of supporters to push back with abortion rights under threat.
‘Republican state legislators across the country are already advancing extreme new laws, seeking to arrest doctors for offering reproductive care, ban abortion entirely with no exceptions, and even charge women with murder who exercise their right to choose,’ Pelosi wrote. ‘These draconian measures could even criminalize contraceptive care, in vitro fertilization and post-miscarriage care, dragging our nation back to a dark time decades into the past.’
‘Make no mistake: once Republicans have dispensed with precedent and privacy in overturning Roe, they will take aim at additional basic human rights. At this pivotal moment, the stakes for women – and every American – could not be higher,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote colleages
She called the draft leak the ‘culmination of Republicans’ decades-long crusade against women’s fundamental freedoms.’
And she cautioned that Republicans will keep pushing for other long-held policy goals, after portions of Justice Antonin Scalia’s draft opinion appeared to show efforts to narrow the ruling to striking Roe v. Wade.
‘Make no mistake: once Republicans have dispensed with precedent and privacy in overturning Roe, they will take aim at additional basic human rights. At this pivotal moment, the stakes for women – and every American – could not be higher,’ Pelosi wrote.
‘It is urgent and essential that we remain disciplined and focused in sharing with the American people the dangers of the Republican agenda. While Republicans want to punish and control women for exercising their constitutional rights, Democrats believe that a woman’s health decisions are her own – and we will fight relentlessly to enshrine Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.’
Pelosi’s salvo comes after Sen. Amy Klobuchar questioned if women want Texas Senator Ted Cruz making their healthcare decisions in lashing out against Republicans who support the overturn of Roe v. Wade following the leaked draft opinion.
The criticism from the Minnesota senator comes as Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer prepared to file cloture Monday and bring a floor vote on codifying the landmark abortion case on Wednesday.
Democrats do not have the votes to overcome a filibuster on the matter and moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin already rejected in February a previous version of an abortion protection bill.
‘With this leaked opinion, the court is looking at reversing 50 years of women’s rights and the fall will be swift. Over 20 states have laws in place already,’ Senator Klobuchar told ABC’s This Week host Martha Raddatz on Sunday. ‘I think the question that voters are going to be asking when 75 percent of people are with us on this, is who should make this decision?’
‘Should it be a woman and her doctor or a politician?’ she posed. ‘Should it be Ted Cruz making this decision or a woman and her family? Where are women’s equal rights?’
Schumer, although aware that he doesn’t have the votes to codify Roe v. Wade into law, said Sunday that he wants to put every senator on record on where they stand on abortion.
Most, however, have not been shy about sharing their stance.
‘I’m standing with elected officials and women’s rights advocates in NY because the Supreme Court’s reported decision is an abomination,’ Senator Schumer tweeted on Sunday along with an image of pro-abortion activists and officials holding signs.
‘The Senate will vote this week on the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect abortion rights,’ Schumer previewed. ‘We will see where every single senator stands.’
Senator Amy Klobuchar questioned Sunday if women want Texas Senator Ted Cruz making healthcare decisions for them as Democrats lashed out at draft Supreme Court opinion that overturns Roe v. Wade
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer posted an image Sunday showing him at a pro-choice event with elected officials and pro-abortion advocates pushing for Congress to codify the 50-year-old landmark abortion rights case
Schumer said he will bring a vote on abortion to the Senate floor on Wednesday after filing cloture on Monday. Although Democrats don’t have the votes to pass abortion legislation right now, he wants to make it so Americans ‘see where every single senator stands’
Klobuchar questioned during her Sunday interview why women’s rights to an abortion should be different from state to state – again, specifically calling out Cruz’s state of Texas.
‘Wouldn’t these laws simply reflect the majority of the people in those states?’ Raddatz questioned.
‘Why should a woman in Texas have different rights and a different future and a different ability to make decisions about her body and her reproductive choices than a woman in Minnesota?’ the senator asked in comparing her state to a deep red one.
‘How can that be in this country, that we’d have a patchwork of laws?’ she continued. ‘It isn’t always easy to… put yourself in someone else’s shoes.’
Republicans, on the other hand, are in favor of giving the powers back to states from the federal government to better reflect the desires of constituents in their red states that want greater restriction on abortion.
WHAT IS ROE V. WADE?
The Roe v. Wade decision nearly 50 years ago recognized that the right to personal privacy under the US Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy.
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court decided that the constitutional right to privacy applied to abortion.
Roe was ‘Jane Roe,’ a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, a single mother pregnant for the third time, who wanted an abortion.
She sued the Dallas attorney general Henry Wade over a Texas law that made it a crime to terminate a pregnancy except in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life was in danger.
Roe’s lawyers said she was unable to travel out of the state to obtain an abortion and argued that the law was too vague and infringed on her constitutional rights.
Filing a complaint alongside her was Texas doctor James Hallford, who argued the law’s medical provision was vague, and that he was unable to reliably determine which of his patients fell into the allowed category.
The ‘Does’, another couple who were childless, also filed a companion complaint, saying that medical risks made it unsafe but not life-threatening for the wife to carry a pregnancy to term, and arguing they should be able to obtain a safe, legal abortion should she become pregnant.
The trio of complaints – from a woman who wanted an abortion, a doctor who wanted to perform them and a non-pregnant woman who wanted the right if the need arose – ultimately reached the nation’s top court.
The court heard arguments twice, and then waited until after Republican president Richard Nixon’s re-election, in November 1972.
Only the following January did it offer its historic seven-to-two decision – overturning the Texas laws and setting a legal precedent that has had ramifications in all 50 states.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell went one step further, suggested that a federal abortion ban is ‘possible’ if the Supreme Court rules to overturn Roe v. Wade and Republicans retake a majority in the November midterm elections.
‘If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies – not only at the state level but at the federal level – certainly could legislate in that area,’ the Kentucky senator told USA Today on Thursday.
‘And if this were the final decision, that was the point that it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process. So yeah, it’s possible.’
New Hampshire Democrat Senator Maggie Hassan, who is up for reelection, blasted out a news release responding to McConnell’s comments.
‘Mitch McConnell is already making it clear that if Republicans retake the Senate majority, they will quickly move to criminalize abortion nationwide and roll back reproductive freedom for women all across this country, including in New Hampshire,’ Hassan said.
McConnell remained cautious when addressing whether Republicans would pass legislation entirely banning abortion if they were to win back the Senate.
Klobuchar admitted that the issue of abortion isn’t likely to lead to a different outcome in the 2022 midterms, claiming voters are more mobilized to go to the ballot box over economic and national security concerns.
Democrats have been calling on President Joe Biden to try and enact such a law ahead of the November elections, which pundits predict will see his party face a wipeout at the hands of the GOP.
‘With regard to the abortion issue, I think it’s pretty clear where Senate Republicans stand,’ McConnell said. ‘And if and when the court makes a final decision, I expect everybody will be more definitive. But I don’t think it’s much secret where Senate Republicans stand on that issue.’
Conservative Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion written in February reveals that the court has voted to strike down the landmark 1973 ruling Rove v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.
The official opinion won’t be released until June.
Five of the six conservative justices signed onto the opinion, with only Chief Justice John Roberts dissenting with the three liberals on the bench. Roberts does, however, support a ban on abortion at the 15-week point of a pregnancy.
The draft opinion, which was published by POLITICO last Monday evening, comes amid nearly 50 years of federal abortion protections and could change before the ruling is finalized in coming weeks.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured at the Capitol on Tuesday) says a federal abortion ban is ‘possible’ if the Supreme Court rules to overturn Roe v. Wade
Democrats have expressed great disapproval of the SCOTUS opinion, alleging overturning Roe v. Wade would be ‘one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history’.
Klobuchar said Sunday that Alito is brining the U.S. all the way back to the 1850s.
‘He actually cites the fact that abortion was criminalized back when the 14th Amendment was adopted,’ she noted of the Justice’s opinion during her ABC interview on Sunday.
President Biden, in a statement issued hours after the leak, said women have a ‘fundamental’ right to an abortion and called on American voters to ‘elect pro-choice officials this November.’
He also pledged the White House would be ‘ready when any ruling is issued.’
Biden reasserted his position after SCOTUS confirmed the draft was authentic late on Tuesday morning, telling reporters it was ‘really quite a radical decision’ and ‘a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence.’
President Joe Biden (pictured in Ohio on Friday), in a statement issued hours after the leak, said women have a ‘fundamental’ right to an abortion and called on American voters to ‘elect pro-choice officials this November’
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) issued a joint statement alleging the ‘Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years’
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday issued a joint statement addressing abortion rights.
‘If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans,’ the pair penned.
‘The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.’
Schumer then said on Tuesday he would force a vote this upcoming week to codify Roe v. Wade.
‘A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets. We’ll vote to protect a women’s right to choose,’ he tweeted.
However, analysts predict the vote will fall short because the measure doesn’t have the necessary 60 votes to advance. Regardless, Democrats remain eager to get the GOP’s votes on record ahead of the midterms, likely to further their efforts to sway Americans to vote blue.
Similarly, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a statement Saturday citing McConnell’s USA Today interview in an effort to fire up its base.
‘Mitch McConnell confirmed what voters have long known: Republicans will use every tool they can, from the courts to Congress, to make abortion illegal everywhere and strip away a woman’s right to make our own decisions,’ the statement read.
‘For voters, the stakes of protecting and expanding our Democratic Senate majority in 2022 have never been higher.’
Abortion-rights protesters hold signs during demonstration outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday
Anti-abortion protesters hold a demonstration across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday
Meanwhile, abortion rights protesters rallied across the U.S. on Saturday, vowing to fight to ensure that abortion remains a legal option for women nationwide.
In the nation’s capital, abortion rights protesters stood outside the Supreme Court, holding signs that said abortion is a human right, or ‘Abort the Court.’
Protesters who opposed abortion demonstrated across the street.
In Maryland, demonstrators rallied outside the homes of conservative Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, shouting ‘you don’t care if people die’ and ‘keep abortion safe and legal.’
Liberal group ShutDown D.C. already plans to host a ‘Vigil for Abortion Rights’ outside of Justice Alito’s house on Monday.
Next Saturday, America is expecting a ‘massive’ day of action with nationwide rallies organized by Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, Women’s March and MoveOn.
The protest, dubbed Bans Off Our Bodies, will feature marches in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C., as well as hundreds of demonstrations in other cities across the U.S.
Demonstrator Hannah Yost shares personal testimony on Thursday as she rallies with other people for abortion rights after an anti-climb protective fence was installed outside of the U.S. Supreme Court building in D.C.
Police surround an anti-abortion demonstrator on Wednesday as abortion-rights advocates protest outside the Supreme Court Building in D.C.
Demonstrators in support of reproductive rights protest outside of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland on Saturday
Protesters gathered outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house on Saturday, screaming: ‘We will not go back!’
Furious pro-choice protesters screamed ‘you don’t care if people die’ while picketing the house of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday
The leaked draft was written by Justice Samuel Alito, one of the six justices appointed by a Republican president who sit on the court, and repudiated both Roe v Wade and the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs Casey Decision.
If and when the draft is made final, the decision removes the federal right to abortion in America, leaving it up to elected officials in each state to decide whether or not women should have access to abortions.
Twenty-six states are likely to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is formally overturned, essentially outlawing abortion in more than half of the country. Eighteen states already have restrictive abortion laws in place.
The news sent shock waves throughout Washington D.C. with Democrats vowing to codify the legal right to an abortion into law and Republicans demanding an investigation into the leak, claiming it was done to try and influence the high court ahead of its formal ruling.
Perhaps anticipating backlash, the Supreme Court building initially was barricaded Monday night before being watched by security.
Protesters eventually headed toward the gates in large numbers, with some standing up and chanting, while others sat outside the building and lit candles in silence. A small number of counter-protesters also gathered.
‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,’ Alito writes in the draft opinion, which was crafted in February and circulated among the court members. ‘We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,’ he continues in the document, titled ‘Opinion of the Court.’
‘It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.’
Aside from Alito, four other judges voted in favor of overturning the law: Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom were nominated by Republican presidents.
This is also the first such case in modern history of a Supreme Court draft decision being leaked to the public while the case was still pending.
Sometimes drafts are circulated by one justice in the hopes of swaying fellow judges but this is believed to be the first time a draft has been leaked.
A draft is not final until the court formally announces its decision in a case, meaning the ruling could be changed. The court is expected to issue its final ruling before its term is up in late June or early July.
Republican appointed-Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett all voted to strike down Roe with Samuel Alito
The beginning of the original leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito