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As Republicans celebrate end of Roe, Democrats vow revenge at polls

For Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, “Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban. “They cannot be allowed to have majority in the Congress to do that. That’s their goal.” Picture: AP

For Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, “Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban. “They cannot be allowed to have majority in the Congress to do that. That’s their goal.” Picture: AP

Published Jun 24, 2022


Washington - Democratic lawmakers and candidates unleashed a torrent of angry, defiant statements on Friday, promising to make abortion rights a decisive issue for voters in November, as Republicans celebrated their victory in a decades-long fight for the Supreme Court to end the constitutional right to an abortion.

Since a draft opinion leaked in early in May indicating that the court was prepared to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, advocates for reproductive rights have looked ahead to the midterm elections as their only chance to have those rights restored.

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Democrats believe that by overturning the landmark decision, the Supreme Court just handed them an issue to mobilise voters, particularly suburban women, in an otherwise difficult political climate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), speaking to reporters shortly after the decision was announced, offered a preview of the Democrats’ campaign message for the next several months.

“The Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban,” she said. “They cannot be allowed to have majority in the Congress to do that. That’s their goal.”

On Capitol Hill, two Democratic women in the House embraced as they saw each other, just minutes after the Supreme Court handed down its decision. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pennsylvania), visibly shaken, didn’t have the words to react when reporters asked, simply saying she’s “devastated”. Madeleine Dean (D-Pennsylvani), in a shaky voice, said she was “horrified”.

“We'll fight it,” Dean said. “This will not apply. We will restore rights for my granddaughters.”

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R- Kentucky), who played the greatest role in shaping the current conservative make-up of the Supreme Court, called the decision “courageous and correct”.

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“This is an historic victory for the constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.

The massive victory for Republicans came in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which asked whether a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi was constitutional.

Senate Majority leader Charles Schumer (D-New York), called the court’s decision “one of the darkest days our country has ever seen”.

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“Millions upon millions of American women are having their rights taken from them by five unelected justices on the extremist Maga court,” he said.

In the opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, he wrote that if women don’t like the decision to give states the power to decide whether to allow abortions, then they should vote.

“Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting and running for office,” he wrote. “Women are not without electoral or political power.”

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Some Democratic candidates for the Senate are urging women to exercise that power at the polls in the fall.

“If there were any doubts left about what’s at stake in this race, it became crystal clear today. The right to an abortion will be on the ballot this November in Pennsylvania,” said John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania.

“The decision to strike down Roe v Wade is downright dangerous and tragic. I’m sick and tired of our basic, fundamental right to privacy being politicised,” said Val Demings, a Florida Democrat running for the Senate.

After the Roe decision, House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), tweeted: “Every unborn child is precious, extraordinary, and worthy of protection. I applaud this historic ruling, which will save countless innocent lives. The court is right to return the power to protect the unborn to the people’s elected representatives in Congress and the states.”

Outside the House floor, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), said, “That’s great! It’s a blessing,” when asked for her reaction to the decision.

“I have prayed for this my whole life,” she added.

A “Washington Post” poll in May found 57% of women say the court should uphold the constitutional right to an abortion while 50% of men say the same. - The Washington Post

The independent on Saturday