On Monday night, Democrats sounded the alarm after Politico published a leaked draft opinion that suggested theready to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade, which enshrines a woman’s right to abortion. Republicans, meanwhile, expressed cautious support.
Polarized reactions indicated that abortion rights will be a key issue in the midterm elections, galvanizing voters from both parties. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court on Monday night shortly after the draft opinion was reported, including a small group that did not support abortion rights.
Even before Monday’s opinion report, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Emily’s List announced a plan to spend $150 million in the 2022 midterm elections to support candidates who would protect abortion rights.
According to tracking by ActBlue, a platform used to raise money for Democrats and progressive organizations, more than $1 million was spent in less than three hours on Monday night after the report.
Lawmakers and officials from both parties have been preparing for a Supreme Court decision on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The court heard arguments on the case in December and is expected to issue an opinion in late June or early July when the period ends. Early draft opinions may change before the final decision is published, and some of the judges may change their minds.
If finalized as written, the draft opinion obtained by Politico would have the high court overturn the 50-year precedent codified by Roe and leave the abortion question to the states. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion without the protections established in Roe v. Wade. Thirteen states have so-called trigger laws that would go into effect almost immediately, others have bans that were on the books before Roe v. Wade or passed restrictions that faced legal challenges.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement Monday night saying that if the Politico report is accurate, the court is prepared to inflict the ” greatest restriction of rights in the last fifty years”.
“The reported votes of the Republican-appointed justices to overturn Roe v. Wade would be considered an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” the statement read. He went on to say that several of the conservative justices had “lied to the United States Senate, trashed the Constitution, and desecrated both the precedent and reputation of the Supreme Court.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who meets with Democrats, responded Monday night to Politico’s report by calling on Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe v. wade, tweeting: “And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there aren’t, we have to end the obstructionism to approve it with 50 votes.”
While the House passed a bill to preserve abortion access ahead of the anticipated Supreme Court decision, the Women’s Health Protection Act was blocked in the Senate in February almost along party lines with the opposition from all Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, said Senate Democrats must be willing to end the filibuster. She also noted that access to abortion would play a critical role in the upcoming elections.
“As we head into the midterm elections, it is absolutely critical that Democrats turn out in record numbers to maintain our majorities. The American people do not support the government interfering with what people do with their own bodies,” Gillibrand said in a statement.
Other Democrats sent tweets, statements and fundraising emails. As Democrats struggle to maintain their 50-50 split Senate majority, several Democrats running to unseat Republicans immediately weighed in.
“This terrifying news and Washington’s failure to remove filibuster and codify Roe v. Wade to protect our rights has shown us exactly what is at stake, and it is more urgent than ever that we elect leaders who defend our fundamental freedoms in the US Senate,” said US Senate candidate Cheri Beasley, who is running in North Carolina.
The Democratic National Committee issued a statement: “Make no mistake: reproductive rights will be on the ballot and this midterm election is more important now than ever.”
If Roe v. Wade and abortion is left to the states, Democratic governors vowed Monday night to protect women’s abortion rights. Gov. Gavin Newsom said California was proposing an amendment to “build a firewall” around abortion rights in the state constitution.
But while Democrats expressed outrage over Politico’s report on the draft opinion, some Republican responses were more measured.
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas called at the Supreme Court and Department of Justice to “get to the bottom of this leak immediately using all necessary investigative tools” in a tweet. He also called Roe “grossly wrong from the start”.
Others expressed support Monday night for the reported opinion itself. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri called it “a great opinion” and “morally powerful.”
Former Sen. David Perdue, who is running for governor of Georgia this year, released a statement saying he was “hopeful” that Roe v. Wade was soon overruled, and he touted his time in the Senate by helping confirm three conservative justices under President Trump. .
If abortion rights are left to the states, the November 2021 CBS News poll found that 62% of Americans would want abortion in their own state to be legal in all or most cases. Only 14% would want their state to make it illegal in all cases.