Swing state Democratic parties hold coordinated ‘day of action’ on abortion

Protesters are seen outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for the court to overturn Roe v. Wade later this year.
Greg Nash
Protesters are seen outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for the court to overturn Roe v. Wade later this year.

Democratic Parties located in swing states are holding a coordinated “day of action” on abortion Tuesday, just over a week after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion forecasted the possible undoing of Roe v. Wade. 

State parties in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are holding press conferences and publishing op-eds attacking the GOP over the chance that constitutional abortion protections will be repealed. 

The effort is being organized by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is seizing both on the draft Supreme Court opinion and recent comments from federal and state Republican lawmakers. Every state involved in the “day of action” is hosting a competitive Senate race. 

“Republican Senate candidates have made it clear they wholeheartedly support the GOP’s efforts to overturn Roe — imposing cruel, new punishments and restrictions on women and taking away our right to make our health care decisions,” said DSCC spokesperson Nora Keefe. 

“The stakes of protecting and expanding our Democratic Senate Majority in 2022 have never been higher and the work that is being done on the ground in Senate battleground states will ensure the GOP’s toxic agenda is front and center for voters.” 

The leaked draft opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, calls for the wholesale repeal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that instituted constitutional protections to abortion access. 

Democrats are hopeful that a wave of backlash could turn the tides in the midterm elections, which prior to the decision were anticipated to favor Republicans. 

“Republicans have been waging war on women’s health for decades, and now Roe v. Wade is at risk and a federal abortion ban is on the table,” DNC spokesperson Brooke Goren said in a statement, adding, “The DNC and Democrats in battleground states across the country are laser-focused on making sure that voters know what is at stake this November when it comes to Republicans’ radical MAGA agenda.”

However, it is still unclear if anxiety over abortion access will supersede issues like inflation in voters’ minds come November. 

Already, Democrats in key states have highlighted the issue, with the Wisconsin Democratic Party, for instance, rallying at the state Capitol last week. 

“Republicans have for decades tried to frame the anti-abortion movement as a religious one. As a woman of faith, the bible teaches me that even Jesus gives us a choice to choose him. So who are we to take choice away from women to decide their health care? The bible also teaches me to love thy neighbor. To me, that means ensuring they have food on their table, adequate clothing and housing, AND the freedom to make their own choices about their future,” North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Bobbie Richardson said in a Monday statement. 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee fired back that “what’s clear is that Democrats are embracing a position that’s far outside the mainstream of where American voters are.”

“The new Democrat Party line – as seen in the vote Senate Democrats are holding today – is supporting taxpayer-funded late-term abortion up until the moment of birth. That’s radical and we’ll make sure the American people know it,” NRSC spokesperson Chris Hartline said.

Republicans in Congress, for their part, have been coy as to their plans should the Supreme Court issue a final ruling this summer actually overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it was possible for legislators to pass some kind of federal law restricting abortion if Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress and the White House one day. However, other GOP lawmakers have said they prefer to leave the decision to the states. 

Guidance from Republican Party organizations is encouraging lawmakers to sound a compassionate tone and advocate for states to take charge on the issue. However, state laws Republicans are introducing — which in some instances do not include exceptions for rape or incest — are seemingly stepping on that strategy and handing Democrats more ammunition to go on offense. 

“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,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to colleagues Monday. “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.”  

The draft opinion, if made final this summer, will also have an outsized impact on state races beyond Washington. Notably, every state participating in the “day of action” is holding a gubernatorial race this year except for North Carolina. 

“Without a doubt, it will have a larger impact than normal for state elections,” former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) told The Hill last week. “More than impacting swing voters, the issue may motivate the Democrat base to be more active.” 

Updated at 2 p.m.

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