Lawmakers split over future of abortion rights
A leaked draft opinion published by Politico last week that showed the majority of Supreme Court justices voted in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade split a host of lawmakers on Sunday about the future of abortion rights in the country.
Republicans are digging in to support overturning Roe v. Wade while Democrats are decrying the possibility of rescinding the 1973 Supreme Court precedent, which for decades has enshrined abortion access as a constitutional protection.
About 23 states have abortion bans or abortion access limits that will go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and some Republican-led states even have trigger laws that would criminalize abortion care and make it a felony to commit the procedure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that abortion has been a “constant fight that we’ve had for generations,” in Congress that was now threatened by a conservative-led court.
“Here we are on Mother’s Day, a week where this court has slapped women in the face in terms of disrespect for their judgment about the size and timing of their families,” Pelosi said.
The California Democrat also echoed fears that conservatives would not stop at the issue of abortion but could also target access to contraception or interfere with the right to personal family planning in the future, echoing sentiments Democrats have been warning all week.
Republicans, meanwhile, pushed back against Democratic calls to protect abortion rights. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday” that Roe v. Wade “created a constitutional right that didn’t exist” and that only a handful of judges had “determined when life begins and how it ends.”
“If it does get repealed, which I hope it will, the issue will go back to the states,” Graham said. “The abortion debate will not go away in the country, it will be decided by the people, not a handful of judges.”
The U.S. Senate is forcing a vote this week on codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law. While the Senate does not have the votes to pass legislation protecting abortion rights, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he wants to force Republicans to vote on the record.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called abortion rights the “biggest fight of a generation” on Sunday, telling CNN’s “State of the Union” that she wanted to be “aggressive with all our colleagues and with our Republican allies to vote for codifying Roe v. Wade.”
“We need to make sure that every single voter understands that the Republican Party and [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell does not believe that their daughters, that their mothers, that their sisters, have rights to make fundamental life-and-death decisions,” she told co-host Jake Tapper.
A CBS poll conducted from May 4 to May 6 — taken after the aftermath of the leak — shows about two-thirds of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned, compared to 36 percent who support overturning the precedent.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) took aim at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for his draft majority opinion pushing to overturn the right to abortion access, which he justified by arguing it was not “deeply rooted” in American history.
“This is 50 years of rights in a leaked opinion where Justice Alito is literally not just taking us back to the 1950s, he’s taking us back to 1850,” Klobuchar said on “This Week” on ABC. “Let’s be clear about what’s going on here. With this leaked opinion, the court is looking at reversing 50 years of women’s rights and the fall will be swift.”
States with trigger laws that will go into effect if Roe v. Wade is lifted include Mississippi, where abortion care will be criminalized and outlawed in all cases except for cases of rape or those in which the mother’s life is at stake.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Sunday told CNN that if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it would be the “correct decision.”
While abortion decisions would be punted to states if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has floated the idea of a federal ban on abortions.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” that a federal ban was “inconsistent with what we’ve been fighting for,” in response to McConnell’s comments, saying states have long fought to regain authority to decide on abortion care.
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