Press: Killing Roe? Yes, Republicans own it

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.

When Politico published Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, reportedly already signed on by four other justices, millions of Americans were shocked. But nobody should have been surprised. After all, this is something the Republican Party has been openly promising and fighting for since 1973. All part of their disregard for individual rights. 

Forget the Constitution. Forget the 14th Amendment and its guarantee of equal rights for all Americans. The only thing Republicans have ever cared about is getting enough votes on the Supreme Court to force their conservative agenda on all Americans. And it’s been that way ever since the 14th Amendment was ratified.  

As Elie Mystal notes in his new book, “Allow Me To Retort”: “The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified by the states on July 9, 1868. But its guarantee of rights was almost immediately undercut by the Supreme Court. Then, as now, when the Supreme Court is controlled by conservatives, even a constitutional amendment cannot stop it from denying equal rights and social justice to all. Nothing decent can overcome a conservative court.” 

Well, they’ve finally succeeded. They’ve got at least five extreme conservative votes on the court. They’ve wrested control of the court from Chief Justice John Roberts. They’re on the verge of delivering what anti-abortion activists have been demanding for years: complete reversal of Roe v. Wade. And what are they doing about it? Taking a victory lap? Popping champagne corks? Dancing in the streets? No, no, no. Just the opposite.  

It’s the classic case of the dog catching the car, then not knowing what to do with it. Republican leaders are now trying to run away from the expected Supreme Court decision. Former President Trump, who brags about everything, has hardly mentioned it at all. Neither have hard-liners like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), or Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).  At most, they talked about the leak, not what was leaked. The National Republican Senatorial Committee even circulated a document warning Republican Senate candidates: “Abortion should be avoided as much as possible.” 

Why? Because they fear a political backlash if abortion dominates the midterm elections. And they’re right. In the first poll conducted since the Alito leak, by YahooNews/YouGov, 51 percent of Americans — including 70 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents — said Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. Asked to choose between a “pro-choice Democrat” and a “pro-life Republican,” the gap was 44 to 31 in favor of Democrats.  

Republicans must not be allowed to duck abortion. Yes, it’s a hot-button issue, but it’s their issue. Killing Roe v. Wade was the center piece of their party platform. It was the pledge of any Republican candidate running for office. It started with the appointment of Clarence Thomas and ended with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refusing to schedule a hearing on Merrick Garland and ramming through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. It’s why evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics made a diabolical decision to support Trump. Because, despite his record as a serial sexual predator, he promised to appoint only anti-abortion judges hand-picked by the Federalist Society. 

Republicans own abortion. And they’re out of step with the American people. So Democrats must demand that every candidate in 2022 — for Senate, House, governor, statewide office, or state legislature — first answer one question: Do you support the Supreme Court’s decision to ban Roe v. Wade? Yes or No?  

Let the voters decide. Republicans are about to roll back the clock and make every American woman a second-class citizen, unable to control her own body. Let them pay the price for their extremism. 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”

Tags abortion rights John Roberts leaked SCOTUS ruling Protest Republicans Roe v. Wade Samuel Alito SCOTUS Supreme Court Ted Cruz

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