The coming decision from the Supreme Court that will literally or effectively reverse the Roe v. Wade decision will have a powerful and historic impact, legally and politically. It will outrage, electrify and energize pro-choice women to heights of activism and political engagement that will give Democrats a dramatic and much-needed boost in the 2022 midterm and 2024 presidential elections.
While it is possible the Court will outright reverse Roe v. Wade, it will at a minimum uphold the Mississippi law that will ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This would uphold similar laws in a large number of states across the nation, inspire even more aggressive anti-choice laws in additional states, and trigger a bitterly divisive debate for a decade across America.
Here is why the political reaction from pro-choice women will be so vehement, energizing and politically transforming.
I have great respect for the personal views of both pro-life and pro-choice women. Pro-choice advocates, by definition, respect whatever decision pro-life individuals make in their personal lives.
All women, be they pro-choice or pro-life, should have their own individual decisions fully supported. Pro-life women, as well as pro-choice women, should have their families benefit from greater support for childcare and paid parental leave.
However, if the Supreme Court upholds the Mississippi law or reverses Roe v. Wade, the personal decisions of pro-choice women will be dictated by the state. They will have no choice. They will have no rights. The settled law that gave them a constitutional right for five decades would be destroyed. Other individuals, with dramatically different views, flexing their political muscle in states, would destroy their rights and dictate how they live their lives.
During oral argument Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSchumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Manchin open to supporting Supreme Court pick more liberal than him Vaccine mandate for health workers starts to take effect MORE, whose testimony during his confirmation was radically different to his comments in this case, suggested the courts should be neutral and every state should be free to make their own laws without interference from the Constitution through Roe v. Wade.
Does Justice Kavanaugh believe that slave owners in Confederate states should have had the right to own slaves in their states, under courts that were neutral about slavery?
The far wiser view was offered by Justice Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorIncoming Georgetown Law administrator apologizes after backlash over Supreme Court tweets Supreme Court clears way for Alabama execution Sotomayor: It's important that Supreme Court not be seen as 'institution for entertainment' MORE who asked, during oral argument, whether the court could survive the stench of widespread public perception that constitutional rights are dictated by political acts. It would be a disaster for justice if large swaths of Americans find their views about the integrity, or lack of integrity, of the Supreme Court as polarized as the divisions caused by this decision.
Pro-choice women finding their rights destroyed and their lives invaded by political decisions from a court that was politically packed with conservative justices, by a Republican president and Senate, will be roused to intense, passionate and persistent political action.
Pro-choice women will organize ferociously, fight back aggressively, campaign for their allies assertively, and register new voters passionately.
Pro-choice women will deluge pro-choice Democrats with massive amounts of small donations.
Wealthy pro-choice women who are leaders in their fields and millionaires, multi-millionaires and billionaires will make gigantic and potentially unprecedented campaign donations, seeking to defeat anti-choice Republicans in House, Senate and state elections.
Pro-choice Republican women, especially but not only in the suburbs will support, vote for and donate to pro-choice Democrats.
And if an ideological far-right Supreme Court majority appears determined to dictate what constitutional rights exist, or are destroyed, based on their political views — many future decisions will generate powerful and growing backlash that will fuel Democratic organization, fundraising, and voter turnout.
If the Supreme Court marches backwards, with a Roe decision that mirrors earlier advocates of slavery who believed constitutional rights should be determined by state politics — pro-choice women will lead the political march forward to women’s rights, voting rights, equal fights, civil rights, human rights, worker rights and the Democrats who champion them.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.