President Biden, speaking Friday at the White House, called on Congress to codify abortion into law. If there aren’t enough lawmakers willing to do this, he said, then Americans must “elect more senators and representatives to codify women’s right to choose into federal law [and] elect more heads of state to protect this right at the local level.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaking to reporters shortly after the decision was announced, offered insight into the Democrats’ campaign message for the coming months. “Republicans are plotting a national abortion ban. They can’t be allowed to have a majority in Congress to do that. That’s their goal,” she said.
On Capitol Hill, two House Democrats kissed as they saw each other, just minutes after the Supreme Court issued its ruling. Visibly shocked Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) didn’t have the words to react when reporters asked, saying simply that she was “devastated.” Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), in a trembling voice, said she was “horrified.”
“We are going to fight him. This will not apply. We will restore the rights of my granddaughters,” Dean said.
Across the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who played the biggest role in crafting the current conservative makeup of the Supreme Court, called the decision of “courageous and correct”.
“This is a historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society,” he said in a statement.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) echoed that sentiment, tweeting, “Every unborn child is precious, extraordinary and worthy of protection. I salute this historic decision, which will save countless innocent lives. The Court is correct to return the power to protect the unborn child to the elected representatives of the people in Congress and in the states.
Outside the upstairs of the house, enthusiastic rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said, “That’s awesome! It’s a blessing,” when asked for his reaction to the decision. “I’ve been praying for this all my life,” she added.
The massive Republican victory came in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that asked whether a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi was constitutional.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) called the court’s decision “one of the darkest days our country has ever known.”
“Millions upon millions of American women are being stripped of their rights by five unelected judges of the extremist MAGA tribunal,” he said.
In the opinion written by Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., he wrote that if women don’t like the decision to give states the power to decide whether or not to allow abortion, they should vote.
“Our decision refers the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to influence the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting and running for office,” he wrote. “Women are not without electoral or political power.
Some Democratic Senate candidates are urging women to wield that power in the fall election.
“If there were any doubts about what is at stake in this race, it became clear today. Abortion rights will be on the ballot in November in Pennsylvania,” said John Fetterman, Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate.
“The decision to cancel Roe vs. Wade is downright dangerous and tragic. I’m sick of our basic right to privacy being politicized,” said Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat running for the Senate.
National Democrats expected the court to overrule Roe, and they quickly announced a recruitment drive focused on electing and re-electing candidates who support abortion rights.
“Majority voters agree: MAGA’s Republican agenda to criminalize abortion – including in cases of rape and incest – is totally out of step with the American people,” said Sam Cornale, executive director of the Democratic National Committee. He added that the campaign “will give people across the country a means to effect change by electing pro-choice Democrats at the top and bottom of the ballot in November.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee held a briefing for House Democrats on Wednesday to discuss messaging around abortion and polling. Emily’s List, NARAL and Planned Parenthood participated, according to a source familiar with the discussion.
“House Democrats will impress on voters that we are fighting to protect women’s longstanding right to make decisions about their own bodies. Republicans are determined to wrest power from women and their doctors. This contrast will be clearly communicated wherever we can before November,” a Democratic strategist who granted anonymity to discuss internal strategy told The Washington Post.
A Washington Post poll in May found that a 57% majority of women say the court should uphold the constitutional right to abortion, while a slightly lower share of men, 50%, say the same. thing.
Some Republicans are wary of the decision’s political implications in an election year when they would rather campaign on issues of inflation and high gas prices.
“Republican campaigns would rather be talking about literally anything else,” said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor who follows the midterm elections closely. “It puts most GOP campaigns on their back foot…and motivates a wide range of women to vote against Republicans in general. While this is a political win for most conservatives, it’s certainly a headwind for Republican campaigns.
Former President Donald Trump has complained that the overturning of Roe v. Wade could hurt Republicans in tough districts politically, two advisers said, and told his allies they should stress that states can set their own laws.
“He is convinced that it will not help him in the future,” said an adviser, referring to abortion, and would prefer that the midterm elections and 2024 were mainly about other subjects, said counselors.
Trump himself has largely stayed away from commenting on the decision in recent weeks, joining other Republicans in denouncing only the leaked draft document.
He suggested to several advisers that he would support limits on abortion but would not want them banned altogether, two people familiar with his comments said.
In an interview last month, McConnell said he was unsure of the political ramifications of a Roe decision, while emphasizing that he was pro-life. He said abortion politics is “regional” and that some Senate Republicans “are very committed to this issue.”
“None of us know how much of an impact this has on an election,” McConnell said. “I don’t think it’s going to outweigh inflation, crime and open borders.”