How the Democrats prepare to take Roe to the voters

Regardless of whether the draft copy of a Opinion of the Supreme Court published by Politico on Monday evening ends up being the the final victory that the Conservatives have sought in overturning roe deer v. veal, the pressure now shifts to elected Democrats to do something, anything, to protect abortion rights. They have few options in Congress, but Democrats in the Senate are preparing to take their pro-abortion rights message to voters. Party officials and elected Democrats told Vox Tuesday they are planning to make abortion and reproductive rights protection a central part of their efforts to retain a majority in the Senate – and counter the party’s support for abortion rights with Republican efforts to limit abortions, regardless of whether the Supreme Court overturned roe deer.

the Political report Monday night took many lawmakers by surprise. The decision reached them via text messages and phone calls at home and on the road and, in one case, held the conversation while a group of bipartisan senators dined. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), who was at that dinner, said he saw a news alert on Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) phone. “He calmed down pretty quickly,” Padilla said.

Conservative judge Samuel Alito’s draft opinion clarified what had long been expected on Capitol Hill: that the high court seemed poised to prevail. roe deer Other Planned parenting v. Casey, the two historical cases that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion.

But suddenly, the clock sped up.

“It was almost impossible to understand,” Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) told Vox of reading the draft. Smith is a former Minnesota Planned Parenthood executive who has a long track record of advocating for access to abortion. Judge Alito was “essentially telling all those women, ‘I know better than you, what’s best for you,’” she said.

But that’s the kind of message that Smith and other Democratic senators think voters should be hearing right now. Smith made it clear that the Democrats do not have the votes in the Senate to codify the right to abortion as a law (even if they were to abolish filibuster, which they too do not have the votes to do). But the election of Democrats in favor of abortion rights at the local, state and national levels could provide some safeguards against further attacks on reproductive rights, such as the strategy adopted by anti-abortion activists. reportedly preparing to push for a nationwide abortion ban.

“This is a time of responsibility,” Smith said. “But what we have to do now is get organized. We need to elect more Democrats. We must take this case to the voters of every state in the country and help them understand what is at stake. “

Those poles extend beyond roe deerfrom the draft opinion suggest TO opening for conservative attacks on other protections, such as same-sex marriage, and rights rooted in the right to privacy.

“If this draft opinion becomes the final ruling of the court, it has far-reaching implications for family planning, the right to use contraception and the right of LGBTQ people to love those they choose to love,” Senator Catherine Cortez Masto ( D-NV) said.

Cortez Masto, who is running for re-election in a state where President Joe Biden underperformed in 2020, sees the right to abortion as a galvanizing issue for Nevada voters and is making it a central part of his campaign. (He was preparing remarks to be made at a gala for the pro-abortion group EMILY’S List when he learned of the draft opinion.) In 1990, the state reaffirmed the right to abortion in a vote passed with the support of over 60 percent of voters, support that has only grown since then, second recent polls. Together, these factors could lend her additional support, which she needs as a proprietor low electoral numbers in a medium term year.

Smith sees a similar picture in Minnesota, where Democrats are defending the state House of Representatives (where they hold a majority of four seats) and the governorship. Although the state constitution protects the right to abortion through the right to privacy, Smith said she feared this could change under Republican control. “I will do everything I can to make sure that the candidates who support this fundamental freedom and autonomy for women regarding the right to abortion win those elections,” she said.

That strategy to bring abortion rights to the forefront of Senate campaigns could take place in battlefield states like Arizona, Nevada, and New Hampshire, where support for abortion rights remains high, and in other states where abortion rights remain high. Democratic operators in office are already vulnerable. the ambivalent reaction Tuesday also of many Republican lawmakers and conservative figures suggest that the decision could come back to haunt the GOP.

But not all Democrats are united in vocal support for abortion right, or on the same page as a unified democratic strategy to campaign and codify roe deer. The democratic leadership of the Chamber is silent support to the Democrats Against Abortion re-election effort in Texas, and Senator Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) reaffirmed their commitment to stonewalling as more progressive members of their caucus such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have call for an exception to the rule protecting the right to abortion. Manchin and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) also reported opposition to the codification roe deergiven theirs positions against abortion. Those obstacles, and the absence of a plan outside of winning elections, could also dampen the energy of most activist wing of the Democratic Party, including youth frustrated by a seemingly disconnected democratic leadership.

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