The problem once again is that Democrats are deploying traditional tools to fight a Republican Party which has abandoned all democratic norms and is merely just trying to consolidate power by any means necessary. Democrats are once again bringing a spoon to a knife fight. As Gandy puts it: “Democrats’ time would be better spent trying to either nuke or reform the filibuster so that they can move forward with expanding the courts.” Democrats need to change the makeup of the Court by adding justices, they need to right the wrongs Mitch McConnell committed by stealing at least two of the nine seats on the Court. In short, Democrats need to act like Republicans. The American people need a Democratic party which will protect their rights with the same zeal that Republicans are focused on taking them away.
I don’t want to criticize Democrats for trying to pass this legislation. The situation is dire. As the head of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson put it to me: “The right to make decisions about our bodies and our lives is hanging by a thread, and we need action from our leaders. The Women’s Health Protection Act would help protect abortion access and guard against bans and medically unnecessary restrictions imposed by state politicians in Texas and across the country” We elected these leaders to at least try to protect our rights and interests, after all. But ultimately the Supreme Court is the last word on everything—every piece of legislation. So even if they could get the House bill through the Senate, the Supreme Court could just overturn it, as Rewire news’ senior law editor Imani Gandy told me. “Democrats’ efforts to codify Roe, while commendable, are dead in the water with this Supreme Court. There’s not a chance in hell that the group of 6 Federalist Society-captured conservative justices on the Supreme Court won’t find some reason that any statute cementing abortion rights is unconstitutional.”
The right to end a pregnancy, a right women have had for fifty years, since Roe was passed in 1973, has been taken away. The irony is that letting women control their own bodies is popular: According to CNN, “fewer than one third of Americans wanted to see Roe overturned.” But then, popular legislation has never been a focus of Trump’s Republican Party, which seems way more interested in taking rights away from women than giving voters what they want.Even the so called pro-choice Republicans can’t be counted on to course correct for their party, and actually stand up for women’s reproductive rights. “I support codifying Roe…” Senator Susan Collins said to the Los Angeles Times last week, before going on to explain why she would actually vote against codifying Roe.
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