Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) painted a nightmare portrait of the future of American women’s reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy with a single statement to a USA Today reporter yesterday.
Speaking of the post-Roe v. Wade future that will come if the Supreme Court does issue an opinion even remotely resembling Justice Samuel Alito’s draft decision on abortion rights that was leaked this week, Senator McConnell went beyond the usual GOP rubric of state’s rights to threaten to pass a bill prohibiting abortion on the federal level.
“If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies — not only at the state level but at the federal level — certainly could legislate in that area,” McConnell said to USA Today. “And if this were the final decision, that was the point that it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process. So yeah, it’s possible,” he promised.
McConnell’s comments posit a federal bill that would accomplish the exact opposite of legislation that top Democrats in the Senate are vowing to introduce that would codify a woman’s right to choose their reproductive destiny at the federal level in an effort to outmaneuver the religious extremists who have taken over the Supreme Court under McConnell’s dastardly machinations in conjunction with Donald Trump and the GOP establishment.
The Democrats’ proposed bill seems to have little chance of passing a Senate in which it would require either 60 votes or the elimination of the filibuster in order to pass without the votes of the majority of Republicans who are loath to affirm this fundamental right for half the U.S. population,
McConnell made it perfectly clear how he thought his caucus would vote regarding a federal abortion ban, making the defeat of Republican candidates in the upcoming midterm elections all the more important to prevent women’s rights from being decimated in the entire country, not just those saddled with Republican state governments.
“With regard to the abortion issue, I think it’s pretty clear where Senate Republicans stand,” McConnell explained. “And if and when the court makes a final decision, I expect everybody will be more definitive. But I don’t think it’s much secret where senator Republicans stand on that issue.”
Contrast McConnell’s statement with the joint statement issued by the top Democrats in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, right after Justice Alito’s shocking draft opinion was leaked:
“The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” Scumer and Pelosi exclaimed.
With Schumer vowing to force a vote next week on a bill that would make women’s reproductive rights the law of the land — if only to get Republicans to make a public commitment of their views on the issue ahead of the midterms — Democrats are anxious to show their support for women’s fundamental rights.
“A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets. We’ll vote to protect a women’s right to choose,” Schumer declared.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee wasted no time in turning Mitch McConnell’s ominous warning about a potential federal ban on abortion into a potent fundraising tool.
“Mitch McConnell confirmed what voters have long known: Republicans will use every tool they can, from the courts to Congress, to make abortion illegal everywhere and strip away a woman’s right to make our own decisions. For voters, the stakes of protecting and expanding our Democratic Senate majority in 2022 have never been higher.”
Indeed, they haven’t. Not only are women’s freedoms at stake, the entire democratic process — including the continuance of free and fair elections open to all voters — is on the line in this year’s midterm elections.
Progressives will have to make sure that everything they do between now and November helps drive a sufficient number of Republicans out of office so that McConnell’s threat can never come to pass.
Original reporting by Lexi Lonas at The Hill.