WASHINGTON — Democrats sounded alarm bells Sunday about the likelihood that Republicans would try to restrict abortion nationwide, two days after an interview was published in which Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, said a ban was “possible” if his party won. control in Washington.
On Sunday talk shows and in other public statements, Democratic senators said Republicans would not stop letting states decide the issue, but would most likely push for federal restrictions. That made it paramount, they said, that the Democratic Party retain control of the Senate as it seeks to codify abortion rights into federal law.
“We need to make sure every voter understands that the Republican Party and Mitch McConnell don’t believe that their daughters, that their mothers, that their sisters have the right to make fundamental life-and-death decisions,” said Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of Sen. New York. York, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We are half citizens under this ruling. And if this is passed into law, it will change the foundation of America.”
After a leaked draft decision indicated that the Supreme Court was about to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established a constitutional right to abortion, Mr. McConnell said in an interview with USA Today that a national abortion ban was “possible”. if that draft document becomes an official court judgment.
“If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislators — not just at the state level, but also at the federal level — could certainly legislate in that area,” McConnell said when asked whether a national abortion ban was “worth the debate.” “. †
From Opinion: A challenge for Roe v. Wade
Commentary by Times Opinion writers and columnists on the upcoming Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“So yes, it is possible,” he added.
Mr. McConnell argued that the discussion of a federal ban was premature, but it was clear that the Republican Party has long opposed abortion. Discussions are already underway between some Republican senators to push for an abortion ban after a certain number of weeks, ranging from six to 20, depending on the proposal.
“If and when the court makes a final decision, I expect everyone to be more definitive,” McConnell said. “But I don’t think it’s much of a secret where Senate Republicans stand on that matter.”
A document circulated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and obtained by Axios urged candidates to keep quiet about abortion and portray themselves as “compassionate consensus builders” with a post-Roe America set to hit as early as next month. looms.
“States should have the flexibility to impose reasonable restrictions,” the document states.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox News Sunday that he would introduce a bill to ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“We are one of seven countries in the world that allow abortion on demand after 20 weeks, the fifth month of pregnancy,” said Mr. Graham. “Congress will continue to debate this issue.”
The State of Roe v. Wade
What is Roe v. Wade? Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. The 7-2 ruling was announced on January 22, 1973. Judge Harry A. Blackmun, a humble Midwestern Republican and advocate of abortion rights, wrote the majority opinion.
But Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar said on ABC’s “This Week” that no woman wants a Republican senator — like Texas senator Ted Cruz — to decide whether she can have an abortion.
“Who should make this decision? Should it be a woman and her doctor or a politician? Should it be Ted Cruz making this decision or a woman and her family?”
Senator Maggie Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat who is up for re-election, issued a press release Saturday night detailing Mr. McConnell’s comments.
“Mitch McConnell is already making it clear that if Republicans regain the Senate majority, they will quickly criminalize abortion nationwide and reverse reproductive freedom for women across the country, including New Hampshire,” said Ms. Hassan.
New York Democrat and majority leader Senator Chuck Schumer organized a vote Wednesday on a bill to codify abortion rights into federal law. The legislation will almost certainly be blocked by Republicans, short of the 60 votes it takes to get past the Senate legislative filibuster.
It also doesn’t appear to have the simple majority it would take to pass the 50-50 Senate, as Senator Joe Manchin III, the West Virginia centrist Democrat who opposes abortion rights, voted against a nearly identical measure in February and showed no signs that he had changed position.