Abortion abolition: Could Democrats have prevented the Roe v Wade ban?
Despite pledges from various Democrat presidents no move was made to enshrine abortion protections in law. Could anything have been done to save Roe v Wade?
It was not a surprise after the leaked documents last month, but the Supreme Court has struck down federal protections for abortions in the US. 26 states are expected to ban the medical practice within a month. The court has also said it is looking at the rights granted surrounding same-sex marriage and contraception in what could turn into the largest rollback of civil liberties in decades.
In response, the Democrat party sang ‘God bless America on the steps of the Captiol.
Furthermore, emails were immediately sent out demanding donations from voters. “Can you chip in $15 so we can WIN these midterms and codify Roe v Wade into law?” Codifying Roe v Wade would ensure the ruling could not be interfered with my the Supreme Court.
This emailed request was met by disappointment by many of social media who saw the move as cynical and ill-timed. The Democrats control all the levers of government: the presidency, the House and the Senate. Still abortion freedoms have been quashed.
Biden has said in the past that abortion protections were a priority for him. However, his party has shown itself unwilling to back the president on this matter. Depsite their majorities, the party cannot get legislation passed in the Senate due to the filibuster, which prevents the advancement of legislation without 60 votes. There are chances to remove to filibuster to get around this, which would be a monumental move.
The Democrats have shown themselves to be unwilling to do whatever it takes to get abortion protections passed. Bills are not being brought to the Senate for fear of defeat, which is preventing the public from seeing the effects conservative Democrats Sinema and Manchin are having on the party.
This lack of action comes from the top. Speaking on Saturday Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “I’ve been asked it before — and I think the president himself … about expanding the Court. That is something that the president does not agree with. That is not something that he wants to do.”
There are the tools to protect abortion; Democrat inaction is preventing them.
Did the Democrats attempt to codify Roe v Wade in the past?
The best opportunity to codify abortion protections was in Barack Obama’s first term as president in which he had a Senate supermajority. In his campaign Obama told Planned Parenthood, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.” This plan was supposed to prevent the state from interfering in a woman’s right to an abortion.
The Obama also had a Senate supermajority at two periods between the beginning of 2009 and end of 2010. So what did he to codify abortion rights?
Soon into his presidency, Obama backed down from this pledge. Speaking after his first 100 days in office, he said, “I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on.”
Speaking after his speech, he declared that the Freedom of Choice Act was “not the highest legislative priority.” Of course, the US was in the throes of the 2008 banking crisis, but it was a serious missed opportunity that would have prevented the trauma of the last week.