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With the Supreme Court Slipping Away, Our Votes in November Are All We Have Left
Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is retiring, which leaves Trump to pick his successor. Trump has been clear he will pick a new justice to become the deciding vote that overturns Roe v. Wade and a woman’s constitutional right against forced pregnancy. This shift in the court will no doubt unleash a torrent of other catastrophic rulings that will come to bear on gay marriage, gun safety, immigration, voter suppression, Mueller’s investigation, what’s left of the Affordable Care Act, and the list goes on.
If the Supreme Court can no longer be counted on to protect our civil liberties, then who can? The answer is all of us. We can do it by flipping the U.S. House of Representatives. We can do it by guaranteeing we hold majorities in state legislatures. We can do it by electing governors who will stand with us. We can do it by electing local officials, district attorneys, and sheriffs who will lawfully refuse to cooperate in federal arrests and prosecutions. We can do it by voting in November and working to make sure everyone in every district works like never before to Commit to Flip Blue.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will become legal for states to decide for themselves whether women will retain their freedom of choice. As many as 22 states have laws ready to be introduced or in some cases automatically triggered that will criminalize abortion. Ohio is locked and loaded with a total abortion ban, including for rape and incest, in the hopes of becoming the case that will find its way to the Supreme Court to officially overturn Roe v. Wade. Put simply, we are now on the brink of laws that would permit our daughters and sisters, along with health care providers, to be sent to prison for exercising their right to choose.
In addition to potentially devastating legislation at the state level, the Trump emboldened House of Representatives has introduced 58 bills attempting to limit access to abortion, including 20-week and 6-week abortion bans. Through a combination of congressional action, inaction, and Trump executive order, the federal government has sought to interfere with women’s reproductive rights wherever it can get away with it. These measures include denying abortion funding through Medicaid and the federal health benefits plan, imposing financial disincentives for insurance companies to cover abortion related costs, prohibiting abortions for women incarcerated in federal prisons and detention centers, and offering religious and moral exemptions for organizations to withhold information about the option of pregnancy termination or even birth control.
The U.S. Supreme Court has always been thought of as the final safety valve to curb these types of anti-choice regulations, but no longer. If we do not flip the House in November, a second wave of anti-abortion laws, more powerful and unrelenting, will be on its way, and we will be faced with a new Supreme Court that could uphold them all.
If Democrats take back the House, we can stop federal legislation attacking women’s right to choose and begin to reverse the damage from the last two years. We can block future attempts at the congressional level to outlaw abortion altogether, including in pro-choice states. Better yet, the House can pass and send pro-choice legislation to the Senate that will pressure all Senators to protect the reproductive rights of women, even in Republican controlled, anti-choice states.
With the executive branch gone and the judicial branch going fast, the congressional branch is all we have left. This November, it all comes down to the House. With half a branch we can hang on until 2020. With half a branch we can buy time to organize at the state and local levels to ensure protections the current administration would deny its people. With half a branch we can stem the creeping tide of authoritarianism threatening the future of democracy for our children and their children.
It has never been more important to Get Out the Vote. It has never been more important to Commit to Flip Blue.
Mary Nash Brown
Commit to Flip Blue, Lamorinda
M.A. Political Science
J.D. Criminal Law