Get it together, Democrats. Weak tea statements on abortion are not enough


How’s this for urgency?

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Next month! Wow, guys, way to get on it!

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement calling this “one of the darkest days our country has ever seen,” but offering no action plan beyond a call to vote for Democrats in November. That’s it. That’s the plan.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed some of Schumer’s language, but did at least say, in her statement, “While Republicans seek to punish and control women, Democrats will keep fighting ferociously to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law.” It’s not specific, but at least there’s some recognition that Democrats should be doing … something.

A joint statement from the Democratic National Committee and other party committees warned, “The 2022 election will now determine whether new, cruel, and punishing restrictions will be put in place on women and families. With Republicans in power, states could make abortion illegal without exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, and women and doctors could be charged with a crime if they have or perform an abortion.”

Apparently they missed the part where many states have already put new, cruel, and punishing restrictions in place, including abortion bans without exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, ever the comedian, responded with a quip: “This opinion doesn’t bring us back to the 1950s. It brings us back to the 1850s.” How long have you been saving that one for, Amy? In the time you were saving it, did it not occur to you that “the Supreme Court guts a major right, the prelude to major suffering” was not the time for a joke?

About 50 minutes later, perhaps having read the replies, Klobuchar followed up with a line from the dissent from the liberal justices, “[O]ne result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.” She added, “We cannot give up. Especially not now.”

Sen. Joe Manchin said he “trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans.” Joe, maybe you should be alarmed that you trusted two people who were obviously lying. 

And Manchin is planning to work with Republicans to codify Roe v. Wade into law. Yeah, sure, Joe. You’re definitely going to get 10 Republican votes to put into law the thing they explicitly packed the Supreme Court to overturn.

It’s true that at this point there’s not a lot Democrats can do. A Supreme Court on which, as Stephen Wolf noted, “5 of the 6 GOP-appointed justices were confirmed by senates where the GOP majority won fewer votes & represented fewer people than the Dem minority. 3 were also appointed by a president who lost the popular vote” has rendered the verdict and the way the U.S. system works right now, the president and Congress (especially with a Senate in which Republicans representing far fewer people than do Democrats can block virtually any legislation) have limited options. But every option should be on the table. If Manchin feels that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh lied under oath, he should consider eliminating the filibuster or creating a carveout to codify Roe. Shouldn’t their lies give him license to do something he wouldn’t consider under other circumstances? The problem goes beyond abortion rights, though, which is why what Manchin should really do is support expanding the Supreme Court, by any procedural means necessary.

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