In a late-night decision earlier this month, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked Louisiana’s dangerous law that could have left the state with just one abortion clinic; stripping health care from countless women in Louisiana and setting a dangerous precedent for national attacks on reproductive rights.
Temporarily is the key word here — because if there’s one thing Republicans won’t stop doing, it’s attacking women’s constitutional rights. It’s an essential part of their identity. Whether we’re talking about Republicans in state legislatures across the country, who have or who are working to pass similar laws to Louisiana’s, or in Congress, who haven’t seen a bill to repeal funding for Planned Parenthood that they haven’t loved, or the White House, whose primary resident supported punishing women who have abortions, Republicans are on a mission to strip women of their rights, overturn Roe v. Wade and end all abortion.
Look no further than the decision by Justice Brett Kavanaugh to not only vote to uphold this clearly unconstitutional bill, but to write the singular dissent. We are deeply unsurprised that the justice Donald Trump promised would work to dismantle Roe v. Wade would do just that, but it remains disturbing all the same. For a man who said he would respect legal precedent when it comes to choice, Kavanaugh seems more than willing to place even more restrictions on abortion.
The far-right Federalist Society looks like it got its wish: another justice who would do their anti-choice bidding.
But Kavanaugh’s move was only the latest in an ongoing series of very serious, and very frightening attacks on choice from the Republican Party. Look at this year’s State of the Union speech. Trump’s remarks on abortion were a dangerous collection of lies about late-term abortion and Democratic attempts to expand women’s access to reproductive health care.
Here are the facts that Republicans will never tell you: when you ban abortion later in pregnancy, you are often harming women facing incredibly complex and difficult medical situations. Women seeking this type of care need and deserve support, understanding and access to information — because if you ban these options, you are forcing them to suffer and even risk their own health in silence.
Why is Trump doing this? Why is he nominating anti-choice judges? Why is he talking about implementing a national gag rule? Why is he using language that frightens and misinforms? Why are Republicans across the country tripping over themselves for any opportunity repeal Roe and dismantle women’s reproductive rights?
Because they are afraid. They are afraid of the unpopularity of their president and their party’s entire legislative agenda, which is focused on making the rich richer, and leaving everyone but billionaires worse off. Whether we’re talking about the GOP’s devastating family separation policy, their dangerous penchant for deregulation, or their beloved-by-their-donors tax bill, Republican policy goes against the will of the American people.
So, nervous about re-election, Trump and his friends are playing one of the few cards they have left: trying to rev up their base over a false “culture war” — which is what they call energy from progressives around any issue that matters to women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ Americans, and anyone that deviates from the white male norm. They know that seven in 10 Americans support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions, and they know that lies and fear tactics are all they have.
Let me be clear: The fight to protect women’s access to reproductive health care is not a culture war. It is an essential fight to ensure that women have equal and civil rights in this country. It is a fight to save lives. Republicans are going to do everything they can to manipulate the conversation; to lie and pass dangerous legislation like Louisiana’s and appoint anti-choice justices like Kavanaugh.
Our job, as it has been every day of this administration, and every day we live under a Republican Party obsessed with turning women back into second-class citizens, is to fight. The way we do that at EMILY’s List is to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office who will bring the empathy and the determination to defend our rights and move our country forward.
We heard good news from the Supreme Court this month, but we know Republicans will continue to push their agenda any way they can. The only way we stop this for good is to vote them out — and we’re going to fight like hell to do just that.
Stephanie Schriock is president of Emily's List, a political action committee that supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office. The views expressed are her own.