White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned Monday that the nation is at ‘serious risk’ of a nationwide abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
‘I think we’re at serious risk,’ the press secretary replied when asked how likely a ban on abortion across the nation was, apparently not optimistic about Democrats‘ chances in the midterms of holding on to power in Washington.
‘You heard Mitch McConnell and other Republicans in Congress are talking about a national ban on a woman’s right to choose,’ she said.
Republicans have a shot at picking up seats in the split 50-50 Senate and even better chances of taking back the majority in the House come November’s midterm elections, but some Democrats have expressed hope that the Roe decision could mobilize voters who would have otherwise stayed home on Election Day.
Last week, a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion showed that a majority of justices are in favor of turning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case that upheld abortion rights.
‘I think we’re at serious risk,’ the press secretary replied when asked how likely a ban on abortion across the nation was, apparently not optimistic about Democrats’ chances in the midterms of holding on to power in Washington
Psaki said that the White House Counsel’s Office, the White House Gender Policy Council, and the Department of Justice are looking at a ‘range of considerations’ to take ‘every step we can to protect women’s fundamental rights and protect rights beyond that.’
On Sunday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said a federal abortion ban was ‘possible’ if the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion becomes final and the high court overturns Roe v. Wade.
‘If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies – not only at the state level but at the federal level – certainly could legislate in that area,’ McConnell, of Kentucky, told USA Today on Thursday.
‘And if this were the final decision, that was the point that it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process. So yeah, it’s possible.’
McConnell, however, refused to say whether banning abortion would be a legislative priority if Republicans took back the House and Senate.
‘With regard to the abortion issue, I think it’s pretty clear where Senate Republicans stand,’ he added. ‘And if and when the court makes a final decision, I expect everybody will be more definitive. But I don’t think it’s much secret where Senate Republicans stand on that issue.’
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set up a vote on abortion legislation for Wednesday. The bill is all but doomed, uncertain to garner even a simple majority, let alone the 10 GOP votes needed to break a filibuster.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., voted against the bill last time it came to the floor, and though it’s been modified, he hasn’t said whether he’ll vote for it this time around. GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have proposed their own bill to codify abortion rights, but Democrats say it doesn’t go far enough.
Psaki noted that ‘dozens and dozens’ of Republicans in the House and Senate had signed onto an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Psaki then warned that access to contraceptives could soon be under attack. She noted that Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves refused to rule out going after birth control.
Reeves appeared on CNN with Jake Tapper on Sunday, where Tapper referred to a bill in Louisiana making its way through the legislature that would make abortion a homicide.
Tapper said: ‘They’re talking about not only criminally charging girls and women who get abortions as committing homicide, but they’re also talking about defining the moment of conception as fertilisation, which would theoretically … mean if you use an IUD [intrauterine device], you are committing murder.
‘… I’m not making this up. These are the conversations going on in legislatures in your area. So, just to be clear, you have no intention of seeking to ban IUDs or Plan B [morning-after pills]?’
Reeves said: ‘That is not what we’re focused on at this time.’
‘And as I have said repeatedly – and I know where this question is ultimately going with respect to birth control and other measures – I want to be clear. My view is that the next phase of the pro-life movement is focusing on helping those moms that maybe have an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.
‘The next phase of the pro-life movement is making sure that those babies, once born, have a productive life. And while I’m sure there will be conversations around America regarding [contraception], it’s not something that we have spent a lot of time focused on.’
Demonstrators gather in the rain outside of the U.S. Supreme Court to protest the potential overturn of the Roe vs Wade decision on Saturday
Psaki warned that after Roe and Casey, Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage across the U.S., and 2003 Lawrence v. Texas, the case that made laws banning sexual acts between two people of the same gender unconstitutional, could be at risk.
A new CBS poll found that 64% want the Supreme Court to keep Roe v. Wade the law of the land while 36% want it overturned.
A majority of Americans – 58% – also want Congress to pass a federal law codify a women’s right to an abortion.
Women, in particular, are concerned, the CBS poll found. A majority of women under the age of 50 – 66% – thought overturning Roe V. Wade will lead to more restrictions on the use of birth control and other family planning materials.