On Monday night our biggest fears were confirmed. Leaked reporting revealed that the Supreme Court of the United States plans to overturn 50 years of precedent in order to strip Americans of our reproductive rights. While the decision is not final, the language used by Justice Alito in the majority opinion draft makes one thing crystal clear: this is about putting an end to safe, legal abortion.
States are already feeling the ramifications, as Republicans mobilize towards a nationwide abortion ban. In 2022 alone, 536 abortion restrictions have been introduced in 42 states.
States like Texas are offering bounties to anyone who will sue their neighbors for helping someone get an abortion after six weeks – which is before most people even realize they are pregnant.
SUPREME COURT SET TO OVERTURN ROE V. WADE, LEAKED DRAFT OPINION SHOWS: REPORT
Half of the country – 26 states – is positioned to have abortion bans go into effect once Roe v. Wade is overturned, leaving necessary health care out of reach for 36 million people. While horrifying, this is what we are expecting the GOP to continue pushing across the country.
Here in Pennsylvania the trend continues as our general assembly (currently controlled by anti-abortion extremists) have proven to have no regard for the wishes of their constituents in advancing their attacks on our bodily autonomy.
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington following reports of a leaked draft opinion by the court overturning Roe v. Wade.
(AP Photo/Anna Johnson)
Not only are they attempting to ban abortion, but also mandating burial after miscarriages, defunding access to reproductive healthcare for low-income residents, and reducing access to contraception, cancer screenings, in-vitro fertilization, and other treatments.
I, along with several of my colleagues, have had to stand on the House floor and share some of the most personal and heartbreaking moments of my life, including my own experience with miscarriage, to try and persuade our Republican counterparts to see women as human beings and not political pawns.
Leanne Krueger has represented the 161st District in Delaware County, a suburb of Philadelphia, in the Pennsylvania House since 2015.
(Courtesy Leanne Krueger)
Make no mistake: this is a flat out attack on our freedoms.
ROE V WADE SUPREME COURT LEAK MUST BE INVESTIGATED AS A CRIME
If their goal was truly to protect human life, then these legislators would be backing previously proposed bills to address the devastating maternal mortality crisis which has skyrocketed in Pennsylvania, lower costs of routine checkups, and increase access to contraception.
A police officer maintains a watch during a demonstration by victims of gun violence in front of the Supreme Court.
However, the same politicians pushing for a complete ban on abortion have blocked these potentially lifesaving pieces of legislation from being passed. Their goals are control and cruelty, not life, and we cannot allow this to continue.
As we prepare for a world without the protections of Roe v. Wade, it is more important than ever that across the country, voters make their voices heard at the ballot box.
In our battleground state of Pennsylvania, 86% of residents think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
In Texas, more than half of residents do not support the state’s latest abortion ban, which is one of the most extreme we have seen passed in any state.
This is also true nationally, where an overwhelming majority of Americans support the right to choose. Despite the national outcry against the ban and the disapproval from Texans themselves, other states are planning on mimicking this extreme piece of legislation.
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It is past time our elected officials reflect our views. These midterms will have the biggest impact on reproductive freedom we have seen since Roe was made the law of the land 49 years ago.
The only person with the power to put a stop to these undemocratic attacks on our abortion rights is you, reader. In 2020, there were 12 Pennsylvania districts won by President Joe Biden where anti-choice Republicans were elected or re-elected to the House of Representatives. Twelve seats would have meant a Democratic Majority and a pro-choice Speaker.
FILE – In this April 23, 2021 file photo members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
If we had been able to remake the house as majority pro-choice, not only would we not face these constant attacks on reproductive freedom, but we would also be advancing a positive agenda to move our Commonwealth forward, including enhanced access to contraception and raising the minimum wage. This is true for state legislatures across the country.
Enough is enough. The time is now to research your state and local elected officials and candidates – learn about their stances on reproductive rights and any other issue that is important to you.
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Republican state legislators, who enjoy relative obscurity, are just as radical on choice as national figures like Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Make local elections a priority and discuss them in your household. The results of these elections will impact your day-to-day life – take control!
Finally, vote like your rights depend on it, because they do.
Leanne Krueger has represented the 161st District in Delaware County, a suburb of Philadelphia, in the Pennsylvania House since 2015. She was elected despite a majority-Republican district and has been a leading voice in the state capital for working families, reproductive rights, and environmental justice. Leanne serves as Democratic Secretary of the Committee on Labor & Industry and is Chair of the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee.