Roe v. Wade is popular.
According to a recent poll, 69% of all Americans do not want to see it overturned. But on Monday night, POLITICO published a draft opinion – penned by Justice Samuel Alito – that indicates that the Supreme Court is poised to do exactly that. Once Alito’s draft is finalized and published – likely by the first week of July – they’ll be no federal law protecting abortion rights in the U.S. Instead, individual states will decide the issue. Twenty-four of them – mostly in the South and Midwest – will likely prohibit or severely restrict the procedure.
Outlawing abortion has been a Republican project for decades; the conservative majority on the Supreme Court seems poised to deliver them a victory once thought impossible.
But invalidating a popular law comes with electoral consequences and many political analyst believe the reversal of Roe will energize Democrats and strengthen the left’s barely-there chances of retaining the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms.
“It’s another reminder of just how much Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 changed the trajectory of our country. Stopping his reelection became the single biggest reason Democrats turned out in 2020, and they will have similar impact on the midterms,” Richard Luchette, a Democratic strategist, told The Washington Post.
“This decision will put women’s rights and abortion rights front and center in the elections,” Geoff Garin, a pollster who advises Senate Democrats, told Bloomberg. “Up until now, many voters did not take the threat to legal abortion seriously or believe that Roe would be overturned, but now the reality of that threat will be crystal clear.”
The outlet adds:
The abortion issue is likely to resonate in the nation’s suburbs, which have become the linchpin of U.S. politics as rural areas are solidly Republican and urban areas are dominated by Democrats. Democrats gained 41 seats House seats and took control of the chamber in 2018 as suburban voters turned against Trump. In 2020, Joe Biden won 54% of the suburban vote, according to the Pew Research Center, and that played a decisive role in the five states he carried by the narrowest margins.
“Make no mistake: reproductive rights will be on the ballot and this midterm election is more important now than ever before,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement on Monday night. “Voters will make their voices heard, we will fight back with everything we have, and Republicans will have to answer for their party’s relentless attacks on Americans’ rights.”
The Post adds:
Adam Jentleson, a former top Democratic Senate aide, previewed the party’s message in Senate races in a tweet Monday night: “If Democrats lose the Senate, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell will block any SCOTUS appointment that may arise in the next two years.”
McConnell has repeatedly refused to say if he’ll advance any Biden nominees if the GOP retakes the upper chamber.
The decision to overturn Roe is already helping Democrats fundraise. Hours after the draft opinion was leaked, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List promised to make a “historic investment” in the midterms.
“Today’s announcement represents a united effort to aggressively respond to the unprecedented attacks on sexual and reproductive rights and abortion rights across the country and raise voters’ awareness of the lawmakers who are to blame,” the groups said in a statement.
“We are going to replace those who stand in the way of our rights with pro-choice advocates who will listen to the voices of a majority of voters, change these policies and protect our reproductive freedom,” EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler added. “It’s never been more crucial to secure pro-choice majorities at all levels of government to stop anti-abortion lawmakers from decimating our access to abortion across the nation.”