House holds hearing on abortion access as nation awaits final Supreme Court decision

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on abortion access as the nation awaits a final Supreme Court ruling in a case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Speaker Jerry Nadler, DN.Y., kicked off the hearing by warning that if the landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion is in fact overturned — as a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggests — the impact will be “devastating”.

“Making decisions about when and how to start a family is critical in women’s lives,” Nadler said. “The right to decide whether to carry or terminate a pregnancy is at the heart of life, freedom and equality. It is the very essence of what it means to have bodily autonomy, which is a condition prerequisite for freedom.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, said she considered the hearing “probably one of the most important hearings of my life.”

Expert witnesses who spoke before the committee included Dr. Yashica Robinson, board-certified OBGYN and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Health; Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Law Professor at the University of California, Irvine; Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of anti-abortion law firm Americans United for Life; and Aimee Arrambide, executive director of the nonprofit organization Avow Texas.

Goodwin told committee members that if the draft opinion holds, it would be an “incredibly unusual” moment in American democracy.

“The Supreme Court has never come back to actually revoke what have been freedoms that have been well articulated and established in the Constitution and also by the Supreme Court,” Goodwin said. The professor also explained that poor women and women of color would suffer the most from such a decision.

Foster, whose organization helps craft state-level legislation limiting access to abortion, celebrated the possibility of Roe being eviscerated.

“America’s future, a post-Roe America, is a future of hope,” Foster said. “Roe’s reversal allows US lawmakers to once again protect the human right to life and enshrine laws and policies that make abortion unthinkable, even for those most vulnerable to abortion propaganda.”

The draft opinion, which is not the final ruling, was published by Politico on May 2 – and later confirmed by the court to be genuine. Politico later reported that the Feb. 10 draft was still the only one circulating among the group and that none of the conservative judges changed their vote following the bombshell leak. A final decision in the case, which involved a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, is expected by late June or early July.

Robinson, the only healthcare professional in the witness group, said his patients faced harassment, unnecessary costs and delays as well as health implications due to abortion restrictions already in place. place in the states of the country. She also described a “chilling effect” in patients due to the Supreme Court’s draft opinion being leaked.

“There is no denying that without access to abortion, maternal mortality rates will continue to rise,” Robinson said. “I can’t stress enough that abortion is essential health care.”

Protests have been near daily since the document became public, with protests spreading to the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A national day of protest took place on May 14 with hundreds of “Bans Off Our Bodies” events organized by abortion rights groups.

Security measures at the Supreme Court and for the nine justices have been tightened since the protests began.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, ABC News reported, domestic violent extremists have invaded the national abortion debate “to incite violence among their supporters.” Threat targets include judges, members of Congress, government officials, clergy, health care providers and more.

Several Republicans on the committee used their time on Wednesday to accuse Democrats and activists of trying to force the Supreme Court.

“Do you know why they try to harass and intimidate the court? Representative Jim Jordan, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in his opening statement, “You know why, because the evidence to overthrow Roe is overwhelming.”

Poster-sized photographs of protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices were displayed behind Republican committee members Darrell Issa and Ken Buck during Wednesday’s hearing. Issa reiterated a claim made by many Republicans that protests outside the residences of justice might be illegal, citing a federal law — 18 U.S. Code Section 1507 — that prohibits “pickets and parades” intended to sway judges.

“People are committing crimes – why don’t we hear it exposed by the pro-choice movement?” said the California Republican.

Republicans have also taken aim at Democratic legislation to enshrine abortion rights, saying the amended version of the Women’s Health Protection Act the Senate tried — and failed — to pass last week would have done more than just codifying Roe.

The bill would have reversed many restrictions already enacted by states and prohibited certain limits on providers. Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., voted against the bill in part because of its breadth. Jordan called the bill “radical” during Wednesday’s hearing.

Democrats seized on comments by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the possibility of a national abortion ban if Roe is overturned and the GOP takes control of Congress after the election midterms of 2022. McConnell then backtracked on the chances of such a ban happening, telling reporters there wouldn’t be 60 votes to pass such legislation “no matter who’s in the majority” and that he would oppose the removal of the filibuster to get it passed.

“Their goal is a national abortion ban in America,” said Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline. “The world they are pushing for is deeply terrifying.”

ABC News

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button