by Charlotte Valyo, CCDC Chair
Last week, the US Supreme Court allowed the restrictive, clearly unconstitutional Texas law that severely restricts abortion rights, to remain in place while the challenge to it moves forward. This comes just a week after the Court heard arguments about a similarly unconstitutional Mississippi law that bans abortion after only 15 weeks, well before the point of viability that Roe v. Wade established as the law of the land for nearly four decades.
That these two cases came so close together and pose such an extreme threat to women’s rights is no coincidence–it is part of the Machiavellian deal that Republicans accepted as they allowed Donald Trump to chip away at our Democracy, abuse the Oval Office, and tarnish our reputation around the globe. They let him get away with this because the entire time, Mitch McConnell was busy forcing right-wing judges through the Senate at a record pace in an attempt to roll back the progress we have made as a society and hold on to power, despite the demographic trends that have foreshadowed the demise of his ideology for years.
Now, even though the Democrats won back the White House, Senate, and retained the House, the conservative super-majority on the Supreme Court is poised to deliver the payoff that Mitch McConnell and his fellow Trump-enablers sold their souls to achieve. Forty years of progress in the battle for women’s rights, for health care decisions to be between a woman and her doctor, and to ensure women control their bodies, are at serious risk.
Here in Pennsylvania, we are fortunate to have a governor who is committed to protecting abortion rights and a strong gubernatorial candidate in Attorney General Josh Shapiro who is equally unwavering in his support of a woman’s right to choose. But not all women in our nation are fortunate to have like-minded leaders. We are on the verge of returning to an era where economic status determined access to safe abortions. Where women are forced to choose between back-alley procedures or bringing a child into the world that they are unable to provide for, or worse, is the product of rape or incest.
We cannot allow this to happen. First, we all need to gear up to do everything possible to elect pro-choice leaders in Pennsylvania, and across the nation next November. Second, we need to make our voices heard in state houses, the courts, and in Congress. The overwhelming majority of the country supports women’s rights to make their own choices about their health and bodies. We need to show policymakers and judges what that majority looks like and encourage the passage of laws that codify Roe v. Wade.
Finally, if these destructive court rulings do play out as expected, we need to be ready to support women in states where their rights are likely to be curtailed. The poorest, most at-risk women, those in abusive relationships or other dangerous situations, are the ones who will face the most immediate consequences of Roe being overturned. We need to support organizations like Planned Parenthood and others who will step up to help these women access the care they need.
Donald Trump’s presidency took us to a dark place as a nation, and even as we emerge from that darkness, we are still dealing with its lasting damage. Whatever the Supreme Court decides, we are going to move forward because that is what we have always done, even in the face of powerful forces trying to keep us in the past. Now it is more important than ever for us to come together, support those in need, and remember that elections have consequences, and we need to turn out in November to vote!
Your vote matters!