Leading Democrats excoriated the Supreme Court after a leaked draft opinion shows the conservative majority is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, and castigated Republicans for an insidious, generation-long effort to take away the rights of women and minority groups.
Democratic leaders gathered for the EMILY’s List Conference in Washington on Tuesday, a day after the draft Supreme Court opinion leaked. Vice President Kamala Harris opened the gala, which supports female political candidates who back abortion rights, vowing to work to codify the right to abortion nationwide. She accused Republicans of “weaponizing” the rule of law against women, saying a democracy “cannot be strong if the rights of women are under attack.”
“There is nothing hypothetical about this moment,” Harris declared. “How dare they. How dare they tell a woman what she can do with her own body. How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future. How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms.”
“It has never been more clear which party wants to expand our rights and which party wants to restricts them,” she continued.
The vice president’s comments add to a growing political firestorm over the leak. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft, but noted the court’s decision isn’t yet final. If the court does strike down Roe, at least 26 states are likely to ban abortion. A ruling is expected within two months.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said the “terrible” decision should galvanize Democrats and Americans concerned about civil liberties. She warned that the draft opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, also threatens freedoms won by LGBTQ people and Americans of color.
“The abomination of that leaked opinion is coming for every one of us and we have got to be ready to fight back,” Abrams said. “It is our right to control our bodies. This is about our dignity and our freedom. This is about our health and our welfare. This is about our future and our lives. And we have the right to be angry.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was “infuriated” by the news, saying justices who signed on to the draft opinion lied during their Senate confirmation hearings when they said they would respect Supreme Court precedent. He pointed a finger directly at the GOP, saying Republicans spent the hours after the document leaked blaming the leaker rather than the precedent it would upend.
“They don’t want to focus on Roe v. Wade, where they know they’re on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the American people,” Schumer said. “Blame for this decision falls squarely on Senate Republicans who spent years pushing extremist judges while claiming this day would never come.”
Schumer said earlier in the day the Senate would vote on a bill to codify abortion rights into law, but that measure likely is doomed to failure. The legislation would need 60 votes to pass the evenly divided chamber, and Democrats have failed to muster support for changing filibuster rules.