Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), who became the 56th speaker of the House this week, has a history of supporting anti-choice legislation and making slightly bizarre statements about his stance on abortion.
“Roe v. Wade gave constitutional cover to the elective killing of unborn children in America. Period,” he said during an undated clip from a House Judiciary Committee Hearing. “You think about the implications of that on the economy. We’re all struggling here to cover the bases of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and all the rest. If we had all those able-bodied workers in the economy, we wouldn’t be going upside down and toppling over like this.”
“Roe was a terrible corruption of America’s constitutional jurisprudence,” added Johnson, who has served on the House Judiciary Committee since 2017.
Johnson has earned an “A+” rating from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, one of the largest anti-abortion organizations in the country. When the Supreme Court repealed Roe v. Wade last year, he celebrated the decision in a statement as a “historic and joyful day.”
An evangelical Christian, Johnson has also voted for a national abortion ban, co-sponsored a 20-week abortion ban, and supported a law that purported to protect children born alive during abortions later in pregnancy, a common Republican claim that has no scientific backing. He also applauded his home state’s abortion ban for having criminal punishments including one to 10 years in prison.
In the early to mid-2000s, Johnson was an attorney and spokesperson for Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative Christian legal group known for spearheading the lawsuit currently attempting to revoke FDA approval of medication abortion.
“Mike Johnson is a dangerous threat to reproductive freedom, just like the rest of his caucus,” Mini Timmaraju, president and CEO of Reproductive Freedom for All, formerly NARAL, said in a Wednesday statement. “His election as speaker only serves to underscore the urgency of electing reproductive freedom champions to Congress so we can take back the gavel in 2024.”
Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairs Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a Wednesday statement that they will continue to defend reproductive rights with Johnson as speaker.
“With an extreme record that includes supporting a complete nationwide abortion ban, Mike Johnson may hold the title of Speaker, but he does not speak for us or for the American people’s pro-choice majority,” the statement reads. “The Pro-Choice Caucus stands ready to counter the GOP’s extreme anti-choice, anti-freedom agenda — no matter who is holding the gavel.”