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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told party members Friday that the future of the Democratic agenda to preserve abortion rights and restrict guns — the subjects of two landmark Supreme Court rulings this week — will depend on the midterm elections.
“Over the last two days, the Supreme Court has inflicted devastation on our nation: flooding our public spaces with more deadly weapons and erasing women’s fundamental right to make their own reproductive health decisions,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democratic House members.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Friday overturned Roe v. Wade and its nearly 50 years of precedent protecting abortions as a constitutional right. On Thursday, SCOTUS ruled that New York City’s ban on concealed carry permits was unconstitutional.
According to Pelosi, President Biden and other Democratic leaders, those two decisions cast a dark cloud over America and represent an erosion of human rights.
“The only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose in the balance it existed, is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law,” Biden said. Noting that Congress doesn’t have enough votes to do that, he called on Americans to vote for lawmakers in the midterms who would codify a right to have an abortion into federal law.
“This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality are all on the ballot,” Biden said.
The Dobbs decision is just “Republicans’ opening act in their despicable crusade to punish and control women,” Pelosi wrote in her Dear Colleagues letter, noting that former Vice President Mike Pence had called for “sanctity of life [to be] restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.”
In his own opinion on the Dobbs decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court should also consider other precedents that paved the way for decisions recognizing citizens’ rights to privacy in using contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut) and gay marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges).
“We must ‘Remember in November’ that the rights of women, and indeed all Americans, are on the ballot,” Pelosi said, promising to “continue to beat the drum – not only of what the challenges are, but what we as Democrats are doing about it.”
Democrats face strong headwinds in the four and a half months before the November midterms, where they hope to keep slim majorities in the House and Senate.
With Biden’s dismal approval ratings, sky-high inflation and the cost of everything from gas to food increasing, Republicans are widely expected to do better in congressional races. And poll after poll has shown that the economy and inflation are the top issues among likely voters.
A Fox News poll released in May found that a slim majority of registered voters favor banning abortions after 15 weeks, while an earlier poll revealed that six in 10 registered voters favored the court upholding Roe v. Wade.