“Speaker” Mike Johnson is a symptom of a far bigger problem for House Republicans

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A new study shows just how far on the wrong side of history Republicans are when it comes to abortion. By electing Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, a far-right anti-abortion extremist, as the new Speaker of the House on Wednesday, the GOP is digging in its heels even further, making sure American voters know where they stand.

Now that Johnson has been thrust into the limelight, his offensive statements and out-of-touch positions are quickly surfacing and circulating. Johnson complained in a House Judiciary Committee hearing that abortions are responsible for why “we’re all struggling here to cover the bases of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and all the rest.” Johnson argued, “If we had all those able-bodied workers in the economy, we wouldn’t be going upside-down and toppling over like this.”

We also know Johnson wants to institute a nationwide ban on abortion. He has co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children From Late-Term Abortions Act, and the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2021, which are bills that could imprison physicians for up to five years for performing abortions. Johnson has also praised his state’s abortion ban that gets doctors “imprisoned at hard labor for 1-10 years” plus hefty fines.

On Tuesday, the same day Johnson won the GOP nomination for House speaker, the Society of Family Planning released a sobering #WeCount report on abortion. In detailing the number of abortions that took place in the year after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, overturning Roe v. Wade, the report strips away even more credibility from Republicans on this critical issue.

Not surprisingly, the number of abortions in states with complete or six-week abortion bans plummeted, by 114,590. You would also expect that the number of abortions might climb in states where it remained legal after six weeks from people able to travel from the other states. Indeed, it did—by 116,790.

So, not only does the rise in abortions make up for the Dobbs-induced shortfall, but it means abortions increased overall nationally—by 2,200—and that doesn’t even account for the many abortions that were denied to people who could not travel. Dobbs has not lowered the abortion rate in the United States, but it has created a healthcare mess, leading to widespread emotional distress and economic hardship.

According to a report from NBC News, in the 16 months since Dobbs, “candidates and measures supporting abortion rights have won in every election in which the issue was on the ballot or a prominent feature of the campaign.” Having Johnson as the new Speaker doesn’t exactly make Republicans stronger on this issue. On the contrary, Americans who believe that women deserve the right to control their own bodies are now getting an even clearer message about which party doesn’t deserve their vote in 2024.

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