The wrong side of history

The year 2021 is far from over, yet the United States has already achieved a grim milestone with abortion rights. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 90 state abortion restrictions were passed in the first half of this year, already making 2021 the year with the most abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

This disturbing statistic is all part of a conservative fever to take advantage of the current Supreme Court makeup, which stands at 6-3 in the wrong direction. The goal is to litigate the constitutional validity of one or more of these restrictions all the way to the Supreme Court, so that it may strike down Roe v. Wade, and in so doing pull the rug out from under women’s rights and establish a state-by-state legal patchwork as the new reality.

One such state restriction, Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act of 2018, bans abortions after 15 weeks except for medical emergencies or “severe fetal abnormality,” with no rape or incest exceptions. A federal court blocked the law, and then an appeals court affirmed it. However, earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided to take up the case. Although arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization won’t begin until the fall, a ferocious Republican anti-choice stampede broke out this week.

On Thursday, 228 Congressional Republicans decided to use Dobbs as an excuse to petition the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. The usual suspects, such as Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, Mo Brooks, and Lauren Boebert, joined hundreds of colleagues to file a friend-of-the-court brief. On the same day, 12 governors, including Greg Abbott (Texas), Ron DeSantis (Florida), and Kim Reynolds (Iowa), filed their own similarly medieval brief, while 24 state attorneys general contributed their own two cents to this shameful effort.

   

Indeed, a horde of elected leaders in the Republican-QAnon Party were tripping over themselves this week to affix their name to the wrong side of history. The Supreme Court won’t decide Dobbs until next June, only months before the midterm elections. If these bear-poking Republicans were smart, they should hope Roe v. Wade stays intact. In the meantime, this disturbing development should remind those of us on the right side of history to double our efforts.

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