Sen. Johnson must be held accountable at the ballot box for creating an anti-choice supermajority on the Supreme Court
Wisconsin — Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was one of 52 senators who jammed through Amy Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court last year—despite her record of anti-choice, anti-freedom extremism. Sen. Johnson disregarded the will of the people and instead solidified an anti-choice, anti-freedom supermajority on the Supreme Court by voting to confirm Justices Amy Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.
There is no path for the Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban without overturning Roe’s core holding, illustrating the direct and acute threat to reproductive freedom across the country. The Mississippi ban threatens doctors who provide abortion care with severe civil penalties for providing abortion care after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“Republican politicians went out of their way to dodge questions about whether Roe is at risk during Justice Amy Barrett’s confirmation process, but the truth is clear. Anti-choice politicians like Senator Ron Johnson have their eyes on the long-sought-after prize of ending Roe v. Wade and decimating reproductive freedom, and now they see their chance. NARAL and our 2.5 million members will be fighting every step of the way to ensure that Roe and the legal right to abortion remain intact. We will hold Sen. Johnson accountable at the ballot box in 2022 for his role in getting us here.”
Today’s news comes as anti-choice lawmakers in states across the country are waging war on reproductive freedom. They have escalated their blatantly unconstitutional attacks on abortion access―going as far as to advance legislation criminalizing pregnant people and doctors who provide abortion care―all in hopes of rolling back or overturning Roe v. Wade. This year alone, anti-choice politicians have introduced, advanced, or passed over 300 bills attacking reproductive freedom and abortion access.
Despite the anti-choice movement’s relentless efforts to restrict reproductive freedom and ban abortion, the vast majority of Americans support reproductive freedom. Polling has found that 77% support Roe v. Wade, and there is no state in the country where banning abortion is popular.
If Roe fell tomorrow, 24 states would likely take action to ban abortion outright. Eleven states already have “trigger bans” in place which would ban abortion immediately if Roe is overturned. The Court’s decision to hear this case now—more than a year into a pandemic where people are already facing barriers to access time-sensitive and needed care—is especially troubling.
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump vowed to only nominate justices who would overturn Roe— a promise which he kept by nominating Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett to the Court. As soon as Justice Kavanaugh had the chance, joined by Justice Gorsuch, he demonstrated his disregard for precedent and hostility toward reproductive freedom in the June Medical Services LLC v. Russo decision. And though Republicans politicians and Justice Barrett herself have played coy about where she stands on reproductive freedom, her record is anything but coy:
- Barrett has suggested that Roe v. Wade is an “erroneous decision.” She also signed onto an ad calling the landmark ruling “barbaric” and failed to disclose it in the documents submitted to the Senate ahead of her confirmation hearing. Another anti-choice ad Barrett signed onto called “for the unborn to be protected in law.”
- She refused to answer questions about whether states could make seeking abortion care a felony if Roe v. Wade is overturned or punish people seeking abortion care with the death penalty. She also refused to answer whether states could prosecute people for using contraception if Roe is overturned.
- Barrett has aligned with the most extreme elements of the anti-choice movement, sided with states trying to restrict abortion access, and joined anti-choice groups in voicing opposition to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. She’s even connected to a group that calls for criminalizing abortion providers and aspects of in vitro fertilization.
- During her confirmation hearing, Barrett refused to say whether she believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and declined to call Roe v. Wade “super-precedent” or settled law. She also refused to give her position on Griswold v. Connecticut, a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the right to use birth control.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.