Republicans made clear following the Supreme Court’s decision striking down abortion rights that they won’t stop there: They want to ban abortion nationwide.
“Having been given this second chance for Life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land,” Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement praising the court’s decision on Friday.
The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does not ban abortion nationally, though it does trigger laws banning or severely restricting abortions in more than 20 Republican-leaning states. A number of blue states, including Massachusetts, California and Illinois, have passed legislation protecting abortion rights.
Republicans and anti-choice activists, however, are making it clear they plan on forcing even those states to ban abortion, either through state-by-state campaigns or a federal law banning the procedure.
“The pro-life movement’s work has just begun,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a statement praising the ruling. “This issue will now be debated in the 50 states, and a 330,000,000-person, continental nation will work through this debate in a way that’s healthier than Roe’s one-size-fits-all, Washington-centrism.”
Passing a national abortion ban would be politically difficult, but not impossible. Republicans would need to win control of the presidency, the House and large enough majorities in the Senate to either eliminate the filibuster or bypass its 60-vote requirement. (The last requirement is made easier by the Senate’s strong bias towards rural voters, who make up a key part of the GOP base.)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for one, allowed that a national abortion ban was “possible” after the initial leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision. Last week, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) he would back a federal ban because “any of us that believe this is wrong, it’s wrong, period.”
Some Republican senators and anti-choice activists have begun drafting legislation for a six-week abortion ban.
Such a ban would be unpopular: Just 37% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal most or all of the time, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CNN Friday that he would back codifying a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, which is likely not as far as other members of his party would like to go.
Democratic leaders are playing up the threat of a ban.
“Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday morning. “They cannot be allowed to have a majority in the Congress to do that.”
More on the Supreme Court abortion ruling:
- Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, dismantling decades-old precedent
- Roe overturned: The fight begins
- Abortion is now illegal in these states
- Liberal justices dissent with “sorrow” for “millions of American women”
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “We have to fill the streets”
- Clarence Thomas: Cases protecting gay marriage and contraception should be next
- Republicans make it clear they want to ban abortion nationwide
- Donald Trump praises SCOTUS decision
- West Coast states launch a plan to protect out-of-state abortion patients
- Here’s how the world is reacting to the end of Roe