WASHINGTON — On Capitol Hill, House Democratic leaders are discussing ways to force Republicans into uncomfortable positions on abortion, plotting potential votes designed to expose GOP opposition to some popular protections and underscore their own commitment towards them, according to helpers knowing the plans.
At the White House, President Joe Biden first encouraged outraged Americans to speak out at the polls, then days later shifted to a more aggressive stance, calling for a change in the government’s filibuster. Senate to allow Democrats to codify the right to abortion. Administration officials are also considering what more can be accomplished through executive action.
And across the country, liberal West Coast governors have joined in creating a multi-state haven aimed at protecting out-of-state abortion seekers from legal consequences, while TV abortion ads aimed at to help Democratic candidates are airing in the battleground states of New Hampshire. in Florida.
“What’s most important is that we turn all of this anger and anxiety into action. And that means throwing out the votes,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat.
The flurry of responses from Democrats to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade amounts to a patchwork approach that will be tested in the next phase of the battle against abortion. The decision created a new rallying cry for the abortion-rights movement-aligned party that was bracing for a tough election season and struggling to generate enthusiasm for political activism and policy-making. policies. But it also exposed some divergences in the way forward — sometimes prompting Democratic aides to grow frustrated with the lack of cohesion.
Biden’s push for filibuster change hasn’t convinced a pair of pivotal Senate Democrats to join his call, leaving that avenue closed unless they move. And as the White House explores its options for acting by executive decision, it’s seeking to temper expectations about what’s possible, brushing aside some suggestions from activists as officials note it’s impossible to fully fill. the void left by the court’s decision.
The Democratic efforts come as anti-abortion activists say they are not slacking off on their political advocacy. “Our ground crew is going door-to-door in battleground states, speaking to millions of voters about the extremism of Biden’s Democrats and the need to elect pro-life champions in the House. and in the Senate this year,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a recent statement.
Some Democrats say their challenge will be to keep the abortion-focused political conversation going in the coming weeks in a way that resonates with voters. Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues on Monday, noting that leaders had been discussing potential abortion-related votes since a draft opinion on the Supreme Court decision was leaked.
These include a measure to protect personal reproductive data stored in the apps, to prevent the use of this information against women in states where abortion is not legal. Democrats also want to make sure women don’t face criminal penalties for choosing to travel across the United States to get an abortion in a state where it’s legal.
House leaders have asked committee chairs to flag legislation they might consider voting on to hold Republicans accountable for many of the protections, according to two House Democratic aides who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A House GOP aide, who spoke anonymously, acknowledged that such votes could put them in a difficult spot with their base.
Some senior Senate Democrats have expressed wariness of deploying a similar strategy in their chambers, fearing that holding such kinds of votes could allow GOP senators who voted to confirm Supreme Court justices who toppled Roe for claiming they acted to defend women’s reproductive rights.
This dynamic emerged during the Democratic caucus meeting in which a group of female senators discussed strategy ahead of the court’s decision – quelling the possibility of a series of ‘show votes’ to demonstrate opposition. Republican right to abortion and potentially other freedoms.
Instead, the three Democrats familiar with the meeting said, a more likely strategy is to attempt over the summer to pass bills by unanimous consent — a maneuver that would publicly demonstrate the GOP’s opposition to the popular measures but would not require all senators to vote. on them.
“My view is that Republicans are already in the know when it comes to protecting this basic freedom of people to be able to decide for themselves about their own bodies,” said Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn. , during a Washington Post Live event on Monday. She added, “I don’t really think any particular votes on the Senate floor are going to change that.”
Beyond Congress, Democrats also plan to draw attention to state-by-state developments, with several campaign committee aides saying they expect the legal landscape to change as the implications of the decisions become clearer and GOP-dominated state legislatures enter special sessions. change existing laws.
Democrats say they expect the issue to resonate in the suburbs, where many of the most competitive midterm battles will take place.
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