For decades, anti-abortion lawmakers at every level of government have led a scorched-earth campaign to make abortion as inaccessible and stigmatized as possible. Congress effectively banned abortion for poor people, and state legislatures enacted over 1,300 bans and restrictions since 1973, when Roe was originally decided. For the most part, the Democratic Party has responded to this strategy with feckless statements, impotent exploratory committees, and refusals to say the word “abortion” aloud.
Now, the Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade, and it seems like Democrats have learned nothing. For a party that consistently implores us to “just vote” all our problems away (even though the Supreme Court is in now way accountable to the electorate), the supposedly pro-choice Democratic lawmakers we do elect don’t seem to be doing a whole lot.
Case in point: Shortly after Roe was overturned, the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee announced it will “hold a hearing next month to explore the grim reality of a post-Roe America.” In other words, pregnant people have been stripped of all rights and reduced to state-controlled incubators, but a discussion of that will have to wait for the Senate to return from recess. Abortion access has been effectively routed in most of the country for years. People were already being arrested for miscarriage and abortion before the ruling on Friday. And we’ll get a whole Senate committee hearing on this existential crisis—in more than two weeks!
Voting is good. In fact, organizing and voting—in addition to voter suppression, gerrymandering, and an overall highly undemocratic political system—are how the anti-abortion movement pulled off this outcome. But given Democratic leaders’ responses to the fall of Roe so far, it’s clear (and has been for years) that they have no plan to save our reproductive rights.
Here are some of the worst responses from Democrats so far.