In a letter to colleagues on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., painted a dark portrait of a country without nationwide abortion rights should the Supreme Court overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, warning that such an action would be “dragging our nation back to a dark time decades into the past.”
Pelosi called the leaked draft opinion — first published last week by POLITICO, which shows a majority of the justices voted to overturn Roe — “the culmination of Republicans’ decades-long crusade against women’s fundamental freedoms.”
“With this draft ruling striking down the nearly fifty-year-old precedent of Roe v. Wade and undermining the Constitutional right to privacy, Republicans would rip away women's right to make the most intimate and personal decisions,” the California Democrat wrote. “If handed down, this decision by GOP-appointed Justices would mean that, for the first time in our history, America’s daughters will have less freedom than their mothers.”
Pelosi claimed that “Republicans have made clear that their goal will be to seek to criminalize abortion nationwide,” citing actions at the state level such as “advancing extreme new laws, seeking to arrest doctors for offering reproductive care, ban abortion entirely with no exceptions, and even charge women with murder who exercise their right to choose.”
“These draconian measures could even criminalize contraceptive care, in vitro fertilization and post-miscarriage care, dragging our nation back to a dark time decades into the past,” Pelosi said, warning that other rights could be at risk should the high court overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Make no mistake: once Republicans have dispensed with precedent and privacy in overturning Roe, they will take aim at additional basic human rights,” Pelosi warned. “At this pivotal moment, the stakes for women – and every American – could not be higher.”
Pelosi's comments come one day after she made a Sunday appearance on CBS' "This Week," in which she called the draft opinion a slap in the face to women nationwide.
"This is about something so serious and so personal and so disrespectful of women," she said. "Here we are on Mother's Day, a week where the court has slapped women in the face in terms of disrespect for their judgment about the size and timing of their families."
Other Democratic lawmakers took to the Sunday shows to express their outrage over the draft opinion as well.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., took umbrage with the high court's conservative justices and their previous statements on Roe v. Wade, saying that they "misled the Senate with the intention of getting their confirmation vote, with the intention of overruling Roe."
"If a corporation put these kinds of statements in their quarterly filings, they would be seen to be purposefully misleading and deemed fraud," she told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "I'm very concerned these justices have crossed a line that no one believed would be crossed. That they would purposefully create the impression that they would not overrule settled precedent."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., lamented the fact that should Roe v. Wade be overturned, women of the U.S. would be subjected to a "patchwork of laws" when it comes to abortion.
"Why should a woman in Texas have different rights and a different future and a different ability to make decisions about her body and her reproductive choices than a woman in Minnesota?" she asked on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "How can that be in this country, that we'd have a patchwork of laws?"
With the Senate set to take up a bill to codify Roe v. Wade into law this week — a vote that is likely doomed to fail — Pelosi in her letter called for lawmakers to take action, both in terms of advancing abortion rights legislation and messaging ahead of the midterm elections in November.
"It is urgent and essential that we remain disciplined and focused in sharing with the American people the dangers of the Republican agenda," she said. "While Republicans want to punish and control women for exercising their constitutional rights, Democrats believe that a woman’s health decisions are her own – and we will fight relentlessly to enshrine Roe v. Wade as the law of the land."
"We know we must carry forward this fight in the weeks and months ahead," she said. "Our proud pro-choice House Majority must continue this fight in the public arena so that the American people know that their rights are on the ballot this November. While we have seen and heard extraordinary anguish in our communities, we have been moved by how so many have channeled their righteous anger into meaningful action: planning to march and mobilize to make their voices heard."