Supreme Court Roe Reversal Reshapes Democrats’ Struggle to Keep Congress

“There is no doubt that this is a central theme that will keep voters busy,” said Peters.

After the long GOP campaign to install and overthrow a conservative majority roe was successful, came down on Friday as a gut feeling for a Democratic Party that must now begin its own long-term efforts to once again expand access to abortion. In addition, the decision overruled the House’s approval of the Senate’s gun-safety bill, one of the party’s biggest achievements in years.

In the wake of the decision, Democratic candidates in Senate races railed against the filibuster, hoping to expand and codify their majority next year. roe into law by breaking the Senate’s 60-vote requirement to pass most bills. But that push would be nonsensical without retaining House control, and the decision to unravel a nationwide right to access abortion breathed new life into Democrats’ long-running campaign to retain the House.

And in the Wisconsin battlefield, Planned Parenthood’s clinics closed off abortion access at least temporarily after the decision because of a state-level criminal justice right, exposing the stakes of that state’s senate race.

“This is now a fact. I mean, our clinics don’t perform abortions anymore, so women have to travel elsewhere,” said state treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis) this fall. “We should have documented this a long time ago. And I think the bottom line is that we need more pro-choice Democratic women because they would prioritize getting this done.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill have spent weeks preparing for this moment. The party’s senators held a special caucus meeting on Thursday ahead of the court’s expected ruling, while House Democrats held their own discussion the day before.

“This is higher than gas prices now. This is greater than inflation,” said Representative Marc Veasey (D-Texas), whose home state now has an almost complete ban on abortion. He offered a taste of the Democrats’ midterm message: “You’ll see they’re going for birth control now. You will see them going after fundamental fundamental rights.”

The Senate failed to pass a bill extending abortion rights last month after POLITICO published a draft majority opinion pointing to the roe verdict, and many Democrats are not eager to replay those votes. sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said there’s no need to put Republicans back on the map because it’s clear “where the Republicans will stand.”

Instead, she predicted that the problem would “sink” in the meantime.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio.), who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, said “it makes no sense” to hold re-votes on the abortion bill, instead advising Democrats to focus their energies on leaving their bases in November. .

Democrats also don’t currently have the votes to weaken the filibuster due to resistance from Sens. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), both of whom support codification roe† Several Senate candidates, such as Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), vowed they would be the extra votes to stamp out the filibuster.

“Sinema is part of the problem. Manchin is part of the problem. Schumer is part of the problem, if they don’t let the filibuster take down,” said deputy Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who has threatened in 2024 to send Sinema from the left.

Still, weakening the 60-vote threshold could also allow Republicans to enact national restrictions once they regain power. In the past, the GOP has sought a national 20-week abortion ban.

While party leaders have long prepared for this outcome, they have mainly focused on channeling voters’ anger into the voter turnout. Only a handful of seats in the House and Senate can determine who controls Congress next year, though Democrats’ prospects of especially keeping the House are fading by the week.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, campaign manager for the House Democrats, said, “For millions of Americans, I think in November they will get a clear picture of the choice.”

Access to abortion is a particularly important issue in states where it may now be at immediate risk after the decision. Many include major battlefield districts: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Incumbent Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said laws already on the books in his state are “frustrating and frightening many Arizonans.”

“We’re going to have many, many states, and Pennsylvania could easily be one of those, where the government is going to dictate women’s health care choices,” said Representative Susan Wild (D-Pa.), a battlefield Democrat, who became emotional. while she spoke.

The contradictions between the parties, both the challengers and the incumbents, are almost as great as it gets in abortion. Incumbent Senate Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Johnson of Wisconsin all welcomed Roe’s decision. Of these, Johnson is the most vulnerable of them; he has downplayed the politics of the decision in interviews. His opponents say they are determined not to let that happen.

Some Republicans hope the decision will stir the conservative base and remind voters why it is so important to turn the Senate over. But the Democrats are optimistic it could help them in those races, as well as Kelly and Sens’s. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

“Some of our battlefield states tend to be the most preferred states in the country as well,” Peters said in an interview, ticking off New Hampshire, Arizona and Nevada.

Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to turn the issue over to the Democrats, whose legislative vehicle they want to codify roe also expanded abortion rights in some circumstances. National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has sought to portray many Democrats’ opposition to any restriction on abortion as out of step with most Americans.

sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) predicted the decision would “really energize” Republicans, though he doubted abortion would replace economic problems for many voters.

But House Democrats — whose campaign arm almost immediately began bombarding Republicans in the battlefield with abortion — said their recent polls show most voters want at least some protection. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said: “It’s a very powerful election issue right now. Not just for women.”

Marianne LeVine, Nicholas Wu and Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.