The Republican Party has decided to kick off 2020 by launching yet another assault on Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States and gave women autonomy over their own bodies.
207 members of Congress, including 39 Republican Senators and two Democrats — Pelosi-backed Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and anti-impeachment Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MIN) — filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court today demanding that they “revisit” and if appropriate “overrule” Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, slamming the right to an abortion as “unworkable.”
New: 207 members of Congress (including 39 Republican senators) tell the Supreme Court to revisit ("and, if appropriate," overrule) the two key abortion decisions, Casey and Roe v. Wade.https://t.co/hnW0rz8aLc pic.twitter.com/43tUzEWhUl
— Todd Ruger (@ToddRuger) January 2, 2020
The conservatives filed the brief in support of a Louisiana law that requires abortion doctors have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, one of the hundreds of “TRAP” (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) laws passed by conservative legislatures over the past several years. These malicious laws defy logic, common sense and empathy by placing overbearing restrictions on access to abortion but don’t outright ban it — but they make it so difficult to get an abortion that they might as well have.
One of the most popular TRAP law variations force clinics to close for not having a doctor with admittance to a nearby hospital in case of emergency despite the fact that less than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization — and, of course, even if a woman does require hospitalization, she doesn’t need her abortion provider to be the one who admits her.
Some clinics are required to have extra and unnecessary equipment or are required to obtain unnecessary certifications among their staffers. Some laws try to impose ridiculous and impractical regulations regarding the physical layout of clinics, placing standards on pedestrian concerns such as the “width of corridors” or the “size of the room in which abortion is performed.”
The Hill reports that the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments challenging the Louisiana law in March, and if the conservative-majority Supreme Court decides to uphold it, the state would be left with just one working abortion provider. The Supreme Court previously ruled against a similar law instituted in Texas in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, deciding that it was unconstitutional due to place “undue burden” on patient’s access to abortion, so it’s hard to see how they could change their minds to contradict establish precedent — but this time, Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh will be casting a crucial vote.
The amicus brief is an ominous harbinger of the fights that we can expect to see in 2020 as Republicans redouble their efforts on rolling back every progressive victory they possibly can before potentially losing the White House in 2020 — and reminds us all that a tiny minority of extremists is attempting to impose its will on an unwilling nation. The vast majority of voters, including over half of Republicans, do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, but that doesn’t mean a thing to Republican radicals and their billionaire backers.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.