The supreme court is “dangerous to families and to freedoms in our country”, Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday, as justices prepare to finalize a draft ruling stripping almost have a century of abortion rights in the US.
The House speaker railed against conservative judges appointed by former president Donald Trump in an interview Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, in which she urged Democrats to keep their “eye on the ball” to protect other freedoms she sees under threat.
“Beware in terms of marriage equality, beware in terms of other aspects,” she said.
“Understand this. This is not just about terminating a pregnancy. This is about contraception, family planning.
“This is a place where freedom and the kitchen table, issues of America’s families, come together. What are the decisions that a family makes? What about contraception for young people? It’s beyond just a particular situation. It’s massive in terms of contraception, in vitro fertilization, a woman’s right to decide.”
Speaking the day after hundreds of protest events took place nationwide, Pelosi insisted Democrats had done what they could in terms of protecting abortion rights through legislation. She pointed out the House had passed a bill before the women’s health protection act failed in the Senate on Wednesday, and she said she was still optimistic of a resolution with the support of pro-choice Republicans.
But she said the 60-vote requirement in the Senate was “an obstacle to many good things”, and that Democrats needed to rally ahead of November’s midterm elections to “get rid of the damage” caused by conservative justices, including Trump’s three appointments, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
“Whoever suspected a creature like Donald Trump would become president, waving a list of judges he would appoint, therefore getting the support of the far right and appointing those anti-freedom justices to the court?” she said.
“This is not about a long game. We played a long game, we won Roe v Wade a long time ago, we voted to protect it over time. Let’s not take our eye off the ball. The ball is this court, which is dangerous to families, to freedoms in our country.
“The genius of our founders was to have a constitution that enabled freedom to expand. This is the first time the court has taken back a freedom that was defined by precedent and respect for privacy.”
Independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, on NBC’s Meet the Press, said he remained hopeful that abortion rights legislation could be resurrected before the midterms.
“Nobody should think this process is dead. We should bring those bills up again, and again and again,” he said.
“People cannot believe you have a supreme court and Republicans who are prepared to overturn 50 years of precedent. What we should do is on this bill end the filibuster, do everything that we can to get 50 votes on the strongest possible bill to protect a woman’s right to control her own body.”
An NBC News poll conducted after the leak of a draft opinion and reported by the network Sunday showed six out of 10 voters were in favor of abortion rights, and that 52% of voters were “less likely” to support a candidate who backed the supreme court’s draft ruling.
But the poll found that inflation and the economy remained the biggest concerns for voters as the midterms approach.