Democrats have taken multiple actions in response to what they say is a “draconian” and “dangerous” decision by a federal judge in Texas threatening access to the most commonly used method of abortion in the US.
Several Democratic governors have begun to stockpile doses of the drugs used in medication abortions. Nearly every Democrat in Congress signed onto an amicus brief urging an appeals court to stay the decision, while some called on the Biden administration to simply “ignore” the ruling, should it be allowed to stand. A group of House Democrats introduced a bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) final approval over drugs used in medication abortion.
Their fury over the ruling has been met with relative silence from Republicans.
Only a handful of congressional Republicans offered immediate comment on judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s decision last week to revoke the FDA’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. Just a fraction of Republicans on Capitol Hill signed an amicus brief urging an appeals court to uphold the ruling. And among the party’s national field of Republican presidential nominees, just one – the former vice-president, Mike Pence – unabashedly praised the decision.
The starkly different reactions underscores just how dramatically the politics of abortion have shifted since last June, when conservatives achieved their once-unimaginable goal of overturning Roe v Wade.
For decades, Republicans relied on abortion to rally their conservative base, calling for the reversal of Roe v Wade and vowing to outlaw the procedure if given the chance. But since the supreme court’s ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health, abortion has emerged as a potent issue for Democrats, galvanizing voters furious over the thicket of state bans and restrictions ushered in by the decision.
Republicans have struggled to respond, lacking a unified policy on abortion in the nearly 10 months since the landmark decision.
Even if you think Ron DeSantis, for example, will pay dearly in his 2024 run over Florida's abortion law, because he changed the rules in Florida, he'll still be Governor of Florida if he runs for the White House and loses. He may not be able to run again for Governor in 2026, but he can run in 2028 for President, and he can run for Governor again in 2030. He's younger than I am by 3 years. He'll only be 50 in 2028 and 52 in 2030. He has a long political career ahead of him, and there's no reason to think the GOP won't remain in total control of the state for decades to come.
So unless Democrats manage to dismantle these permanent gerrymandered walls, nothing will change.