It’s shocking that a group of 207 Republican members of Congress filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief last week calling upon the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which secured abortion rights in 1973. More than a third of members of Congress signed onto this extremist brief, including two House Democrats.
“It’s grotesque to see this mostly male, religiously-motivated congressional cabal openly working to deny abortion rights and interfere with the very personal decision of whether to continue a pregnancy or become a parent,” comments Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Only 13 female members of Congress signed the brief. This shows the danger of women being so underrepresented, currently holding only about 23 percent of seats. The United States trails many countries in its representation of women legislators, and is currently tied with Afghanistan.
Reproductive rights are a state/church issue, Gaylor maintains. The only organized opposition to abortion and contraceptive rights is religiously motivated. Antiabortionists seek to legislate their personal religious dogma and inflict it on other unwilling citizens, even to the extent of forcing women to continue unwanted pregnancies at great personal cost to their future, health and existing families.
Gaylor is also co-administrator of the Women’s Medical Fund, an all-volunteer charitable group that typically helps about 1,000 Wisconsin citizens without means pay for abortion care every year. The Hyde Amendment at the federal level and laws in Wisconsin and about 35 other states have denied Medicaid coverage for abortion care since the late 1970s, long endangering abortion access for low-income women.
The congressional brief was filed in the case of June Medical Services v. Gee. FFRF and the Women’s Medical Fund have each signed onto a brief opposing the Louisiana law seeking to use harassment to close down abortion clinics.
An identical law in Texas was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court only four years ago in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, making the high court’s decision to hear the case especially concerning. This will be the first abortion-related case to be heard by new justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Gorsuch replaced antiabortion Justice Antonin Scalia, but Kavanaugh replaced pro-choice justice Anthony Kennedy. Six of nine Supreme Court justices are Roman Catholics, and only three are women.
As Florynce Kennedy put it: “If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”