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More radical than Roe

Katelyn Walls Shelton | Democratic Party leaders reveal their extreme abortion ideology

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer talks to reporters after Wednesday’s vote. Getty Images/Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

More radical than <em>Roe</em>

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a procedural vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act. It failed to pass, as predicted, though the Democratic leader never intended for it to succeed in the first place. Schumer painted the bill as one that would codify Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey into federal law, essentially circumventing any U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the matter. But the proposed law was much more extreme than that. Schumer’s bill offered a window into the true desires of a completely radicalized Democratic Party—not for so-called “rights for women” but abortion on demand for any reason and at any point up until birth. And Democrats are willing to use any means to achieve that end, including the destruction of democracy itself.

For the first time in our nation’s history, Schumer’s law would have done away with religious liberty protections for medical providers who object to performing abortions on religious or conscience grounds. It would have also allowed for sex-selective abortion, which is lethal discrimination based on sex, a provision condemned by the (otherwise pro-abortion) United Nations and only permitted in a handful of other nations. For all the left’s fearmongering that our nation could turn into a version of The Handmaid’s Tale, this is the true stuff of a dystopian society, one in which Christian doctors are forced to dismember a human body inside a mother’s womb simply because the baby wasn’t the sex her mother preferred.

If Schumer’s true intention was to codify Roe and Casey into law, he could have supported Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins’ Reproductive Choice Act, which does just that. Codifying Roe and Casey would be bad enough—it would allow abortion until “fetal viability,” which is undefinable, and restrict the rights of states to legislate on the issue as they see fit. But the Women’s Health Protection Act was obscene and far more radical than Roe. Schumer knew it would never pass but used the opportunity as a political ploy, a “show-vote,” to pressure members of Congress to go on record as being for or against so-called “women’s rights.” Schumer said, “Republicans have been on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of America,” and from the Senate floor, “Every American is going to see where every senator stands.”

Democrats who voted in favor of the bill highlight how utterly out of touch they are with the American public.

Perhaps just as shocking, though, is Schumer’s willingness to flout democratic norms for the sake of advancing a political end. If he leads his party to abolish the filibuster, a mechanism that is intended to protect our nation from extreme policies (such as this bill) being voted into law, he will have single-handedly destroyed an aspect of the U.S. government that is supposed to help protect our democratic republic, a check and balance on an already-tenuous institution in today’s polarized climate.

But Schumer’s plan backfired. Yesterday’s vote was not about Roe or Casey. It was about abortion. Most Republicans are glad to go on the record saying that partial-birth abortion or sex-selective abortion is wrong. Even pro-abortion Republicans Murkowski and Collins and lone Democratic holdout Sen. Joe Manchin said Schumer’s bill was too radical and voted against it. Pro-lifers have no question about who is on the “right side of history” concerning the genocide of millions of unborn human beings. Instead, Democrats who voted in favor of the bill highlight how utterly out of touch they are with the American public.

When Americans look at abortion, especially late-term or partial-birth abortion, they cannot help but admit that the gruesome practice should not be enshrined in U.S. law. Most public support for abortion in the United States comes with limits—and most Americans (Democrats included) limit that support to the first trimester. In new data released by the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of Americans support some exceptions or restrictions for abortion, and 56 percent say it should matter how far along a woman is in her pregnancy for abortion to be legal. The Democratic Party’s norm, now, is one giant leap over what their base actually wants and over what Roe and Casey actually allow. And their radicalization will not serve them well in the long run or even in the midterm elections.

The leaked Supreme Court majority draft opinion in Dobbs v. Mississippi Women’s Health Organization would return the issue of abortion to the states, using the U.S. political system, predicated upon debate and persuasion, as our Founders intended. Nine Supreme Court justices in 1973 undermined that political process, and now Chuck Schumer would go a step further in assisting in the deterioration of Congress, the very institution meant to be the model of political debate and persuasion in this country. Schumer will not succeed in abolishing the filibuster, and he failed to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. He will only succeed in alienating his Democratic base from the shocking radicalization of the Democratic Party’s leadership.

Katelyn Walls Shelton

Katelyn Walls Shelton is the senior policy adviser at the Institute for Women’s Health. She previously worked to promote the well-being of women and the unborn at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She graduated from Yale Divinity School and Union University and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, John, and their twin toddlers.



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