Pro-choice Democrats lauded the anniversary of the controversial Supreme Court decision that protects Americans' right to an abortion on Wednesday, ahead of the massive yearly "March for Life" rally held by opponents of the ruling.
Congressional leaders including House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., spoke out in defense of Roe v. Wade, which was decided 47 years ago and has been a continuing source of discord in American politics since Justice Harry Blackmun penned the majority opinion in the case.
"For 47 years, the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade has stood as the law of the land, ensuring that a woman’s reproductive health decisions are her own – in consultation with her family, her physician and her faith," Pelosi said in a statement. "Women’s freedom of choice is currently under unprecedented threat from this Administration, and from Republicans in Congress and in state capitols across the country who are determined to insert themselves into women’s private health care decisions. For millions of women and their families, this relentless GOP assault continues to jeopardize their future and threatens to undo decades of progress towards women’s equality."
In a joint statement, Lee and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., vowed to fight "anti-choice" politicians and policies like President Trump's so-called "Gag Rule," which prevents federal funds from going to organizations that give abortion referrals.
"Today and every day, our caucus will fight with everything we have to expand reproductive rights and ensure Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. Because abortion care is health care, and health care is a human right," the representatives said of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, which they co-chair.
Murray lauded abortion activists' efforts to protect the high court ruling and parry efforts to limit or ban abortion coming from both Republicans in Congress and red states.
"But while there are many attacks on women's reproductive rights, there are even more ... women and men across the country willing to stand up and speak out about what this fight means for them, and their families, and their futures," she said. "In fact, support for the right to safe, legal abortion is stronger than ever, with more than 70 percent of voters making clear they do not want to see Roe overturned."
Murray's statement called back to the oft-repeated slogan "safe, legal and rare," which was coined by former President Bill Clinton and used by members of the party all the way through former President Barack Obama. Murray's statement, however, omitted the word "rare."
In fact, abortion proponents from Planned Parenthood to Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., to Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Mass., and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg used the same "safe and legal" terminology in statements on Wednesday, sans the word "rare."
Republicans, on the other hand, used Wednesday's anniversary to trumpet their strong pro-life voting records, as graded by the Susan B. Anthony List, a large pro-life organization. Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., was one of them.
"Senator Graham has voted consistently to protect the lives of unborn babies and infants as well as the consciences of taxpayers who don’t want their hard-earned tax dollars paying for abortion domestically or internationally," Graham quoted the SBA List as saying as he released a statement on his "A" rating from the group.
Other GOP members of Congress who bragged about making the grade with the SBA List included Rep. Harold Rodgers, R-Ky., and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.
"We’re a part of a movement of hope that is growing, but we have a lot more work to do… through praying, loving our neighbors, passing legislation, and confirming good constitutionalists to the courts we’ll keep making progress," Sasse said in a statement. "I’m honored to receive an A rating from one of the most respected pro-life organizations in our nation.