State-level abortion bans are wreaking havoc across the country, criminalizing abortion seekers, putting people’s lives at risk, and eroding access to reproductive care at large. But Republicans won’t be satisfied to just stop at the state-level, one Democrat is warning: They want to ban abortion nationwide.
On Monday, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) warned of the dire consequences for abortion access if Republicans take control of Congress after the 2024 election.
“If you didn’t know already, if Republicans win control of the House and Senate in 2024, they are going to pass a national abortion ban. It’s 100 percent certain,” Murphy wrote. “Just so we’re clear about the stakes.”
Murphy’s tweet was in response to an anti-abortion rider that Republicans added to the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week. Republicans introduced an amendment to the bill that would ban the Department of Defense from paying for abortion-related services, which passed largely along party lines. The NDAA passed the House by a narrow margin on Friday, with most Democrats voting “no.”
Republicans are angling to use the 2024 budget in other ways to attack abortion access, shoving anti-abortion provisions into nearly every agency’s funding package.
For instance, Republicans’ Food and Drug Administration funding bill would reverse an agency decision that allowed abortion drug mifepristone to be sent by mail and dispensed at retail pharmacies, rather than specific health care providers. The Department of Veterans Affairs funding bill has a provision barring agency facilities and funds from being used for abortions. And for funding for health-related agencies, Republicans have inserted riders barring federal funding for abortion hotlines and stopping the implementation of President Joe Biden’s executive actions aimed at protecting abortion access.
It’s unclear how many of these provisions will pass, if any. But the fact that the GOP is seeking to limit abortion access through funding bills is a reflection of the party’s priorities.
And, as Murphy pointed out, other evidence has shown that the GOP is indeed aiming to ban abortion across the nation. Shortly after the far right Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked last year, both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and now-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) expressed an interest in pursuing a national abortion ban.
Meanwhile, Republicans have a directive from the Republican National Committee (RNC) to pursue such a ban. In January, RNC members voted on a resolution directing Republicans in Congress to pass “the strongest” anti-abortion legislation “possible.”A nationwide abortion ban would be calamitous. It would destroy reproductive care and health, create widespread economic hardship and create a massive uptick in pregnancy-related deaths. People of color, especially Black people, would see the worst effects.
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