More Than 200 Republicans Ask Supreme Court To 'Reconsider' Roe V. Wade

by Julie Scagell

Over 200 lawmakers signed the brief

We’re only a few days into the new year and, because it’s also an election year, Republicans want to make sure folks know where they stand on abortion — and they’re doing so by asking the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade.

In an amicus curie brief released Thursday, 205 Republican lawmakers, including 39 senators, asked the Supreme Court to consider whether the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case protecting the right to an abortion, “should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.” Additionally, they are asking the justices to consider overturning another landmark abortion ruling in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

“The court has exercised that judgment to overrule precedent in over 230 cases throughout its history,” the lawmakers wrote. “Forty-six years after Roe was decided, it remains a radically unsettled precedent: Two of the seven justices who originally joined the majority subsequently repudiated it in whole or in part, and virtually every abortion decision since has been closely divided.”

Republicans are doing so on the heels of June Medical Services v. Gee, an abortion-related case set to go before the court in March, and the first abortion case heard by the Supreme Court since Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the bench in 2019. The case is looking at whether the state of Louisiana can require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Those in favor of keeping abortion legal say the ruling is designed to make it harder for women to access the procedure while proponents of the law say it’s in the best interest of women’s health who chose to have an abortion.

“The anti-choice movement is no longer trying to hide their real agenda,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, in a statement. “They are gunning to end Roe, criminalize abortion and punish women. If it wasn’t clear why we fought like hell to stop [Supreme Court justice] Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation before, it should be crystal clear now.”

For the Republicans who are set to prove to their base the importance of abortion legislation, the brief couldn’t be any clearer. “Roe’s jurisprudence has been haphazard from the beginning,” reads the brief. “Roe did not actually hold that abortion was a ‘fundamental’ constitutional right, but only implied it,” and that the court’s struggles where abortion is concerned “illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe, and the need for the court to take up the issue of whether Roe and Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.”

While several Republican senators in hotly contested reelection battles such as Susan Collins (ME) and Martha McSally (AZ) withheld their support, two anti-abortion House Democrats, Dan Lipinski (IL) and Collin Peterson (MN) added their names to the brief with their colleagues across the aisle.

Reproductive rights advocates aren’t backing down. “These anti-abortion politicians are making it very clear — they want the Supreme Court to effectively ban abortion, precedent be damned,” said Samuel Lau, director of Federal Advocacy Media for Planned Parenthood Votes in a statement. “To the members of Congress who signed on to this amicus brief: Brace yourselves for the consequences you will face at the ballot box in November.”