tags: Press Releases

Supreme Court decision on abortion is just the tip of the iceberg

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Washington, DC – Below is a column by Maribel Hastings from America’s Voice en Español translated to English from Spanish. It ran in several Spanish-language media outlets earlier this week.

One of the many lessons of the Supreme Court decision to overturn federal legal protection for abortion is that elections have consequences. When we decide not to vote because our candidate didn’t win the nomination—or because we are upset that someone hasn’t met our expectations—it’s very likely that someone like Donald Trump, who, in addition to heading one of the most radical and racist presidencies in recent history, also filled the high court with activist judges who emitted the extremely political decision on June 24 will win, like in 2016.

Even worse, one of the ultraconservative justices, Clarence Thomas, made it clear that the revocation of Roe vs. Wade is just the beginning. Same sex marriage, the right to access contraceptives, and a long wish list from the U.S. right, including the annulment of Obama Care, are becoming targets for a Supreme Court where the radicals have the last word.

Because it’s evident that the reversal of Roe vs. Wade is just the beginning: a goal that was cooked for years and which bears all the fingerprints of Republican figures like Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican minority in the Senate who, while in the majority, prevented the confirmation of current Attorney General Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, because President Barack Obama nominated him.

But when Trump won the 2016 elections he was able to nominate not one, but three Supreme Court justices throughout his presidency: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, who didn’t let down the ultra-right by joining the 6-3 decision dismantling Roe vs. Wade.

In other words, Trump not only led a disastrous presidency characterized by its extremism, xenophobia, and blatant corruption, but upon losing reelection in 2020, headed up an intended coup so that Joe Biden would not be certified as president-elect. And his lasting legacy continues to live on, in the three justices he nominated and the ultra-conservatives who were already there.

Now that the electoral contest is beginning to tighten in the runup to the midterm elections in November, where 35 Senate seats and the entire House of Representatives—435 seats—are in play, both parties, Democrats and Republicans, expect this Supreme Court decision to mobilize their sides to the polls.

On the one hand, Democrats are reminding their base that the attack on a woman’s right to decide if she will continue with a pregnancy or not is just the tip of the iceberg, because it’s expected that an assault on other individual liberties and a full frontal attack on other topics will begin, whether it be health or immigration, among other issues the Republicans oppose.

On the other hand, Republicans hope that the Supreme Court decision on guns, denying states the authority to restrict people who carry weapons from doing so in public, and now the reversal of Roe vs. Wade would be enough of a stimulus for their base to go to the polls in November, and return control of both chambers of Congress to them. In that case, from the majority, a Republican Congress would block much more of Biden’s battered agenda, bogged down by Republican opposition and a handful of moderate and conservative Democrats who have taken this agenda hostage.

Add to that people’s discontent over inflation in all of its manifestations, food, gas, housing and transportation, among others, and it’s no stretch to imagine that a group of voters may opt out of voting, or issue punishment votes against Democrats, who have not been able to fulfill their promises.

It seems that people don’t learn lessons. If we go back to 2016, we’ll all remember the bloody battle for the Democratic presidential nomination between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. There were months of attacks, and when Clinton finally won the nomination, many Democrats opted to not vote in order to not support Hillary, thinking, erroneously, that she would beat Trump easily. Until the unthinkable occurred, and Trump won.

What came next was four years of an infamous presidency where minorities and immigrants were the favorite object of Trump and his minions of “advisors.” It was a presidency where disinformation and lies were spoken as if they were truth. A president who led a campaign claiming that he lost in 2020 due to “fraud,” which culminated in a violent taking of the Capitol by his fanatics, generating death and destruction.

And the most impressive part of it is that Trump lost, but still has the Republican Party eating out of his hand and putting into practice the same nauseating strategies of lying, to retake control of Congress this November and the White House in 2024.

Obviously in a democracy, it’s the voter’s right to vote or not. Maybe you are feeling pressed because everything costs more and you have to do a juggling act to reach the end of the month, or because you expected action on the issues that matter to you and they have not come to be. But remember that not voting allows others to decide for you. In this historic moment in which we find ourselves, our individual liberties and the very democracy to which we are accustomed are at risk.

Remember that elections have consequences—both direct and indirect—for our lives.