While the leaked draft of a Justice Samuel Alito United States Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade is not entirely unexpected, the full scope of the 98-page opinion which according to early news reports is a “full-throated unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision” is more sweeping and devastating than anticipated.
The decision would be a major set-back for the rights of women to make their own medical decisions and exercise bodily autonomy. Women have come to take the constitutional protections for abortion rights guaranteed in Roe v. Wade for granted. Young women of child-bearing age have never known a time when a full range of contraception options were not fully available, and safe abortion options were not legal.
If the final SCOTUS opinion sticks with the Alito draft language asserting “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” then electing pro-choice women to state legislative seats becomes more important than ever before to all women of child-bearing age and all those who care about them.
During recent years, the Georgia GOP has consistently reduced the medical options available to pregnant Georgia women faced with difficult decisions — a 20-week abortion ban passed in 2012 followed by a six-week ban passed in 2019 which is now under court review. During the 2021 session, Georgia GOP Senators voted to to place burdensome barriers between a pregnant woman and her ability to receive via a tele-medicine appointment the medical prescription now used nationally for the majority of early-term abortions. The bill was never debated on the House floor.
For 22 years, the mission of Georgia WIN List has been to elect pro-choice Democratic women to statewide office and the Georgia General Assembly. Choice has been the lens for our endorsement decisions about the 76 endorsed women we have helped elect and the 46 who currently serve.
Make no mistake, abortion is just the tip of the iceberg for those who wish to return to the days when some men preferred women “barefoot and pregnant.” Laws to control access to contraception and how couples are able to utilize IVF procedures will be next on the conservative agenda to turn back the clock. Abortion bans will limit emergency care options for women experiencing life-threatening pregnancy complications and make Georgia’s already dismal maternal mortality rate even worse.
If the court follows the draft opinion and returns decisions about reproductive freedom to the states, then every legislator elected this cycle will be crucial for decisions about future Georgia laws governing abortion and reproductive options available to women. Every woman and man who cares about choice must vote for pro-choice candidates and persuade friends to do the same. Of the several states who passed further abortion restrictions in 2018 and 2019, the votes in Georgia were the closest.
Democratic women have qualified to run for office this year in record setting numbers. Your vote matters!
Georgia WIN List has already endorsed 42 women for the 2022 election cycle – four seeking statewide office, two currently serving legislators hoping to switch chambers, 22 currently serving women facing opposition and 14 women who would become “new faces” for the General Assembly if elected. Democratic women have qualified for an additional 50 races which are being monitored for possible Primary runoff or General Election endorsements in June.
Statement from Melita Easters, executive director and founding chair of Georgia WIN List, Georgia’s leading PAC for electing women candidates.