News of the Supreme Court’s pending ruling against the landmark Roe V. Wade case protecting abortion rights is reverberating across the New York congressional campaign trail, with Democratic candidate Max Rose planning to confront GOP incumbent Nicole Malliotakis outside her Staten Island office on Wednesday.
Malliotakis voted against a bill in the House last September that would have made the abortion protections provided in the Roe case a matter of law, rather than only Supreme Court precedent, which women have relied on for five decades.
[ Leaked draft of Supreme Court opinion strikes down Roe v. Wade abortion case ]
Pressure has grown for Democrats to codify the rights to privacy and other principles of the Roe ruling, as Republicans have succeeded in pushing the high court towards the right in recent years.
The bill that narrowly passed the House in September, the Women’s Health Protection Act, would have done that. Malliotakis voted against it, calling it “barbaric” because the bill didn’t ban late-term abortions, which would be allowed when a mother’s life is threatened.
While Rose told the News that the pending High Court ruling is “scary,” he would be restrained in rallying outside of Malliotakis’s office.
“All I will do is remind people of the words that Nicole Malliotakis used when she took this vote, calling the bill barbaric — barbaric … to protect women’s right to health care, family planning and health care, to maintain their right to make a decision about their own pregnancy,” Rose said. “Seems the opposite of barbaric to me.”
“It’s absolutely shameful,” Rose said. “Yet again, she made the decision to play politics, this time with something so sacred.”
Malliotakis campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre said the congresswoman stands by her statements.
“Pelosi’s bill allows abortions up until birth, and Max Rose even voted against providing medical care for a baby that survives a botched late-term abortion…that is barbaric, and it’s shameful Max does not agree!” she said.
She referred to a procedural vote that reflected Democratic opposition to Republican “born alive” bills, which Democrats see as unnecessary to protect newborns and infringements on legitimate medical care.
[ Protestors rally over abortion rights in NYC ]
While Rose said his point was not to play politics, but to defend pro-choice options for women, both New York Democratic senators said abortion rights would be part of the campaign trail.
“It’s an outrageous and shocking opinion that we have to push back on, and we are going to fight very hard to hopefully guarantee women’s reproductive freedoms and rights,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told the News. “We will advocate for it in every House race and every Senate race across the country so that we can win a bigger majority, so we can actually protect these rights.”
Gillibrand acknowledged the reality that there probably will not be the needed 60 votes in the Senate to break a filibuster and advance a bill like the Women’s Health Protection Act. The measure already failed in the Senate in February when just 46 senators voted to begin debating it.
Democrats also lack the votes to change the rules on filibusters, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reaffirming his backing of the rarely used parliamentary procedure on Tuesday. “The filibuster is the only protection we have of democracy right now,” Manchin told reporters.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not rule out trying to bust the delay tactics, but also put his focus on the ballot box.
“The bottom line is that we’re going to look to these elections in November, and I think … the American people are going to speak loudly and clearly that we need some change,” Schumer said. “We cannot have a right-wing court run America.”