Democratic leaders are hoping to galvanise supporters before the US midterm elections after a leaked document suggested the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v Wade, a legal decision that grants the right to an abortion.
The Democratic Party appears to be on the cusp of losing control of Congress to the Republicans, with the election hinging on immigration, inflation and the coronavirus pandemic — but the party could now make women's rights its central focus.
A Gallup survey conducted between December 2021 and February 2022 showed that fewer than 0.5 per cent of US respondents considered abortion to be “the most important problem” facing the country. That number dipped to 0 per cent in March.
With midterm elections looming, US President Joe Biden said in a statement that “it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November” if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer added: “The elections this November will have consequences, because the rights of a hundred million women are now on the ballot.”
Vowing to hold a vote to codify women's rights, he urged Americans to “make their voices heard” to “help fight this court’s awful decision".
Overturning Roe v Wade would be a significant victory for Republicans, who have fought for its repeal for decades.
“They have been out there plotting, carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so they could have a majority on the bench who would accomplish something that the majority of Americans do not want,” Elizabeth Warren, a US senator from Massachusetts, told The National and others outside the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris accused Republicans of “weaponising” the issue during remarks at a gala hosted by Emily's List, an organisation advocating the election of pro-choice Democrats.
“How dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body?” she demanded. “How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?”
The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of the draft, noting it may not represent a final ruling.