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Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks to reporters.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, speaks with reporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on November 18, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Justices 'Frankly Lied Under Oath' About Respecting Roe, Says Jayapal

"We're going to have to take to the streets, and we're going to have to take to the ballot box."

Andrea Germanos

Rep. Pramila Jayapal said Wednesday that the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade must be met with nationwide mobilizations as well legislative action to protect reproductive rights.

Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, offered that strategy in an interview with MSNBC in which she called the Justice Samuel Alito-authored draft "terrifying."

The looming decision by the court, she said, has sparked "rage" from women, men, and families across the country. , pregnant people across the country."

The idea that a "50-year-old question of settled law is being reversed by five justices, who, by the way, were all appointed by presidents who got the minority of the popular vote," she said, "is so out of step with where the country is today."

Polling conducted just last week shows that Jayapal is correct, with a majority in the U.S. supportive of Roe and in agreement that abortions should be legal in all or most cases.

Referring to a scenario in which the landmark 1973 law is ultimately stricken down, she said, "This is government-mandated pregnancy, and it is an outrage."

She added that "it really undermines and delegitimizes the Supreme Court as a body that can make decisions that are not just purely political."

In an apparent reference to recent Trump-appointed justices that reinstated or further cemented the body's right-wing majority—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—the Washington Democrat took issue with "Supreme Court justices that frankly lied under oath when they were testifying to Congress about this question" over upholding Roe.

Host José Díaz-Balart asked Jayapal about what the Democratic Party can do at this moment in light of the legislative filibuster, the Senate rule currently thwarting passage of a number of bills in the chamber, including Women's Health Protection Act, which would codify the right to abortion care into federal law.

"We should bring that bill up for a vote," she said, though "it won't, in this moment, get 60 votes."

Jayapal pointed to "a couple of senators on the Republican side who say that they support abortion and yet voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Coney Barrett." She said "it is really important to put the question to them about how serious they are about protecting a woman's right to choose. They could vote with Democrats to carve out an exception to the filibuster."

"We did it on the debt ceiling, we should be able to do it on a woman's right to choose," she said.

She also echoed concerns from other progressives that the leaked draft suggests other rights including same sex marriage are at stake, saying that "It is not just about abortion. It is about a whole series of issues including your privacy."

She further warned that "if we don't provide all kids of reproductive choices for pregnant people across this country, you will see the burden fall on particularly Black, brown, low-income or people who cannot access the care that they need."

Ultimately, Japayal said, "We're going to have to take to the streets, and we're going to have to take to the ballot box."

"Congress can do this today if we wanted to," she said. "We could codify this."


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