Republican Gaslighting on Amy Coney Barrett and Roe v. Wade Continues at VP Debate

10.08.20

During last night’s debate, Vice President Mike Pence became the latest Republican to wilt under scrutiny of the extreme, unpopular agenda his party will have to answer for during Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings. Pence, who has previously called for Roe v. Wade to be thrown on the “ash heap of history” and rose to power in part on his anti-choice credentials, completely dodged a question about abortion rights. Pence’s dissembling comes on the heels of Donald Trump claiming “you don’t know [Barrett’s] view on Roe v. Wade” during the presidential debate, and it’s in line with the strategy of Senate Republicans up for reelection.

Clearly, Pence and Trump know the vast majority of Americans disapprove of their extreme views. According to a Fox News poll published yesterday, Americans oppose the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade by a 2:1 margin.

Unfortunately for Mike Pence and the rest of the Republican Party, Barrett’s track record on Roe v. Wade is about as easy to ignore as the fly on Mike Pence’s head was last night. She signed an ad calling for its “barbaric legacy” to end and called abortion “always immoral.”

The truth: Roe v. Wade and The Affordable Care Act are on the chopping block if Barrett is confirmed — and that’s part of why she was picked in the first place.

Barrett’s track record on the Republican Party’s unpopular agenda could not be clearer. On Roe v. Wade she signed an open letter calling for it to end, implied in her scholarship it was an “erroneous decision,” and wrote abortion is “always immoral.” Her record on the ACA is similarly clear. She criticized both major decisions that have saved the law. One analyst says her “demonstrated hostility to the ACA has to be one of the most explicit paper trails for a Court nominee on a major controversial issue in modern times.”

Barrett also has extremely troubling views on respecting Supreme Court precedent, such as the Court’s landmark rulings on abortion rights and the ACA. She wrote that a Justice has “duty” to substitute “her best understanding” of the Constitution when she believes a precedent to be incorrect, as she has suggested when it comes to Roe v. Wade and health care.

For more, read Demand Justice’s background on Barrett’s track record on ACA and Roe v. Wade.

Facing the voters, Republicans won’t tell the truth about Barrett’s record.

In debates and interviews, Republicans who have to worry about the upcoming election are running away from Barrett’s real record:

  • Vice President Mike Pence dodged the question last night about whether he would support banning abortions.
  • Trump said during the presidential debate “you don’t know [Barrett’s] view on Roe v. Wade; you don’t know her view.” This despite the fact that Trump himself said Roe’s demise would “happen automatically” with his justices on the Court and talked about Barrett overturning it this weekend.
  • Sen. Joni Ernst, who earlier this year signed an amicus brief inviting the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, said during a debate: “I think the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned is very minimal. I don’t see that happening.”
  • Sen. Steve Daines, who has himself voted several times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, said of the lawsuit supported by the Trump administration, Republican attorneys general, multiple Republican judges at the lower court level, and Daines himself: “it’s highly unlikely they’ll overturn the ACA.”
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell downplayed the likelihood Barrett would end the ACA: “This mother of 7 including multiple children who were born or adopted facing pre-existing condition medical challenges is just itching to block families like hers from accessing medical care. What a joke.” Of course, McConnell has voted repeatedly to let insurance companies deny people with preexisting conditions access to health coverage.

Why are Republicans hiding? Their agenda is toxic with American voters.

NBC News: Poll: Majority of adults don’t support overturning Roe v. Wade

Sixty-six percent of adults say they don’t believe the Supreme Court should completely overturn the decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion nationwide in at least the first three months of a pregnancy. Twenty-nine percent of adults say they do want the court to completely overturn the ruling.  

Morning Consult: Obamacare Support Hits Record High as Supreme Court Faces Ideological Shift

“With the survival of the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy following President Donald Trump’s nomination of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, a new Morning Consult poll finds a record-high 62 percent of voters in support of the 2010 health law.

New York Times: 56 percent said they would be less likely to vote for Mr. Trump if his justice would help overturn Roe v. Wade, while just 24 percent said they would be more inclined to vote for him.  

New York Times: Fifty-seven percent of voters, including nearly two-thirds of independents, said they supported the Affordable Care Act.