‘Right to abortion could be restored only in the ballot boxes’: says Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal fights to keep H4 work authorization


Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal told King5, a news channel from Seattle, that the right to abortion could be restored only in the ballot boxes.

“This is going to the ballot boxes. We need to get rid of the filibuster but in the absence of that we need a pro-choice majority in the senate,” said Jayapal, while talking to the news channel. “The whole point of the Constitution or the Supreme Court is to improve the precedent and including those who were excluded, this does the opposite.”

Jayapal described the US Supreme Court’s decision Friday, June 24 to overturn the Roe v Wade ended the nearly five-decade long right to abortion granted to American women as “catastrophic.”

“This is a catastrophic decision that strips women of our rights, of our freedoms, our liberty, our abilities to participate in this society. It affects any number of decisions that we make and are intensely personal,” said Jayapal adding she was one of every single woman in four who had an abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court majority, said that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

“I and only I know what was at stake when I made that decision and only, I would have been forced to care for a child if I had to be forced to have that child, to deliver the baby,” Jayapal said. “I and only, I have to live with the consequences of my decision and for anybody to say that they have the right to determine what I need to do is wrong.”

Jayapal added, she does not try to convince any woman who doesn’t want to have an abortion. “That is the whole point. This is a personal decision, and we should have the right to make that decision for ourselves.”

When the anchor drew her attention to a tweet from fellow Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who called the verdict as the most momentous day, Jayapal replied, “It is momentous in the worst possible way… My Republican colleagues have many women in their districts who are Republican voters, and they feel they cannot tolerate this stripping of their fundamental freedom.”

“This decision is insulting. From the dissent: Majority does not think forced childbirth implicates a woman’s rights to equality and freedom… court does not think there is anything of constitutional significance attached to a woman’s control of her body and path of her life,” she tweeted after the verdict.

Jayapal said the SCOTUS verdict was a combination of Republican agenda to end the right to abortion. “This is a combination of decades of Republicans’ insidious attempts to end this freedom for women to make this decision about their own bodies in consultation with their doctors, their loved ones but now are being forced mandated to have a pregnancy. This is what this decision does to 33 million women across this country.”

In a series of tweets, Jayapal had expressed her anger over the 6-3 verdict that overturned the right to abortion for women.

“Pence has called for a nationwide ban on abortion, the radical Republican plan from the state. The dissent says: Most threatening of all, no language in today’s decision stops the Federal government, from prohibiting abortions nationwide, without exceptions rape or incest.”

Jayapal told King5 the laws enacted in the states following the SC verdict would make an impact on the women residing in those states immediately.

“This is the beginning of stripping other precedents like same-sex marriage, interracial marriage and even the right to contraception. And that is why our work must be this: to turn our fury and frustration into organizing in the streets and for the elections,” she tweeted.

“Our rights and status as “free and equal citizens” are fundamentally curtailed today. Will we be able to work when we want? Plan our pregnancies? How will we ensure we can afford children? How do we protect our lives or the life of a fetus we are now forced to carry?” the congresswoman said in another tweet.

According to Jayapal, banning abortions will increase maternal mortality by 21 percent, of which 13 percent will be white and 33 percent black. “Poor people won’t be able to get an abortion. Abortion will still happen-illegally, unsafely. And people will be criminalized.”

“The judges say, only rights enshrined in the Constitution are determined by those who wrote the Constitution or the amendments… that reproductive freedom was a protected right in the 14th amendment was written and voted by men, not women,” she said.

She said the situation could be changed only by the ballot box in the November polls.

“If we enshrine these things into law then there will be a different calculation which gives the SCOTUS a different position to look from irrespective of who is on there,’ Jayapal said. “The only thing that has changed in the 50 years that women have been granted this is a constitutional right is that the make up of the court changed. Imagine the threat to the legitimacy of the court whose entire decision making was designed on who happens to be present at a particular moment.”