The abortion debate once again took center stage on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, this time in a House hearing.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working overtime to prepare for the very real possibility that the Supreme Court decision that created a federal right to abortion could soon be overturned.
Democrats called Wednesday's hearing an effort to educate Americans on the consequences of Roe v. Wade being revoked, but Republicans said it was just another effort from the Left to intimidate the High Court.
"Overturning Roe would remove from women the power to decide the fundamental question of whether to carry or terminate a pregnancy and would instead give that power to the state," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Nadler says the nation stands at a constitutional crossroads. "For the first time in its history, the Court may be on the precipice of overturning precedent to take away a constitutional right," he said during his opening statement.
Republicans argued this conversation is premature, considering an official ruling from the Supreme Court has yet to be released, just a shockingly leaked opinion.
"We've never had a draft opinion leaked like this before...This dangerous, unprecedented situation is what we should be discussing at this hearing, after all, this committee has oversight over the Supreme Court and we're charged with making sure it functions properly," said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).
Republicans called the hearing an effort to intimidate the High Court and further interfere with a separate branch of the government. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) said, "The fact that we would be here trying to influence a pending opinion is unprecedented and dangerous for our institutions."
Democrats dismissed those accusations, quizzing expert witnesses, instead, on how revoking Roe could impact pregnant mothers and even other completely unrelated rights.
"Gay marriage is at stake, the ability to adopt if you are gay is at stake, interracial marriage is at stake. It only takes one local county clerk to say, 'I disagree,'" argued Michele Bratcher Goodwin, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.
Catherine Glenn Foster with Americans United for Life was the only pro-life witness. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked her if a child in the womb represents a human being.
"Ms. Foster, in your opinion, is a child sucking its thumb, knowing if its left- or right-handed, able to feel pain, but not yet delivered from the mother, does that child to you represent a human being?" he asked.
"To me and every embryology textbook out there, yes. If they're not a human what are they?" she responded.
Nationwide, protests continue ahead of the final word from the Supreme Court, and new violence is expected from the pro-choice crowd after the official court ruling is released.
Many voters seem to be confused about what overturning Roe would actually mean. According to a recent Rasmussen poll 77 percent of voters said they believe overturning Roe would make abortion illegal, when in fact, it would simply send the decision back to states and voters. Abortion would remain legal in many U.S. states.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling by June, and the nation is watching and waiting to see if Roe will be overturned.
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