Democrats and abortion rights groups are grabbing hold of new House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) anti-abortion record to use against the GOP ahead of the 2024 elections.
While Republicans gathered around Johnson on Wednesday, Democrats were putting a spotlight on what they referred to as extreme comments and positions on abortion from the new speaker.
New speaker Mike Johnson
Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fl.) posted to X before Johnson was elected: “House Rs are trying to elect extremist Mike Johnson, who has less name recognition than their previous failed candidates for Speaker, in hopes that YOU will ignore that he is a walking red flag.”
Before his election, Johnson was an attorney as well as a spokesman for the conservative legal group Alliance Defense Fund, now known as Alliance Defending Freedom. The legal group has drafted and defended states’ anti-abortion laws, including the Mississippi case that led to Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court.
According to The Hill, the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America gave Johnson an “A+” rating after he co-sponsored and advocated for a number of bills, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act, and the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2021.
Democrats across the country are hoping that the sharp rise in voters that are for protecting abortion access after the overturning of Roe v.Wade will help lead them to victory.
House Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairs Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) put out a statement that said, “with an extreme record that includes supporting a complete nationwide abortion ban, Mike Johnson may hold the title of House Speaker, but he does not speak for use or the American people’s pro-choice majority.”
While House Democrats sharply criticized Johnson for his anti-abortion views, they also called out House Republicans for voting him in with his record.
“Instead of choosing bipartisanship, House Republicans have elevated MAGA extremist Mike Johnson to the Speaker’s chair,” the House Democrats account stated. “Their agenda is clear: attack our democracy, ban abortion, and slash Social Security and Medicare.”
Johnson has also claimed that abortion bans would produce more “able-bodied” workers to help support the economy, as well as make Social Security and Medicare more stable, according to a clip shared by the House Judiciary Committee minority.
“Roe v. Wade gave constitutional cover to the elective killing of unborn children in America,” Johnson said. “We’re all struggling here to cover the bases of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and all the rest. If we had all those able-bodied workers in the economy, we wouldn’t be going upside down and toppling over like this,” he continued.
Johnson’s abortion record was also highlighted by President Biden’s reelection campaign, which also pointed out the contrast between Johnson's views and the White House’s public support for abortion protections. They included a warning for swing-district Republicans.
“Now, Donald Trump has his loyal footsoldier to ban abortion nationwide, lead efforts to deny free and fair election results, gut Social Security and Medicare, and advance the extreme MAGA agenda at the expense of middle-class families,” Ammmar Moussa, spokesperson for Biden-Harris 2024 said in a statement. “And so to every MAGA Republican who supported this choice: We’ll see you in November.”
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