BLOOMFIELD – It’s not as if Democrats and like-minded souls need to be reminded that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade just about a year ago.
Still, the coming anniversary (June 24) was noted, or rather condemned, at a luncheon gathering Friday sponsored by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey and featuring Sen. Cory Booker and local CD-11 Rep. Mikie Sherrill.
There was no need to convince anyone of anything. Up to a hundred people who squeezed into The Brookdale restaurant on Broad Street all agreed about fighting for women’s reproductive rights.
Sherrill said controlling state legislatures is key. That’s not a problem in New Jersey, where Democrats clarified statewide abortion rights in anticipation of Roe being struck down. But considering things can change, Sherrill reminded the audience that the entire 120-member New Jersey Legislature is up for election this fall.
But there’s also danger on the federal level. The congresswoman pointed out that the court decision throws the abortion issue back to the states. However, she said there is strong sentiment among some Republicans for a nationwide abortion ban.
This has been a Democratic argument since the court decision 12 months ago. And it’s one they have used successfully. Not only did Dems do better than expected in last year’s midterms, voters endorsed abortion rights in varying forms last year in six state referendums around the country.
Both Sherrill and Booker lamented a current playing field where many states have sharply curtailed reproductive rights.
Sherrill said that Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country, grants women more rights in this regard than many states.
“That’s shocking and offensive to me,” said the congresswoman, who described herself as an Irish-American.
Booker said he feared the same reactionary wave that led to overturning Roe could eventually chip away at rights for African-Americans, gays and those with disabilitities.
Giving up is not the answer.
“The struggle is real, the fight is long,” the senator said, adding that he understands if people get frustrated and angry.
Booker scanned the room and said he was glad to see a few men in the audience. He said they should relate to the issue on a very basic level.
“You have a body. This is about the freedom to control your body,” he said.
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