Sen. Hawley Accused of 'Dog Whistle' Politics for Anti-Abortion SCOTUS Rule

Abortion rights advocates have accused Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) of using "dog whistle" politics after he said he would not support any U.S. Supreme Court nominee unless they have previously expressed the belief that Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling enshrining abortion rights, was incorrectly decided.

Hawley made the comments on Sunday, telling The Washington Post: "I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided."

"By explicitly acknowledged, I mean on the record and before they were nominated," said Hawley, who has not yet been able to vote on a nominee since his 2018 election.

The senator's statements quickly earned the condemnation of abortion rights advocates, with Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, writing in a tweet: "Imagine caring so deeply and passionately about the outcomes of someone's pregnancy you never met."

"It's a dog whistle. A proxy," Hogue wrote of Hawley's comments.

Imagine caring so deeply and passionately about the outcomes of someone’s pregnancy you never met. It’s a dog whistle. A proxy.

— ilyseh (@ilyseh) July 27, 2020

Noting that Hawley is a former attorney general, Hogue said: "The GOP AGs are the worst and Josh Hawley is the worst of the lot." Meanwhile, the advocate said: "The Dem AGs just kick a**. It's beauty to watch."

Anisha Singh, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund's director of judiciary and democracy affairs, said in a statement sent to Newsweek she believes Hawley's comments "demonstrate just how out of out of touch conservatives have become."

"Seventy-seven percent of the country supports the protections of Roe v. Wade," Singh said, citing a 2019 poll. "Yet politicians continue to use the courts to try and roll back access to safe, legal abortion."

Politicians like Hawley, Singh said, "have time and again confirmed Trump-nominated judges with records hostile to abortion rights. There is a crisis in our courts, and the American people have had enough."

Since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have been appointed to the Supreme Court.

The controversial appointment of Kavanaugh, who became a Justice despite widespread opposition after multiple allegations of past sexual assault incidents were raised against him, brought the Supreme Court to a five-justice conservative majority.

Many feared that Kavanaugh's appointment could, as a result, also spell the end for Roe v. Wade.

Last month, the Supreme Court, however, struck down a Louisiana law that threatened to leave the state with a single abortion clinic in a decision that came as a major disappointment to conservatives and anti-abortion campaigners who had hoped to see abortion restrictions tightened.

Josh Hawley
Sen. Josh Hawley, (R-Mo.) asks a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled Police Use of Force and Community Relations, in Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on June 16, 2020. Hawley has said he would not support a Supreme Court nominee if they have not previously expressed a belief that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. TOM WILLIAMS/POOL/AFP/Getty