AOC Lists Seven Ways Democrats Can Fight Back Against Roe Being Overturned

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week, Democrats have been looking for a way to fight back against a decision that has been considered a major success for conservative Republicans.

President Joe Biden called for voters to "make their voices heard" in the next elections, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York shared a list of seven actions that she thinks Democrats can take to "fix this and act."

Here's a breakdown of these seven actions and what each entails.

1. Restrain judicial review

Judicial review allows the Supreme Court to declare a legislative or executive action to be in violation of the Constitution.

The doctrine was established in the case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803, deciding that the Supreme Court has the power to overturn an act of Congress or an executive order on the ground that it violates the Supreme Law of the Land —the Constitution.

In their ruling in favor of Mississippi's ban on abortion after 15 weeks and that overturning Roe v. Wade, a majority of Supreme Court's justices declared that "the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion."

2. Expand the court

Calls to expand the number of seats in the Supreme Court have been made by many progressive Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez.

The size of the nation's top court isn't specified in the constitution, and although the Supreme Court has had nine justices for the past 150 years, it is not bound to have only nine. Over the years, it has had as many as 10 justices and as few as six.

Expanding the court would allow Democrats to counteract the conservative Republican supermajority established when then-President Donald Trump nominated three conservative justices during his administration.

3. Clinics on federal lands

Ocasio-Cortez called for Biden to "open abortion clinics on federal lands in red states," calling the move "the babiest of the babiest of the baby steps" the president could take in a post-Roe v. Wade America. She called for Biden to do so "right now."

As access to abortion is now significantly reduced across the country, with Planned Parenthood shutting down in the 13 states with trigger laws allowing them to ban abortion the moment Roe v. Wade was overturned, opening abortion clinics on federal land would allow pregnant women to have access to the procedure in all states.

The same idea was suggested by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren earlier the same day, who told reporters: "[Biden should] explore just how much we can start using federal lands as a way to protect people who need access to abortions in all the states that either have banned abortions or are clearly on the threshold of doing so."

4. Expand education and access to Plan C

As the right to abortion is under attack across the nation, there are fears that sex education might also be threatened.

Many, including Ocasio-Cortez, are calling for expanding reproductive health education in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, a move that would ensure people, especially young people, still have some power over their own bodies, even as the right to abortion is stripped from them.

The New York congresswoman also called for expanding access to Plan C, a platform that provides information for people looking to access at-home abortion pills.

At-home abortion pills, available online, have been used by millions around the world in the past 30 years, Plan C reported. Pills are used in more than 54 percent of abortions in the U.S., according to information on the platform.

It's unclear whether women seeking an abortion will be able to still access abortion pills in states that have moved to ban abortions in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling on Friday.

5. Repeal Hyde

Ocasio-Cortez called for repealing the Hyde Amendment, a provision passed by Congress in 1976 which dictates that federal funds cannot be used to pay for abortion, with the exception of cases in which the life of the pregnant person is in danger, rape or incest.

The amendment took its name from Republican Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois, who sponsored the measure. Before it took effect in 1980, some 300,000 abortions across the country were performed annually using federal funds, according to NPR.

The Hyde Amendment has been criticized for disproportionately affecting women with lower incomes, young women and women of color —the same categories who are now considered more vulnerable to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

6. Hold floor votes codifying Griswold, Obergefell, Lawrence, Loving, etc.

In the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court on the basis that the right to abortion isn't enshrined in the constitution, many have raised the alarm over other recently recognized rights —including same-sex marriage and the right to contraception— being potentially upended.

These are some of the landmark rulings that established fundamental rights which are now feared to be in danger and which Ocasio-Cortez is calling to codify in the constitution as soon as possible:

  • Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), ruled that the Constitution protects the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives —a right then extended to anyone, regardless of their marital status
  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which recognized same-sex marriage as a fundamental right
  • Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which made the crime of sodomy unconstitutional
  • Loving v. Virginia (1967), which ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violated the constitution

7. Vote on Escobar's bill protecting clinics

Democratic Representative Veronica Escobar of Texas proposed a bill that would provide funding for security for abortion clinics and health care providers after the draft opinion of Justice Samuel Alito that was leaked in May revealed that the Supreme Court was preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The House bill, if passed, would authorize $30 million worth of grants to enhance security at abortion clinics.

This month, as a bill was passed by the House strengthening security for justices and their families, Escobar voted against it, calling for protection for abortion clinics instead.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(Inset) has suggested seven things Democrats can do to fight back after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. In this photo, abortion rights activists chant outside of the White House in Lafayette Park as they protest in Washington, D.C., on June 26, 2022, two days after the Supreme Court scrapped half-century constitutional protections for the procedure. SAMUEL CORUM/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES