The Rally for Reproductive Rights

PATERSON – Cristina Cutrone remembers how conservatives rallied after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, forming a “Tea Party” that helped galvanize Republicans. Cutrone, the deputy mayor of Fair Lawn, brought up the Tea Party during a rally Wednesday protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. Her goal was clear – it’s up to Democrats to rally their troops to vote in November, thereby following what those on the right did more than a decade ago.

It is surely not a bad idea.

There have been many pro-choice rallies since the court’s June 24 decision – and there probably will be many more.

Still, there may be limited value in rallying activists who all agree. When a roster of speakers say essentially the same thing, what’s the point?

What should be the point for Dems is to do all they can to make the midterm a referendum on abortion rights. That involves more work than attending a rally.

Some of the speakers at the rally in front of the Passaic County Courthouse tried hard to make that argument. Abortion rights are protected in New Jersey, but that’s really not the whole story.

A Republican Congress can pass a nationwide abortion ban and a Republican president can sign it.

That’s not something that can happen imminently, given the fact Joe Biden will be president at least until January, 2025. But it is a legitimate concern.

Referring to state abortion rights, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter said, “One bad election can change that.” Actually, it will take a few elections, but you see her argument.

Mayor Andre Sayegh spoke similarly, telling an audience of about 100 or so that this November is a time to make a statement.

In case it slipped your mind, all of the House and a third of the Senate is up this year.

Polls, as we have seen of late, can be unreliable. However, some recent polls have been a bit more favorable to Dems in regard to the “generic” congressional vote and to Senate races in such key states as Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Some voters have short attention spans; most people do not live and breathe politics 24 hours a day. So the challenge for Dems and like-minded activists is to make sure no one forgets what a conservative Supreme Court did.

In the meantime, the state is also taking steps to help women in states that ban abortion. Legislation signed last week by Gov. Phil Murphy forbids the state from cooperating with out-of-state investigations of women who journey to New Jersey to have an abortion.  Nor will the state extradite patients or health care providers to states where abortion becomes illegal.

All this is in response to the possibility some states that outlaw abortion will attempt to prosecute women who get the procedure done elsewhere.

Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, a sponsor of the legislation, was at the rally. As she told the supportive crowd: “Women across America, New Jersey is here for you.”

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