Mike Johnson gives a ghoulish grin

Mike Johnson Conveniently Forgets Past Reproductive Healthcare Votes

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is a Republican who embodies many of the worst traits of his party. Johnson is a homophobe, who thinks that prayer will solve the country’s gun violence problem, uses questionable 3rd party software to keep his son from watching pornography, and has a history of voting against reproductive healthcare. However, if you ask him, he apparently won’t remember that last one.

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Johnson’s Voting Memory

In general, the Republican Party appears to be trying to portray Johnson as being a little less extreme than legislators like alleged child trafficker Matt Gaetz or other members of the Freedom Caucus.

However, that relativity means little to nothing if/when it means Johnson is still not in line with most of the country’s opinions.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, host Shannon Bream reiterated that Johnson had previously “supported bans that would not only criminalize abortion, but ban IVF treatments and common forms of birth control, and that [he had] voted against access to contraception.” Bream proceeded to ask Johnson: “Is that an accurate assessment of where you are? Because that’s not in step with the American people.”

Johnson responded, “I don’t think so. I’m not sure what they’re talking about. I really don’t remember any of those measures, but I am personally pro-life.” 

The Underlying Issues

There are many ways of reading this response. It could be that Johnson genuinely does not care enough about his job to remember exactly how and what he votes, which is not a great look for the Speaker of the House. Alternatively, Johnson could be lying in an attempt to make himself seem less extreme, as though his record doesn’t speak for itself.

In any case, this interview highlights how many people forget that reproductive healthcare isn’t just abortion. It’s also contraception, IVF and other infertility treatments, healthcare for expectant/new parents and infants, maternal mortality prevention, and so much more. That’s part of what makes Republican criminalization of abortion so dangerous; it is actively destroying healthcare for people in conservative states, who may not have many options.

The kicker for me is his votes against IVF because many of these conservative Christian Republicans talk endlessly about how they are the party of family values. You’d think that IVF would be in line with their values as it allows potentially infertile couples to have families. But IVF is facing a lot of the same restrictions as abortion due to conservative laws.

The Future

Unfortunately, it not going to get better from here. Johnson’s nay vote on the Right to Contraception wasn’t enough to stop it in the House, but as the Speaker, he may be able to block any future bills that deal with abortion, IVF, contraception, or any healthcare that doesn’t fit in with his narrow worldview.

This is part of the reason that codifying reproduction rights at the state level is so important and why it’s important to go out and vote today if you live in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, or Pennsylvania, all of which have abortion access on the ballot.

Hopefully, we can get it on the ballot in Louisiana, Johnson’s state, next election.

(featured image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)


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Author
Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.