Jessica Cisneros hits out at Rep. Cuellar’s anti-abortion stance

Jessica Cisneros hits out at Rep. Cuellar’s anti-abortion stance

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
|
May 5, 2022

Following the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion that signaled the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Texas Democratic House candidate Jessica Cisneros has brought attention to her Democratic primary opponent Rep. Henry Cuellar’s long-held opposition to abortion. She demanded that her party’s congressional leaders drop their support for Cuellar ahead of the May 24th runoff elections. 

“As the Supreme Court prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade, I am calling on Democratic Party leadership to withdraw their support of Henry Cuellar who is the last anti-choice Democrat in the House,” Cisneros said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday morning. “With the House majority on the line, he could very much be the deciding vote on the future of our reproductive rights and we cannot afford to take that risk.”

Cuellar is a nine-term congressman who holds right-leaning stances on abortion rights and other issues and is considered one of the most conservative members of the House Democratic caucus. In September, Cuellar was the only Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would strengthen access to abortion and prohibit states from singling out or impeding access to abortion services. 

On May 24, Cuellar will face a runoff in his second primary challenge from progressive candidate Jessica Cisneros, who supports reproductive rights and has the backing of notable progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In the 2020 primary for Texas’ 28th Congressional District, Cisneros lost to Cuellar by less than 4 percentage points. Two years later, Cisneros came within 2 points of Cuellar’s votes in the March Democratic primary, forcing the runoff.

In the aftermath of the leak, Democratic leaders had been quick to condemn the Supreme Court opinion. In a joint statement released Monday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, called the draft “an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.” On Tuesday morning, President Joe Biden called on states to protect the right to abortion and on voters to elect pro-choice Democrats in upcoming contests. Later that day, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn tweeted: “For 49 years, women have had the constitutional right to make choices about their body. The whole notion of politicians controlling those decisions is beyond the pale. It ought to be alarming to us.”

Despite having signaled his opposition to the Supreme Court opinion, Clyburn hosted a campaign rally for Cuellar in San Antonio Wednesday night. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries have also previously endorsed Cuellar.

“With the House majority on the line,” Cisneros said. “Henry Cuellar could be the deciding vote on the future of our reproductive rights and so many other fundamental freedoms in this country. And we just can’t afford to take that risk.”

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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