Every Pennsylvania House Republican voted for an anti-abortion extremist for Speaker

Before being elected to Congress, Mike Johnson tried to shut down an abortion clinic in Louisiana. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Johnson called it a “historic and joyful” day and later expressed support for nationwide abortion ban. Now, he’s the new Speaker of the House. (AP Photo/David Becker)

By Isabel Soisson

November 1, 2023

Every Pennsylvania Republican in the US House of Representatives last week voted to elect Mike Johnson as the new Speaker of the House, elevating an extreme, anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ candidate to the most powerful position in Congress.

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, John Joyce, Mike Kelly, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Lloyd Smucker, and Glenn Thompson all voted for Johnson, an evangelical conservative and former attorney who’s been dubbed “MAGA Mike” by both allies and opponents.

Johnson is one of the most conservative speakers ever and the least experienced speaker in 140 years–he’s in just his fourth term, and has never served in a senior party leadership position or as a full committee chair. In his short amount of time in office, he’s developed a staunchly conservative voting record, earning himself a rating of 92% from the American Conservative Union and 90% from Heritage Action.

In addition to helping lead the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and supporting cuts to Social Security, Johnson supports a nationwide abortion ban and has a long history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

Johnson has long opposed reproductive freedom and spent years working at the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ legal organization that helped overturn Roe v. Wade. During his time at the group, he fought to shut down an abortion clinic in Louisiana.

He has consistently opposed abortion rights in Congress, earning himself an “A+” rating from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a group that seeks to end abortion in the United States.

After being elected to the House, Johnson pushed former President Donald Trump to appoint Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court so that she would vote to overturn Roe. When Barrett and her fellow conservative Justices on the Court did overturn Roe, Johnson celebrated, calling it a “historic and joyful” day.

Johnson also signed onto a nationwide abortion ban after Roe was repealed.

Johnson also opposes gay marriage and during his time at the Alliance Defending Freedom, he filed a lawsuit defending Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

CNN also reported last week that Johnson has a history of using inflammatory, anti-gay language in editorials, columns, and op-eds written during his time at Alliance Defending Freedom.

For example, Johnson called homosexual relationships “inherently unnatural,” “ultimately harmful,” and “costly for everyone” in a 2004 editorial in support of a Louisiana amendment banning same-sex marriage. That same year, he predicted that same sex marriage might doom America in another editorial.

“Experts project that homosexual marriage is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic,” he wrote in the latter piece.

Democratic lawmakers across the country have spoken out against Johnson’s election and the Republicans who voted for him.

Pennsylvania Democratic Congresswoman Summer Lee, who voted against Johnson as House Speaker, issued a statement saying that the lawmaker has “dedicated his public life to fighting right-wing cable news culture wars, waging wars on vulnerable people, and taking on his party’s most extremist battles.”

“It should also be unacceptable for someone with disparaging remarks against people who have gotten abortions, who has such vile views on LGBTQ folks, should not be occupying the third-most powerful position in our country,” Lee added. “It should be unacceptable to cut Social Security benefits, try to privatize it, and reduce cost-of-living adjustments when seniors across the country are struggling to make ends meet.”

Author

  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.

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