Posts tagged with "Abortion"

Democrats seek to leverage Alabama embryo ruling in an election year

February 23, 2024

Since the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are people on Friday, February 16, Democrats have begun to seize on the decision—casting it as further evidence of a Republican-led assault on reproductive rights, an issue which they have reason to believe already plays to their advantage, reports The Washington Post.

The Alabama decision, which threatens the practice of in vitro fertilization, comes nearly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade—prompting several states to enact restrictions on abortion and catapulting the issue of reproductive rights to the forefront of subsequent elections.

Democrats, including those in the White House, argue that the Alabama decision is a harbinger of further restrictions, if Republicans make gains in Congress and expand their hold on statehouses nationwide—and hope the issue can boost turnout in an election year in which polling suggests a lack of enthusiasm for the incumbent president.

In its ruling, the Alabama high court held that someone can be held liable for destroying frozen embryos, a common outcome in IVF procedures, which have been utilized in soaring numbers in the United States by families of all political stripes over the past decade.

Joy Williams, a Democrat consultant based in New York, said the ruling bolsters Democrats ahead of the 2024 election because it will widely be seen by families as part of “an escalating attack on their freedoms” by Republicans.

“What this says to families and individuals is we are going to continue to restrict your ability to make individual choices about your body and your livelihood,” Williams said. “And that motivates people to turn out.”

Reproductive rights as an election issue have been a highly favorable one for Democrats in recent contests. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe, every ballot measure that has sought to preserve or expand abortion access has been successful, while those that have sought to restrict abortion access have failed — even in states that skew conservative.

The White House was quick to put a spotlight on the Alabama decision. In a social media post Wednesday, Vice President Harris called it “outrageous” and said that it “is already robbing women of the freedom to decide when and how to build a family.”

And in statement Thursday, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez sought to pin blame directly on Trump.

“What is happening in Alabama right now is only possible because Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justices overturned Roe v. Wade,” she said, alluding to the three justices nominated by Trump who currently sit on the court.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade

June 27, 2022

On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade—eliminating the nearly 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion and handing states authority to drastically limit or ban the procedure, reports The Hill.

The political bulletin predicts that the 6-3 decision by a majority of conservative justices will “fundamentally reshape” American society by overturning the landmark 1973 precedent—and cautions that “it is certain to ignite a political firestorm and yield a complex patchwork of state laws that will effectively block large swathes of the population from terminating unwanted pregnancies.”

The ruling upholds Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which directly clashed with Roe’s requirement that states permit abortion up to the point of fetal viability, around 24 weeks, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that reaffirmed Roe’s core holding.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

He further noted, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

More than two dozen states, primarily in the South and Midwest, are expected to tighten abortion access as a result of Roe falling—including 13 states with “trigger bans” set to take effect automatically or through minimal effort by state officials.

For conservatives, the toppling of Roe marks the crowning achievement of a carefully orchestrated and well-funded movement that for decades has sought to elevate reliable allies to the Supreme Court and erase federal protections under Roe that conservatives have long considered an infringement of states’ rights.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined in the majority’s judgment but said he would have preferred a more incremental approach that would not have required overturning Roe and Casey outright.

“If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide more,” the Chief Justice wrote in a concurring opinion. “Perhaps we are not always perfect in following that command, and certainly there are cases that warrant an exception. But this is not one of them.”

The blockbuster decision comes after a stunning breach of Supreme Court secrecy last month led to the public release of a draft version of the opinion, offering a glimpse at the coming dismantlement of abortion rights as well as the likely upheaval over a ruling that most Americans said they would oppose.

Research contact: @thehill

Senate Democrats warn of G.O.P. effort to restrict abortion nationwide

May 10, 2022

Democrats rang alarm bells on Sunday, May 8, about the likelihood that Republicans would try to restrict abortion nationwide, two days after an interview was published in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said a ban was “possible” if his party gained control in Washington, D.C., reports The New York Times.

On the Sunday talk shows and in other public statements, Democratic senators said Republicans would not stop at letting the states decide the issue, but would most likely push for federal restrictions. That made it paramount, they said, that the Democratic Party maintain control of the Senate as it tries to codify abortion rights into federal law.

“We need to make sure that every single voter understands that the Republican Party and Mitch McConnell does not believe that their daughters, that their mothers, that their sisters have rights to make fundamental life and death decisions,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We are half-citizens under this ruling. And if this is put into law, it changes the foundation of America.”

After a leaked draft decision indicated that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established a constitutional right to abortion, McConnell said in an interview with USA Today that a national abortion ban was “possible” if that draft document became an official opinion of the court.

“If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies—not only at the state level but at the federal level—certainly could legislate in that area,” McConnell said when asked if a national abortion ban was “worthy of debate.”

McConnell argued that the discussion about a federal ban was premature, but that it was clear that the Republican Party has long been opposed to abortion.

Discussions already are underway among some Republican senators about pushing to ban abortion after a certain number of weeks, ranging from six to 20, depending on the proposal.

“If and when the court makes a final decision, I expect everybody will be more definitive,” McConnell said. “But I don’t think it’s much secret where Senate Republicans stand on that issue.”

Indeed, the Times reports, a document circulated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and obtained by Axios urged candidates to be low key about abortion, casting themselves as “compassionate consensus builders” with a post-Roe America looming as early as next month.

“States should have the flexibility to implement reasonable restrictions,” the document states.

Research contact: @nytimes

Roe v. Wade may be overturned, a leaked draft of Supreme Court opinion reveals

May 4, 2022

A leaked Supreme Court draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito  and  published late Monday by Politico  indicates that the court may be preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that established a constitutional right to an abortion, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The draft, dated from February, couldn’t be independently confirmed, but legal observers said it appeared to be authentic. On Tuesday, May 2, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft was authentic and launched an investigation into the leak, according to a report by HuffPost.

According to the Journal, the 67-page opinion, marked as a first draft, declared that Roe was “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging,” and that Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that limited but didn’t eliminate abortion rights, prolonged the court’s error.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft opinion said. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

The draft does not necessarily represent the court’s ultimate decision in the case or even the majority’s current thinking. However, it is consistent with the tenor of December’s oral arguments in the case challenging Roe, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationconcerning Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. The draft was labeled the opinion of the court—implying that a majority of justices had agreed with it.

The apparent leak represents a nearly unheard of breach of the court’s private, behind-the-scenes deliberations on a blockbuster case that the court hasn’t yet publicly issued. It also could threaten longstanding bonds of trust on a court that has already been under ideological and personal strains.

After an initial vote among justices on a case, Supreme Court decisions can undergo considerable evolution in tone and substance as justices circulate draft opinions for weeks and months. Those drafts are circulated between chambers—with justices typically offering feedback, support, and criticism in writing—until the court arrives at a final ruling, which is frequently accompanied by concurring and dissenting opinions that weigh in on the court’s holding.

Given those internal processes, it’s possible that there are more recent versions of the decision that look different than the draft Politico published. And on occasions, justices can change their positions during deliberations.

The court’s decision has been expected by the end of June or early July.

Research contact: @WSJ

64% of Americans support Roe v. Wade

July 13, 2018

As the U.S. Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the public is strongly opposed to any attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. Currently, 64% of Americans believe the decision should stand, while 28% would like to see it overturned, based on findings of a poll released by Gallup on July 12.

The poll was conducted July 2-8, just before President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Many Democratic senators quickly voiced their opposition to the conservative 53-year-old judge—whom, they say is pro-life and against indicting a sitting president. While nominees to the high court often do not openly share their personal views on issues, their past public statements are scrutinized.

Partisans’ opinions are sharply polarized, with 81% of Democrats, 70% of Independents and 41% of Republicans saying they do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. In contrast, 51% of Republicans, 22% of Independents and 13% of Democrats want it reversed.

While Democrats’ opinions have been consistent over time, Republicans’ views have been less so. For example, a majority of Republicans—albeit a slim majority, at 52%—said in 2006 that the case should not be overturned.

However, one Republican is holding firm, according to a report by CNN. Vice President Mike Pence  told the news outlet on July that he still wants to see the judgment overturned—but wouldn’t say whether Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would be the guy to make it happen.

When asked in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash about wanting to outlaw abortion, Pence responded, “Well, I do.

“But,” he continued, “I haven’t been nominated to the Supreme Court.”

Pence denied that either he or President Donald Trump had asked Kavanaugh about his views on abortion. “What the American people ought to know is, as the president said today, this is not an issue that he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh, I didn’t discuss it with him either.”

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com