Posts tagged with "Roe. v. Wade"

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

Biden campaign readies abortion rights blitz against Trump

January 23, 2024

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are set to set slam former President Donald Trump over abortion rights this week, with their reelection campaign releasing its first ad wholly focused on the topic and campaign stops planned in Wisconsin and Virginia, reports HuffPost.

The push—built around the 51st anniversary of the now-overturned Roe v. Wade decision giving women the right to an abortion—also includes a White House task force on reproductive rights, convened by Biden on Monday, January 22. It comes as Democrats remain anxious about Biden’s campaign, including the president’s comfort level with what many Democratic Party leaders believe is their most effective political message.

“Because of Republican elected officials, women’s health and lives are at risk,” Biden said in a statement on Monday morning. “In states across the country, women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to go to court to seek permission for the medical attention they need, and made to travel hundreds of miles for healthcare.”

Biden increasingly appears likely to face former President Trump—who appointed three Supreme Court justices key to overturning Roe. Since the court’s decision stripping away abortion rights, Democrats have hammered the GOP over the issue, winning close races in the 2022 midterms and a series of state-by-state referenda on abortion rights.

“[Trump] made a decision to take your freedoms and it is a decision he does not regret,” Vice President Harris is set to say during a speech in suburban Waukesha County, Wisconsin on Monday. “He is proud.”

The issue is set to be central again in 2024, with referenda to protect abortion rights on the ballot in the swing states of Arizona and Florida, and Democrats up and down the ballot preparing to run on it. While polls show Biden and Trump are locked in a close contest, voters overwhelmingly believe the Supreme Court was wrong to overturn Roe.

Biden’s first ad on the issue is straight out of the playbook Democrats have run repeatedly in recent years, featuring an OB-GYN speaking directly to the camera about having to leave her home state of Texas in order  to obtain an abortion after an ultrasound revealed the fetus had a fatal condition.

“That is because of Donald Trump overturning Roe v. Wade,” Dr. Austin Dennard, a mother of three, says in the minute-long ad. “The choice was completely taken away.”

The campaign said the ad was airing during the season premiere of “The Bachelor” on Monday night, January 21, and will air on cable channels with younger female viewerships, including HGTV, TLC, Bravo, Hallmark, Food Network, and Oxygen. The campaign also bought ad time during the NFL conference championship games next Sunday.

Trump has scrambled to distance himself from the massively unpopular Supreme Court decision he enabled, recently criticizing harsh state-level abortion bans. At the same time, he has repeatedly bragged to GOP primary audiences about the central role he played in overturning Roe v. Wade.

“For 54 years they were trying to get Roe v. Wade terminated, and I did it and I’m proud to have done it,” he said during a Fox News town hall before the Iowa caucuses this month.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Democrats seize on Iowa results to campaign on threats posed by Trump

January 17, 2024

Donald Trump’s resounding win on Monday night, January 15, in Iowa has been portrayed as a triumph for the former U.S. president and bad news for those who hoped his attempt to return to the Oval Office would show signs of floundering at the first jump, reports The Guardian-U.S.

Iowa’s Republican caucuses are hardly representative of the nation as a whole, but as the first state to actually cast votes in the 2024 nomination contest, its results were eagerly anticipated across the political spectrum. As they trickled in one message was clear: among Republicans, Trump’s message is still powerful.

Top Democrats, however, did not immediately react to the results with the same level of dismay that might be expected from the dramatic return of their nemesis. Instead it was heralded as an early beginning to the national battle for the White House.

Much reporting suggests Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign team wants to face Trump over other challengers. Doing so would allow them to campaign more on the threat Trump poses than the virtues of Biden himself—an historically unpopular president at this point in his term, blamed for his age, the fact that gas prices were once high; and, perhaps more pressingly, his support of Israel in its offensive in Gaza following the Hamas attacks in October.

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis both often poll better in a hypothetical matchup with Biden than Trump does. And while various polls show Trump currently edges Biden in several swing states, Biden actually beat Trump once already in 2020. The unstated core of Biden’s campaign is a message that he can do so again.

In that light, the earlier Trump sews up his apparently inevitable nomination, the more time Democrats have to persuade the U.S. electorate that voting for Biden is the lesser of two evils.

Indeed, Biden seized on the Iowa results immediately to begin fundraising.

The Vice President, Kamala Harris—who took the opportunity of Martin Luther King Day to attack Trump on his threat to democracyfollowed up by emphasizing Trump’s central role in overturning Roe v Wade and ending federal protection for reproductive rights—something Democrats could not pin entirely on either DeSantis or Haley, although both also oppose abortion.

Steve Cohen, a Memphis congressman who is the ranking member of the Aviation Subcommittee, weighed in as well, with an unsubtle example of the general anti-Trump 2024 message:

“While the Republican race is not technically over, with a clear frontrunner now in place, it is seen as likely that many more Democrats will join the President and Vice President in focusing their messaging squarely on Trump, regardless of how long Haley and DeSantis cling on.”

Research contact: @GuardianUS

Supreme Court will decide access to key abortion drug mifepristone

December 13, 2023

The Supreme Court will decide this term whether to limit access to a key abortion drug—returning the polarizing issue of reproductive rights to the high court for the first time since the conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade last year, reports The Washington Post.

The Biden Administration and the manufacturer of mifepristone have asked the justices to overturn a lower-court ruling that would make it more difficult to obtain the medication, which is part of a two-drug regimen used in more than half of all abortions in the United States.

Oral arguments will likely be scheduled for the spring, with a decision by the end of June—further elevating the issue of abortion, which has proven galvanizing for Democrats during the 2024 campaign season.

The justices will review a decision from the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that said the Food and Drug Administration did not follow proper procedures when it began loosening regulations for obtaining the mifepristone, which was first approved more than 20 years ago. The changes made over the last few years included allowing the drug to be taken later in pregnancy, to be mailed directly to patients, and to be prescribed by a medical professional other than a doctor.

Medications to terminate pregnancy, which can be taken at home, have increased in importance over the last 18 months; as more than one dozen states severely limited or banned abortions following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The justices agreed to review the case as the broader issue of abortion access remains divisive politically and legally. A pregnant woman in Texas this week lost her legal battle for permission to end her pregnancy this week, after she had left the state to obtain an abortion. Last week, a Kentucky woman went to court, asserting the state’s abortion restrictions violate her constitutional right to privacy.

Democrats have tried to capitalize on the backlash to stringent limits, and abortion rights initiatives have played a role in Republican defeats in recent elections in Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia.

The Supreme Court majority that last year voted to eliminate the nationwide right to abortion and return the issue to the states included three nominees of President Donald Trump. The former president, now the leading GOP candidate for the 2024 election, has touted his role in overturning Roe; but more recently has tried to appear more moderate, attracting criticism from some conservatives.

The case is FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Support for abortion access is near record, WSJ-NORC poll finds

November 27, 2023

New results from a Wall Street JournalNational Opinion Research Center (NORC) poll show that Americans’ support for abortion access is at one of the highest levels on record since nonpartisan researchers began tracking it in the 1970s. Some 55% of respondents say it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if she wants to for any reason, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The poll, conducted for the Journal by NORC at the University of Chicago, surveyed 1,163 registered voters between October 19 and October 24.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the Constitutional right to the procedure, abortion-rights groups have notched up seven consecutive victories in state ballot initiatives. They include an Ohio measure earlier this month to protect abortion under the state Constitution. Behind these successes is a decades-long shift among Americans in support of access to the procedure.

Democrats and Independent voters—whose support of abortion rights was roughly in line with that of Republicans up until the 1990s—now back access to the procedure by greater margins. About 77% of Democrats in the new poll say they support access to abortion for any reason, up from 52% in 2016. Among Republicans, that share is 33%.

Some Republican voters who generally oppose abortion rights don’t want to give state lawmakers the chance to rewrite the rules—a position they see as in keeping with conservative support for limiting government intervention.

Many voters have nuanced views—including backing restrictions later in pregnancy and exceptions for difficult circumstances—that they say aren’t well captured by current legislative proposals. Nearly nine in 10 poll respondents support abortion access in the event of rape or incest, or when a woman’s health is seriously endangered by the pregnancy.

Research contact: @WSJ

Ted Cruz proposes constitutional amendment to stop Supreme Court-packing

March 24, 2023

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a constitutional amendment on Wednesday, March 22, which would cap the Supreme Court at nine justices, in a bid to quash the desire among some Democrats to expand the bench and dilute the current conservative majority, reports The Hill.

Expanding the Supreme Court became a popular policy idea for some liberals after former President Donald Trump was able to appoint three justices during his term and give the court a 6-3 conservative majority. Talk of expanding the court intensified after it overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

“The Democrats’ answer to a Supreme Court that is dedicated to upholding the rule of law and the Constitution is to pack it with liberals who will rule the way they want,” Cruz said in a statement announcing the move. “The Supreme Court should be independent, not inflated by every new administration. That’s why I’ve introduced a constitutional amendment to permanently keep the number of justices at nine.”

But even as Democrats reel from the court’s stripping of federal abortion protections, President Joe Biden and others in Democratic leadership have not joined in calls for expanding the high court. Biden came out firmly against the idea of court expansion last year.

Proponents of expansion argue that the status quo allows for effective minority rule, with an activist conservative court overruling policies and laws passed by elected Democratic lawmakers—and potentially even changing the electoral landscape to benefit Republicans for years to come.

Other critics of the conservative court have suggested limited terms for justices, who are currently appointed for life, as a way to make the court’s power less entrenched.

The Cruz bill picked up support from ten other Senate Republicans, including Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

“For years the left has been desperate to pack the court to promote their radical agenda,” Hawley said in a statement. “We must ensure that we stay true to the court’s founding principles, maintain the precedent of nine justices, and keep the Democrats from their brazen attempts to rig our democracy.”

Research contact: @thehill

Same-sex marriage finally will be written into law

December 12, 2022

After decades of inaction and months of back-and-forths between the House and Senate, lawmakers finally sent a bill to the President Joe Biden’s desk on Thursday, December 8, that would, for the first time ever, codify national same-sex marriage rights into law, reports The Daily Beast.

The House passed a final version of the Marriage Equality Bill (Bill 258-169) by a vote of 258-169,  with all Democrats and 39 House Republicans voting in favor of the legislation.

Before this summer, same-sex marriage wasn’t really on Congress’ radar. But after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a decision that sent shockwaves across the nation, things changed.

Many pointed out how Justice Clarence Thomas seemed to be targeting other rights, like gay marriage, in his abortion opinion. With Democrats unable to cobble together the numbers to codify abortion rights, they moved on to protecting same-sex marriage. And they were met with some surprising levels of support—at least at first.

In the House, the original bill passed with the support of 47 Republicans. Democrats rejoiced at the moment of bipartisan agreement. But as the bill went to the Senate, prospects changed.

Led by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), who is gay, Senate Democrats struggled to assure that ten Senate Republicans would join them in supporting the proposal and averting a filibuster. Some early supporters emerged, like Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), whose son is gay. But others hemmed and hawed, voicing concerns about religious liberties and protections they felt weren’t concrete in the bill text. Some senators swore they wouldn’t unveil their position until Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) put it to a vote.

Ultimately, Schumer kicked back the vote on the bill until after the midterms in an apparent bid to give Republicans some breathing room.

The bill would ensure that the federal government recognizes same-sex marriages, even if a couple is in a state that does not. Some changes to the bill were made in the Senate to ensure religious liberties were intact, like ensuring religious non-profit groups would not have to perform same-sex marriages.

Last week, the Senate passed the proposal, 61-36. It got tossed back to the House for this final vote before heading to President Joe Biden, who’s sure to sign it into law.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) gaveled the vote as Democratic members on the floor cheered.

“Americans have grown accustomed knowing that they have a constitutional right to equal marriage. Those living in same sex and interracial marriages should not have to live with the fear that their government could rescind legal recognition of their families at any moment,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said on the floor, adding, “That’s not America. That’s not content of character.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Democrats catch up to GOP on enthusiasm in final NBC News poll before midterms

November 9, 2022

The final national NBC News poll of the 2022 midterms finds a highly competitive campaign landscape ahead of Election Day. While Democrats have pulled even with Republicans in enthusiasm, President Joe Biden remains unpopular and voters express deep dissatisfaction about the state of the country.

NBC News reports that 48% of likely voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress as the outcome of Tuesday’s elections, while 47% prefer a Republican-controlled Congress. 

That’s a reversal from October, when 48% preferred a GOP-controlled Congress versus 47% who wanted Democrats in charge—although the shift is well within the poll’s margin of error.

Among all registered voters, congressional preference is tied at 47%-47%—essentially unchanged from last month, when Democrats held a narrow 1-point edge, 47%-46%.

Yet what has changed in the poll is that Democrats have caught up to Republicans in election interest. An identical 73% of Democrats and Republicans express high interest, registering either a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale. 

In October’s NBC News poll, Republicans held a 9-point advantage in high voter interest, 78% to 69%, after Democrats had previously closed the enthusiasm gap following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.

Still, the overall political environment remains grim for Democrats. Only 44% of voters approve of President Biden’s job performance, while 53% disapprove; more than 70% think the country is headed in the wrong direction; and a combined 81% say they are “very” or “somewhat” dissatisfied with the U.S. economy.

What’s more, 47% of all voters say they want a “great deal” of change in direction from the way in which Biden has been leading the country — higher than what the poll showed for the first midterms for Donald Trump (44%), Barack Obama (41%) and Bill Clinton (36%), all of which resulted in midterm election drubbings for those past presidents.

“President Biden and the Democrats are in for a miserable election,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted this survey with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt and his team at Hart Research.

“The Democrats have to run way ahead of the president to win a statewide race,” said McInturff. “I would expect to see to see a large number of losses in the House and possibly a switch in control of the Senate.”

But Horwitt counters that, despite those traditional midterm fundamentals, Democrats have made this election competitive, which could save Democrats in some contests.

“In January, if you told me that the national political dynamics would not improve but Democrats had a fighting chance to avert a typical first midterm shellacking, I’d take it,” he said.

“And here we are,” Horwitt added.

Other findings

  • 38% of all voters say they’ve already voted, either by mail (19%) or early in person (19%); another 13% say they plan to vote early, and 45% say they will be voting at the polls on Election Day.
  • Former President Barack Obama is the most popular figure measured in the poll (at 51% positive, 37% negative)—followed by President Biden (42% positive, 50% negative), the Democratic Party (38% positive, 47% negative), the Republican Party (35% positive, 48% negative) and former President Donald Trump (35% positive, 55% negative).
  • Voters are divided on their choice of the bigger concern about the upcoming election: 47% are more concerned that Republicans will take control of Congress and make the wrong kinds of changes, versus 45% who are more concerned that Democrats will continue to control Congress and not make enough change.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Mitch McConnell dildo supports abortion rights

October 7, 2022

Sexual wellness brand Dame has released a dildo partially-molded with the face of anti-choice politician, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, reports The Daily Beast.

The brand launched the unusual sex toy as a part of a new campaign—‘Get F*cked by the Government on Your Own Terms.’ The campaign comes in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade; a decision, The Daily Beast said, “that was undoubtedly the result of the Kentucky senator’s long-term agenda to ensure his legacy of attacking women’s rights by strategically establishing a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.”

Dame’s decision to create this limited-edition love toy bearing Mitchell McConnell’s portrait was a natural choice, the company notes, as he’s become the face of extreme anti-abortion discourse—but the campaign is aimed to call out every anti-choice advocate blocking access to critical healthcare.

“Mitch McConnell has been one of the most outspoken voices around abortion bans in the country. His rhetoric is dangerous to people’s autonomy over their bodies. We’ve seen this play out through his role in engineering the fall of Roe v. Wade from the very beginning,” Dame founder and CEO Alexandra Fine recently told The Daily Beast exclusively. “Using his likeness in this product represents every anti-choice politician that has worked so hard to silence our voices and put us in danger. We hope this helps them hear us now.”

The company will donate 100% of sales of the dildo to abortion rights funds. Even before this campaign, Dame has remained an outspoken supporter of reproductive freedom and has donated to organizations like the National Network of Abortion Funds, and RAINN. Fine previously worked for Planned Parenthood; and is also an advisor to Hey Jane, a trusted telemedicine clinic specializing in virtual abortion care.

“Unfortunately, the lack of access to safe reproductive healthcare is a part of our reality (for now). This is something that drives us to continue to find ways to always support and enable abortion choice. Moving forward, you can expect more educational campaigns and content from [Dame], and more opportunities to donate,” Fine said.

For now, you can pre-order your own Mitch McConnell dildo for $80, which represents the 80% of Americans who believe abortion should remain safe and legal, according to independent research conducted by Gallup.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Democrats waste no time using Graham’s 15-week abortion ban to slam GOP

September 15, 2022

Entering a neatly prepared room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Tuesday, September 13, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) seemed jubilant to be introducing a national 15-week abortion ban in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 6, reports The Daily Beast.

But while Graham figuratively thumped his chest, Democrats throughout Washington were locking eyes with the bill—almost instantly behaving as if Graham was throwing them a thick, juicy bone.

For months Democrats have been warning of the very possibility Graham is now making a reality: Republicans pushing for a national abortion ban taking away states’ rights. With Graham’s latest version of the bill introduced, just weeks before an election no less, Democrats no longer have to speak in hypotheticals.

“If we take back the House and Senate, I can assure we’ll have a vote,” Graham said at a press conference. Democrats wasted no time in seizing on Graham’s message.

“Senate Republicans are showing voters exactly what they would do if they are in charge: pass a nationwide abortion ban and strip away women’s right to make our own health care decisions… the stakes of protecting and expanding our Democratic Senate Majority in November have never been higher,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Nora Keefe.

“Very simple: If you want to protect the right to choose, and you want to protect a woman’s right to health care, vote for more Democratic senators. You want to have a nationwide abortion ban? Vote for MAGA Republicans,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a press conference Tuesday.

“There you have it — if Republicans take control, they will vote to pass a national abortion ban. Take them at their word,” the Democratic National Committee’s War Room wrote in a tweet.

“Lindsey Graham just said the quiet part out loud. The right to an abortion is on the ballot this November…” tweeted Representative Mondaire Jones (D-New York).

Graham said Tuesday that he wants to try and put Democrats on the record about whether they support a 15-week abortion ban. The first nine pages of the bill base the 15-week cutoff around the argument that fetuses begin to feel pain around that point—though research on the exact point that fetuses can feel pain varies.

Graham also insisted he wants a vote on the bill in the immediate future, insisting he believes a few Democrats could possibly join Republicans on the issue.

Asked whether he spoke to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) about the bill, Graham said no—but, a few hours later, he may have wished he had.

“I think most of the members of my conference prefer that this be dealt with at the state level,” McConnell told reporters.

McConnell wasn’t the only Republican annoyed at Graham’s timing on a day that should have been a slam dunk in the message wars. Tuesday morning, the latest Consumer Price Index report said inflation is still on the rise, even as gas prices fell dramatically in August.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) told Politico curtly, “I’m not sure what he’s thinking here. But I don’t think there will be a rallying around that concept.”

Democrats jumping to capitalize on Graham’s new bill also comes after a number of voting wins on abortion for the party. Kansas passed a pro-abortion-rights ballot referendum last month—and Democrats have won competitive House races in Alaska and New York in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling.

Voter registration among women and young people is also on the rise, a trend pollsters have attributed in part to the abortion rights issue.

Graham’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Democrats latching on to the issue.

But Graham brushed off concerns that abortion has been a force for Democratic voter turnout at his press conference Tuesday, and questions about whether his bill would make the situation worse for Republicans this midterm cycle.

“I don’t think this is going to hurt us,” he said. “I think it’ll more likely hurt them when they try to explain to some reasonable person why it’s OK.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast