Tag: reproductive rights
Arizona Republicans Mock Protesters After Killing Abortion Ban Repeal

Arizona Republicans Mock Protesters After Killing Abortion Ban Repeal

Republicans in the Arizona legislature weren't afraid to do an endzone dance after voting to keep a Civil War-era law on the books that effectively bans all abortions in the Grand Canyon State.

According to Talking Points Memo reporter Kate Riga, Rep. David Livingston (R) "applauded his supporters" in the gallery overlooking the House of Representatives and raised his fists in a celebratory fashion after the vote to repeal the law failed on party lines. House Majority Whip Teresa Martinez (R) reportedly mouthed the words "we got you" to others in the gallery who were advocating for repeal, and even gave them a mocking thumbs-up gesture.

"They were posing for their far-right base," Assistant House Minority Leader Oscar De Los Santos (D) told Talking Points Memo.

Wednesday marked Democrats' fourth unsuccessful attempt in two weeks to repeal the law, which was passed when Arizona was still a territory that had not yet officially joined the U.S. and before women had the right to vote. The state already had a strict 15-week abortion ban in place before the Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold the far more stringent law from 1864.

"In light of this Opinion, physicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal, and that additional criminal and regulatory sanctions may apply to abortions performed after fifteen weeks’ gestation," Justice John Lopez wrote on behalf of the GOP-aligned majority.

The 1864 law, which remains on the books, allows for the punishment of abortion providers who help individuals terminate their pregnancies. Any provider who performs the procedure faces a prison sentence of anywhere from two to five years under the 19th century legislation. Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) clarified her office would not prosecute abortion providers under that law.

"Make no mistake, by effectively striking down a law passed this century and replacing it with one from 160 years ago, the Court has risked the health and lives of Arizonans," Mayes stated, adding that the "decision to reimpose a law from a time when Arizona wasn't a state, the Civil War was raging, and women couldn't even vote will go down in history as a stain on our state."

That 1864 law is likely to mobilize large amounts of Democratic voters to turn out in the 2024 election in the Grand Canyon State, which may end up deciding partisan control of the House, Senate and White House in November. Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake — who ran a failed campaign for governor in 2022 — previously praised the anti-abortion law as "great," before eventually condemning it as "out of step with Arizonans." She has called on Governor Katie Hobbs (D) and the GOP-controlled legislature to pass a work-around.

If Republicans aim to recapture the U.S. Senate, they'll need a net gain of two seats in November. This will require flipping seats like Arizona's, where outgoing Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) declined to seek another term in office. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), the likely Democratic nominee, is currently leading in polls with RealClearPolitics showing him ahead of Lake by an average of six points.

Arizona narrowly went blue in 2020, with President Joe Biden taking the state's Electoral College votes with less than 11,000 total votes. That margin could widen with abortion rights on the ballot, as that issue has led to stunning Republican losses even in red states like Kansas, Kentucky and Montana in 2022, and Ohio in 2023.

Click here to read Talking Points Memo's full report.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Will Voters Blame Trump For Loss Of Abortion Rights?

Will Voters Blame Trump For Loss Of Abortion Rights?

A long-promised Donald Trump statement on abortion has finally been released. As expected, it was vague and pleased few. The former president both bragged about his appointment of three Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, and stopped short of endorsing a national abortion ban, instead pledging to leave the decision up to the states.

While it may anger the faction of his party endorsing a national ban, the statement proves the almost certain Republican Party presidential nominee, as transactional and self-serving as ever, can read the polls and the political winds.

Remember, this is the man with a history of declaring himself “pro-choice,” “pro-life” and in favor of punishing women who seek abortions. I’m not sure what he truly believes, but it’s clear from his dancing around the issue that he knows he could pay a price for the GOP’s anti-abortion rights stance in November.

But maybe dealing in contradictions won’t hurt him and his party as much as Trump believes and Democrats hope.

It may not make perfect sense, but a certain voting pattern has been happening lately. Citizens in red states surprise observers when they lean blue on the issue of reproductive and abortion rights, yet continue to reelect the politicians who support those bans.

Ohio has proven that two things could be true at once: Democrat Tim Ryan, Ohioan through and through, could experience defeat in a 2022 Senate race at the hands of Donald Trump-endorsed Republican J.D. Vance, who just a few years ago was tagged as an elitist leaving behind background and family with his best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy.” This was after calling Trump an “idiot” in 2016.

And those same voters could troop to the ballot box in November 2023 to make sure a right to abortion is enshrined in the state’s constitution — after earlier rejecting a state GOP attempt to make it more difficult to win that right.

Vance was shaken by that result last year, writing “we need to understand why we lost this battle so we can win the war.”

But in spite of the surprise Ohio voters handed Republicans, incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is still facing a tough reelection race in the fall. That’s despite his working-class credibility across the state, a record of accomplishments that have benefited Ohio and endorsements from groups such as the 100,000-member Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council. Brown criticizes free-trade agreements, even those coming from his own party, when he says they hurt his constituents.

His GOP opponent, wealthy businessman Bernie Moreno, may have no experience and a background many voters are still filling in, but he has something much more important — a Donald Trump endorsement.

In a state that voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 by a comfortable margin, that may be more than enough. The fact that Ohio voters have proven to be on board with a Democrat’s record and his party’s stand on the issue of reproductive rights is fighting a growing partisan divide that sees a lot less ticket-splitting.

Inside Elections rates both Brown’s race and that of established Montana Sen. Jon Tester, another Democratic incumbent in a red state, as Toss-ups.

Democrats see abortion rights giving them a fighting chance in states they’ve recently seen as lost causes. It wasn’t that long ago (2008 and 2012, in fact) that the party won both Ohio and even, yes, Florida. With an abortion rights initiative on the Sunshine State’s ballot in November, Democrats have even been dreaming of a resurgence in the land of Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump.

It will take more than dreams in a time when party is also identity.

I admit I was surprised the first time I saw someone at a Trump rally years ago wearing a T-shirtthat read: “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” But today, with Trump’s affinity for Vladimir Putin, siding with the strongman against U.S. generals and NATO allies, is it so surprising that traditional hawkish, national security views have been upended by the strongman who is the head of the GOP?

Does it work the other way around? We’re about to see in my home state of Maryland, where the very popular Republican former governor in that usually Democratic state, Larry Hogan, is looking strong as he runs for the U.S. Senate. Democrats haven’t even chosen his opponent yet. But will voters in a state that soundly rejected Trump vote for a politician they may like but may not trust once he gets to D.C. on issues such as abortion?

This dynamic may be tested most in states that, unlike Ohio or Maryland, are not so branded with one party in its political representation. Following the slew of red-state laws limiting abortion, will voting reveal more ambivalence on the issue than state legislatures believed?

One that could be a test case is Arizona, which President Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020, and was looking tight in early 2024 polls. With the state’s Republican, very conservative high court this week upholding an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions, the upcoming U.S. Senate race, likely between Republican Kari Lake and Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, has gotten especially interesting.

Lake has followed the lead of her favorite politician, running away from a law she once praised. Arizona organizers say they already have enough signatures for a ballot measure to enshrine abortion in the state’s constitution.

Whether abortion rights will be the issue to cause voters to question party loyalty up and down the ballot is a question the fall elections could answer.

Reprinted with permission from Roll Call.

Supreme Court

During State Of The Union, Biden Put Supreme Court On Blast Over Abortion

President Joe Biden’s fiery State of the Union address on Thursday was made even stronger with some near-seamless ad-libs. None were more unexpected or more effective than when he directly took on the Supreme Court justices over their 2022 decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion.

Biden’s prepared remarks included a reference to the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, quoting Justice Samuel Alito’s excuse that the matter of abortion access should be handled at the ballot box in the states: “Women are not without electoral or political power.” Biden extemporaneously turned that passage into a direct attack on the high court.

“In its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court majority wrote the following—and with all due respect, justices—‘women are not without electoral or political power,’” Biden said, directly addressing the six judges attending. “You’re about to realize just how much you were right about that.”

“Clearly, those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women, but they found out when reproductive freedom was on the ballot, we won in 2022 and we will win again in 2024,” Biden continued. “If you, the American people, send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.”

That’s an “astonishing” moment in a state of the union, said Lawrence O’Donnell, the MSNBC commentator and former Senate aide. “There was that moment that I think we all remember of the way he attacked—I guess, is the word for it—the Supreme Court to their faces, where the camera then goes to this shot of the six SCOTUS justices, three of whom he was very specifically attacking,” he said.

Three, that is, because Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, the author of the horribly momentous Dobbs decision, didn’t bother to show. “That’s never been done before, to the extent that a president has a disagreement with the Supreme Court expressed in the State of the Union address,” O’Donnell continued. “That was just astonishing.”

It’s not just astonishing. It’s a critical admonishment to the Supreme Court, which still has some democracy-defining decisions to make this term, not the least of which is whether an insurrectionist ex-president is above the law.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Nancy Mace

Here's How We Know Republicans Are Lying About Their 'Support' For IVF

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) has taken the bold step of defending in vitro fertilization by introducing a nonbinding resolution. That way Republicans in the House can pretend that they’re taking steps to protect IVF without actually protecting IVF.

That’s a Republican idea of a win-win: taking credit for something while doing nothing.

It’s also a perfect illustration of where the GOP stands on IVF. Two weeks after the conservative Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos are children and several hospitals and clinics halted IVF procedures as a result, Republicans are struggling with a fundamental issue: how to convince the general public that they support this popular procedure while reassuring their extremist base that they won’t do anything to address this issue.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that over 10 million children worldwide have been born through IVF and approximately 500,000 more are born each year. In the United States, roughly 97,000 babies are delivered each year thanks to assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.

Families that use IVF are often desperate and have exhausted all other options before facing a physically strenuous process that costs roughly $20,000 per attempt and has an average success rate of 37 percent. Republicans jumping between these families and what they may view as their last opportunity to have a successful pregnancy and build a family comes off as needlessly (and thoughtlessly) cruel.

A YouGov poll shows a solid 67 percent of Americans believe IVF should be legal. Only eight percent believe that IVF should be illegal.

In the same poll, a 46 percent plurality of Americans believe a law should be passed to legalize abortion nationally. Only seven percent of those responding insisted that abortion should be illegal at any time, in any circumstance, no exceptions.

It’s not hard to understand that these two groups who don’t approve of IVF or abortion are likely to have an almost 100 percent overlap. According to the poll results, those saying that IVF should be illegal were more than twice as likely to consider themselves Republicans and to support Donald Trump.

Many abortion laws are based on the idea that life begins at conception. This is a religious concept that dates back only to the 20th century, as early religious figures had no idea about the stages of reproduction. However, the position was rapidly adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and by some evangelical groups. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and conservative Catholic leaders are still officially (and vehemently) opposed to IVF. So are many evangelical leaders and theologians.

The Republican dilemma is simple: Only a small percentage of Americans oppose IVF, but many of those who do oppose it are among the most devoted, fanatical supporters of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

It might only be a tiny percentage, but it’s their tiny percentage.

Republicans know that losing that portion of their most vocal base would doom any hope of winning a national election. And there is more at stake for Republicans than just votes.

Right-wing figures like Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo are deeply enmeshed in what happened with the Alabama decision. Leo is also the tip of a dark-money iceberg involved in promoting extremist positions on all aspects of reproduction. Republicans are terrified of losing that connection to outside groups, especially when their coffers are nearly bare and the incoming party co-chair is promising to spend every penny paying her father-in-law’s legal bills.

Republicans are left utterly dependent on outside groups to run ads, do opposition research, and take care of all the other things that their own campaigns might do if they had any money. So they don’t dare upset this dark conservative apple cart.

That’s why, no matter what they are saying, Republicans moved immediately to block legislation introduced by Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth that would have provided nationwide protection for IVF.

It’s why there are spectacles like this, where Rep. Anna Luna withdrew her name as the co-sponsor of a bill protecting IVF, even as Republicans are claiming that they support IVF.

Republicans in Alabama may have pushed a bill through the state Legislature that protects IVF facilities (though not parents) from potential prosecution, but the initial version of that bill was very deliberately set to sunset this protection within months of the upcoming election. Legislators removed that April 1, 2025, deadline after it became clear this would have prevented anyone from beginning an IVF procedure for three months before the election, which would have only put this issue right back on the front page at a very inconvenient time.

But absolutely nothing is stopping them from moving to limit or block any IVF protections once the election is over.

Moving to protect IVF through legislation would risk cutting Republicans off from their most fanatical supporters and from sources of cash that Trump can’t directly purloin. It would also leave them vulnerable to questions about why the millions of fertilized eggs destroyed in IVF attempts each year (far more than the number of embryos destroyed in abortions) don’t represent an annual holocaust. If Republicans really believe life begins when a unique genetic signature is created, IVF is unsupportable. If they don’t continue to voice that belief, almost all abortion legislation is left hanging from nothing.

Republicans are flailing, making gestures of support for IVF in hopes the issue will disappear until after the election. They want to pretend to be supportive of desperate families while quietly reassuring their base that they will actually continue to support a position held by only a tiny minority.

Duckworth’s move in bringing forward her bill was a good way to call their bluff. There should be more of this … right up to Election Day.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.