May 10, 2019

Georgia Signs ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban Into Law

“Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday signed into law one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, a measure that bans the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks.” AP News

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From the Left

The left opposes the law, which it sees as directly conflicting with the right to abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.

‘Heartbeat’ is a bit is a bit of a misnomer, since the cardiac activity that is first detected in an embryo is not a heartbeat by any stretch of the imagination; what is first observed is the pulsing of cells that are specializing and will eventually become a heart. At this point in the pregnancy, the fetus has no brain and no face.”
Moira Donegan, The Guardian

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) “attempted to justify the law’s scientifically questionable reliance on the detectable heartbeat standard based on the notion that dead people no longer have a pulse... [but] under Georgia law and the 1981 Uniform Determination of Death Act, the determination of whether a person is alive is not, in fact, dependent on whether they have a pulse but whether they have sustained ‘irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions, or irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.’”
Josh Israel, ThinkProgress

It is not clear whether the bill’s drafters contemplated the more dramatic consequences of granting legal personhood to fetuses. For instance, as Georgia appellate attorney Andrew Fleischman has pointed out, the moment this bill takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the state will be illegally holding thousands of citizens in jail without bond. That’s because, under HB 481, pregnant inmates’ fetuses have independent rights—including the right to due process. Can a juvenile attorney represent an inmate’s fetus and demand its release? If not, why? It is an egregious due process violation to punish one human for the crimes of another. If an inmate’s fetus is a human, how can Georgia lawfully detain it for a crime it did not commit?”
Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

“Some medical experts worry that Georgia’s law could cause harm to women who have nonviable pregnancies that aren’t identified by the six-week mark. They cite the example of an ectopic pregnancy, in which the embryo is developing outside the uterus and will never develop into a viable fetus. An ectopic pregnancy may not be detectable at six weeks, and as it progresses, it can cause severe bleeding in the woman. Some reproductive health experts… are concerned that the law would force a doctor to allow a nonviable pregnancy to proceed until it is actually causing dire harm to a woman’s health.”
Pam Belluck, New York Times

“Many abortion-rights opponents believe all fetal life deserves absolute protection. But that view is not shared by everyone. About 1 in 4 American women have had or will have an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The rational option when there are such stark differences of opinion is to let individuals make their own decisions. For the government to force women to have babies they don’t want is no more legitimate than it would be to force expectant mothers to have abortions they don’t want. To use the power of government to deprive women of control over such a profound and intimate matter should give anyone pause. But those pushing these prohibitions would do it in a heartbeat.”
Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right supports the law, and hopes it will result in the Supreme Court revisiting Roe v. Wade.

From the Right

The right supports the law, and hopes it will result in the Supreme Court revisiting Roe v. Wade.

“Though it is unlikely that courts will uphold this type of legislation in the near future… heartbeat bills are still a valuable tool in a broader pro-life legislative strategy… Heartbeat bills force us to consider the reality of abortion rather than the meaningless jargon concocted to disguise it… What ‘clump of cells’ has its own heartbeat? Because of bills like the one signed today in Georgia, more people are considering the scientific reality of fetal heartbeats and the biological reality that every fetus is a distinct, living human being.”
Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review

“Such bills are, indeed, unconstitutional given the Court’sRoe ukase that abortion cannot be restricted before a fetus is viable outside the womb — which means, presumably, before the fetus is a child. But why should ‘viability’ be the dispositive criterion? Viable means capable of surviving outside the womb, which no infant can do without constant help that others must give… No infants are ‘viable’ in that all are helpless, and the law requires that help be given by those responsible for the infant.”
George Will, Washington Post

Dated but Relevant: “For a long time, the pro-life movement has been committed to incrementalism because incrementalism was all it had. There were no prospects of Roe’s reversal, and the only way to respond politically to abortion-on-demand was to chip away at the right rather than to swing with a sledgehammer… But there’s a change in the cultural winds. We’re on the cusp of a cultural moment

“Heartbeat bills are different in kind from the abortion restrictions that have thus far dominated red-state lawmaking. Rather than merely regulate the practice, they would ‘make it all but impossible for nearly all women to get the procedure.’ The only way to uphold a heartbeat bill is to overturn Roe and Casey. And that’s entirely the point…

“If a movement is truly pro-life, and a majority of the state’s voters want to protect and foster a culture of life, then it’s time — it’s time to throw down the gauntlet, declare to the world (and to the Court) that the era of incrementalism is over, and show that the people are ready to embrace life. It’s time for more GOP legislatures to pass heartbeat bills, bring them to the Supreme Court, look the justices in the eye, and ask them to correct one of the Court’s most dreadful and consequential mistakes.”
David French, National Review

“Only 13% of independents and 18% of Democrats support legalizing third-trimester abortion, and the majority of Democrats still oppose legalizing second-trimester abortion. While the country is split 48-48 between being pro-life and pro-choice, the majority of the country opposes both the morality of and the legality of first-trimester abortion for no reason other than the woman's preference. This implies a few opinions among pro-choice Americans. Some probably view life as beginning at some post-conception stage of fetal development, such as sentience or the beginning of a heartbeat. Some may view fetuses as lives, but not morally equivalent to someone already born. Others may view abortion as a mere necessary evil and a societal trade-off.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

“Not only did [Trump] attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else… Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

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