February 1, 2019

States Reignite Abortion Debate

“A push by Virginia Democrats to loosen restrictions on late-term abortionsis erupting into a fierce partisan clash because of a viral video in which a lawmaker acknowledges her legislation would allow abortions up until moments before birth.” Earlier this week, the proposed bill “failed in both the state House and Senate.” AP News

On Wednesday Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatrician, defended the bill in a radio interview, stating that “such procedures happen ‘where there may be severe deformities [or] a fetus that’s nonviable… The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.’” WTOP-FM

Meanwhile, last week, “New York state enacted one of the nation’s strongest protections for abortion rights… [the new law] codifies many abortion rights laid out in Roe and other court rulings, including a provision permitting late-term abortions when a woman’s health is endangered.” AP News

Lastly, on Monday, “two doctors who perform abortions and an abortion clinic asked the [Supreme Court] to block a lower-court ruling that upheld a Louisiana law that, according to a federal trial court, would leave ‘only one physician providing abortion in the entire state.’” SCOTUS Blog

See past issues

From the Left

The left is criticizing the right for mischaracterizing the Virginia bill, and the proposed Louisiana law for undermining Supreme Court precedent.

“Virginia lawmakers aren’t trying to legalize [elective] abortion up to birth. In fact, the bill keeps Virginia’s narrow exceptions for later abortions, saying a licensed provider can only perform a third-trimester abortion if they believe the pregnancy will result in death or impair the person’s mental or physical health. The bill just strikes the language ‘substantially and irremediably,’ as such terms overly regulate a doctor’s professional opinion

“The public discourse around later abortions vilifies people who are already grappling with an emotionally heavy decision… Most abortions take place early in pregnancy, and just over 1 percent of abortions are performed at 21 weeks or later. When people do have abortions later in pregnancy, it’s hard to make generalizations about the decision to do so.”

The spokeswoman for Governor Northam stated, “No woman seeks a third-trimester abortion except in the case of tragic or difficult circumstances, such as a nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe fetal abnormalities, and the governor’s comments were limited to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labor. Attempts to extrapolate these comments otherwise is in bad faith and underscores exactly why the governor believes physicians and women, not legislators, should make these difficult and deeply personal medical decisions.”
Washington Post

Regarding the proposed Louisiana law, if it “goes into effect on Monday, Louisiana will join the abysmal ranks of states with only one abortion provider. The law demands that doctors providing abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. This provision is medically unnecessary, and no less than the U.S. Supreme Court has said as much, striking down an identical requirement in Texas in a landmark abortion ruling... in the summer of 2016.”
Los Angeles Times

“In [the 2016 case] the Supreme Court explained that an abortion restriction runs afoul of the Constitution if its burdens on women outweigh its benefits. Texas’ admitting privileges requirement, the court found, heavily burdened the state’s clinics while providing no real benefit to women, rendering it unlawful… the Texas and Louisiana laws are ‘almost identical’... If the Supreme Court doesn’t stay [the] Louisiana law next week, states will have a clear path to nullify the constitutional right to choose.”

The plaintiff in the case argues that “so far this year, state legislators around the country have proposed more than 100 bills that would further restrict abortion. Anti-abortion politicians are hoping that the Supreme Court will stand by and let them legislate abortion out of reach — without the court ever having to reverse Roe v. WadeThe rule of law is on the line, and so is the ability of women in Louisiana and beyond to make their own health decisions and control their own fate.”
New York Times

Critics of the candidate argue, “Want to defeat Trump? Attack Biden… Many progressives are understandably fearful that attacking the presumptive frontrunner might weaken him and give Trump ammunition for the general election. But challenging Biden’s record is important. For example, his core base of support – older Democrats – needs to know what an unreliable defender of Social Security and Medicare he is. By challenging him on his record, especially in the eyes of older, traditional Democratic voters, progressives could break the myth of Biden’s ‘electability’. (A strange trope given that Biden has tried and failed to be a presidential nominee since the 1980s.)… Anyone angling to be the Democratic nominee should espouse a real progressive agenda – just being ‘anti-Trump’ isn’t enough.”
Bhaskar Sunkara, The Guardian

“For Warren or anyone else to prevent the uniquely depressing experience of a Biden ‘national unity’ campaign, specifically targeted at a tiny cadre of wobbly Trump voters and Jeff Flake-style dissident Republicans, something has to change before next winter. Democratic voters and the media and basically everyone else must get over their skittish, fearful response to the Trump presidency, and their based-on-nothing certainty that nominating a progressive or a woman or a socialist or anybody who isn’t an avuncular white man with a vaguely reassuring demeanor and no discernible ideology will once again lead to disaster.”
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

From the Right

The right argues that the Virginia and New York laws, as well as Governor Northam’s comments, are morally indefensible.

From the Right

The right argues that the Virginia and New York laws, as well as Governor Northam’s comments, are morally indefensible.

Vice President Mike Pence writes, “As modern science has moved the point of viability ever earlier in pregnancy, most Americans have agreed that a child who can survive outside the womb deserves a chance at life. Only a handful of countries, including China and North Korea, allow [elective] late-term abortions.”
National Review

It’s worth noting that “while the majority of Americans favor legal abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, just one quarter believe in allowing it in the second trimester. That figure plummets to 13 percent when Americans are asked about legal abortion for the final trimester of pregnancy.”
Washington Examiner

“What the bills in New York and Virginia tell us is that the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left on abortion that there’s no place in it any longer for even Democrats who are moderate on abortion. What these bills spell out is: There is no place for even ‘safe, legal, and rare’ Democrats in the modern Democratic Party.”
Washington Examiner

“The [proposed Virginia] bill reduces the number of doctors required to certify the alleged medical need for an abortion from three to one, and — critically — eliminates any required showing of severity before the doctor and mother can determine that the birth would impair her physical or mental health… virtually any claim of impairment would suffice to meet the act’s requirements. Anxiety? Depression? The conventional physical challenges of post-partum recovery? Any of those things could justify taking the life of a fully formed, completely viable, living infant.”
National Review

“In other words, it creates a loophole designed to allow abortion under any circumstances, right up to the moment of birth, so long as one late-term abortion doctor signs off.”
Hot Air

Regarding Northam’s comments, “This is not deceptive editing: it is literally a governor of a major state across the river from our capital endorsing infanticide…

“Northam’s comments regarding the reason that most women seeking 3rd trimester abortions – which typically outrank gun homicides each year – are also totally incorrect. He claims they do so because of the non-viability of the fetus or fetal abnormalities. A 2013 Guttmacher study – no friend of anti-abortion activists – found [that]… ‘most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.’”
The Federalist

“Any honest person who has ever witnessed a birth cannot help but understand that the child they held in their arms, was every bit the same child mere minutes before, while still inside their mother. To pretend otherwise strains credulity. One may argue that the woman’s bodily autonomy outweighs the child’s right to live, but they must, if arguing in good faith, concede that what they are advocating to kill, is indeed, in every meaningful way, a child.”
The Federalist

A libertarian's take

“The relevant question is not the nationality of a source offering ‘oppo research’ but the accuracy and relevance of the information. Another consideration is whether the information was obtained illegally—by hacking emails, for example. While the Supreme Court has said people have a First Amendment right to share illegally obtained information if they were not involved in the lawbreaking (something that news organizations frequently do), you might reasonably argue that they should also report such crimes when they become aware of them, which may be what Trump had in mind when he said he might contact the FBI ‘if I thought there was something wrong.’”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

On the bright side...

People are freezing their jeans for the ‘frozen pants’ challenge. Yes, really.
Wichita Eagle

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