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ASPartOfMe
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25 Jun 2022, 6:22 am

This analysis was written before Roe v. Wade was officially overturned.
Democrats Should Have Seen the End of Roe Coming

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This outcome is the culmination of five decades of fervent activism and mobilization at the polls, which begat a stacked federal bench of conservative judges and state legislatures brimming with lawmakers willing to outlaw abortion. But while abortion opponents have cultivated a movement that became central to the Republican Party and its victories, Democrats—particularly on the federal level—appear to have been caught off guard by the slow but inexorable progress of that cause.

With the election of President Donald Trump and the promise of appointing more conservative jurists to the Supreme Court—indeed, three Trump-nominated justices now sit on the court—Republican-led states were further emboldened to prepare and enact legislation restricting or outright banning the right to an abortion.

Senator Elizabeth Warren noted to me that conservative judicial nominees had professed, during their confirmation hearings, that they held Roe to be a matter of settled law. “Democrats may have believed or at least wanted to believe the judicial nominees who swore they wouldn’t touch Roe and didn’t make it a first priority in every political rally and every vote. We’ve now seen the consequences of that,” Warren said. “But let’s be clear: The blame here is not about Democrats, it’s about Republicans who are determined to advance a right-wing agenda that is not supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans and to do it through the courts because they know they can’t do it through Congress.”

Abortion opponents have invested heavily in their cause for decades, making inroads into the judiciary and state legislatures. Democrats, and by extension abortion rights supporters, can now turn their attention to those new battlefields.

The GOP was not always the party of abortion opponents, and abortion rights supporters did not always flock to Democrats. Michele Goodwin, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, argued that the Republican Party had adopted the language of the anti-abortion movement because of its messaging power and as a way to obtain those opponents as part of its base, capitalizing on their enthusiasm. “This has been politically expedient, to utilize abortion as a wedge issue,” Goodwin said.

When Roe was decided, Catholics who opposed abortion comprised a core demographic for Democrats; meanwhile, several Republican governors, including then–California Governor Ronald Reagan, had signed legislation easing restrictions on abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Roe itself was decided with a 7–2 majority, with a Nixon-nominated justice writing the opinion.

It took decades for party positions on abortions to calcify. As the Republican Party slowly adopted opposition to abortion into its platform and Democrats became the party of abortion rights supporters, those on either side of the issue began to self-select, Daniel Williams, a history professor at the University of West Georgia, told me. This resulted in politicians moving to the left or the right on abortion based on their respective parties, or switching parties entirely. Furthermore, as white evangelicals became a core constituency of the Republican Party in the 1980s, opposition to abortion became more central to the party’s platform.

“Because of their outsize influence on the Republican Party, particularly in the South, and because of their importance in bringing formerly Democratic states or swing states in the South into the Republican coalition, the fact that they cared about abortion meant that it would become very difficult for the Republican Party to move away from its anti-abortion stance,” Williams, who has written books on the Christian right and the pre-Roe movement against abortion, told me.

Goodwin argued that white evangelicals began turning to the Republican Party and emphasizing the need for a conservative Supreme Court in the wake of new laws and court decisions that expanded civil rights.

Falwell’s Moral Majority was pivotal in electing Ronald Reagan in 1980, and galvanized supporters by tying anti-abortion sentiment to other conservative causes like opposition to the gay rights movement and restoring school prayer.

Abortion opponents began to transition to a judicial strategy in the early 1980s, Williams told me, after the Senate failed to approve the Hatch-Eagleton Amendment. This would have amended the Constitution to say that the right to an abortion was not constitutionally guaranteed, but it failed to garner sufficient votes, with opposition from some Republicans as well as Democrats. (Thomas Eagleton, one of the sponsors of the amendment, was a Democrat.) “The pro-life movement then consciously shifted—there were actual strategy discussions on this among leaders in the National Right to Life Committee and elsewhere—[they] consciously shifted toward a strategy of changing policy through the Supreme Court rather than through a constitutional amendment,” Williams said. But that strategy also made it harder for Democrats who opposed abortion to remain a part of the movement: Even if they supported a nominee’s position on abortion, an otherwise liberal Democrat would have qualms about confirming ultraconservative judges.

Mary Ziegler, a professor at Florida State University College of Law who has written several books on abortion history, said that it was not enough for the anti-abortion movement to have conservative justices confirmed to the Supreme Court. Republican-nominated justices helped to uphold the right to an abortion in the 1992 ruling of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. “I think there was a real sense after Casey, the 1992 decision, that justices who were worried about popular opinion or about backlash would probably not overrule Roe. So you needed to have a particular kind of conservative who was not concerned about that sort of thing,” Ziegler told me.

As Ziegler outlines in her new book, there was further a connection between the anti-abortion movement and efforts to ease campaign finance restrictions; wanting to influence more Republicans to oppose abortion, figures like James Bopp, the general counsel of the National Right to Life Committee, fought to increase their capacity for campaign finance spending. Bopp was the first lawyer to represent the organization Citizens United in the case that ended up before the Supreme Court, resulting in the ruling that corporations could give money to political action committees.

By the time Trump was elected, opposition to abortion was a core element of the Republican Party, and white evangelicals were a central constituency. Then–Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was successful in blocking President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court vacancy was an important motivator for many Trump voters.

While abortion opponents were growing increasingly motivated by their opposition to Roe, and while they became more central to the Republican Party, Democrats were arguably becoming more complacent. “It’s often easier to be motivated when you’re fighting the status quo, rather than when you feel comfortable with the status quo,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler noted that ending the federal right to an abortion is not the endgame. Rather, it is ending abortion altogether. Moreover, there are some states in which majorities of voters favor abortion restrictions. “Regionally, in some House elections, Senate elections, state legislative or gubernatorial races, it’s a good thing that you can pass really punitive abortion laws,” Ziegler said. “In other Southern states and in some Midwestern states, because of a combination of polarization and gerrymandering, there’s no real downside to seeing criminal abortion bans.

Congressional Republicans have largely avoided discussing a post-Roe world, but given indications of potential support for a federal abortion ban, if abortion continues to be red meat for the base, its power as a wedge issue will persist.

But neither will Democrats and abortion rights supporters go quietly into that good night. Some states are likely to expand abortion access or try to facilitate abortion access for people living in other states. If California wants to subsidize someone to come to Texas for an abortion, for example, that may be the next abortion-related fight coming before the courts, Williams predicted. State officials, like attorneys general, will also become critical figures in shoring up abortion rights and determining how abortion laws are enforced.

Democrats may also now be more fully aware of the power of the courts, and able to focus their energies on that battleground.

Still, it may be years before the response to the Roe decision is fully realized; after all, political opposition to Roe itself simmered for decades, only gradually building consensus and taking shape as a core mission of the Republican Party. A response may not be fully catalyzed until it becomes more apparent what life without abortion access means for millions of people:


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25 Jun 2022, 3:35 pm

The only part of this analysis that was new to me was the following:

Quote:
As Ziegler outlines in her new book, there was further a connection between the anti-abortion movement and efforts to ease campaign finance restrictions; wanting to influence more Republicans to oppose abortion, figures like James Bopp, the general counsel of the National Right to Life Committee, fought to increase their capacity for campaign finance spending. Bopp was the first lawyer to represent the organization Citizens United in the case that ended up before the Supreme Court, resulting in the ruling that corporations could give money to political action committees.


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Tim_Tex
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25 Jun 2022, 3:40 pm

Maybe we should ban religion.

The only countries in the western hemisphere where women are truly free are Cuba and Venezuela.



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25 Jun 2022, 4:26 pm

I wouldn't want to live in a country that banned religion any more than I would want to live in a theocracy.

There's very little light between those two positions.


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IsabellaLinton
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25 Jun 2022, 4:41 pm

VegetableMan wrote:
I wouldn't want to live in a country that banned religion any more than I would want to live in a theocracy.

There's very little light between those two positions.



Exactly.
I'm not sure how anyone could ban religion anyway?
That means banning people's thoughts and beliefs?

You don't need an establishment to practise religion.

Scary af.



The_Walrus
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25 Jun 2022, 4:41 pm

Tim_Tex wrote:
Maybe we should ban religion.

The only countries in the western hemisphere where women are truly free are Cuba and Venezuela.

Nonsense on both counts, particularly the latter.

Religious freedom is crucial. We shouldn’t answer authoritarianism with more authoritarianism. Have a look at what has happened when countries tried to ban religions in the past.

If we’re talking abortion, Cuba is comparable to Argentina, Uruguay, Canada, and the world leaders, Colombia. Venezuela only allows abortion to save the mother’s life, and back-alley abortions are punished with up to two years in prison.

If we’re not talking abortion, Cuba and Venezuela are two of the most oppressive regimes in the Americas. I’m certainly guessing you’re not counting Iceland, for one. I’ve got lots of criticisms of American democracy but it’s a damn site better than anything Cuba or Venezuela are serving up. Very low bar…



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25 Jun 2022, 5:03 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
VegetableMan wrote:
I wouldn't want to live in a country that banned religion any more than I would want to live in a theocracy.

There's very little light between those two positions.



Exactly.
I'm not sure how anyone could ban religion anyway?
That means banning people's thoughts and beliefs?

You don't need an establishment to practise religion.

Scary af.


It's the flip side of the same coin, it's authoritarianism.

I get the frustration with what's going on. I have Christian friend who lives in Texas and she is thoroughly disgusted with what happened in Texas, and now the repeal of Roe v Wade.


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25 Jun 2022, 5:09 pm

A particular GOP luminary (who is famed for his expertise in salesmanship) is reported to have privately expressed anger about this decision because "it will hurt the Republican Party". This person should be listened to on this one point by both GOPers and Dems because of his expertise. GOPers should temper their celebration, and Dems should temper their despair.

Ironically the GOP luminary who is reportedly saying this was the same guy who appointed the chief justices who made this decision. He is ...Donald J. Trump.

Trump pandered to the far right by appointing them, and now he regrets that they are acting on their beliefs and alienating the nation by...being far right. Poor Donald. Its a conundrum.



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25 Jun 2022, 5:11 pm

I consider myself Christian, and I'm thoroughly disgusted too -- so is my church.
Religion itself is about love, acceptance of all people, and extending comfort to those in need.

The rest of the dogma (for some organisations) is just window dressing.



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25 Jun 2022, 5:35 pm

There is a huge problem with religion in America and it's getting worse with all of the political polarization. It's this really concerning mix of fundamentalist religion and far right Republicanism (mixed with nationalism). The problem extends beyond this current devastating situation.

I don't think the answer is to ban religion but to get people to ease up a bit by pushing critical thinking and rationality more in our schools, among other things, to enable them to get past this pervasive indoctrination.


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25 Jun 2022, 9:28 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
There is a huge problem with religion in America and it's getting worse with all of the political polarization. It's this really concerning mix of fundamentalist religion and far right Republicanism (mixed with nationalism). The problem extends beyond this current devastating situation.

I don't think the answer is to ban religion but to get people to ease up a bit by pushing critical thinking and rationality more in our schools, among other things, to enable them to get past this pervasive indoctrination.


I'd say the US's problem with religion is that it has two competing religions - protestantism and business administration.
Saudi Arabia only has one, and they seem to be sure they have it right, no problem there

With Republicans, thrir problem os that they meed protestantism to distinguish themselves from Democrats - without it, they'd be the same. But that is of course a dangerous strategy, becayse not even Republicans want protestantism to really win over business admin.


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25 Jun 2022, 10:04 pm

It appears Ruth Bader Ginsberg's decision to retire may have been the catalyst for Trump to start the process leading to this decision on abortion
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/24/us/p ... trump.html



ASPartOfMe
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26 Jun 2022, 10:03 am

The Supreme Court Just Overturned Roe v. Wade. How The f**k Did We Get Here?

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Let’s start at the beginning. Abortion is as old as sex — especially non-consensual sex. But it was not usually something governments cared about. In the United States, early-term abortion was legal and unregulated until the 1870s. And it was banned, in some places, because of Victorian-era concerns about hygiene and safety (and sexist biases against midwives) from the emerging medical establishment.

After nearly a century of horrifying back-alley abortions (yes, with coat hangers, but also knitting needles, amateur surgery, poisonous chemicals, and worse), abortion began to be legalized in some states in the 1960s, under pressure from the nascent women’s rights movement and by liberal Christian and Jewish denominations who understood that protecting vulnerable women was a profound moral issue. Gradually, abortion came to be seen as part of every woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy, and in 1973, Roe v. Wade was decided.

Now, as Justice Alito complained ad nauseam in his draft opinion, the word “abortion” is not mentioned in the constitution. But for most of the twentieth century, such literalism was less important than understanding the modern-day implications of broad terms like “liberty,” and rights “reserved by the people.” The writers of the constitution chose not to use specific examples of the rights they protected — that task fell to judges, who, over the decades, developed the idea that there was a fundamental right to personal privacy, especially in the core human activities of marriage and family, that the government could not abridge without a compelling state interest. Abortion was included in that.

At first, Roe v. Wade was not nearly as important as it would later become. Many Catholics opposed it, but at the time it was decided, most Protestants said that abortions should be legal and evangelical preachers taught that life began at birth. The Southern Baptist Convention — now a pillar of the conservative “Christian right” — specifically endorsed that view.

What happened? Evangelicals began to get into politics … because of desegregation. When public schools were desegregated in the 1950s, white Evangelicals and even some Catholics left in droves, the Evangelicals especially sending their kids to so-called “segregation academies,” religious schools that only admitted white people. (Jerry Falwell ran one.) At the same time as Roe was being argued, those academies were found to be illegal, even though white Christians protested that their religious beliefs compelled them to keep the races separated.

Conservative Evangelicals and Catholics had tended to avoid the mess of politics, and rarely agreed with one another. But with courts forcing white Christians to go to school with Black kids, that changed, and in the late 1970s, the Christian right was born. Yet there was a problem: preserving segregation was no longer an effective unifying issue. And so, Paul Weyrich, Falwell, and other founders of the Christian right — in a history meticulously documented by Randall Balmer — seized on abortion instead.

Abortion was perfect. Support for abortion overlapped with support for desegregation, women’s rights, gay rights, and the sexual revolution. If you fought one, you could fight the others too. Plus abortion was an emotional issue that was easily used to whip up anger and indignation, as well as to drive people to the polls (and to donate money).

And they worked to transform the judiciary. Judges and justices began to be vetted for their stances on abortion rights, usually in code. With a newly minted philosophy called “originalism,” legal scholars and judges said that only rights that were part of “our Nation’s history and tradition” were covered by the constitution’s guarantees. No one believed this preposterous idea fifty years ago, but now five Supreme Court justices do.

Now, you might ask, what about precedent? Doesn’t the Court have to respect Roe, which has been on the books for fifty years?

Well, over the last decade, there’s been a steady drip-drip-drip of opinions from the Court’s right wing, hedging on just how much respect they have to show. Three years ago, Justice Thomas wrote that a precedent can be overturned based on “the quality of the decision’s reasoning; its consistency with related decisions; legal developments since the decision; and reliance on the decision.” Thomas just made that up; that’s not how the Court normally evaluates precedents. But his views are now in Justice Alito’s draft opinion.

Mostly, though, we’ve gotten to this point because the right has played the game a lot smarter, and more intensely, than the Left. Senate Republicans broke with a century of tradition to deny even a hearing to Justice Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. They broke all the rules, and then broke them again when they nominated Justice Barrett after the 2020 election had already begun. Republicans played dirty and won; Democrats played clean and lost.

Worst of all, Democratic voters just didn’t seem to get it. In 2016, the Supreme Court wasn’t even in the top ten list of issues Democratic voters said they cared about. It was in the top five for Republicans. And that was reflected in how they voted. In 2016, supposedly righteous Evangelicals who cared about character and values voted for a vulgar, bullying serial adulterer (and accused sexual predator) who didn’t know the Bible from Fifty Shades of Gray. Meanwhile, many Democrats were too pure to hold their noses and vote for Hillary Clinton because she supported the TPP (anyone remember what that even is?), many others simply didn’t vote at all, and many were blocked by Republicans’ use of Jim Crow style voter oppression.

Evangelicals voted tactically, with the Supreme Court in mind, while Democrats voted as if the election was a test of one’s personal virtue. So Trump won.

And make no mistake, the reasoning Justice Alito uses in his Dobbs opinion applies equally to the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, to ‘sodomy’, to contraception, and, yes, to interracial marriage. The constitution doesn’t say those words either, and all of those rights rest on substantive due process: the idea that there is no process that would be “due process” for taking away certain fundamental rights. They are all on the chopping block.


This was written through the lens of todays progressive racialist view. Bieng around in the 70s and 80s I remember things somewhat differently. Roe v. Wade was a big deal immediately. There was always a march in Washington on the anniversary of the decision. Long Island was and is very Catholic. Bill Baird set up the first or one of the first birth control clinics and abortion clinics here. The New York Right to Life Party started in 1970 when abortion was legalized here. There were demonstrations at the clinics where clients were verbally harassed and on some occasions pipe bombs were detonated overnight. The Catholic Clergy was very outspoken about the issue. It was not a partisan issue. It was seen as part of the backlash against the “immoral” counterculture becoming mainstream. When the Evangelicals came into the picture it was no accident they called themselves the Moral Majority. I am not saying hidden racism played no part, it always does, I am arguing against the articles argument that racism was the primary driver.

If you are a racist why would you want to ban something that would mean less “welfare babies” and future “predators”?. That was why the Catholic Bob Grant a conservative talk radio pioneer who was popular in New York at the time was pro choice. That is why he was always talking about the “Bob Grant mandatory sterilization program”. Blacks were not specifically mentioned. They did not have to be.

Both articles mentioned the Republicans refusing to even consider Obama’s nominee hoping correctly to get a Republican president to get the nominees they desired. That is massively important, a key norm breaking development in getting to where we are. Back then a President’s nominee was approved unless he was obviously incompetent or corrupt. Ideology played no role. The article described only one part of how we got from here to there.


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29 Jun 2022, 5:26 pm

If a Pro-life democrat ever runs for president, I'll be rooting for them.


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