Opinion | Joe Biden Can’t Save Roe v. Wade Alone. But He Can Do This. – The New York Times

David S. Cohen, Greer Donley and 

Mr. Cohen, Ms. Donley and Ms. Rebouché are law professors with expertise in reproductive health.

“The constitutional right to abortion has never been more fragile than it is heading into 2022. The Supreme Court has allowed S.B. 8, Texas’ drastic — and clearly unconstitutional — ban on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, to remain in place for months, making Roe v. Wade virtually a dead letter in the state. Even worse, a Supreme Court decision that’s expected this summer is likely to either gut Roe or overturn the precedent altogether, paving the way for total abortion bans in about half the states around the country.

If the high court refuses to uphold abortion rights for all Americans and with Congress hopelessly stalemated over legislation that would codify a federal right to abortion, the Biden administration can and should act boldly to protect abortion access. But it will require some outside-the-box thinking — and a willingness to experiment with tactics that may well fail. If President Biden supports abortion as a critical right, as he has suggested, then he and his administration must take risks and get creative in pursuit of that goal. The anti-abortion movement has repeatedly pushed the envelope without fear of defeat. It’s time for activists and politicians who support abortion rights to do the same.”

Linda Greenhouse | The Supreme Court’s End Game on Abortion – The New York Times

” . . .  It was Justice Sonia Sotomayor who asked the uncomfortable question. “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” she demanded of Scott Stewart, a former law clerk to Justice Thomas who argued for Mississippi as the state’s solicitor general. Listening to the live-streamed argument, I first heard “political acts” as “political hacks,” I suppose because still in my mind were Justice Barrett’s words when she spoke in mid-September at a center in Louisville, Ky., named for her Senate confirmation mastermind, Senator Mitch McConnell. “My goal today is to convince you that the court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” she said then.

Justice Barrett’s performance during Wednesday’s argument was beyond head-spinning. Addressing both Ms. Rikelman and Elizabeth Prelogar, the U.S. solicitor general who argued for the United States on behalf of the Mississippi clinic, Justice Barrett asked about “safe haven” laws that permit women to drop off their unwanted newborn babies at police stations or fire houses; the mothers’ parental rights are then terminated without further legal consequences. If the problem with “forced motherhood” was that it would “hinder women’s access to the workplace and to equal opportunities,” Justice Barrett asked, “why don’t safe haven laws take care of that problem?”

She continued: “It seems to me that it focuses the burden much more narrowly. There is, without question, an infringement on bodily autonomy, you know, which we have in other contexts, like vaccines. However, it doesn’t seem to me to follow that pregnancy and then parenthood are all part of the same burden.”

I’ll pass over the startling notion that being required to accept a vaccine is equivalent to being forced to carry a pregnancy to term. “Gaslighting” doesn’t adequately describe the essence of what Justice Barrett was suggesting: that the right to abortion really isn’t necessary because any woman who doesn’t want to be a mother can just hand her full-term baby over to the nearest police officer and be done with the whole business. As Justice Barrett, of all people, surely understands, such a woman will forever be exactly what she didn’t want to be: a mother, albeit one stripped of her ability to make a different choice.

I will give the gaslighting prize to Justice Kavanaugh and his suggestion that the court should simply adopt a position of “neutrality” with respect to abortion. Abortion is a contentious issue with important interests on both sides, he said to Solicitor General Prelogar. “Why should this court be the arbiter rather than Congress, the state legislatures, state supreme courts, the people being able to resolve this?” he said. “And there will be different answers in Mississippi and New York, different answers in Alabama than California because they’re two different interests at stake and the people in those states might value those interests somewhat differently.”

Justice Kavanaugh painted a soothing description of a down-the-middle resolution, but Solicitor General Prelogar, for one, wasn’t fooled. “The nature of fundamental rights is that it’s not left up to state legislatures to decide whether to honor them or not,” she responded.

Can Justice Kavanaugh really believe what he said? We’ll see soon enough. Last month, the court heard arguments in a case that challenges New York’s strict requirement for a license to carry a concealed weapon. Most states have looser restrictions. New York, through its legislative process, is in a minority.

Will Justice Kavanaugh and those of his colleagues who glorify a recently manufactured version of the Second Amendment allow New York City to keep going its own way on gun safety in the name of “letting the people decide”? That’s about as likely as the chance that those very same justices will decide to keep the right to abortion on the books. In both cases, we know what they’re going to do. The only mystery is how they will explain it.”   -30-

Opinion | Where the Pro-Choice Movement Went Wrong – The New York Times

” . . .  Chief among those mistakes was the relative neglect of grass-roots groups in states where the battle over abortion access has been quietly waged for half a century. A key turning point came in 1992, when the Supreme Court overhauled Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, allowing states to restrict abortion before viability as long as they didn’t impose an “undue burden” on those seeking such care. This opened the door to states chipping away at abortion access through incremental restrictions — a trend that accelerated after the 2010 midterm elections, when a Tea Party-backed wave swept state legislatures.

The Casey decision “could have been, and probably should have been, a moment where abortion-rights organizations funneled attention and resources toward local and state-level organizations,” said Meaghan Winter, author of “All Politics Is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States.” National groups, Ms. Winter said, should have been thinking “in terms of both changing the culture, and building clinics, doing whatever it took on a logistical level to provide access, and thinking about creative ways to build electoral power.”

That didn’t happen — at least not to the extent that it should have.

Instead, Ms. Winter writes, national abortion-rights groups and the progressive movement at large have tended to focus on federal policy and elections and on defending access through federal courts, while neglecting many fights at the state level. While big-name organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have long maintained a presence in states including Texas, those state groups operate independently and must raise much of their own money.

That often puts groups in conservative states at a disadvantage. For example, the Texas A.C.L.U. — which has the job of opposing attacks on the rights of transgender students and immigrants as well as efforts to roll back abortion access and voting rights — had a budget of about $5 million in 2018, similar to that of its counterpart in the much smaller state of Massachusetts.

Investing in states matters because states are often laboratories for a movement’s boldest ideas — like S.B. 8, with its unusual enforcement mechanism that’s made it extremely difficult for abortion providers to fight it in court.”

Michelle Goldberg | How The Texas Abortion Law is Turning Activists Into Enforcers – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

This column has been updated.

“A Texas law banning most abortions went into effect on Wednesday. By refusing to block it, the Supreme Court did not overturn Roe v. Wade, but it rendered that precedent, at least for the time being, irrelevant.

There’s a sinister brilliance to the way this whole thing has gone down. Texas fashioned an abortion prohibition whose bizarre, crowdsourced enforcement mechanism gave conservative courts a pretext not to enjoin it despite its conflict with Roe. And the Supreme Court has, with an unsigned, one-paragraph opinion issued in the middle of the night, made Roe momentarily useless without sparking the nationwide convulsion that would have come from overturning it outright.

The Texas law, known as Senate Bill 8, is now likely to be copied by conservative states across the country. As long as it stands, abortion in Texas is illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy, or about two weeks after a missed period. There is no exception for rape or incest.

But perhaps the most shocking thing about S.B. 8 is the power it gives abortion opponents — or simple opportunists — over their fellow citizens. The law is written so that they, not the police or prosecutors, get to enforce it, and potentially profit off it. Under S.B. 8, any private citizen can sue others for “conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” “

You go girl.  Excellent writing.

Here is one of many good comments, and this one rocks.

Prof.
Austin, TXSept. 1

They should be more careful about precedents. How about a law where anyone at all has standing to sue someone for being unvaccinated?

4 Replies786 Recommended

Linda Greenhouse | Mississippi Explains All on Abortion – The New York Times

“Attorney General Lynn Fitch of Mississippi made nationwide news last week when she asked the Supreme Court to overturn its two leading precedents on the right to abortion, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I was puzzled by the treatment of this filing as news, unless the news was that a state finally came clean with the court and told the justices what it really wanted them to do.”

Supreme Court Fails to Block Texas’ Near-Ban on Abortions – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court did not take action early Wednesday on a request to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, allowing the most restrictive abortion law in the nation to go into effect.

The law, known as Senate Bill 8, amounts to a nearly complete ban on abortion in Texas, one that will further fuel legal and political battles over the future of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.

An emergency application from abortion providers seeking to block the law remains pending, and the court is expected to rule on it shortly.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
This would be tragic, if wasn’t such good news for those who want to see the Republican party destroyed. The right wing ideologues, or Christian fanatics, however you describe them, are missing two major points
   First the slavery of women is supposed to be over. If this were a constriction on men, it would be gone in a flash.
   Second, we are in the sixth great extinction, or rapid loss of species, which is caused by the appearance of 7.8 billion humans on the planet, literally crowding out most other forms of life. What the planet and the human species need, is negative human population growth, for spiritual as well as biological reasons.
   While having an abortion might be bad in some view, having too many humans and their pollution is far far worse.

Opinion | Er, Can I Ask a Few Questions About Abortion? – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Alex Wong/Getty Images

“Millions of American Christians are likely to vote for President Trump on Tuesday because they believe it a religious obligation to support a president who will appoint “pro-life” judges.

But as I’ve observed before, there is an incipient rethinking underway in evangelical and Catholic circles about what it means to be “pro-life,” and let me try to add to that ferment. For the truth is that the litmus test approach to abortion on the part of many conservative Christians is anomalous, both religiously and historically.

Historically, evangelical Christians supported allowing abortions in some situations, such as rape or the well-being of the mother or family.

Christianity Today, the newspaper founded by Billy Graham, held a symposium in 1968 that endorsed a right to some abortions. The National Association of Evangelicals and the Southern Baptist Convention both backed a limited right to abortion in the early 1970s, and an article in The Baptist Press welcomed the ruling in Roe v. Wade for advancing “religious liberty, human equality and justice.” A 1970 poll found that about two-thirds of Southern Baptist pastors supported allowing abortion in cases such as rape, deformity or a risk to the mother’s physical or mental well-being.”

Opinion | Leana Wen: Why I Left Planned Parenthood – By Leana S. Wen – The New York Times

By Leana S. Wen

Dr. Wen is an emergency physician.

“This week, I left my position as the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood.

In my farewell message to colleagues, I cited philosophical differences over the best way to protect reproductive health. While the traditional approach has been through prioritizing advocating for abortion rights, I have long believed that the most effective way to advance reproductive health is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one. I believed we could expand support for Planned Parenthood — and ultimately for abortion access — by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who can unite behind the goal of improving the health and well-being of women and children.

When the board hired me to chart this new course, I knew that it would be challenging. Few organizations, let alone organizations under constant siege, accept change easily. Indeed, there was immediate criticism that I did not prioritize abortion enough. While I am passionately committed to protecting abortion access, I do not view it as a stand-alone issue. As one of the few national health care organizations with a presence in all 50 states, Planned Parenthood’s mandate should be to promote reproductive health care as part of a wide range of policies that affect women’s health and public health.

Another area of contention was my attempt to depoliticize Planned Parenthood. The organization and the causes it stands for have long been in the cross hairs of political attacks. In the last few months, seven states have passed laws banning abortion before many women even know that they are pregnant. Just this past Monday, the Trump administration announced that it would start enforcing a gag rule that would prohibit doctors and nurses working in federally funded clinics from referring patients to abortion care.

I had been leading our organization’s fights against these attacks, and believe they offer even more reason for Planned Parenthood to emphasize its role in providing essential health care to millions of underserved women and families. People depend on Planned Parenthood for breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, H.I.V. testing and family planning. To counter those who associate the organization with only abortion and use this misconception to attack its mission, I wanted to tell the story of all of its services — and in so doing, to normalize abortion care as the health care it is.”

David Lindsay:  This story makes me sad. I have been a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood since young adulthood, but I am at a loss. I thought Leana Wen had good ideas for making this organization more palatable to some of its enemies. I also fear that a softer, more sophisticated PP would be more helpful in defeating Donald Trump. Tightening up and becoming more narrow and strident, will problably help him by keeping his pro-life supporters galvanized.

Here is a comment I liked:

Billdoc2
Newton, MA
Times Pick

Wen is correct and those within PP who opposed her will regret her loss. As an older physician who went through medical training at a time when abortion was illegal and I watched over the deaths of many young women who died from botched attempted abortions, I know how important Roe is. As a long time observer of the political realities, I know that a different approach by PP made excellent sense. I have been a dedicated financial supporter of PP. My enthusiasm for continuing in that role has been severely diminished. I suspect I am not alone in those feelings.

9 Replies351 Recommended

Republicans’ Messaging on Abortion Puts Democrats on the Defensive – The New York Times

By Jeremy W. Peters
May 16, 2019, 6
“WASHINGTON — With grisly claims that Democrats promote “birth day abortions” and are “the party of death,” the Republican Party and its conservative allies have aggressively reset the terms of one of the country’s most divisive and emotionally fraught debates, forcing Democrats to reassess how they should respond to attacks that portray the entire party as extremist on abortion.

The unusually forceful, carefully coordinated campaign has created challenges that Democrats did not expect as they struggle to combat misinformation and thwart further efforts to undercut access to abortion. And advocates of abortion rights fear it is succeeding in pressuring lawmakers in more conservative states to pass severe new restrictions, as Alabama did this week by approving a bill that would essentially outlaw the procedure.

These new measures, combined with the likelihood that the Supreme Court will agree to take up at least one case in the coming months where Roe v. Wade will be tested, have stirred intense passions on both sides and elevated abortion into a prominent issue in the presidential race.”

Opinion | Trump’s Anti-Abortion Incitement – By Michelle Goldberg – The New York Times

The president’s lies about infanticide could inspire violence.

By Michelle Goldberg
Opinion Columnist

April 29, 2019, 858

President Trump on Saturday in Green Bay, Wis., where he described Democrats as in favor of infanticide.
Credit
Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“Last week, The Washington Post’s tally of Donald Trump’s false and misleading claims hit a milestone, topping 10,000. His untruths, which lately average almost two dozen a day, have long since stopped being news, becoming instead irritating background noise. So when, on Saturday, he told a particularly lurid lie about infanticide at a political rally in Wisconsin, it was, like so much in this administration, at once shocking and unsurprising.

As his raucous crowd booed and screamed, Trump described a hideous scenario that he insists Democrats approve of. “The baby is born,” said Trump. “The mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully” — at this, he seemed to mime rocking an infant — “and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.” He made a chopping motion with his hand.

Trump was elaborating on the willfully misunderstood words of Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, who, in a radio interview in January, responded to a Republican hypothetical about a woman requesting an abortion during labor. A pediatric neurologist by training, Northam described what actually occurs when a woman whose pregnancy may not be viable gives birth. If “a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” he said. “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 desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.””