On abortion, women and Democrats can win, the big questions are how and when
If any more evidence is needed that the Democrats are, much, much more in step with the public on abortion than Republicans, two items.
First, more evidence that people have serious reservations about government meddling in the most personal of decisions:
House Republicans are weighing what kind of national-level abortion ban legislation to pursue if they win the House majority next year, with a 15-week ban or further on the table.
But even as they cheer the Supreme Court overturning the landmark abortion rights decision in Roe v. Wade, GOP congressional leaders have made few promises on specific measures they would pursue, and some Republicans have advocated leaving abortion restrictions to the states.
House Republicans previously passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation, in 2015 and in 2017.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the sponsor of the bill in this Congress, told CNN that he was considering changing the limit to a 15-week ban. Asked about a 15-week abortion ban, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CNN that he would support that.
With Roe in the rear-view mirror, the Republicans can go further than the Taliban and enact a nationwide abortion ban with no exceptions. And they may well pass a highly restrictive law to placate their extreme primary voters the next time they gain control of the federal government. But they know this is a losing strategy in general elections, so instead of advocating for a total ban, they are considering a ban after 15 weeks.
In my view, this is likely where we will end up, assuming our democracy survives: abortion will be allowed for any reason on a nationwide basis for some period (say, 12 to 16 weeks), and then abortion will be allowed when pregnancies go wrong in some way. The big open questions are whether abortion will be readily accessible in the early stages of pregnancy, especially to young and poor women in conservative states, and how many women suffer before we manage to secure abortion rights nationwide.
This fall, not quite four months away, will it be about…
Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?
Voters disliking Trump even more than Biden? Even though Trump himself won’t be on a ballot, many of those whom he supports and support him will be. Will voters be so turned off by the Big Lie that they won’t cast votes for the GOP (except in the thirty Red states)?
If 79% of survey respondents say that decisions about abortion should be “left to a women (sic) and her doctor,” but only 60% of respondents have a pro-Choice position on abortion, then we may have a bigger problem with semantics than we have with the reproductive rights of women.
Ron, semantics or question framing? Or just holding conflicting ideas on the subject?
I know women who would be in the woman and her doctor group if asked that question, and still call themselves pro-life when asked that question.
They all recognized that the way they used the terms pro-life and pro-choice were not the way they are generally used, but most still preferred to be called pro-life even when I thought they were actually pro-choice. Some sort of reaction against “feminism”? Pressure from their churches? They just didn’t want to be called pro-choice, even though they only made the pro-life decision for themselves and themselves alone and felt every woman should make her own decision. I never did understand why the words mattered so much, but it was more an emotional reaction than a rational one.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
Jane, interesting. It seems like they answered the question to reflect their personal values or identities, but yet don’t want the government involved in these highly personal decisions. It’s easy to overestimate the importance of political messaging, but in this case I think it will matter quite a bit. And in some sense your acquaintances/friends are being sophisticated about the differences between personal and political morality, they should be respected for this.
That is kind of what I was thinking. It is not a 100% solid decision. There could be leeway and it depends on the woman.