We begin today's roundup with Michelle Goldberg at The New York Times and her analysis of the war on women:
You can see, in the anti-abortion movement, a mood of triumphant anticipation. Decades of right-wing politics have all led up to this moment, when an anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court could end women’s constitutional protection against being forced to carry a pregnancy and give birth against their will. [...] Feminists sometimes say, of threats to legal abortion, “We won’t go back.” But it’s important to understand that we’re not necessarily facing a return to the past. The new wave of anti-abortion laws suggests that a post-Roe America won’t look like the country did before 1973, when the court case was decided. It will probably be worse. [...] While doctors were prosecuted for abortions before Roe, patients rarely were. Today, in states that have legislated fetal personhood, women are already arrested on suspicion of harming or endangering their fetuses, including by using drugs, attempting suicide or, in a case in Utah, delaying a cesarean section. There’s no reason to believe that, in states where abortion is considered homicide, prosecutors will be less punitive when investigating it.
At Rolling Stone, Alex Morris, who grew up in Alabama, adds a personal perspective:
But what struck me most in the reports coming out of Alabama this week were not the facts and figures so much as the images of Democrats walking out of the vote in protest, or more specifically, how many of those pictured walking out were people of color. The African American Christian tradition in the South is every bit as strong as the white one — perhaps even more so — and it’s hard to imagine a politician in Alabama getting elected if they didn’t publicly profess the Christian faith. Yet in a state where systemic racism is so entrenched that, in many communities, racism has basically become coterminous with classism, these legislators don’t find that their faith stands in the way of their support of abortion access. They understand that — for all the talk of protecting mothers and the innocent unborn — restricting abortion is also meant to be punitive, to drive home the idea that actions have consequences and that the punishment should fit the crime. [...] The problem is that in places like Alabama in particular, the “crime” is not always viewed the same, depending on the perpetrator. When the pious, college-bound teenager with the grosgrain ribbon in her hair needs an abortion, her “mistake” is perhaps “out of character” and her future too precious to give up, a price too high to pay for a momentary dalliance. When the young woman from public housing finds herself in the same predicament, however, a different calculation is made. Her pregnancy is a manifestation of her choice to wallow in her “sinful” nature, her poverty proof of some moral and spiritual failing.
Catherine Rampell points out that corporations have some power to influence the issue:
There are, after all, lots of big firms headquartered in places such as Atlanta, Columbus, St. Louis and Birmingham. Many have worked hard to recruit and retain talent, including young female talent.
What kind of sales pitch is it to say: Come join Coca-Cola in sunny Atlanta — where if you have a miscarriage, you might be questioned by police!
Or: Please manage an auto plant in friendly Alabama, where if your 12-year-old daughter is raped, she will be forced to give birth to her rapist’s child!
Eric Levitz points out that all of this anti-women and anti-choice laws are being pushed by electeds who do not represent the majority will of Americans:
Although some putatively “moderate” Republicans like Marco Rubio believe that the state should coerce victims of rape and incest into incubating their abusers’ fetuses, the vast majority of Americans do not. A 2018 Gallup pollfound that 77 percent of voters felt abortion should be legal in such circumstances during the first trimester of pregnancy (while 52 percent said it should remains so in the last three months of a pregnancy). Even Pat Robertson — the Christian-fundamentalist televangelist who blamed “the gays” for 9/11 — said this week that Alabama’s abortion ban had “gone too far.” [...]
But the notion that a fetus with a heartbeat is a person — and that the state should therefore treat aborting a pregnancy after six weeks as an act of murder — is an utterly fringe notion in American life. And this is true not merely at the federal level but also in every U.S. state. The progressive think tank Data for Progress recently applied national survey data on abortion from the 2016 American National Election Studies (the gold standard for opinion polling) to conventional demographic-modeling methods in order to estimate state-level support for a variety of abortion policies. It found that there is not a single state in the union where a majority of voters support “making abortion illegal in all circumstances.”
Here’s Damon Linker’s take:
Instead of public policy reflecting the rightly conflicted majority view — as it tends to do, for example, in much of Europe — we have a misshapen, increasingly grotesque situation in which only the extremes prevail.
Switching topics, on the Trump administation’s latest immigration proposals, The Washington Post says any talk that isn’t strictly about a wall is good, but Trump’s plan leaves a lot to be desired:
It’s sensible of Mr. Trump to embrace a major redo of immigration policy that is not mainly about a wall — although the wall remains in his plan — nor about reducing immigration, positions he previously pushed to the delight of nativists in his base. The blueprint attempts to forge a consensus in the Republican Party to continue the flow of legal immigration at current levels. That would be welcome, because immigrants are wellsprings of energy, ambition and pluck who have enriched this country and remain essential to its prosperity.
But the initiative omits even passing reference to the reality of 10 million or 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of whom have lived and worked in this country for 15 years or more. They include some 2 million “dreamers” in their teens, 20s and 30s, raised in this country and as thoroughly American in values, outlook and upbringing as any of their native-born neighbors.
The New York Times adds their take:
Assembled over the past several months by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, this proposal does not address some of the thorniest elements of the immigration debate. Most notably, it avoids the question of what to do about the 1.8 million immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and protected from deportation under an Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. No proposal that fails to grapple with this vulnerable population will be taken seriously by Democrats — nor should it be.
On a final note, don’t miss Randi Weingarten’s analysis at USA Today on the importance of Elizabeth Warren’s student loan forgiveness plan:
I lead a union of 1.7 million teachers, nurses and other public service workers. And I hear constantly from members about their student loan debt: new educators who can’t stay in the profession because they can’t afford to pay their loans and put food on the table on a teacher’s salary; experienced professionals who can’t retire because they’re still paying off their debt; teachers and nurses whose licenses are threatened because they’re in default; adjuncts with advanced degrees, a mountain of debt and poverty wages; and countless members who tell me they’ll be paying off their loans until they die. [...] It’s also worth noting that one of the few ways that currently exists to mitigate this crisis — the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program — has been completely sabotaged by President Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and big student loan companies like Navient. Warren’s plan would also bolster this program to ensure relief to those professionals who work to make a difference for others and whose debt isn’t otherwise completely canceled under her proposal.