Hyde Amendment Haunting Vice-President Biden

President Trump predicts he will face Joe Biden in 2020

 The Story:

The presidential campaign of Joe Biden, the clear front runner in the Democratic field, acknowledged on Wednesday, June 5, that its candidate still believed that it was proper to prohibit the use of Medicaid to pay for abortions in situations that do not involve rape, incest, or protection of the life of the mother. Biden had to abandon this position the following day, in the face of a firestorm.

Background:

Biden has been in politics for a long time and over those decades he has taken a number of very public positions. One of the disadvantages of that situation is that one is subject to demands that one either disavow a certain stance or defend it: and there may be tactical disadvantages to either course.

The Hyde amendment was passed three and a half years after the US Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. Biden was in his early 30s at the time, and a fresh first-term face on the floor of the US Senate. He supported the Hyde amendment.

Biden, a Roman Catholic, has long held to a position on abortion that seems equivocal to some. In 1986, an official at Planned Parenthood wrote, “Joe Biden moans a lot and then usually votes against us.” He is not anti-abortion, but he has voted as though abortions should not be prohibited yet need not be paid for by either the United States or its states.

The Thing to Know:

The Democratic Party has become less hospitable to that position in the new millennium than it was in the final decades of the last one. As this became clear, Biden executed a hasty retreat, saying on June 6 that he could no longer support legislation that makes the right to access to health care “dependent on someone’s zip code.”

A Federal Abortion-Rights Statute

The Story:

Recent developments on the US Supreme Court and in the legislatures of several states have persuaded many observers that there is risk to the principle of constitutional (privacy right) protection for a woman’s right to choose whether or not to bring her pregnancy to term. The way various candidates react to those developments may play a large part in the Democratic Party’s primary contest for the presidential nod in 2020.

Background:

The landmark Supreme Court decision on abortion rights has stood now for 46 years: it is Roe v. Wade, a case decided by a 7 to 2 vote in January 1973. Justice Blackmun wrote the opinion for that majority.

Intriguingly, through the 1950s Harry Blackmun was the resident counsel of the Mayo Clinic, the famed academic medical center in Rochester, Minnesota. He was, then, a physician’s lawyer, and it is fitting that his 1973 opinion makes the case for leaving certain medical decisions within the privacy of the physician-patient consultation.

The Thing to Know:

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – MA) has said that Congress should pass a statute giving the force of federal law to the principle of privacy as it applies to abortion. That would likely preempt any contrary state laws, thus codifying Roe.

 

Alabama Passes Bill Making Abortion Criminal | The Last Word | MSNBC

Alabama Passes Bill Making Abortion Criminal | The Last Word | MSNBC

Former President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards joins Lawrence O’Donnell to react to the passage of the most restrictive abortion bill in the country.
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Alabama Passes Bill Making Abortion Criminal | The Last Word | MSNBC

Ryan Running for President: In the Blue Collar Lane

The Story:

Rep. Tim Ryan (D – Ohio), a political moderate, does not have a very high national profile. He hopes to change that, though, and on Thursday, April 4, he announced that he is running for President of the United States.

The Background:

Ryan clearly wants to run as the candidate of some of the same people who became disaffected with the Democratic Party three years ago, and who ended up voting for Donald Trump in industrial states that had key clutches of electoral votes.

Appearing on a morning talk show on the ABC television network, Ryan said Thursday, “I know how to get elected in working-class districts. Trump has been full of promises and hasn’t delivered on anything.” Ryan’s own district is in northeastern Ohio, stretching from Akron to Youngstown.

Ryan, like Trump, is not an enthusiast of free trade agreements, which in his words bear a “legacy of job loss.”

The Thing to Know:

Ryan’s statement that he knows how to win in a blue-collar district is no idle boast. In his last four campaigns to hold his seat in Congress (2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018) Ryan has never received less than 60% of the vote. In 2012 he received 72%.

A lifesaving petition for babies

Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon
Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon
Politics | A majority of Americans support protecting abortion survivors, but it’s a hard sell in Congress

WASHINGTON—Republicans are trying to gather enough signatures to bypass House Democratic leadership and vote to protect babies born during attempted abortions.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., introduced a discharge petition Tuesday for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a measure that would mandate that babies who survive attempted abortions receive medical care. Providers who failed to care for those babies would face criminal and civil penalties.

The petition needs 218 signatures to force the bill to the House floor. If all Republicans sign it, which appears likely, it would still need 21 Democratic signatures—a slim possibility in the Democratic-controlled House.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., introduced the bill in February. Since then, House Republicans have called for unanimous consent to pass the bill for 25 consecutive legislative days. Democrats blocked the effort each time. A similar bill introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., suffered the same fate in the Senate in February.

Republicans hope they can win some bipartisan support from moderate Democrats from districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. In an Fox News op-ed, Wagner and Scalise noted that “86 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats, and 75 percent of independents support this legislation.”

Three Democrats co-sponsored the bill. Of those, Reps. Dan Lipinski of…

Estimated 6,500 rally against abortion at Virginia state Capitol

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A large crowd listens to speakers during the Virginia March for Life rally Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Yellow balloons bearing the word “life” and chants opposing abortion rose above the state Capitol Wednesday as lawmakers convened inside to finish the year’s legislative work.

A crowd that Capitol Police estimated at 6,500 demonstrators descended on Capitol Square from across the state to protest failed legislation to eliminate some restrictions on late-term abortions and Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent comments on that proposal.

Wednesday’s event, the largest anti-abortion demonstration at the state Capitol in recent memory, was affiliated with the national March for Life, an annual event that has for years drawn thousands of protesters to the national mall in Washington.

The Virginia March for Life was the first of its kind, according to its organizers: the Family Foundation, the Virginia Catholic Conference and the Virginia Society for Human Life.

“We need you all to commit to this year-round,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the national March for Life.

A few dozen lawmakers — members of the House and Senate Republican caucuses — made an appearance before the crowd, drawing loud thank yous from demonstrators.

“There’s not a more important issue that I’ve deal with in my career in the legislature than life,” House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, told the crowd in brief remarks.

“A child that is unborn is off limits to the governor and everyone else,” Newman said. “I hope this becomes an annual event.”

Legislators are back in Richmond for the annual one-day session in which they take up the governor’s vetoes and proposed amendments to bills.

Earlier Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers, abortion patients and reproductive rights advocates held an event titled “Speak Out for Abortion Access.” Catholics for Choice, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and other groups participated in that event, according to organizers, who estimated that 60 people attended.

20190404_MET_LIFE_AWE01
Melissa Ohden, a survivor of saline infusion abortion, speaks as delegates stand behind her during the Virginia March for Life rally at the Capitol Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
20190404_MET_LIFE_AWE02
People listen to speakers during the Virginia March for Life rally at the Capitol Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
20190404_MET_LIFE_AWE03
People bow their heads in prayer at…

Planned Parenthood on the Defensive

Planned Parenthood on the Defensive
Source: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Planned Parenthood is on the defensive now because very soon they will take a hit to their bottom line and their image. Between the impending loss of millions in Title X funding and the bad PR associated with a new movie “Unplanned,” word is getting out that abortion, central to Planned Parenthood’s business, is the antithesis of healthcare.

The new regulations on Title X grants require financial and physical separation between entities that provide family planning and entities involved in the delivery of abortion services. Under these new rules, Planned Parenthood must either get out of the abortion business or set up separate facilities for offering abortion in order to achieve a clear separation between family planning activities and abortion. They have made it clear that they are unwilling to do either.

Instead, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen has repeatedly attempted to brand abortion as healthcare. Wen talks about the treatment for measles, opioid addiction, obesity, and colorectal cancer as though abortion is in the same category. Abortion is not healthcare, certainly not for the baby who loses her life, but neither does it constitute healthcare for the mother. National Institutes of Health-sponsored researchers report the reasons women often seek abortion for…

Planned Parenthood on the Defensive

Planned Parenthood on the Defensive
Source: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Planned Parenthood is on the defensive now because very soon they will take a hit to their bottom line and their image. Between the impending loss of millions in Title X funding and the bad PR associated with a new movie “Unplanned,” word is getting out that abortion, central to Planned Parenthood’s business, is the antithesis of healthcare.

The new regulations on Title X grants require financial and physical separation between entities that provide family planning and entities involved in the delivery of abortion services. Under these new rules, Planned Parenthood must either get out of the abortion business or set up separate facilities for offering abortion in order to achieve a clear separation between family planning activities and abortion. They have made it clear that they are unwilling to do either.

Instead, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen has repeatedly attempted to brand abortion as healthcare. Wen talks about the treatment for measles, opioid addiction, obesity, and colorectal cancer as though abortion is in the same category. Abortion is not healthcare, certainly not for the baby who loses her life, but neither does it constitute healthcare for the mother. National Institutes of Health-sponsored researchers report the reasons women often seek abortion for…

Abortion and the Votes on the Supreme Court

Kavanaugh allegation evokes comparisons to Clarence Thomas

The Story:

The US Supreme Court, on February 7, 2019, granted a request from the managers of an abortion clinic to block the execution of a Louisiana law. The law is one that would require any doctor performing abortions to have “admitting privileges” at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where the abortions are performed.

Partisan Line-Up:

The case is called June Medical Services v. Gee. Five Justices, a majority of the court, voted to block the abortion-limiting law. The five were: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and … Chief Justice John Roberts. There were four dissenters: Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas.

Roberts is the surprise in that line-up. For the others, their votes here are predictable from knowledge of the politics of their appointing President. The four ‘anti-abortion’ votes came from Justices appointed by President Donald Trump or by one or the other of the two Presidents named George Bush. Four of the five ‘pro-abortion rights’ votes that stayed the Louisiana law came from Justices appointed by either Barack Obama or Bill Clinton.

The Thing to Know:

The surprising vote in the above line-up, though, was that of the Chief Justice himself, John Roberts. He was an appointee of President George W. Bush, with a reputation for conservative jurisprudence. That he has, at least in this preliminary stage (the Supreme Court has not yet heard the underlying case on the merits) broken with the ‘conservative’ view and joined with the Court’s ‘liberals’ is a fact worth filing away, even though there is room for disagreement on how much it means.

Sasse condemns Virginia governor’s late-term abortion comments

Sasse condemns Virginia governor’s late-term abortion comments

Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse says that if Gov. Ralph Northam can’t say protecting a baby who has survived an abortion is something we all believe in, then he should get the hell out of office.

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