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Tue Dec 3, 2019, 12:03 AM

NYT : How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion

Miscalculations, and an unexpected victory by President Trump, have put abortion access at its most vulnerable point in decades, and the left on the defensive. Now it is trying to recover.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/01/us/politics/abortion-planned-parenthood.html

ATLANTA — The pin was small, and rusted on the back. Sharon Wood had packed it away in 1973 as a relic of a battle fought and won: the image of a black coat hanger, slashed out by a red line. Then this spring, her home state, Georgia, joined a cascade of states outlawing abortion at the earliest stages of pregnancy. Ms. Wood did what she never imagined she would need to do again. She dug it out, and pinned it on. “Don’t ask me how it all happened,” Ms. Wood, 70, a retired social worker northeast of Atlanta, said one Sunday afternoon, the pin on her dress. “I know so many people who said they woke up when Trump was elected. Well, they shouldn’t have been asleep.”

For years, abortion rights supporters like Ms. Wood believed the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling had delivered their ultimate goal, the right to reproductive choice. Now, they are grappling with a new reality: Nationwide access to abortion is more vulnerable than it has been in decades. In a six-month period this year, states across the South and Midwest passed 58 abortion restrictions. Alabama banned the procedure almost entirely. Lawmakers in Ohio introduced a similar bill shortly before Thanksgiving. And in March, the Supreme Court will hear its first major abortion case since President Trump added two conservative justices and shifted the court to the right; how it rules could reshape the constitutional principles governing abortion rights.

For abortion opponents, this moment of ascendancy was years in the making. Set back on their heels when President Barack Obama took office, they started methodically working from the ground up. They focused on delivering state legislatures and gerrymandered districts into Republican control. They passed abortion restrictions in red states and pushed for conservative judges to protect them. And then unexpectedly, and serendipitously, Mr. Trump won the White House. Ending legal abortion appeared within their reach. As Planned Parenthood and its progressive allies have rallied the resistance, the shift in fortunes in the abortion wars has been mostly attributed to the right’s well-executed game plan. Less attention has been paid to the left’s role in its own loss of power.

But interviews with more than 50 reproductive rights leaders, clinic directors, political strategists and activists over the past three months reveal a fragmented movement facing longstanding divisions — cultural, financial and political. Many said that abortion rights advocates and leading reproductive rights groups had made several crucial miscalculations that have put them on the defensive. “It’s really, really complicated and somewhat controversial where the pro-choice movement lost,” said Johanna Schoen, a professor at Rutgers University who has studied the history of abortion. National leaders became overly reliant on the protections granted by a Democratic presidency under Mr. Obama and a relatively balanced Supreme Court, critics say, leading to overconfidence that their goals were not seriously threatened. Their expectation that Mr. Trump would lose led them to forgo battles they now wish they had fought harder, like Judge Merrick B. Garland’s failed nomination to the bench.

snip



Uncharted Territory on Abortion Politics

Abortion rights groups responded to our story, claiming political momentum heading into 2020.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/02/us/politics/on-politics-abortion-2020.html

If you saw “On Politics A.M.” this morning or the front page of Monday’s newspaper, you probably saw our big project taking stock of the abortion rights movement. The story was the culmination of three months of reporting by Elizabeth Dias and me that included a lovely road trip down I-20. Because I cannot seem to stop working with Ms. Dias, I roped her into writing the newsletter with me today. Our central idea: Abortion is like no other issue in American political life, planted at the intersection of health care, culture, science and morality. And, right now, abortion rights are under attack like never before. Democrats say public opinion still sides with abortion rights. They cite recent electoral victories, big fund-raising numbers and the energy of “pussy hat”-wearing protesters.

Yet, over the past year, state after state has passed new restrictions, making it harder to get an abortion in some places than at any point since Roe v. Wade legalized the procedure in 1973. By many indications, the left is losing this fight. The advances of the right have been well documented. So our story focused on recent missteps and miscalculations made by abortion rights groups. But most of the reaction to the story today centered not on the financial and cultural challenges within the movement, but on what everyone is focused on these days: 2020 politics. On Twitter and in our inboxes, national abortion rights organizations argued that we had understated their political strength and popular support heading into a big election year.

The reality is that when it comes to abortion politics, we are moving through uncharted waters. In 2016, Hillary Clinton dispensed with her party’s long-held line that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Donald J. Trump, who once described himself as “very pro-choice,” leveraged Mrs. Clinton’s position to motivate socially conservative voters. Two years later, the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court helped Republicans hold the Senate in the midterm elections. Now, Mr. Trump is seen as one of the most effective anti-abortion presidents in history, with social conservatives firmly in his camp. Over the same period, Democrats used support for abortion rights as part of a platform to motivate energized, anti-Trump suburban voters, taking control of the House in 2018 and flipping seats in local elections last month. Those state and local victories have led abortion rights advocates to argue that they’re winning the electoral fight.

Take what Alexis McGill Johnson, the head of Planned Parenthood, tweeted in response to our story today:



But some moderate Democrats — and certainly Republicans — say the party and national abortion rights groups have moved past public opinion. That’s the view we frequently heard from voters, independent clinic owners and local activists in our reporting from swing states. In Georgia, Eugenia Johnson, who was attending a conference for millennial, African-American church leaders last summer, said she supported abortion rights but wished Planned Parenthood would move away from what she said was a simplistic message. “To get the buy-in of faith-based believers, they could acknowledge that abortion is a traumatic experience for some women, sometimes they regret it,” Ms. Johnson said. “So they don’t seem so left-sided.”

snip

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Reply NYT : How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion (Original post)
Celerity Tuesday OP
gratuitous Tuesday #1
NYC Liberal Tuesday #2
Hermit-The-Prog Tuesday #3
Beartracks Tuesday #4
Garrett78 Tuesday #5
AlexSFCA Tuesday #6
Vogon_Glory Tuesday #7

Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2019, 12:10 AM

1. If somebody reads the analysis in the Times

Can you tell me how much of the blame for "losing the battle on abortion" the Times shoulders for itself? Surely the Times recognizes its own culpability in pumping up anti-abortion candidates, uncritically repeating anti-abortion lies about the long term effects on a woman's health, and their constant quoting of anti-abortion figures while giving short shrift to pro choice viewpoints, health professionals, and published medical opinions.

I'll bet the Times really let themselves have it, huh?

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2019, 12:11 AM

2. I hope all the Stein and third-party voters are still proud.

National leaders became overly reliant on the protections granted by a Democratic presidency under Mr. Obama and a relatively balanced Supreme Court, critics say, leading to overconfidence that their goals were not seriously threatened. Their expectation that Mr. Trump would lose led them to forgo battles they now wish they had fought harder, like Judge Merrick B. Garland’s failed nomination to the bench.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2019, 12:12 AM

3. piss on NYT

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2019, 12:24 AM

4. Republicans have been "methodically working from the ground up."

Conservatives have been great at that. Can you imagine what could have been accomplished if that power had been used for Good?

That one woman's quote is priceless, and can apply toward all progressive values and priorities: "I know so many people who said they woke up when Trump was elected. Well, they shouldn’t have been asleep.”

=============

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2019, 01:42 AM

5. In other words, after reading those excerpts, the problem is...

...our tyranny of the minority political system and a cheating, lying political party that benefits from said system (and a highly irresponsible media that promotes ignorance with false equivalencies, fluff and by giving equal time to lies and obfuscation). I think it's disingenuous to say we're losing the battle on abortion. The battlefield simply isn't level--if it were, the Republican Party would have a tough time surviving.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2019, 02:21 AM

6. it seems that conservatives are more likely to vote in each and every election

and that makes all the difference.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2019, 07:03 AM

7. I wonder if that journo paid any attention to what happened to pro-choice Republicans?

There’s another very good reason as to why the pro-choice movement is aligned with Democrats: it’s because of what happened to pro-choice Republican politicians.

I’m in my sixties, and I’m old enough to remember when many Republicans were not only privately by PUBLICLY, yes I said PUBLICLY, pro-choice.. i’m also old enough to remember what happened when the radical tight took over the Republican Party. Pro-choice Republicans were either primaried/defeated in Republican Party primaries and caucuses and anti-abortion politicians took their places. In some cases, Republican politicians turned anti-abortion and if they were lucky and did it before the mid-1980’s, the anti-abortion fanatics allowed them to stay in office—as long as they toed the new party line.

Anti-abortion activists not only carry a lot of clout within today’s Republican Party, but they often control the Republican Party’s machinery. Starting out as a pro-choice Republican is a political non-starter these days, and has been for decades.

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