We've touched on this a few times in our commentary and analysis this week, but I want to put a finer point on it in a separate post. Media outlets are running constant headlines about Congressional Democrats' efforts to "codify Roe" with legislation, with a vote scheduled for next week in the Senate. This is factually inaccurate. Yes, it's what Democrats are saying they're doing, because "codifying Roe" is more appealing from a public relations standpoint than what they're actually proposing -- but just because a political party makes a claim doesn't mean that journalists must endlessly and uncritically repeat the false partisan framing. As we examined on Wednesday, polling on abortion is complicated. To wit, most Americans are against overturning the Roe precedent, but are also in favor of significant abortion restrictions not permitted under the Roe precedent.
For years, the abortion lobby and their allies have relentlessly pushed a misinformation that has convinced many people that "overturning Roe" means "abortion is banned in America." What's why preserving Roe polls well; people want restrictions, but not a total ban. And that's why Democrats are presenting their radical legislation is "codifying Roe," rather than marketing it accurately. A bill that actually enshrined the existing Roe/Casey precedent would look something like broadly legalized abortion until roughly the second trimester or mid-pregnancy, after which most abortions would be illegal. Regardless of whether you'd support such a policy, that is not what Democrats are offering. Not even close. Via journalist John McCormack, this is what they're offering, and it's an appalling and extreme departure from the current status quo:
4. It would create a right for non-doctors to perform abortions: pic.twitter.com/lLbrhZK6r8— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) May 5, 2022
Should I keep going?— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) May 5, 2022
6. It would abolish state laws requiring a 24-hour waiting period prior to obtaining an abortion—measures that Americans back nationally by a 41-point margin, according to Gallup.https://t.co/GNcK6FHklLhttps://t.co/gdiJHWBSJf
8. The bill could potentially force 50 states to pay for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients because it bans measures that "directly or indirectly increase the cost of providing abortion services or the cost for obtaining abortion services." https://t.co/gdiJHWBSJf pic.twitter.com/JWbzbUzawb— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) May 5, 2022
Click through to McCormack's work for links and documentation. In summary, the Democratic bill would make elective abortions legal across the entire country for all nine months of pregnancy (with "mental health" loopholes eliminating any real limitations), eliminating virtually all existing state-level restrictions (including lopsidedly popular ones), gutting conscience protections for healthcare workers who don't want to participate in abortions, allowing non-doctors to facilitate the abortions, and likely forcing taxpayers to finance all of it. Short of endorsing post-birth infanticide or instituting CCP-style compulsory abortions, it's hard to imagine a more extreme piece of legislation on this issue. Dressing this up as "codifying Roe" is astoundingly dishonest, yet it's mindlessly -- or perhaps not so mindlessly -- repeated by journalists, ad nauseam. As indicated in the tweets above, the bill is so radical that even a pro-choice, pro-Roe Senator like Susan Collins is against it, having previously voted against similar bills:
Collins is being consistent and remains in the mainstream. She’s pro-choice, but she doesn’t support the monstrous abortion-til-birth bill that Democrats are falsely framing as “codifying Roe.” https://t.co/VBAbBVYLI1— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) May 5, 2022
Joe Manchin opposed the February version of the same bill, and one other Democrat signaled that he might also vote no if it came up for final passage. The good news is that they don't have the votes to pass this monstrosity into law. The more disturbing news is that 48 Senate Democrats co-sponsored the legislation after it passed through the Democrat-controlled House with every single member of the Pelosi majority voting in favor, minus one lonely dissenter. This includes dozens of people trying to pass themselves off as "moderates," several of whom are now seeking political promotions. This guy started his career as a "pro-life" Democrat:
Tim Ryan, Dem candidate for Senate in Ohio vs. JD Vance, suggests abortion should have no limits thru all 9 months.— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) May 4, 2022
Baier: “My question was about any limits to abortion at any point. Late term, anything?”
Ryan: “Look, you gotta leave it up to the woman.”pic.twitter.com/JKf2IUqLhs
Will the last non-abortion-zealot Democrat left on the team please turn out the lights? Backing nine-month abortion-on-demand is now the official position of the party, which has embraced a stance shared by a tiny fraction of the electorate. Some Republicans go too far in the opposite direction, but they don't represent the party as a whole, and their various proposals are covered aggressively by a hostile press. The same press looks at the legislation described above and dutifully embraces their party's anodyne euphemisms about it. I'll leave you with this:
This is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible.— AG (@AGHamilton29) May 5, 2022
Protest outside SCOTUS as much as you want, but pointing extremists to people's homes is a recipe for disaster. Especially given some of the current rhetoric surrounding this issue. https://t.co/SF3RynF6e5
Might the Biden White House, which couldn't bring itself to condemn the outrageous breach at the Supreme Court this week, manage to condemn thuggish intimidation? Or do the ends always justify the means from the on-again, off-again "norms and institutions" crowd?