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Tipsheet

Is This Where the Death of Roe v. Wade Had Its Origins?

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

These races are key, but they’re also not very exciting. We’re not talking statewide. We’re going very local here. Oftentimes, the offices that most don’t even know exist at their local courthouse are the ones who pinch them the most come tax season. The local pain from the local courthouse and the county commissioner, or executive, is felt immediately and harshly depending on who is occupying the office. Upstream from this office are the local representatives. You’ll be stunned how many Americans don’t know that each state comes with two US Senators. That’s not a knock though a tad disconcerting. Democrats don’t know that either–especially when it comes to how these seats are allocated. It’s mind-numbingly stupid when they try to bring up the popular vote when it comes to the US Senate, but I digress. 

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This isn’t a new story, though one that’s flown under the radar. Barack Obama oversaw the unprecedented destruction of his party at the state and local level under his presidency. Some state-party operations are beyond saving. Yet, this is where a lot of pro-life legislation was passed. This is where the first shots of the legal fight that ended with the Dobbs decision more than 10 years later were fired. We all know how key controlling state legislatures is with regards to the allocation of US House districts seats. Well, the New York Times was there to remind us all that the overturning of Roe, which caused liberal America to melt down, could be traced back to the Tea Party wave of 2010 (via NYT):

The beginning of the end of Roe v. Wade arrived on election night in November 2010.

That night, control of state houses across the country flipped from Democrat to Republican, almost to the number: Democrats had controlled 27 state legislatures going in and ended up with 16; Republicans started with 14 and ended up controlling 25. Republicans swept not only the South but Democratic strongholds in the Midwest, picking up more seats nationwide than either party had in four decades. By the time the votes had been counted, they held their biggest margin since the Great Depression. 

There had been a time, in the 15 years after Roe, when Republicans were as likely as Democrats to support an absolute right to legal abortion, and sometimes even more so. But 2010 swept in a different breed of Republican, powered by Tea Party supporters, that locked in a new conservatism. While Tea Party-backed candidates had campaigned on fiscal discipline and promised indifference to social issues, once in office they found it difficult to cut state budgets. And a well-established network was waiting with model anti-abortion laws.

In legislative sessions starting the following January, Republican-led states passed a record number of restrictions: 92, or nearly three times as many as the previous high, set in 2005.

The three years following the 2010 elections would result in 205 anti-abortion laws across the country, more than in the entire previous decade.

A watershed year in the defense of life,” Charmaine Yoest, at the time president of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life, proclaimed when the sessions were over, noting that 70 of the laws — restrictions on abortion pills and hurdles for women getting abortions and clinics providing them — had adopted the group’s model legislation. “And that is just the beginning.”

It was a massacre,” said Beth Shipp, then the political director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, which had been founded before Roe to push for abortion rights.

In the fraught and much disputed language of pregnancy, the elections of 2010 were the quickening of the anti-abortion movement. The movement started out weak but gained power in the new red wave. Abortion rights groups, meanwhile, were weakened in the states. The ensuing debates in state legislatures pointed toward the polarization that would divide the country over the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential election 10 years later: gerrymandered control and party-line votes, and the two sides increasingly operating under a different definition of the facts. And as legislatures continued to layer restrictions upon restrictions, anti-abortion groups could argue to the court what Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life, proclaimed to crowds in Washington this year: “Roe is not settled law.”

The momentum that started in 2010 led to the Supreme Court overturning Roe on Friday, even though polls show that a vast majority of Americans supported it, and that most now believe abortion is morally acceptable. The court’s decision lamented that Roe had “sparked a national controversy that has embittered our popular culture for a half century.” In fact, that controversy started not so much with Roe but in state houses, and raged hottest over the last decade.

Women are asking me all the time — what happened? They have no understanding of how this could be,” said Cecile Richards, who was president of Planned Parenthood from 2005 to 2018. “What’s happened is not about religion, or morality or unborn babies. It’s about politics. Women can’t wrap their brains around it. Republicans want to pretend it’s about something else. But it’s about control — that’s what politics is about.”

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The rest of the lengthy piece goes into how the red wave wiped out Democrats in that 2010 cycle and the legislation that came from that tsunami year for Republicans. It’s funny hearing about how this is all about “control” from the people who either supported or were mum when the government wanted to jab all of us including children with the COVID vaccine. Whatever happened to ‘my body, my choice’ on that front? As we often hear, elections have consequences. The GOP worked for over a decade to rewrite this appalling flawed legal opinion that even the most ardent liberal lawyers in America agree is flimsy. It returns this issue to the legislative process where yes, it is possible that Congress could pass a law that permits abortion across the board. There is nothing in the Constitution about this issue. If society wants that, then pass a law. There’s nothing in the document forbidding it. Now, this will be a years-long battle. Both sides will have ample time to make their case, but the Left is more perilous since they think that men can get pregnant now. You cannot say that women get pregnant. It’s now birthing people–which will alienate vast swaths of the electorate, even those who might be pro-choice. 

“What happened”? Is it really that hard, guys. You dropped the ball. You allowed the GOP to dominate in races that got things rolling at the state level. You got overconfident in 2016, which coles to a Republican president appointing three Supreme Court justices which turned the tide. Meanwhile, you guys had nearly 50 years to codify Roe through the legislative process but didn’t. Why? Because you couldn’t draft a winning message involving the killing of babies and got more extreme on the issue at the same time. Did these people think that the liberal wing of the Supreme Court would live forever? Quite myopic thinking for folks who have an insufferable sense of entitlement and self-righteousness. They’re the forward-thinking folks, remember? They just forgot to, you know, pass a law that actually gave women the right to an abortion. 

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