GOP playbook on abortion is to push Democrats on restrictions and contort their words : NPR


Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio landed within the line of conservative fireplace over his feedback on abortion rights.

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Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio landed within the line of conservative fireplace over his feedback on abortion rights.

Drew Angerer/Getty Photographs

In response to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion {that a} majority of justices seem keen to overturn Roe v. Wade, which made abortion authorized on this nation, Republicans put out a memo to their senators advising them on the right way to reply.

It says, partially, in line with Axios, which obtained the memo:

“Expose the Democrats for the intense views they maintain. Joe Biden and the Democrats have excessive and radical views on abortion which might be exterior of the mainstream of most Individuals.”

It is legitimate to ask Democrats, together with the president, what, if any, restrictions on abortion they help, contemplating that 47 Democratic senators and President Biden supported the Ladies’s Well being Safety Act, which might take away any “medically unjustified restrictions.”

The laws, a response to the Texas regulation that basically bans abortions after six weeks, failed earlier this yr, however is more likely to get one other vote after this leaked Supreme Court docket draft opinion.

However Republicans and the conservative media that helps them have run with the playbook – and, at occasions, in deceptive methods. Two examples of that cropped up within the days following the publication of the memo and the courtroom’s draft opinion.

We get into these intimately, however first let’s set…

The factual panorama

Roe and the following Deliberate Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe, make it unlawful for a state to ban abortions earlier than the purpose of viability, or about 24 weeks, however that states might regulate abortions after that – aside from the life or the well being of the mom as decided with “appropriate medical judgment.”

Banning abortion outright is unpopular

The draft opinion – which might nonetheless change – confirmed that conservative justices on the Supreme Court docket help outright overturning Roe.

That’s an unpopular place with most Individuals, who help abortion rights with some restrictions. This is what latest surveys mentioned:

  • CNN/SSRS: 66% mentioned they don’t help overturning Roe, whereas 34% did.
  • The Pew Research Center: Simply 8% mentioned abortion needs to be unlawful in all circumstances, no exceptions. Broadening it out, roughly 37% mentioned it needs to be unlawful in most or all circumstances. However even amongst that group, there are sizable parts that mentioned it needs to be authorized in if the being pregnant threatens the life or well being of the mom (46%) or whether it is the results of a rape (36%).
  • Monmouth University: Simply 11% mentioned abortion ought to at all times be unlawful. One other quarter mentioned it needs to be unlawful with exceptions for rape, incest or to save lots of the lifetime of the mom.
  • YouGov: 24% mentioned Roe needs to be overturned, whereas 55% mentioned it shouldn’t.
  • Fox News: 27% mentioned it needs to be overturned; 63% mentioned no.
  • ABC News/Washington Post: 28% mentioned Roe needs to be overturned, 54% mentioned it needs to be upheld. (Simply 16% mentioned abortion needs to be unlawful in all circumstances.)
  • Gallup: 19% mentioned abortion needs to be unlawful in all circumstances; 48% mentioned it needs to be authorized solely below sure circumstances; 32% mentioned it needs to be authorized in all circumstances. And 47% said abortion is morally acceptable, the best ever recorded in 20 years of Gallup asking the query. (46% mentioned it’s not morally acceptable.)

Republican-led legislatures are the place many of the motion is correct now, as they push the boundaries on restrictions and curbing entry, testing the Supreme Court docket to see what is suitable and never.

Abortions have turn out to be extra uncommon on this nation, dropping in 2017 to 13.5 abortions per each 1,000 ladies age 15 to 44, in line with the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion knowledge. That is beneath the speed in 1973 when the Roe choice got here out.

The overwhelming majority of abortion sufferers are poor – Guttmacher notes that as of 2014 knowledge, 75% of girls who had abortions had incomes beneath the poverty line.

Nearly nine-in-10 abortions took locations within the first 12 weeks, or three months, of being pregnant, lengthy earlier than viability. Two-thirds passed off within the first 8 weeks.

Half of abortions — 54% — now happen with treatment or the “abortion capsule.” These abortions by capsule happen normally simply days after conception. So arguments about late-term abortions are sometimes straw males, as a result of late-term abortions are uncommon.

Individuals are break up on many of those restrictions, together with the Mississippi regulation – the topic of the leaked draft opinion – earlier than the courtroom presently that might prohibit abortion after 15 weeks.

This variation will be attributed to variations within the wording of questions — and that individuals haven’t got absolutely shaped opinions on it, which suggests the numbers might transfer, folks might be persuadable — and the messaging, then, actually issues.

With the details established, let us take a look at…

The 2 examples

The primary results in the opposite, and begins with an interview on Fox News with Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who’s operating for the Senate. Ryan was requested whether or not he helps restrictions on abortion rights.

Abortion rights activists attend a rally in entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court docket Thursday in Washington.

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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Photographs

Abortion rights activists attend a rally in entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court docket Thursday in Washington.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Photographs

This is the important thing a part of the transcript:

HOST: As senator, would you might have any limits on abortion?

RYAN: Look, I feel what we had established in Roe is one thing that we will proceed to work with and I feel that these will be the parameters, however then once more, for those who do away with what was established regulation, which was in some ways conservative, to maintain that to ascertain stare decisis and ensure we admire the regulation, if we transfer away from that, you are going to get states like Ohio that has a number of the most excessive legal guidelines in the entire nation. For those who’re a younger lady and you have been raped and incest, you may’t–, the state, the federal government goes to pressure you to convey that child to time period, I simply do not assume that is a basic worth.

HOST: My query was about any limits to abortion at any level, you understand, late time period, something?

RYAN: Look, you have to depart it as much as the lady…–

HOST: So no, is the reply.

RYAN: …you and I– nicely, you and I sitting right here cannot account for all the completely different situations {that a} girl, coping with all of the complexities of a being pregnant are going by way of. How will you and I determine that out?

HOST: Nicely, I admire your easy reply.

Ryan might have been clearer about what restrictions he may particularly help, however he was largely reiterating Roe’s tenets in regards to the well being of the mom being paramount. There was additionally the sense he wasn’t comfy – with two males on tv speaking in regards to the topic – laying out what these is likely to be.

Comply with ups with Ryan about how he would vote as a senator are needed for the voters in Ohio. However the correct rapidly distorted Ryan’s feedback:

And on.

A Fox Information White Home reporter then used Ryan’s feedback, organising a false premise, to press the White Home on what restrictions Biden would help. White Home press secretary Jen Psaki tried to dismiss the query, however the Republican Nationwide Committee then lowered and warped her reply into one thing that wasn’t mentioned.

First, the total alternate, then the RNC’s interpretation:

REPORTER (Peter Doocy of Fox Information): The President’s place on alternative has advanced over time, so simply checking for his official place. Does he help any limits on abortion proper now?

PSAKI: Peter, the President has spoken — has talked about his place many occasions. He helps the correct of a girl to make decisions about her personal physique along with her physician.

REPORTER: However I do know that one of many Democrats that he endorsed and — who received their major this week, Tim Ryan, mentioned yesterday that he doesn’t help any limits on abortion. Is that the place the President’s considering is now?

MS. PSAKI: The President has acknowledged his view many occasions.

REPORTER: So does the President help abortion up till the second of beginning?

MS. PSAKI: The President has spoken about this many occasions, Peter. And I’d refer you to his personal feedback about abortion and a girl’s proper to decide on and make selections about her physique along with her physician, which is what any of these ladies would do.

This is the RNC’s framing:

REPORTER: “Does [Biden] help any limits on abortion?”


REPORTER: “Does the president help abortion till the second of beginning?”


No. Clearly, that is not what was mentioned.

However that is what occurs in politics with regards to abortion. There’s widespread floor on what’s a vital and nuanced difficulty, centering on when an abortion ought to happen.

The overwhelming majority of Individuals help conserving abortion authorized – with restrictions.

However as soon as this topic enters the political area, that widespread floor is ignored, affordable options aren’t discovered, and as an alternative, it’s weaponized, as a nation waits on how the Supreme Court docket will really rule.


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