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America ‘will probably be worse’ than pre-1973 if Trump’s court overturns Roe v Wade: NYT columnist

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The new wave of abortion bans being passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, Louisiana and elsewhere have spurred a fresh wave of women’s rights activism, driven by fears that a judiciary appointed by President Donald Trump could finally achieve the destruction of Roe v. Wade and a return to the pre-1973 framework in which abortion was broadly criminalized around the country and hundreds of women a year died from botched illegal abortions.

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But, wrote Michelle Goldberg in a new op-ed for The New York Times, the new anti-abortion legal regime Republicans are seeking to create would not actually be like the one in 1973: “It will probably be worse.”

“While doctors were prosecuted for abortions before Roe, patients rarely were,” wrote Goldberg. “Today, in states that have legislated fetal personhood, women are already arrested on suspicion of harming or endangering their fetuses, including by using drugs, attempting suicide or, in a case in Utah, delaying a cesarean section. There’s no reason to believe that, in states where abortion is considered homicide, prosecutors will be less punitive when investigating it.”

Moreover, whereas the old abortion bans generally gave doctors themselves the power to decide what constituted a medically justifiable exemption, Goldberg wrote, “By contrast, the new laws seek to curtail medical discretion. Under the Alabama measure, doctors can perform abortions only when a woman is facing death or ‘serious risk of substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function.’ Otherwise, abortion is a class A felony, and … the potential 99-year prison sentence it carries is far longer than any punishment a doctor could have faced in pre-Roe America.”

“At least the Alabama law exempts people having abortions from prosecution. But they are not spared by the Georgia law, which, as Mark Joseph Stern points out in Slate, has language that criminalizes self-induced abortion. Nor are women who abort exempt from punishment in the most recent version of Louisiana’s six-week abortion ban,” continued Goldberg. “Republican politicians in other states are clearly interested in locking women up; last month Texas legislators held a hearing on a bill that would allow women who have abortions to be charged with homicide and potentially subject to the death penalty. In a post-Roe future, the political fight, at least in red states, could shift from whether women can have abortions to whether they can be imprisoned for them.”

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“A lesson of fundamentalist regimes worldwide is that when reactionaries try to enforce their ideas about gender traditionalism, they can be more tyrannical than real tradition ever was,” concluded Goldberg. “Rather than moving backward, we’re charting awful new frontiers.”


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A veteran teacher explains why Trump is incapable of learning

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While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup.

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Right-wing activists call on Mitch McConnell to stop blocking election security bills

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On Wednesday, CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing renewed pressure to take up election security legislation, from a pair of unlikely sources: Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.

Norquist — who once famously said that he wanted to slash government to a size where he could "drown it in a bathtub" — called for hand-marked paper ballots, and urged Congress to pass something similar to the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which would have given states incentives to switch to secure voting methods and promoted data-sharing to identify threats. The measure was first introduced in 2017 by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (D-OK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), but never came to a vote.

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DNI whistleblower complaint stems from promise Trump allegedly made in phone call to foreign leader: report

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On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the source of the whistleblower complaint currently being suppressed by the Director of National Intelligence is a phone conversation between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.

According to the report, the whistleblower became aware that the president made a "promise" to this unspecified foreign leader, and was so disturbed by the nature of that promise that he or she filed a complaint through channels set up to help whistleblower claims involving classified information.

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