January 27, 2023

Here’s the latest on how these issues will develop over the coming weeks and months:


Enforcement legal battles continue in West Virginia and beyond

West Virginia led the state’s legal battle over abortion bans this week after a judge temporarily blocked enforcement of that state’s abortion ban.

The blocked 19th-century ban hasn’t been enforced in more than 50 years, and a 2015 law allows abortions in the state for up to 20 weeks, The Associated Press reported:. The state’s only abortion clinic — which has challenged the ban in court — can now proceed with providing the procedure.

State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he will take the case to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

In Louisiana, meanwhile, the state’s restrictive trigger law has been temporarily blocked again, after being shunted back and forth since June. District Judge Donald Johnson told the state and the clinic on Tuesday that they are challenging the law to file findings, but did not say when he would make a ruling, the AP reported.


Texas AG sues over emergency abortion counseling

And in Texas, that state’s attorney general last week indicted the Biden government’s top health officials over the government’s directives to doctors.

The guidelines — covered in last week’s Abortion News Feed — said federal law requires doctors to perform emergency abortions, even in states with restrictive laws. Otherwise, health professionals and hospitals could risk their participation in Medicare, Medicaid or other federal programs.

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The suit, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said the memo “forces hospitals and doctors to commit crimes.” It will go to a federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump, and possibly to a right-wing circuit court if an appeal is filed.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called Paxton “extreme and radical” in response to the lawsuit.

[Read more: Texas sues Biden over new abortion guidance as conservative groups mull more challenges]

abortion rights

Conservatives under scrutiny for response to child abortion

“I’m not touching this story with a 10-foot pole wrapped in a blanket wrapped in anything.”

That’s what a Republican strategist told POLITICO about the report of a 10-year-old girl who crossed state lines to undergo an abortion after being raped.

Conservative media and politicians – many of whom initially doubted the truth of the story – were forced to backtrack last week when it was confirmed. The National Right to Life Committee’s general counsel, Jim Bopp, has received additional criticism after telling POLITICO that the child should have carried the pregnancy to term.

The case has become an indicator of some of the problems conservatives may face if they try to rally their bases, without alienating mid-term voters who view total abortion bans without exceptions as too extreme.

“These are the kinds of things that rekindle Democrats’ hopes of maintaining some kind of coalition,” Republican strategist John Thomas said.

[Read more: ‘Oh, God, no’: Republicans fear voter backlash after Indiana child rape case]

public opinion

Polls show support for Democrats roe make a statement

With four months to go before the House and Senate shake up, Democrats and Republicans are considering the best ways to get voters to the polls. Historically, the president’s party loses seats in Congress during this period for a number of reasons – President Joe Biden’s recent low approval rating is not surprising this time around. Expect high inflation and a pandemic that has not stopped its deadly spread, and things don’t look too promising for Democrats.

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However, a new poll of The New York Times/Siena College suggests that Democrats — fueled by a wave of support since roe was overthrown in late June – could put up a tougher fight than originally anticipated. Of the total registered voters, 41 percent said they would prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress after the midterm elections, while 40 percent said they would vote for a Republican-controlled Congress. Republicans led by 1 percentage point among likely voters. The poll was based on responses from 849 registered voters in early July.

The New York Times/Siena College poll is the latest of several studies reaching the same conclusion: Democrats are gaining more momentum ahead of the midterm elections than expected, especially given the problems facing the Biden administration. Of the several polls conducted before and after the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, Democrats achieved an average of 3 percentage points on the congressional vote in their favor.


Democratic governors set themselves up as last line of defense

While much of the focus is on Congress, winning governor races across the country is a critical part of Democrats’ effort to ensure state-level abortion protection. In Wisconsin, the incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ struggle underlines the struggle faced by local leaders to maintain a motivated voter base.

Many Democratic voters in Wisconsin, that is heavily gerrymanderd in favor of Republicans, see Evers as the last line of defense to protect access to abortion through veto power. The issue of the incumbent officer is emblematic of a nationwide dilemma facing Democrats — even if he is reelected, protecting abortion rights from deprivation is the best thing the governor can do.

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In a race that Cook Political Report is classified as a toss-upEvers has taken steps to solidify his base, including offering pardons to abortion providers punished through the Wisconsin abortion ban enacted in 1849.

“I am confident what you will see when a Republican becomes governor of the state of Wisconsin… we will see the election change to the point where the legislature makes the final decision, and that would terrify everyone in this world.” have to hunt. room,’ said Evers at a pro-abortion rights event last week.

toss others governor races related to the abortion issue include Georgia’s contest with incumbent Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams; Michigan’s race pitting incumbent Democratic Gretchen Whitmer against several strong GOP candidates; Kansas race with incumbent Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly against Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt; and Pennsylvania’s race with Republican Sen. Doug Mastriano and State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who replaced term-limited Governor Tom Wolf as the Democratic nominee.