I don’t really get why Graham’s bill is being portrayed as a “compromise” (which I appreciate you also putting in scare quotes)! It would be a compromise only if the bill set an abortion access floor as well as a ceiling. Unless it’s a compromise between extremist and moderate pro-lifers.

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Any thoughts as to why Graham, in particular, would bring this forward (and why now)?

The bill is obviously DOA under a Dem Senate, and it doesn’t have broad support from GOP leadership. Is this a case of Graham thinking he’s just the brain genius the party needs to ensure the expected midterm victory?

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I think Republicans made a tactical error immediately jumping to passing laws after the Dobbs decision, instead of spending more time persuading the public to their side. The Dobbs ruling opened up the debate around where abortion fits in our society, there was no need to start trying to pass legislation without waiting to see where the polling on abortion ended up post-Roe. If they had played the long game on this and waited, they likely would have found more success.

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 14, 2022

I appreciate the Michael Kinsley allusion.

I've been thinking about him lately with the way the abortion decision is playing out. Here's an old-op ed from the Alito hearings:


" But Machiavellians of my acquaintance believe that it is the antiabortion folks who are getting conned. The last thing in the world that Republican strategists want is repeal of Roe . If abortion becomes a legislative issue again, all those pro-choice women and men who have been voting Republican because abortion rights were secure would have to reconsider, and many would bolt.

Meanwhile, the reversal of Roe would energize the left the way Roe itself energized the right. Who needs that?"


"For many in these groups, abortion is almost by definition an issue that overwhelms all others, or comes close, when they are deciding how (and whether) to vote. It is also, on both sides, a reliable issue for opening wallets.

Yet there is no abortion debate. Or at least the debate is unconnected to the reasons people on both sides feel so strongly about it. What passes for an abortion debate is a jewel of the political hack's art: a big issue that is exploited without being discussed."

That's no longer true. Now the details matter, and I don't think we know what either party will look like once they come to terms with that.

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Democrats could better weaponize abortion if they kicked the abortion on demand crowd to the curb. The median voter is against second trimester abortions that could have occurred earlier. This is actually sensible. Aborting a blastocyst of something that looks like a primeval fish feels a lot different than aborting a healthy fetus with hands and toes and a basically human form. Grahams bill would be a clever play if it allowed exceptions for the health of the mother or fetal abnormalities and if it specified clear procedures for deciding when those applied and safe harbors for doctors who followed them.

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Great article Josh! I am wondering what other broader health exceptions for abortion are found in European laws?

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Lol, still sounds like a user error Josh. Why are you using Safari and not Chrome.

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Language and definitions matter in discussing legislative solutions to abortion issues. For more, see my take here: https://stevetmvca.substack.com/p/hair-on-fire?utm_source=email

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