PBS Panel Sees Peril for GOP on Abortion, Touts 'Powerful' Biden Ad on 'Trump Did This'

April 14th, 2024 6:47 AM

Abortion is back in the news with a vengeance, after the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated a Civil War era ban on abortion and candidate Donald Trump reacted with a moderate, federalist stance on abortion, disappointing some in the pro-life movement and making him an unfair figure of mockery in the mainstream press.

Friday’s episode of public television’s weekly roundtable panel Washington Week with The Atlantic was dominated by abortion politics as a lifesaver for the Democrats (if not for the victims of abortion).

Guest moderator Franklin Foer of The Atlantic set the table:

FRANKLIN FOER: Arizona’s Supreme Court reinstates a 160-year-old abortion ban, and as a spate of states rush to restrict reproductive rights, Republicans, including Donald Trump, scramble to insulate themselves from a potential political backlash….the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled in favor of reviving a Civil War-era law that prohibits nearly all abortions. Republicans are running to distance themselves from the surprise decision while Democrats seize the opportunity to make gains in the battleground state. The ruling came just a day after former President Trump said he opposes a national abortion ban following months of mixed signals. How will Republican candidates navigate the post-Roe landscape now confronting them?

As usual, the journalists were unanimously liberal. National Public Radio political editor Domenico Montanaro touted Republicans had lost "special election after special election" on abortion and lamented “the chaos that has ensued with women not having access to reproductive rights in -- millions of women across the South in particular, this chaotic sort of patchwork of abortion laws across the country, that’s made it really, really difficult.”  

PBS NewsHour political reporter Lisa Desjardins said Trump showed he wasn't worried about his base, "he's not worried about all of those hard-right evangelicals." Susan Glasser of The New Yorker said Trump can't deny he was responsible for all this, "he has taken credit so many times for dismantling Roe."

GLASSER: What I found interesting is immediately have the Biden campaign in the immediate aftermath of Trump's video, they put out a new advertisement I found particularly powerful of a Texas couple that wanted to have a baby. The woman experienced a miscarriage and she was denied necessary medical care in Texas, sent home, developed an infection, got sepsis, nearly died and she probably can't have a kid now. It is intimate and powerful and there's nothing about politics until the end, and the tagline is just "Trump did this." I think those words will haunt him.

She took a maximalist ideological stance, expressed via obscurantist pro-choice labeling, telling tax-paying viewers that abortion was a “human right,” and thus all talk of states’ rights was irrelevant. (At least there was no dithering about whether men could get pregnant.)

Glasser: If this is a human right for women, to have access to health care, to have access to their reproductive rights, your rights shouldn’t depend on what state you live in. If it’s a right, it’s a right, and it shouldn't matter that in Texas you have no access to something that you have in California.

She played Democratic political strategist and moral arbiter and assumed the audience was on her side, even if she admitted that it was rather “ghoulish” to cheer for Democrats while supposedly extremist abortion policies were becoming law in various states.

Glasser: ….I saw the Biden campaign estimates that already one in three women in America has lost access to reproductive health care as a result of the Supreme Court`s decision. And so there’s this almost ghoulish phenomenon, right? Like we’re like, well, it's a great issue for the Democrats or, you know, that it’s really good news. But, of course, in a real sense, these laws are actually going into effect….So, it’s a weird situation where we’re talking about the political advantage that might come to abortion rights supporters at a time when millions of women are actually losing their rights.

This pro-abortion segment was brought to you in part by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.