Search results for: "Legislatures"

I have always been puzzled by the indifference of state and federal legislators to widespread failure and fraud in the charter sector. The same mystery shrouds the decisions of the billionaires who keep pouring new money into new charters. No matter how many of the charters fail and close their doors, no matter how many of their founders are convicted of embezzlement or padding enrollment, no matter how many are in the state’s list of low-performing schools, the money keeps flowing.

The obvious reason that politicians support charters is because hedge funds and very wealthy donors make sizable campaign contributions. In New York, both Governor Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams received millions in campaign donations from the charter boosters. We know why free-market zealots like Betsy DeVos and Charles Koch ignore the evidence: They want to privatize education. Why the Wall Street crowd continues to fund failure is a mystery.

A friend in Missouri sent me the previous post about a charter school that was taking in public money despite low academic performance. I asked him why the legislature wanted more charter schools, instead of supporting public schools. It wasn’t rational, I said.

He replied, you have to understand the Missouri legislature, and he sent me the following article. It was written by Stacey Newman, who served in the Missouri legislature for nine years. The picture she paints conjures up thoughts of Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken and Will Rogers. It’s a description of an institution where chaos, dysfunction, and drunkenness are par for the course.

Newman wrote that “dysfunction” was the legislature’s middle name.

As do most voters, I expect legislators to be serious when they take their oath of office. I want to trust they will treat their offices with reverence instead of middle school immaturity — I really do. My first late-night session as a freshman involved debate over a pornography bill. Arguments proceeded way past midnight as I was introduced to #molegafterdark. Coffee cups are allowed on House chamber desks, yet during evening sessions, many of those cups contain alcohol. I was appalled at the drunken debate, remembering how hard I campaigned just to be sitting at one of those desks. Surrounding us were the words carved at the very top of the House chamber: “Liberty, Justice, Law, Progress, Truth, Knowledge, Honor.” Yeah, right.

Hijinks abound every session — particularly as tempers flare between the Republican-controlled state House and Senate. It is routine for both chambers to be at odds as constitutional deadlines loom and members are often campaigning against each other for higher office. Legislators are permitted to carry concealed guns in the Capitol (really) and many pat their pants pockets during high stress debates, reminding everyone who has firepower. One year, I witnessed a screaming near-fistfight of legislators behind my seat as security rushed to intervene. On another late night, I prepared to hide under my desk as an armed inebriated state senator paced our side gallery in intimidation during a contentious House vote on her bill…

Yet we keep hoping for serious people to take over and heed the state motto, “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.” It doesn’t say anything about hijinks. There is plenty to do: Fund public schools instead of banning history and attacking teachers; provide access to health care to those who desperately need it and allocate federal relief education dollars, for starters. Accept that masks are not the enemy during a pandemic and that vaccinations, which most elected officials in Jefferson City have received, are lifesaving. Stop with the anti-science hooey left over from the 1692 Salem witch trials. Stop pretending you are aggrieved and, for once, leave your racism and hatred of transgender kids buried at home.

Read more at: https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article258850773.html#storylink=cpy

Politico reports on vouchers this morning. Vouchers have never won a popular vote. Public opinion polls are mixed, but the response depends on how the question is worded. DeVos and her allies have found her way around the problem: go to the legislature and give strategically to key legislators. In other words, buy their support. It works.

 

VOUCHERS HAVE BEEN A TOUGH SELL – AT LEAST WHEN PUT TO A VOTE: President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to create a massive $20 billion block grant to expand charter and private school options for poor children. But when voters in states across the country have been asked if they want to send public money to private schools through vouchers, they’ve pretty much always said no, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Since 1978, voters in California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Utah and Washington all rejected measures to enact private school choice programs. And the ballot referendums lost big – none of them drew support from more than 38 percent of voters. Voters in Florida and Oklahoma, in 2012 and 2016, shot down efforts to repeal so-called Blaine Amendments – which prohibit states from spending public money on religious schools and can limit a state’s ability to fund private school choice programs. [ED. NOTE: VOTERS HAVE NEVER APPROVED A REFERENDUM TO PERMIT PUBLIC MONEY TO BE SPENT IN NONPUBLIC OR RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS. THE DEVOS FAMILY SPONSORED A VOUCHER VOTE IN MICHIGAN IN 2000, AND IT WAS DEFEATED 69-31%.]

 

– Public polling, however, has been mixed on vouchers, with support levels ranging from 40 percent to 60 percent, said Josh Cunningham, a senior education policy specialist at the National Council of State Legislatures. “It’s probably fair to say that much of the public does not fully understand what school vouchers are,” Cunningham told Morning Education. “If anything, this history shows that going through the legislature may be an easier road towards adopting school choice policies than using the ballot.” Thanks to state lawmakers, there are 17 states (as well as D.C.) that have voucher programs, according to the council.

 

– The legislature is the route that Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department, has taken repeatedly over the years. DeVos, through her groups, including the American Federation for Children and All Children Matter, has pushed voucher measures – successfully – through statehouses across the country, including in Indiana in 2011. DeVos told the Philanthropy Roundtable last year that “successful advocacy requires coordinating a lot of moving parts: identifying potential legislators, educating them about the issue, getting them elected, helping them craft and pass legislation, and helping with implementation once laws are passed to ensure that programs work for children.” Showering lawmakers with money also helps – and DeVos’ groups have spent millions on candidates who support vouchers. DeVos has been blunt about the power that donations have in politics. In 1997, she wrote in Roll Call that “I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.”

Valerie Strauss posted an article about the lobbying activities of the giant testing corporations. They spend many millions of dollars to ensure that Congress and the states understand the importance of buying their services. It would be awful for them if any state decided to let teachers write their own tests and test what they taught.

 

The four corporations that dominate the U.S. standardized testing market spend millions of dollars lobbying state and federal officials — as well as sometimes hiring them — to persuade them to favor policies that include mandated student assessments, helping to fuel a nearly $2 billion annual testing business, a new analysis shows.

 

The analysis, done by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy agency based in Wisconsin that tracks corporate influence on public policy, says that four companies — Pearson Education, ETS (Educational Testing Service), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw-Hill— collectively spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014.

 

When I visited Texas a few years ago, I wondered why Texas paid nearly $500 million to Pearson for five years of testing, but New York paid only $32 million to Pearson for the same five years. I assumed it must be a testament to the high quality lobbyists that Pearson hired in Texas, starting with Sandy Kress, who was one of the architects of No Child Left Behind and very well connected to the state’s power structure.

Some while back, I suggested on Twitter that members of Congress should get merit pay. It doesn’t seem fair that all of them are paid exactly the same, no matter how effective or ineffective they are. The same might be  said of state legislators. Why don’t they get merit pay? They are eager to impose it on teachers, based on student scores, but they don’t want it for themselves.

The problem with the idea is this: how do you judge effectiveness?

A reader has a good proposal:

I think we should push for MORE merit pay, but in this way:  our state and federal legislators should be paid based on how well their constituents are doing.  percent of unemployment, average family income, property values, crime rate, health/illness rates, etc.  Of course, they will complain about how they can’t control these factors, but it’s very similar to what we are judged on.

Kansas was the first state in the nation to hold a referendum on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Kansas protects the right to abortion in its state constitution. A “yes” vote would have repealed that protection and enabled the GOP majority in the legislature to write new restrictions or to ban abortion altogether. A “no” vote would protect the abortion language in the state constitution.

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the state constitution protected abortion rights. Anti-abortion activists hoped that this referendum would reverse the 2019 decision.

The judges in Kansas blocked the law on the basis of the state Constitution’s Bill of Rights, ruling that it “affords protection of the right of personal autonomy, which includes the ability to control one’s own body.” This extends, they ruled, to the decision of whether to have an abortion.

Political commentators expected a close vote. Kansas is a conservative state, even though it has a Democratic Governor.

The vote was not close. The vote to preserve abortion rights in the state constitution was decisive. At last count, it was about 60%-40%.

Voters of both parties supported women’s right to bodily autonomy.

CNN commented:

Polls have consistently shown that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is broadly unpopular. A CNN poll released in late July found nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the Supreme Court decision, with even 55% of self-identified moderate or liberal Republicans saying they disapproved of the decision. But the results on Tuesday, the first electoral test of abortion rights after the Supreme Court decision, put an even finer point on that sentiment.

One can only imagine what would happen if abortion rights were put on the ballot in every red state, rather than left to the male-dominated state legislatures who would like to turn back the clock by at least 50 years and keep women barefoot and pregnant.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson writes today about some recent votes in Congress that defined what Republicans are against.

Republicans believe that states should control which rights are protected inside their borders. They do not believe in abortion rights. They do not believe in the right to have access to contraception. They do not believe in marriage equality. They do not believe that women have the right to cross state lines if they are pregnant. (How Will states enforce that last belief? By administering pregnancy tests to every woman under 50 who is attempting to leave a state where abortion is illegal?)

What do they believe in? Not freedom or liberty, since they legislate constraints on private action. They do believe in censorship, bans on behavior in the privacy of your bedroom, bans on topics that may be discussed in the classroom. Republicans want to restore a mythical world of white male supremacy.

Richardson writes:

Far from rejecting the idea of minority rule after seeing where it led, Republican Party lawmakers have doubled down.

They have embraced the idea that state legislatures should dominate our political system, and so in 2021, at least 19 states passed 34 laws to restrict access to voting. On June 24, in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, the Supreme Court said that the federal government did not have the power, under the Fourteenth Amendment, to protect the constitutional right to abortion, bringing the other rights that amendment protects into question. When Democrats set out to protect some of those rights through federal legislation, Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly voted to oppose such laws.

In the House, Republicans voted against federal protection of an individual’s right to choose whether to continue or end a pregnancy and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services: 209 Republicans voted no; 2 didn’t vote. That’s 99% of House Republicans.

They voted against the right to use contraception: 195 out of 209 Republicans voted no; 2 didn’t vote. That’s 96% of House Republicans.

They voted against marriage equality: 157 out of 204 Republicans voted no; 7 didn’t vote. That’s 77% of House Republicans.

They voted against a bill guaranteeing a woman’s right to travel across state lines to obtain abortion services: 205 out of 208 Republicans voted no; 3 didn’t vote. That’s 97% of House Republicans.

Sixty-two percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal. Seventy percent support gay marriage. More than 90% of Americans believe birth control should be legal. I can’t find polling on whether Americans support the idea of women being able to cross state lines without restrictions, but one would hope that concept is also popular. And yet, Republican lawmakers are comfortable standing firmly against the firm will of the people. The laws protecting these rights passed through the House thanks to overwhelming Democratic support but will have trouble getting past a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

Bob Shepherd, polymath and educator, predicts the truly extraordinary goal of the far-right extremist Supreme Court. It mainly consists of dismantling the federal government’s powers. This was proclaimed by Steve Bannon in 2016 before the Trump election. In this rightwing dream, all federal laws protecting civil rights, women’s rights, climate change, etc. would disappear.

Shepherd writes:

Let me be as clear about this as I can be. My reading of what the Extreme Court has been up to is NOT that it means to do away with the doctrine of stare decisis. No. It means to establish, with Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health and West Virginia v. EPA, in this term, and with Moore v. Harper in the next term a new set of precedents designed to fulfil the conservative goals of a) shrinking the federal government down to a size at which it can be drowned in a bathtub and b) turning over power to state governments, many of which will be de facto theocracies under the new legal order. Dobbs provides a template or boilerplate for eliminating whole bodies of federal law and regulation related to unenumerated rights and with these these agencies and departments that do that regulation and enforcement. WV v. EPA is a template or boilerplate for eliminating government agencies or departments (or parts of these) that promulgate regulations pursuant to Congressional legislation on the basis of an argument that Congress can’t turn such decision-making over to Executive Branch agencies or departments because the Constitution insists that these are legislative matters. The idea, again, is to shrink the power and authority of the federal administrative state in full knowledge the fact that Congress,being divided, will not step into these various roles (will not, for example, agree on real climate change). And again, the effect of that will be, with the federal executive and legislature and courts all out of the picture, to turn all this power back to the states. And, finally, Moore will enable the court to rule that the feds cannot pass legislation to protect voting rights because determination of how voting is to be conducted is entirely up to state legislatures under this extremist reading of the Constitution. Again, the effect will be to eliminate federal power and agencies/departments and turn this all over to the states.

All this is revolutionary and is meant to be. It’s the fulfillment of a dream that conservatives in America have had for a long, long time. They have long believed in state’s rights, in the federal government being a monster not envisioned by the founders. This Extreme Court is simply making good on that.

And, btw, as with the various coup methods undertaken by Trump and his team, this has all been discussed on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast (or whatever he wants to call it). He recently devoted much of a program to this very topic: the ways in which work is underway to completely “dismantle the administrative state.”

Katherine Stewart is an expert on Christian Nationalism who has researched its history, attends their conferences, and writes about their determination to destroy our freedoms. Read her recent book “The Power Worshippers.”

Her latest article in The New York Times reports on their recent dramatic gains.

She writes:

The shape of the Christian nationalist movement in the post-Roe future is coming into view, and it should terrify anyone concerned for the future of constitutional democracy.

The Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the reproductive rights that American women have enjoyed over the past half-century will not lead America’s homegrown religious authoritarians to retire from the culture wars and enjoy a sweet moment of triumph. On the contrary, movement leaders are already preparing for a new and more brutal phase of their assault on individual rights and democratic self-governance. Breaking American democracy isn’t an unintended side effect of Christian nationalism. It is the point of the project.

A good place to gauge the spirit and intentions of the movement that brought us the radical majority on the Supreme Court is the annual Road to Majority Policy Conference. At this year’s event, which took place last month in Nashville, three clear trends were in evidence. First, the rhetoric of violence among movement leaders appeared to have increased significantly from the already alarming levels I had observed in previous years. Second, the theology of dominionism — that is, the belief that “right-thinking” Christians have a biblically derived mandate to take control of all aspects of government and society — is now explicitly embraced. And third, the movement’s key strategists were giddy about the legal arsenal that the Supreme Court had laid at their feet as they anticipated the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

They intend to use that arsenal — together with additional weaponry collected in cases like Carson v. Makin, which requires state funding of religious schools if private, secular schools are also being funded; and Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, which licenses religious proselytizing by public school officials — to prosecute a war on individual rights, not merely in so-called red state legislatures but throughout the nation.

Although metaphors of battle are common enough in political gatherings, this year’s rhetoric appeared more violent, more graphic and more tightly focused on fellow Americans, rather than on geopolitical foes.

“The greatest danger to America is not our enemies from the outside, as powerful as they may be,” said former President Donald Trump, who delivered the keynote address at the event. “The greatest danger to America is the destruction of our nation from the people from within. And you know the people I’m talking about.”

Speakers at the conference vied to outdo one another in their denigration of the people that Mr. Trump was evidently talking about. Democrats, they said, are “evil,” “tyrannical” and “the enemy within,” engaged in “a war against the truth.”

“The backlash is coming,” warned Senator Rick Scott of Florida. “Just mount up and ride to the sounds of the guns, and they are all over this country. It is time to take this country back.”

Citing the fight against Nazi Germany during the Battle of the Bulge, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson of North Carolina said, “We find ourselves in a pitched battle to literally save this nation.” Referencing a passage from Ephesians that Christian nationalists often use to signal their militancy, he added, “I don’t know about you, but I got my pack on, I got my boots on, I got my helmet on, I’ve got on the whole armor.”

It is not a stretch to link this rise in verbal aggression to the disinformation campaign to indoctrinate the Christian nationalist base in the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, along with what we’re learning from the Jan. 6 hearings. The movement is preparing “patriots” for the continuation of the assault on democracy in 2022 and 2024.

The intensification of verbal warfare is connected to shifts in the Christian nationalist movement’s messaging and outreach, which were very much in evidence at the Nashville conference. Seven Mountains Dominionism — the belief that “biblical” Christians should seek to dominate the seven key “mountains” or “molders” of American society, including the government — was once considered a fringe doctrine, even among representatives of the religious right. At last year’s Road to Majority conference, however, there was a breakout session devoted to the topic. This year, there were two sessions, and the once arcane language of the Seven Mountains creed was on multiple speakers’ lips.

The hunger for dominion that appears to motivate the leadership of the movement is the essential context for making sense of its strategy and intentions in the post-Roe world. The end of abortion rights is the beginning of a new and much more personal attack on individual rights.

And indeed it is personal. Much of the rhetoric on the right invokes visions of vigilante justice. This is about “good guys with guns” — or neighbors with good eavesdropping skills — heroically taking on the pernicious behavior of their fellow citizens. Among the principal battlefields will be the fallopian tubes and uteruses of women.

At a breakout session called “Life Is on the Line: What Does the Future of the Pro-Life Movement Look Like From Here?” Chelsey Youman, the Texas state director and national legislative adviser to Human Coalition Action, a Texas-based anti-abortion organization with a national strategic focus, described the connection between vigilantes and abortion rights.

Instead of the state regulating abortion providers, she explained, “You and me as citizens of Texas or this country or wherever we can pass this bill, can instead sue the abortion provider.” Mrs. Youman, as it happens, played a role in promoting the Texas law Senate Bill 8, which passed in May 2021 and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion. She was exultant over the likely passage of similar laws across the nation. “We have legislation ready to roll out for every single state you live in to protect life regardless of the Supreme Court, regardless of your circuit court.” To be sure, Christian nationalists are also pushing for a federal ban. But the struggle for the present will center on state-level enforcement mechanisms.

Movement leaders have also made it clear that the target of their ongoing offensive is not just in-state abortion providers, but what they call “abortion trafficking” — that is, women crossing state lines to access legal abortions, along with people who provide those women with services or support, like cars and taxis. Mrs. Youman hailed the development of a new “long-arm jurisdiction” bill that offers a mechanism for targeting out-of-state abortion providers. “It creates a wrongful death cause of action,” she said, “so we’re excited about that.”

The National Right to Life Committee’s model legislation for the post-Roe era includes broad criminal enforcement as well as civil enforcement mechanisms. “The model law also reaches well beyond the actual performance of an illegal abortion,” according to text on the organization’s website. It also includes “aiding or abetting an illegal abortion,” targeting people who provide “instructions over the telephone, the internet, or any other medium of communication.”

Mrs. Youman further made clear that Christian nationalists will target the pills used for medication abortions. “Our next big bill is going to make the Heartbeat Act look tame, you guys; they’re going to freak out!” she said. “It’s designed specifically to siphon off these illegal pills.”

Americans who stand outside the movement have consistently underestimated its radicalism. But this movement has been explicitly antidemocratic and anti-American for a long time.

It is also a mistake to imagine that Christian nationalism is a social movement arising from the grassroots and aiming to satisfy the real needs of its base. It isn’t. This is a leader-driven movement. The leaders set the agenda, and their main goals are power and access to public money. They aren’t serving the interests of their base; they are exploiting their base as a means of exploiting the rest of us.

Christian nationalism isn’t a route to the future. Its purpose is to hollow out democracy until nothing is left but a thin cover for rule by a supposedly right-thinking elite, bubble-wrapped in sanctimony and insulated from any real democratic check on its power.

Ohio adopted a strict abortion law, banning the procedure. When the parent, parents, or guardians of a 10-year-old sought an abortion, the child was rejected. According to doctors, she was six weeks and three days pregnant. She is now in Indiana, hoping to get an abortion before the law there changes. If she can’t get to the right state in time, she will be a 10- or 11-year-old mother. The story doesn’t say who fathered the child or what will happen to the baby if she carries it to full term.

I remembered seeing this case on Twitter, but couldn’t find the link. so I googled and found that there were many cases of children who had been impregnated. Often, the culprit was the mother’s boyfriend. The impregnated child was not protected by her mother. What happens to the children who become mothers? What happens to their child?

In about half our states, these child victims will no longer have the option of terminating a pregnancy that is the result of rape and/or incest.

As I googled, I was shocked to discover many cases of pregnant children. Most of their pregnancies were discovered too late to abort the baby. Who will care for it? Will the mother drop out of school?

In Missouri, an 11-year-old gave birth in a bathtub at home. Her mother was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The father of the baby was a 17-year-old cousin.

In Florida, a 46-year-old man impregnated a 10-year-old girl, then fled to Haiti, where he was arrested by US marshals and returned for trial.

In Dallas, a man sexually abused his daughter (not his biological daughter) from age 7 to 13, when she became pregnant. He also abused her younger sister. The man got a jail sentence and the girls and baby were put in foster care.

In Marion, Indiana, a 10-year-old was impregnated by her mother’s boyfriend. He was sentenced to 160 years in prison.

In Spartanburg, South Carolina, a child was impregnated twice by her pastor. He was sentenced to prison.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, a man was convicted of impregnating a child twice, once when she was 10, again when she was 11. He began abusing her when she was 7.

A man in Maryville, Tennessee, was convicted of taping and impregnating an 11-year-old girl. Her condition was not discovered until she was eight months pregnant. When he was arrested, he was in Florida with a 9-year-old girl.

In Oklahoma, the family of a 12-year-old girl gave a baby shower for her and her rapist. He was arrested.

In Oklahoma, a 12-year-old girl was impregnated by a man twice her age and gave birth to his child. The girl’s mother was arrested and charged with child neglect.

In Abbeville, South Carolina, a 26-year-old man was arrested for raping and impregnating a 9-year-old girl.

In Ascension Parish, Louisiana, a 35-year-old man was convicted of raping and impregnating an 11-year-old girl.

Then I discovered a medical abortion that was shocking. It is a rare medical condition (one in 500,000 births) called fetus-in-fetu. In these cases, a twin or triplet absorbs the bodies of the other sibling in utero. As a newborn, they have a mass in their stomach, which is the portions of their sibling. It can be confused with a tumor. It must be medically extracted. I wonder if this procedure would be banned in the states that prohibit any abortions.

What do I conclude from these horrible stories? Children need more protection than they have now. The decision to abort a fetus should be made by physicians and patients, not legislatures.

Columnist Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post believes that the cruelty of the new abortion laws is the point.

Two Republican governors, Kristi L. Noem of South Dakota and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, were asked on Sunday news talk shows about the case of a 10-year-old girl impregnated by her rapist. Are they really insisting that, regardless of the physical harm that giving birth could cause someone so young, the child be further tormented and forced to have the baby? Yes.


Reeves said these are such a “small, minor” number of cases. He wouldn’t say there should be an exception. Noem defended forced birth, insisting, “I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy.” The tragedy of forcing a 10-year-old to undergo a pregnancy and the pain of childbirth does not register with Noem.

These are not anomalies. Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) said, soon after the decision overturning Roe was announced, that, in his view, a 12-year-old impregnated by incest should be forced to complete her pregnancy. Herschel Walker, a Republican nominee for Senate in Georgia, would agree apparently since he wants no exceptions. Not even to save the woman’s life. Ohio state Rep. Jean Schmidt has called forcing a 13-year-old rape victim to give birth an “opportunity.”


Indeed, the number of states contemplating abortion bans with no exception for rape or incest might shock you. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards — a Democrat — just signed an abortion law with no exception for rape or incest. In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) seemed open to making an exception, but its absence won’t slow down implementation of the abortion ban in his state.

The New York Times reports, “There are no allowances for victims of rape or incest in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee or Texas.” In Idaho, a woman would have to file a police report to obtain an abortion, something virtually impossible for incest victims and others who live in fear of their attackers.

The monstrous cruelty of such bills shows how little many conservatives care about the well-being of women and girls who have already experienced the unbelievable trauma of sexual violence.

But it gets worse. Many states no longer consider exceptions for the health of the woman or create dangerous uncertainty that puts her life at risk. In the real medical world, where doctors and patients make decisions based on probabilities, the result of such abortion laws can be deadly for women. If abortion is legal only with the “imminent” risk of death, women can be left in peril, facing what can become fatal complications later in pregnancy — when the chances of survival have declined.


In Tennessee, for example, doctors are supposed to prove the woman couldn’t have lived without an abortion. (They must prove “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”)


NBC News reports:


Arizona’s 15-week abortion ban provides exceptions for emergencies when continuing the pregnancy will “create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” for the mother. Oklahoma’s recent ban, the most restrictive in the country, is focused on life-threatening situations. Mental health is almost never seen as enough of a reason to justify an abortion under the laws, said Carol Sanger, professor of law at Columbia University and the author of “About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in 21st-Century America.”


Republican candidates for governor in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin joined with antiabortion groups to seek bans “that would not allow the procedure even if the mother’s health were endangered,” The Post reports.

So, yeah, these Republicans care about the life of the unborn, but not the life of the mother. And as soon as the fetus is a child, they forget about him or her too.

Mark Joseph Stern, the legal analyst for Slate, asks and answers the question: was yesterday the most hopeless day of the SCOTUS term?

Yes. Yesterday and last week demonstrated the fact that we have a Supreme Court that is completely in the grip of the far-right branch of the Republican Party. They are extremists. They have no respect for the role of the Court.

Stern writes:

No single day has better captured the current state of the Supreme Court than Thursday. At 10 a.m., the court issued a devastating assault on the Biden administration’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in a 6–3 ruling joined by all of the court’s reactionary block. Ten minutes later, it issued a 5–4 opinion that just barely confirmed that the president, rather than a rogue judge in Texas, has authority over border policy, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh lending the lone votes preventing an absolutely insane outcome. Shortly thereafter, the court issued a bombshell orders list that tees up, for next term, one of the most important and dangerous democracy cases in American history, which asks whether state legislatures have near-unlimited authority over election laws.

The court’s most immediately lethal decisionremains Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade. But do not let Dobbs distract from the onslaught that followed it. If anyone still doubted that the Supreme Court served as the nation’s chief policymaking institution after Dobbs, Thursday should put that to rest. The court is ruthlessly efficient, putting our gridlocked Congress to shame with its speedy and definitive resolution of the most pressing issues facing the country today. It does not require hourslong hearings or endless negotiations to operate. The six-justice conservative majority chooses which conflicts to prioritize, takes up cases that present them, then picks a winner, nearly always for the benefit of the conservative movement and the Republican Party.

Consider the issues that SCOTUS has resolved this term—the first full term with a 6–3 conservative supermajority. The constitutional right to abortion: gone. States’ ability to limit guns in public: gone. Tribal sovereignty against state intrusion: gone. Effective constraints around separation of church and state: gone. The bar on prayer in public schools: gone. Effective enforcement of Miranda warnings: gone. The ability to sue violent border agents: gone. The Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases at power plants: gone. Vast areas of the law, established over the course of decades, washed away by a court over a few months.

There is no serious risk of another branch overriding these decisions. The squabbling among our elected representatives is, increasingly, a sideshow, with the court nudging along the decline of voters’ ability to shape their democracy. One-third of the court was appointed by a president who lost the popular vote, yet the majority evinces not a shred of caution about overriding the democratic branches or its own predecessors on the bench. It imposes Republican policies far more effectively than the Republican Party ever could. Real power in this country no longer lies in the people. It resides at the Supreme Court.