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July 01, 2022
Positively Dreadful
How to Restore Roe

In This Episode

The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, access to abortion has collapsed across the country, and Democrats in Washington don’t have the votes to undo the decision right now. It’s a mess! But we may be able get Roe back sooner than it seems—if Democrats and their allies in the reproductive rights movement learn from years of their own missteps, and quickly. That will determine whether restoring the right to abortion takes six months or 60 years.

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Brian Beutler: Hi. Welcome to Positively Dreadful. I’m your host, Brian Beutler. And if you’re new to the show this week, that may be because our first episode went live just a couple hours before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which is a bad time to launch anything, but also kind of a microcosm of what we want this show to be about, the shows about how things are happening all the time. A lot of the news is terrible and about how we should confront things as enormous and catastrophic as the summary abolition of reproductive rights without just sinking into despair, especially when we know we may be in the last few months of of unified Democratic Party control in Washington, and they don’t have enough votes to undo the decision right now. Metaphorically, I think of it like an earthquake or hurricane that strikes a country that doesn’t have the means to rebuild on its own. If outside help doesn’t come, the damage dwarfs the capacity of citizens working together, and things are just kind of permanently worse than they would have been. So how do we stop that? Or at least how do we minimize the risk that will have to wait decades to get back to where we were just last week? One thing we know for sure doesn’t work because it’s part of how we got here is to misapprehend or discount or delude ourselves about the scope of the challenge. And another thing that definitely doesn’t work is defeatism or cynicism about how bad things are or about the differences between the two parties. Right. Like that’s how we got George W. Bush and Donald Trump. And through them, four of the five justices who just imposed this cruel decision on the country. But if we’re going to give a quick rebound, the old college try, I think we also need to look at how it is that this court, this illegitimate court representing an unpopular minority faction, managed to win. What mistakes do we need to correct? What can we learn about what works and doesn’t from the acceptance of defeat? We went looking for a guest this week with those questions in mind, and so we reached out to Amy Littlefield. Amy’s abortion access correspondent for the Nation. She’s also reported critically in The New York Times and elsewhere on the mistakes the movement has made along the way, even before Roe versus Wade fell. And she’s here to apply that same clear eyed to what happens next. So, Amy Littlefield, welcome to Positively Dreadful.

 

Amy Littlefield: Thanks so much for having me, Brian.

 

Brian Beutler: So can you start by giving our listeners a sort of nickel summary of the essay you wrote in December 2021? It’s called Where the Pro-Choice Movement Went Wrong.

 

Amy Littlefield: Yeah. So this story opens with a phone call that happened on September 2nd, which was a day after the abortion anti-abortion law in Texas that banned abortions starting after about six weeks went into effect. And this was a huge crisis moment for the abortion rights movement. The Supreme Court had let this law go into effect and then pretty swiftly afterwards released an opinion saying that, in fact, they were going to allow it to stand. And side note, that six week ban is still in effect and has been in effect long enough that at this point, the people who were denied access in the beginning are beginning to give birth. If they were unable to access an abortion. And so this was sort of an all hands on deck moment for the movement to preserve abortion rights. And so Planned Parenthood hosted this enormous call with a whole bunch of activists. There were almost 500 people on, and they didn’t implement the basic security protections that they should have. And the call was infiltrated by someone who shouted racist slurs and interrupted the call with with racist language. And so the call had to be abruptly stopped. And I use that as a jumping off point to explore this question of how the abortion rights movement has sort of been pushed into a defensive posture where they’re often responding to crises rather than moving proactively and aggressively.

 

Brian Beutler: I kind of think it’s tempting for some people, and particularly for people who are in power right now to think of this backlash that we’re living through. Like it’s like it’s like clockwork, like a pendulum, almost. Like there’s there’s like a natural law that makes these cycles of progress and regression inevitable. And then there are others who are just livid at the people who are in charge for failing to stop this. Somewhere along the way over the last 30 years. I’m wondering where you fall sort of between those two theories of the case.

 

Amy Littlefield: I mean, I guess where I would come down is I think there’s two sides to the question of how we got here. Right. Which is a huge question that I will probably spend the rest of my career trying to answer. [laugh]

 

Brian Beutler: Do it in 30 seconds. [laugh] 30 seconds!

 

Amy Littlefield: Here’s the 32nd version. Right. So. So, I mean, one part of that is how the anti-abortion movement won. Right. Like one part of that is that I think the anti-abortion movement built perhaps the most successful or at least one of the most successful social movements since the civil rights movement right in our time. I mean, what they have achieved in our time is is astounding. And I think I can say unprecedented. Right. I mean, the Supreme Court just overruled a legal right, a civil right that has existed for almost 50 years in this country. And and so they built an incredibly successful grassroots movement in the years after Roe. They started in Sunday schools, in churches, in state legislatures, in school committees, city councils, you know, advancing step by step by step their agenda. And then they also built an incredibly successful and lucrative alliance with the Republican Party that, you know, quite frankly, the abortion rights movement has not been able to build an alliance that’s been as beneficial to them over time.

 

Brian Beutler: I guess I see both sides of the argument sort of between these factions in that, I mean, we really are experiencing a like a multifaceted backlash. And it’s not just against reproductive rights, democracy, equality, tolerance, all all the good things. On the other hand, I mean, you really can point to specific decisions that influential people made in the last 15 or 20 years that, you know, if they had done things differently, we might be in a different place today, that there might not be the votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade. Right. And you can start the clock at Bush v. Gore or with Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s retirement decisions and the myriad causes of Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Donald Trump. And, you know, you change any one of those things. And we’re living in a different world today.

 

Amy Littlefield: Totally. Totally. A lot of it was luck. A lot of it—

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah.

 

Amy Littlefield: —you know, luck for the other for the anti-abortion movement. Right? I mean—

 

Brian Beutler: Right.

 

Amy Littlefield: Luck that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died when she did. Luck that, you know, I mean, yeah, some of it was luck. And yet if they hadn’t had all of their ducks in a row at that crucial moment—

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm, yes.

 

Amy Littlefield: You know, this never would have happened.

 

Brian Beutler: They positioned themselves to take advantage of these wave like moments when they could, whereas the other side seems to have been caught flat footed more often than not. Maybe?

 

Amy Littlefield: Yeah, I think that’s right. I mean, I think, you know, I think overall, the the anti-abortion movement in particular has been in a sort of defensive, reactive position. I mean, we can see this in the way that, you know, we sort of all got used to when an anti-abortion law was passed. You know, you could sort of say, oh, okay, they passed that law. Well, it’s going to get stopped most likely—

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: Right? Because what happens? You know, the the legal groups would file a challenge and courts would tend to stop it.

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: And so that cycle sort of, you know, felt really predictable and sort of lulled people into this sense of, okay, yeah, they’re going to pass these increasingly extreme, draconian anti-abortion bills and then we’re going to wait and they’re going to oppose it in court. And the courts are going to say, yeah, this is unconstitutional. Well, that strategy, you know, sometimes worked [laugh] to ward off the worst anti-abortion laws, but some laws did make it through. Some laws weren’t challenged because they couldn’t. You know, there’s been somewhere in the area of 1,400 anti-abortion laws that have been enacted since Roe. Not all of them could be—

 

Brian Beutler: Right.

 

Amy Littlefield: —challenged in court. And now the Supreme Court is has an antiabortion majority. And so, you know, that strategy, which was defensive, which was reactive, has has failed. And I think what the anti-abortion movement was able to do extremely successfully is while they were building this alliance with the Republican Party and, you know, lining up the Supreme Court justices that they needed, they were building an enormously successful and aggressive movement in state legislatures and building power in the states in a way that I think the progressive movement, broadly speaking, has failed to do right. Progressives have often been focused more on winning federal elections, on federal policy, on fighting back through the courts. Meaghan Winter details this really powerfully in her book, All Politics Is Local. And on the other hand, you know, conservatives, you know, sort of by their nature, they like states rights, right? But they they’ve built state power in a way that that has allowed them to sort of to line up. I mean, you know, there’s such a sheer amount of anti-abortion laws now in some of these states that they’re not even sure now that Roe is gone which of their abortion laws they’re supposed to be enforcing first. [laughter] Right. I mean, just the sheer number of bills that they were able to get through is really staggering. And, you know, I think, frankly, the abortion rights movement and progressives writ large have have something to learn from that highly effective local strategy.

 

Brian Beutler: I mean, I thought you tackled the the contrast between the conservative local focus and the progressive national focus really well in your piece. Specifically you use, Narelle, as a as a case in point where they used to have scores and scores and scores and scores of, of local chapters. And over time that dwindled to almost nothing. And it was just almost a pure focus on the national picture. I’m wondering how you think things would look different if, for instance, NARAL hadn’t turned away from localism and if if there had been a more concrete grassroots focus all along.

 

Amy Littlefield: It’s such a great question. Yeah. And I mean, it’s important to note, and I learned this while I was reporting that New York Times piece, that the the abortion rights movement is sort of where that state by state strategy was pioneered. Right. Because before Roe v. Wade established a nationwide legal right to abortion, you had abortion reform activists who were fighting in the states to liberalize abortion laws. And so NARAL actually started out as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. And they were pushing, pushing, pushing sometimes really successfully in states like New York to repeal abortion laws that were on the books that were preventing access. But once Roe happened and there was this nationwide legal right to abortion established, I think we saw sort of a shift where anti-abortion groups mobilized at the city level and at the state level. And abortion rights groups that knew they now had this nationwide legal right tended to focus more on defending that right through the courts and on this sort of more defensive rather than proactive position. And so by the late 1970s, you know, a few years after Roe, you see that the National Right to Life Committee, which was the leading anti-abortion group at the time, had 3,000 local chapters. Right. I mean, this was their ground game, which is not to say I mean, a lot of the anti-abortion bills that they managed to pass through state legislatures over the decades that came after Roe were model bills, right.

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: That were written by [laugh] by anti-abortion strategists, by groups like Americans United for Life or by the National Right to Life Committee. But still, I think, you know, they they were able to build an enormously successful state based operation. And in the meantime, you know, NARAL, by the time they made the decision to get rid of their state affiliates, I think there were about 11 left. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, another major abortion rights group, recently made a similar decision. And so there is it seems like there’s this reaction to this crisis moment that we’re in that has to do with pulling away from the state based fight rather than although NARAL would say they’re not doing that. They’re shifting to a chapter model where they’re going to have sort of a more centralized message coming out of the national office. But they say they’re still going to do work in the States. But I think still too many of their critics and certainly to the leaders of these former NARAL’s state affiliates, they are saying, wait a minute, we’ve been in these states for years. We’ve been advancing proactive legislation to, you know, repeal parental consent laws to expand access. Why aren’t you investing more energy in that fight right now? Because even more than before, access is going to be something that’s determined by the state you live in and by how strong the abortion rights organizations in your state, in your state are and how much they’ve been able to influence state lawmakers.

 

Brian Beutler: It’s interesting. You can almost kind of see why people, you know, with a lot of power over how these things play out kind of think this cycle is inevitable, right? Like you push, push, push, push uphill until things go your way, right? You win Roe v Wade, you win Obergefell. And then suddenly the valence changes and you’re fending off retrenchment. Right. And you kind of your muscle memory isn’t necessarily there to to change the way you fight. Having said that, though, with this like repeated experience of of victories being followed by backlash, you would think that that the activists who won the victories would think, okay, now we got to switch strategies because there’s going to be a backlash and we need to be prepared for it and not rest on our heels or will face a big setback such as Dobbs.

 

Amy Littlefield: Right. Totally. And I think like and the backlash came right away.

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: But it wasn’t it’s it’s it started with, you know, it’s like that old saying, right. They, first they came for. Right.

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: Like first they came for Black women and Medicaid recipients. Right. And so in the first few years after Roe v. Wade, we saw the passage of the Hyde Amendment. So Congressmember Henry Hyde of Illinois standing up and saying, well, I would like to get rid of abortion access for everybody. That would be great. But I’m paraphrasing him here. Okay. [laugh] I would like to get rid of abortion access for everyone, but the only vehicle I have available in front of me is the Medicaid bill.

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: And so what he did was to advance a measure that would ban federal funding of abortion that is still in place to this day, that has been renewed every year [laugh] because it’s a rider to an appropriations bill. Congress has to keep approving it. And what that has done is cut off Medicaid funding of abortion and less states, which some have done authorize their own state funding to cover it. And so this has had an enormous impact in shaping the landscape of abortion access since almost, you know, since not not very many years after Roe was decided. Right. This was pretty quick. And I think we can look back at the failure to stop that in its tracks as one of the first key failures of the movement to protect abortion access. Michele Goodwin, the law professor at University of California, Irvine, when I interviewed her about this, said the Hyde Amendment, that should have been the fight, right? The line could have been drawn right there at, no, we’re not going to allow you to take away this right for poor women. We’re not going to allow you to take away this right for Medicaid recipients. And instead, that was sort of the first major cut [laugh] that was allowed to take effect. And I do want to say, I mean, there were efforts to push back against the Hyde Amendment really early on, most notably from Faye Wattleton, who became the first Black woman to lead Planned Parenthood in 1978. And she came right out the gate really strongly saying restoring Medicaid funding is going to be a top priority for me. And she faced a ton of pushback from within her own organizations, affiliates. And so, again, I think I wonder about when I look back at sort of what were some of the moments where things could have gone differently over time? I think that’s a really important one to say. What would it have looked like if voices of people like Faye Wattleton and, you know, other Black women organizers who were pushing back at the time saying this Hyde Amendment is going to be catastrophic for low income people in this country. You know, and it’s true. I mean, an enormous amount of energy and fundraising goes into raising money to pay for people’s abortions every single year because it’s become so normalized over time that the federal government doesn’t pay for that.

 

Brian Beutler: Susan Faludi, the feminist writer, had a New York Times essay a few days ago about the fall of Roe, and I think her view is pretty consistent with yours. But her angle was sort of she argues that the whole women’s equality movement got caught up trying to harness the power of celebrity and mass culture and make these ideas seem fully baked into sort of like the American social contract. And in doing so, they sort of lost sight of the power of grassroots work and also became sort of indistinguishable from celebrity culture itself and all the, you know, alienating things that go along with that. And I’m curious how you think that jives with your reporting.

 

Amy Littlefield: Yeah, I mean, I’m glad that you brought up this essay because I thought it was really interesting and provocative. I mean, I think I would agree with Susan Faludi critique of what I would say is just a co-optation of feminism by capitalism. Right. Like and she cites Andi Zeisler, who wrote a great book about this called We Were Feminists Once, where Andi calls it marketplace feminism. Right. I think you could also just call it capitalist feminism [laugh] when you see, you know, companies that are selling underwear and energy drinks that are marketed as feminists. [laugh] Right?

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: It reminds me a little bit of like when I was an angsty emo kid as a teenager and I would like go to the mall and saw, they were selling socks that said punk rock on them—

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: —like punk rock socks. [laugh] And I was like, That’s not punk rock, right? Like, those are socks. [laughter] Yeah—

 

Brian Beutler: Real punk rockers go barefoot.

 

Amy Littlefield: Right? Like, I’m not going to wear those socks because I’m a real punk rocker. But like, the you know, the point is that, like, that’s sort of a simulacrum of, you know, the thing, right?

 

Brian Beutler: Right.

 

Amy Littlefield: Not the thing itself. And so I think some of the examples she gives are they’re not feminism, they’re the exploitation of the surging popularity of feminist ideas. Right. Like, why did Beyonce, you know, blaze the word feminist behind her and this, you know, huge pop culture moment? Well, I mean, partly she wanted to make a statement and partly also she’s reading the, you know, the room and knows that that’s going to be a lucrative and and potentially profitable statement to make in that moment. So. So I think some of these things are signs of popularity, of feminist ideas. On the other hand, yeah, I would agree with her that like capitalism has led to this really detrimental and antithetical idea that feminism is about individual choice and not about political change and not about movement building. And I think, I guess my critique of the article, what I think it overlooks is where I try to focus my reporting is on what I see as the most vibrant parts of the abortion rights movement. Maybe you could call it a feminist movement. I don’t know. I think people would disagree about whether we really have a coherent feminist movement today. But I think where I focus, I’m like a, you know, evangelist of hope. [laugh] I always try to find hope by focusing on on grassroots organizing. And I think there is an enormous amount of organizing going on to try to preserve abortion access, to try to advance the cause of reproductive justice, which is the sweeping framework, you know, founded by Black women that says it’s not just about abortion rights. It’s also about the right to be free from state sponsored sterilization or state mandated sterilization. It’s also about the right to parent in safe communities. A lot of the organizing that’s going on, for example, right now, there are grassroots groups that have their heads down that are booking planes, booking busses, fundraising, paying for people’s abortions, figuring out is this state legal? Is this clinic still open? They’re they’re running this massive logistics operation to try to get people to the health care that they need. A lot of that organizing isn’t visible, right? It’s not often reported. And because it’s it’s sort of these activists don’t have a lot of time to talk about it. Right. I think an enormous amount of the energy of of feminist leaders and some of the most creative and talented people who believe in gender rights and abortion rights in recent years has gone into that direct action, that direct service work. And so that’s part of the reason, I think I mean, precisely because of some of these [laugh] anti-abortion policies like the Hyde Amendment and how successful they’ve been. So I think that’s partly why we don’t see as many examples of of, you know, feminist movements that, as, you know, we did maybe in the 1970s. I mean, I think it’s interesting, too. Susan Faludi brings up like an example in the piece about she talks about this, the Lean In feminism in Sheryl Sandberg, you know, from Meta, formerly Facebook, right where she like was in town to deliver a class day speech at Harvard University and housekeepers who were organizing at a Hilton DoubleTree Suites Hotel in Boston wanted to meet with her, and she refused. And so, yeah, so that’s a moment where you’re like, okay, Lean In feminism, like this whole. [laugh] I guess Susan Faludi calls it like celebrity feminism. You could also call it like capitalist feminism. Right, this idea that like the girlboss is going to save us that like if we just had more women, CEOs like things would be better. Like, that sort of fails right in that moment. And yeah I’m like, wait a minute, what about these housekeepers, right? Like, they’ve actually been running a really successful union campaign. And I think there’s been a huge surge in unionizing across all sectors, including the reproductive health sector, the nonprofit sector, you know, partly spurred by the sort of life and death matters of the pandemic. And that’s a place where I think you can see feminism grounded in, in a working class, intersectional politics really coming to the fore. And I think a lot of, you know, the MeToo movement and that energy, you know, has been channeled into these union campaigns and efforts to sort of renegotiate how sexual harassment is handled in the workplace, how, you know, racial injustice is handled in the workplace. For example.

 

Brian Beutler: How much of the, you know, problem that you described is overlooking the real work that’s being done to connect people in states with abortion bans, with out-of-state clinics and so on? Is that a product of them being overlooked versus them kind of not wanting a target on their back and wanting to work a little bit under the radar?

 

Amy Littlefield: I think it’s a good question. I mean, I think right now we’re at a really interesting moment because suddenly there’s this huge spotlight on this work. Right. Like suddenly the National Network of Abortion Funds has raised millions of dollars from tens of thousands of people who are outraged about the Roe v. Wade decision. You know, Roe v. Wade being overturned. You know, understandably. [laugh] Right. There’s a huge moment of crisis. And that tends to be moments where people donate to these groups, pay attention to these groups. And I do think abortion funds, which are the organizations that and practical support groups that move people around, that pay for their abortions, that have done this work, you know, in the shadows for a long time, they’re finally starting to get more attention. Right. I think often people’s knee jerk reaction was just to donate to Planned Parenthood. And now people are understanding that the landscape of access requires these these groups that do a lot more, especially when it comes to meeting the needs of of. I mean, not to say they do more than Planned Parenthood, but that more is required in order to meet the need than just having a brick and mortar clinic that’s open offering services. Right. And so I do think they’re getting more attention right now in this moment. But I think they’re also they’re overwhelmed. They’re inundated because a lot of these organizations rely on volunteers. They rely on part time staff, or they’ve only recently maybe hired staff members. You know, they’re they’re not set up to be a substitute for a national federally funded healthcare system. Right. And yet that’s what they’re having to rise to this moment to try to be right there, having to try to substitute for the failings of the federal government to provide this form of basic health care. And it’s an enormous strain on these organizations. And so I think they’re just dealing with I mean, I’ve talked to some of these groups who are like on Friday when the decision came down. Right. They’re having people call them saying, can I go to my appointment? I like I’ve heard my state wants to make abortion illegal. Like, what does this mean for me right now in this moment and like the map is shifting in real time—

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: And some of the state officials aren’t sure like which law, the one from, you know, before Roe or the one from, you know, the last legislative session. Which one do we enforce? You know, it’s it’s really confusing and overwhelming. And the desperation and the need, I mean, it’s it’s just enormous. And that’s being handled by groups that rely on volunteers and, you know, activists who are just structurally don’t have that. You know, they know that their work on that work will never be enough. Right. And yet they’re they’re scrambling to try to meet the needs of every patient they can. [music break]

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Brian Beutler: You alluded to the the sort of overlap between intersectional politics, the intersectional critique of politics and society and the reproductive rights movement. There’s a there’s a fight underway now. And it’s not just about reproductive rights, but it’s it’s sort of increasingly focused in that area about the power of language and the language center left leaders use and how they frame these big fights over what are ideally broad based rights. And so you end up with these like I mean, maybe this all seems larger to me because I spend too much time on Twitter or stuff like that. But, you know, ACLU will do a message on the disproportionate harm of the loss of abortion rights to LGBT people. And, you know, other activists and politicians will adopt and press the use of terms like pregnant or birthing people. And then on the other hand, you have, I think, most of the Democratic Party political class and also some people on the sort of materialist left who say we need to use language that the sort of vast pro Roe v. Wade majority understands. So they get that this is the same debate over choice that we’ve had since forever and that we should not at this specific moment where, you know, it should be all hands on deck to try to restore this right as quickly as possible to balkanize the coalition by emphasizing sort of parallel injustices. The fact that the center left coalition is far from a perfect bastion of equality. I’m curious how significant you think it is that this debate is happening now and where you come down on it and what the sort of optimal mode is for what you need to be like a 60% movement if we’re going to reverse this in any rapid fashion.

 

Amy Littlefield: Yeah, I’m glad you asked that question. I mean, I agree. We need all hands on deck right now. And I think crucially, all hands on deck includes trans people whose rights are being eroded aggressively in tandem with abortion rights. Right. And so I think it’s extremely important to use language that doesn’t alienate LGBTQ people and that is accurate. Right. I’m a journalist, so I believe in accuracy first. And it is inaccurate to suggest that only cis women have abortions. Are they the vast majority of people who have abortions? Yeah. Although we don’t have an accurate count of how many trans and non-binary people have abortions, we just. We don’t know. But that doesn’t mean that trans and non-binary people don’t have some abortions. And so when I write about this, you know, I’ve been using gender neutral terminology in all of my articles for a long time. I don’t think anyone reading my articles forgets that women are disproportionately impacted by this, that poor women are disproportionately impacted by this, that black women are disproportionately impacted by this, and that, you know, this is really about the future of women’s role in society. Right. It’s it’s also, you know, it’s crucial that we understand the same organizations that are very successfully attacking the rights of women and attacking access to abortion and contraception are also attacking. They’re the same groups that are waging battles against the right of trans girls to play sports, against the right of parents of trans kids to be able to seek and support their their children and seeking the health care they need. These are the same, you know, groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom. And I go to a lot of anti-abortion conferences and events as part of my job and observe this. They’re talking about eroding abortion rights and eroding the rights of trans people as part of the same battle. Right. Like they don’t see those two things as separate. And so I think it’s actually crucially important to understand how these issues are interconnected, how the enemy is the same. And I don’t think we lose anything at all. In fact, I think we gain something because by using more inclusive terminology, because we have the opportunity to build a more unified movement that understands that trans rights and abortion rights are inseparable. And so I use terms you know, I don’t I don’t use terms like uterus-haver, or in my writing. [laugh] I think I use terms like pregnant people and I use terms like patients which are accurate. I don’t think they’re distracting and I think they more accurately represent who has abortions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t use the word women from time to time or woman from time to time. When I’m talking about the fact that, yes, in fact, the assaults on abortion rights is an assault on women’s rights. It’s also, you know, an assault on the rights of other people who can get pregnant. And I just I don’t think we gain anything by denying that. I think a lot about the words of Imara Jones, a trans journalists who told me a long time ago and it’s coming to fruition. It’s proving to be true now that, you know, as far as the anti-abortion movement is concerned, like Roe is dead. Right. And this was a long time ago before Roe was actually that she told me this. And now it really is dead. And so the the you know, the sort of culture war, you know, right wing factions, groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom need another front in their, you know, in their sort of gender wars to rile up their base and trans rights. are that, right? And we’re seeing I mean, not that it’s new, but I think we’re seeing a huge, aggressive new push in that fight to erode the rights of trans people and to rile up that same base, you know, around similar language around this idea that somehow, you know, trans people existing and seeking health care infringes on, you know, the rights of of other Americans. Does that answer your question? [laugh]

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah, I mean, it does. I think it’s I think it’s I think it’s a strong answer. And like as a journalist, I strongly sympathize with the, like, accuracy above everything else. We can we can make like language be as precise as we need it to be. I guess if I’m conflicted about this, it’s from the it’s from the perspective of organizers, activist politicians. Like I personally think that the intersectional critique of of American society is more right than wrong. At the same time, like, for instance, you listen to two Republican senators like Ron Johnson or even I think even Ted Cruz with this coming down, you know, this is supposed to be the capstone to decades of hard work. They should be thrilled that abortion is now no longer a right. And what they’re what they’re saying, because they know that they’re they they’re not in the on the political high ground, which is pro Roe. They’re saying it’s not going to be that big a deal. Right. Like you can just cross state lines and get an abortion where it’s legal. So, you know, people are are are overexaggerating how big of a deal it’s going to be if the court overturns Roe v. Wade? And, you know, in the sort of like, you know, tired, median voter focused way, if you if you plant yourself there and you hear Republicans on the one hand saying this isn’t going to be a big deal for you. And you hear people on the left saying this is really going to be a big deal for for poor people, for for people of color, etc.. You in that position might think, oh, well, okay, this isn’t really a fight about me. It’s a fight about other people. And that as a tactical matter, that is a tactical matter. Whatever whatever you think is right as a critique of American society is not necessarily the right bench to take to make advancements on a substantive policy basis. Does that make sense?

 

Amy Littlefield: So you’re saying like the language that you might use. Strategically to appeal to sort of the the center of of the American political sector.

 

Brian Beutler: Right.

 

Amy Littlefield: Might be different than what you believe is like morally right?

 

Brian Beutler: Yes. And and not and not just in the reproductive rights realm.

 

Amy Littlefield: Sure.

 

Brian Beutler: I mean, this is or this is a this is a debate that’s kind of like really ripping the left center left apart on a number of fronts.

 

Amy Littlefield: Totally.

 

Brian Beutler: And I don’t know that there’s easy answers to it anywhere. And I also think that there’s a lot more there’s a lot of heat that’s obscuring what what could be light, where where where people kind of understand where each other is coming from, without without like assuming nefarious motives on the part of of others who disagree with them. I mean, I, I have no idea what what the right answer is. But, you know, this this crops up repeatedly. And, you know, you have to hope that whoever wins the fight on the left is. You know, their position is also the optimal one politically on a national level.

 

Amy Littlefield: Right. I mean, I think one thing we can say for sure, right, is that like whatever the Democratic leadership has been doing currently and in the recent years has not been successful. Right. I mean, right. The abortion rights just suffered their worst defeat in almost 50 years. Right. I mean, we are at I guess I can’t say this is like the lowest because probably it is going to get. I mean, we know that that. Right.

 

Brian Beutler: We’re not at bottom yet.

 

Amy Littlefield: You mentioned this idea that, oh, you can just travel across state lines. I mean, right. The next step is to go for a national ban or even a constitutional amendment. I mean, a constitutional amendment to ban abortion has always been the holy grail of the anti-abortion movement. Right. So it’s like, sure, they’re not coming for you until they are. But in terms of the idea of strategic language, I mean, look, I think a lot of the abortion rights activists I talk to, you will say like abortion is a tremendously popular political issue. Right. Like people broadly support abortion rights. Polls often show this opinions might be complicated because people’s experiences with abortion don’t track with the sort of like black and white, pro-choice, pro-life, you know, debate that they’re used to hearing. But still, I think there’s an enormous amount of political potential in slogans like everyone loves someone who had an abortion. Right.

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: Like that is the slogan used by groups like We Testify and the National Network of Abortion Funds. There’s an enormous push towards abortion storytelling, towards, you know, saying, hey, tell your friends and family if you’ve had an abortion to sort of de-stigmatize it, to personalize it. Right. Personalizing it is something the anti-abortion movement was extremely good at doing. Jennifer Holland writes about this in her her history book, Tiny You that, you know, the anti-abortion movement had these fetal models, these little tiny babies that they used to show people like, look, this was you you know, you were this tiny and and that you know, I’ve talked to some of the leading grassroots anti-abortion activists, folks like Mark Lee Dickson, like those were some of their formative moments, were looking at those little fetus dolls and saying, oh, that’s me, like forming a personal connection to that. And so I think the abortion rights movements answer to that are slogans like, everyone loves someone who’s had abortions. Right. Like people you love have been through this experience, you know, for for men in society. Right. Maybe you wouldn’t be where you are today if your girlfriend hadn’t had an abortion when you were in high school or, you know, personalizing it, maybe making people understand how much society has been shaped by these rights. I mean, you know, a lot of Democratic Party leadership, like there’s a whole movement to try to get them to even say the word abortion.

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah.

 

Amy Littlefield: Like to try to get Biden to say abortion out loud. And so, you know, I just I don’t think I think for a long time the Democratic Party and groups that are close to the Democratic Party have treated abortion like it’s a liability. And they’ve been up against a party that has recognized that attacking abortion as aggressively as possible will rile up enough of their base to help them keep winning elections. And that all they have to promise in return is everything which is the Supreme Court. Right. And so I just I think a lot of people are really disappointed in what they’re hearing or not hearing from Democratic leaders right now. And rhetoric is part of it. Right. Like rhetoric like coming out and saying the word abortion and saying everyone loves someone who’s had abortions and abortion is normal and abortion is health care. Like embracing some of those slogans is part of it. But another part of it is action. Right. Like there’s a movement to try to get the Biden administration to consider allowing abortion access on federal lands. And that has that’s not been considered. It’s been shot down by the administration, apparently, at least for now. So so, yeah, I think there’s a lot of groups are disappointed and sort of the the lack of leadership, which is not to say that we might not see more. I mean, you know, these are early days.

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah. I’m going to get to the Democrats in a second. But first, I confess, because I’m an amateur, I had not heard the slogan, everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion and like strikes me as brilliant. And so I’m glad you mentioned that. I’m also glad you mentioned the little like plastic fetuses that the that anti-abortion people would use. Because I’ve been thinking a lot lately through these setbacks in the abortion realm, in the gun control realm, about the power of tactical decisions like these. And it’s come to feel to me like like the pro-choice movement and the gun control movement. Maybe they became too buffeted by holding the high ground like mass opinion is on their side. And so they felt comfortable adopting something like. Respectability tactics, you know, these sort of polite high brow, like don’t get too confrontational tactics, whereas their opponents are like their open carry demonstrators or the Westboro Baptists or, you know, the people protesting outside of abortion clinics with these big, lurid pictures of aborted fetuses. And I’m wondering if something a little bit more visceral from the left would have been the right approach all along, or if that’s a bad fit for when you still have your rights intact and or if it should it be the approach now that the tide has turned against the good guys?

 

Amy Littlefield: Yeah, I mean, it’s a really interesting question. I do think, you know, structurally there has been more of a willingness, I mean, not just in the realm of abortion rights, but, you know, in terms of the Democratic Party and allied groups, you know, writ large to sort of play by the rules, to follow norms that, you know, Republicans and the right wing are willing to flout flagrantly. Right. I mean, whether it comes to, you know, breaking all the political rules to get their next Supreme Court justice on on you know, on the court or, you know, I mean, obviously, we’re in the midst of this really powerful moment around the January 6th riot. I can’t think of a more obvious example of the right wing just breaking all of the rules and norms than that. And so the question is like, would more rule breaking, would more like in-your-face direct action on the abortion rights or the progressive side have been tactical? I mean, I think one part of it. Right. Is that there is an enormous amount of extralegal direct action going on right now that is specifically geared towards getting abortion pills in the hands of people who aren’t going to be able to travel. You know, I was there during the Dobbs argument at the Supreme Court, and there was a group of abortion rights activists who took, you know, the abortion pill outside the Supreme Court and said, you know what? You say what you want to say, we’re doing it anyway. Like you’re you’re making decisions. We’re having abortions. I mean, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been posting instructions for how to self-manage abortion on social media. Right. Totally, unapologetically. And so, again, like, I do think there is there is some of it going on.

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah. I mean, I’m hearing in your answer sort of two distinct threads. One is what are smart, local, state based, whatever tactics to limit the harm of the decision? And then separately, what are good sort of political rhetorical gambits that the pro-choice side can can use to sort of taxify further taxify the Dobbs ruling and the Republicans who support it? I mean, a loose analogy to to the gun rights fight. And maybe I’m just thinking a little bit too, 1 to 1 with what Republicans do, what conservatives do when they’re protesting things. Jeh Johnson, the former homeland security secretary, had an op ed, I think it was in The Post, in The Washington Post, sort of pleading with the parents of the of the children in Uvalde to release the pictures, the crime scene pictures from the school in the in the spirit of of Mamie Till releasing that the pictures of of Emmett Till in his body as a way to to provide a sort of like ammunition to to the to the people fighting in that case for for gun control. But you can imagine a very similar plea on behalf of, you know, women who will die as a result of the Dobbs ruling. I mean, it worked for them. I mean, they’ve been they’ve been using these tactics, these sort of like very gruesome, vivid tactics for as long as I’ve been alive. And they just won.

 

Amy Littlefield: Yeah, totally. And I mean, you know, in the early days there there were images, iconic images. I mean, I can conjure one in my mind of a woman who died from an illegal abortion, right. Hunched over, I think, in a hotel room or something. Like there are images of dead women that are out there and there are ample stories of dead women that are circulating to remind people of the stakes here. I think one complicating factor right now is because there’s access to safe medication, abortion. I don’t think we’re going to see the same level of people dying from, you know, back alley abortions or from attempts to, you know, self-induced in abortion with coat hangers. Right. Because medication abortion, if groups can can successfully get it into people’s hands and raise the necessary amount of awareness about the fact that it’s out there, you know, I think that’s going to change the the language and the reality around how people die now that Roe is gone. I think the way that we’re like. To see people dying now that Roe is gone is people who are suffering from miscarriages, from ectopic pregnancies and are either too scared to seek care, or when they do seek care, their medical providers hesitate because they’re afraid to run afoul of harsh anti-abortion laws in the state. I mean, we’re already seeing this start to happen. People in the medical profession unsure of whether they’re able to treat someone with a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Again, an ectopic pregnancy means the pregnancy is in the fallopian tube or somewhere outside of the uterus. There is a 0% chance that pregnancy is going to survive and a very high chance that the person carrying it will die. Right. So, you know, we already have seen a preview of this when we look at Catholic hospitals that restrict access to reproductive health care under the the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives, that there is a hesitation to offer life saving care. I was speaking with advocates on the All Options Talk line, which is a counseling hotline that provides support to people making pregnancy decisions, whether it’s abortion or adoption or parenting. And they were telling me I was asking about the first 48 hours after this ruling came down. And they one of the calls that came in was from a woman in Florida who is experiencing a miscarriage. She needed emergency care. She was bleeding and in pain. And she was saying, am I going to go to jail if I go to the emergency room? She hadn’t she wasn’t having an abortion. She was having a miscarriage, but she was terrified. And abortion is still legal in Florida, right? At least for now. So, yeah, like there’s this enormous amount of fear. And then what happens if if the medical staff, they’re treating someone like that or misinformed or, you know, their legal counsel is afraid of what it’s going to mean to take care of someone in that moment. I think that’s how we’re going to see people dying. And it ties in to the maternal mortality crisis, which disproportionately affects Black women in this country. And so, I mean, I guess that’s a question of like, how do you illustrate that? How do you make that strike home for people? How do you you know, how do you make people understand, like to your point about the photos of Uvalde victims, like how do you say like this is personal, this could be your mother or your sister or your friend? Like I, I don’t know. [laughter]

 

Brian Beutler: Neither do I. I do want to I want to close on the national politics question. But first, I wanted to ask what now? Like, what can localism achieve in this gap of unknown length before maybe we can get this fixed at the national level?

 

Amy Littlefield: Totally. Yeah, that’s a great question.

 

Brian Beutler: Like, even if you want to, like, limit it to like, you know, top five or something like that, but just what is. [both speaking]

 

Amy Littlefield: Like things we can do?

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah, what is yeah, what are the things going on now that can can serve as like harm mitigation, you know, and on a protracted basis, depending on how long it takes for national leaders to to get this right.

 

Amy Littlefield: Totally. I mean, so number one is abortion access has always been a state issue. It’s always been determined by state legislatures and by state officials. Now we have district attorneys in the mix. Right. And the question of whether district attorneys are going to enforce abortion bans. So find out what is going on in your state. Find out who your local officials are. Some states are moving to expand abortion access. Some states are moving to restrict it. So this is going to become a state and city issue. I mean, let’s remember in Texas, the six week abortion ban that we talked about that went into effect in September. You know, that started with city ordinances. It was tested out with ordinances in cities across Texas. So pay attention to what’s going on in your city or town council as well. Another piece of this is there’s an enormous amount of energy going into getting the word out about the resources that are available. It’s a rapidly shifting landscape in terms of what’s allowed in different states, which clinics are open and so forth. Groups like Aid Access, however, which is based overseas, are supplying medication abortion regardless because they’re sort of beyond the reach of U.S. law. A really good resource to find out more about medication, abortion that people are trying to push out there is Plan C Pills dot org, which has a map where you can put in your state and see what the different options are. So there’s an enormous amount of effort, I think, to promote safe and accurate information about medication, abortion for people who can’t travel. And then the other piece of it is that logistics operation I talked about, right? That enormous amount of funding and energy that is being put into figuring out how do we get this person from South Dakota, you know, where there’s now no longer a clinic offering abortions to the nearest clinic? How do we, you know, charter the airplanes that we need? How do we pay for the bus tickets and the hotel rooms? How do we figure out how to get. People where they need to go. That work is being done by practical support groups and abortion funds. And so if you want to find out what’s going on in your area, you can go to the National Network of Abortion Funds website and look up your local abortion fund. And, you know, and there’s also independent clinics that are, in some cases, trying to stay open so that they can continue to offer other reproductive health care services. You know, clinics like West Alabama Women’s Center in Alabama that are determined to still try to be there for patients because in many cases, the alternative is an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center, where people are probably not going to get accurate information, certainly not going to get accurate information about where they can even go to to access an abortion. So so those are some of the things that I’ve observed that are going on where a lot of energy is being directed. But I think it’s really it’s a sort of reset moment to start rethinking the way that not just the the abortion rights movement, but the progressive movement more broadly builds state and local power.

 

Brian Beutler: So you’ve mentioned a number of times that a big mistake that the reproductive rights movement made over the years was this excessive focus on national politics. But it does seem like a big push at the national level is important now, irrespective of what’s happening at a more local level, simply because there’s still this one last long shot to like grow the Democratic majority, even just a tiny bit so that they can come back and codify Roe early next year. I mean, that’s obviously not a slam dunk and not a place like not a basket to put every egg in. But it does sound better than the alternative of grinding it out for the next 50 years in the hope, you know, that things go right enough and the Democrats win the right elections and Supreme Court justices retire just so so that you can undo the Dobbs decision. I sense that maybe there’s a risk that things swing too local for a moment where a national focus is appropriate.

 

Amy Littlefield: That’s interesting. I mean, I think it can’t be an either or.

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah.

 

Amy Littlefield: Right. Like and yeah, because when we look at how the anti-abortion movement did this, right, they they had to win presidential elections so they could get the people they wanted on the Supreme Court. They had to focus really hard on persuading, persuading people that the Supreme Court was a really interesting political issue for them to care about.

 

Brian Beutler: Mm hmm.

 

Amy Littlefield: And they had to make sure that all of the justices appointed were anti-abortion or enough of them. And then also they had to make sure that there were, you know, wave after wave of anti-abortion bills that were sitting waiting in that pipeline so that the Supreme Court could choose anyone they wanted to use to overturn Roe. Right. They needed. And in the meantime, restrict action, restrict abortion, render it off limits for as many people as they could in the states. And so I think, you know, it needs to be happening all at once. And there is pressure being exerted on Democrats. You know, there’s bills sitting in Congress right now, the Women’s Health Protection Act, that would codify Roe into law and preserve the nationwide legal right to abortion. There’s the EACH Act which would repeal the Hyde Amendment, that restriction on federal funding I talked about. And and those bills are there. And, you know, supporters there are Democrats that are pushing for them. And yet there doesn’t seem to be the political willpower to pass those measures even now.

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah. I mean, I remember after hearing the Dobbs oral arguments and seeing where this was all going, it was totally foreseeable that, A, Roe v. Wade would fall, B, people would turn to national Democrats to do something about it with their trifecta, C, that that they wouldn’t have the votes to do anything significant about it, you know, before the mid-terms, and that they also weren’t likely to win the midterms. And so that’s a mess. Right. And how can you harness the backlash to Dobbs if you’re the Democrats in a way that helps you in the election without actually doing the opposite, which is like demoralizing the people who are turning to you for help. And, you know, the only thing I can come up with is that you have to say, look, like we don’t have the votes right now. But if we do two more senators and the House, we will codify Roe in January of 2023. And I mean, you know, the honest truth about that is Republicans will probably find some district court judge to enjoin that new law and then it’s back up the ladder to the Supreme Court and who knows what they’ll do. And then you have to ask, are Democrats willing to change the court if they are lucky enough to preserve these majorities? And that seems really dubious. And you can you can get yourself really spun up about all the ways that this could go wrong. But the one step right in front of them is to is to say, if you if you give us this specific thing in the election, which is going to be an uphill climb, but is possible, then we will do the one thing that we we know. How to do legislate our way around this horrible Dobbs decision. And you have fortunately seen some movement in this direction among party leaders. Nancy Pelosi is there. I’ve seen some senators who support that view, but I just don’t think Joe Biden or Chuck Schumer are ready to are confident enough that they can deliver to make the promise. And so, I mean, I do have this sort of myopic focus on national politics because it’s my vocation. But but I do think that if all if all the Democrats are rowing in the same direction with that kind of thing, then you can have an election where it’s a referendum not unlike inflation or caravans or whatever else, but just simply like there’s been this shock to the system with the Dobbs ruling, and we’re going to fix it. And and, you know, that might be the secret sauce that that helps them defy historical odds and and win a midterm, you know, despite all these ambient conditions. That’s my hope, at least.

 

Amy Littlefield: I mean, I think it remains to be seen. I mean, I think that is what Democrats are trying to do. Right. Like I’ve been on the receiving end of fundraising emails that are like, this just happened, give us money so we can win in the midterms and fix this. And like, you know, there’s a joke going around like, oh, we just voted a harder, you know, yea vote harder and more you know, and that that would have you know. But I mean the fact is I’ve seen people, abortion rights activists saying hey we did vote and like you guys aren’t really, you know, helping us out much here. I mean, I hear you on that. Like, you know, structurally there are some major issues, you know, such as Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in the way there. But but I think like part of it is like is using the bully pulpit in a way that like, you know, President Biden hasn’t been willing to do. Right. I don’t know. What do you think the path to victory is like? I have to say, that scenario you outlined is pretty. Yeah, it’s not good, Brian. Like, I don’t think it’s good. [laughter]

 

Brian Beutler: No, I mean, like, I think I think about a lot of these things. It’s not just reproductive rights. It’s like climate change, the democracy fight. Right. Where if you if you look at the obstacles in the way of getting to a place that’s, you know, if not where everything’s fixed and where at least you have a foundation for for building in a better direction. It’s like, you know, it’s like trying to to roll out from under a garage door that’s about to slam shut. Right. But it’s still open a crack and you can still feasibly make it through. And I, I, I do think that, you know. There’s a non-zero chance that Democrats can turn the Dobbs ruling into a mobilizing tool in an election that they would otherwise be poised to lose. Right. Like already. The backlash to the Dobbs decision has inverted polling on who should control the House. So that’s promising. If you can if you can maintain that momentum for a few more months using some of the tactics that we just talked about on this show, maybe then, you know, Democrats can sort of defy the odds, get a couple more senators elected and keep the House and then pass the bill codifying Roe and see what happens right in. Like, who knows? I mean, from there, it’s maybe just a food fight. Maybe that’s the thing. If the Supreme Court strikes that down, maybe that’s the radicalizing moment where Democrats say, okay, gloves are off and we’re we’re going to take dismantled this court. But that’s like basically the only way I see through the closing garage door. Do you extend the metaphor? And if if you know, if they don’t try to take this election and turn it into a 1 to 1 referendum on Dobbs, then I think people will vote on other issues, just like you said. You know, they’ll say, well, you know, we already gave them the majority. They’re not using it. They’re not even promising to use a bigger majority to do this. So I’m going to vote on gas prices or democracy or immigration or whatever else. And those are much worse odds. So that’s the sort of like glimmer, glimmer of hope that I see. And I’m kind of like clinging to it. And I guess I’ll have to reevaluate over the coming weeks and then after the election.

 

Amy Littlefield: Yeah. I mean, I guess my fear in the scenario that you’re talking about is that in order to really meaningfully make this a referendum on abortion rights, I think the Democratic Party needs to be providing more of an alternative and more of a counterpoint than they have been so far. You know, I mean, I watched Nancy Pelosi’s speech responding to the Dobbs decision, like I wasn’t I wasn’t feeling like, you know, moved by it, particularly. You know, I wasn’t feeling like, wow, here’s like someone really coming out to, you know, change the game here.

 

Brian Beutler: Yeah, I, I can see that it it would be better to have a number of more vibrant, pugilistic Democratic leaders. [laughter] But it was in in her I think it was in her initial press conference after she said, you know, what I hope happens is that we get a couple more senators, keep the House and can pass legislation to fix this. I you know, there is obviously a sort of nightmare scenario where Democrats win the national vote for the House, but because of gerrymandering, they actually lose control over it. And then it’s like, you know, well, you should have fix that problem when you had your last majority.

 

Amy Littlefield: Right.

 

Brian Beutler: And they didn’t do it. I mean, I don’t know, like like we could probably paint through all kinds of scenarios where this doesn’t work out in a quick way, and it is a sort of decades long grind before the right to abortion gets restored. But, you know, whatever, if that happens, then you can, like, try to demand that they do it in the lame duck period. I don’t know. I’m just I’m spitballing at this point, but I do think that, like, it’s not I always try to tell myself that at the moment when I think like an issue is actually hopeless in the sort of political and organizing realm. And I’m not going to like pretend that, you know, there’s a clear opportunity for improvement. It’s it’s at some point, it really you really have just lost. But I don’t think. We’re necessarily there yet. Just very close.

 

Amy Littlefield: I mean, I think that’s why when I need to find hope, when I need to not, like, give up. I look to what grassroots activists are doing. There’s a huge amount of energy going into making sure that people can get the abortions they need, regardless of what happens in Congress or what happens in the midterm elections. And I think abortion funds, I think practical support groups, organizations like Plan C pills that are working on getting the word out about safe medication, abortion, you know, they’re leading the way. And, you know, a lot of it’s going to depend on how much. How much success these groups have at organizing and building a robust grassroots movement that can win state and local elections and start to rebuild power on this issue.

 

Brian Beutler: All right. I’ll I’ll leave it there. Amy Littlefield is the abortion access correspondent for The Nation. You can read her writing there and in The New York Times and she’s on Twitter at Amy Littlefield. Amy, this is really great. Thank you for being on Positively Dreadful.

 

Amy Littlefield: Thank you. It was an honor. [music break]

 

Brian Beutler: I admittedly have a hammer nail problem because I’ve covered national politics for so long. But I want to dwell a little bit on what I was just saying to Amy about the aftermath of the oral argument in Dobbs. And then when I realized that Ayro was very likely doomed and B, that when it fell, people would turn to Democrats for help and the Democrats would lack the power to do anything to help them. And what I came up with at the time is what I mentioned, that they should make this sort of clear promise, acknowledge that they can’t fix the problem now. But but they’re just two votes shy. Give us two more votes in the Senate and control the House and we’ll fix this in January. I’m Joe Biden. I will sign that bill in January of next year. I have seen this idea spread into the slipstream of national politics and you’re hearing more and more powerful Democrats adopt it. It obviously isn’t destined to work. But again, we’ve already seen polls move sharply in Democrats favor in the past week and seemingly all because of the reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision. And so the thing that I’m looking out for, the thing that that I’d like to see happen is for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and Chuck Schumer to catch up to where Nancy Pelosi is and articulate the promise as clearly as possible, because there’s too much ambiguity in the party’s message. If they don’t link the election directly to recodifying Roe. It’s easy to imagine a reversion and gettable voters casting their ballots on the basis of other issues. Positively Dreadful will be off next week in observance of Independence Day, but we’ll be back in mid-July. Positively Dreadful as a Crooked Media production. Our executive producer is Michael Martinez. Our associate producer is Olivia Martinez. Veronica Simonetti mixes and edits the show each week and our theme music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos.