The alleged excuses for Biden agreeing to appoint an anti-choice judge in KY are not making people feel better

By now you’ve probably heard that many people are ripshit about President Biden doing Mitch McConnell’s bidding in possibly handing an anti-abortion judge a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

I keep waiting for some big announcement out of the White House to confirm, deny, or justify such a thing.

So far, nothing:

President Joe Biden’s bad deal with Mitch McConnell hasn’t improved in the past week since the story broke. It just keeps getting worse. Initial reports, broken by the Courier-Journal, that Biden had agreed to appoint an anti-abortion Federalist Society member, Chad Meredith, to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. Meredith had proven too tarnished by his association with former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to stay on Donald Trump’s nominee list, but McConnell was sticking with him. That report suggested that the agreement was this appointment for McConnell’s promise to stop blocking other nominees.

Follow-up reporting from Slate makes it worse. The agreement between Biden and McConnell isn’t for McConnell’s help in getting all nominees through—it’s a trade for two U.S. attorneys Biden wants in Kentucky—two temporary appointments, lasting probably just for the duration of the Biden administration. In trade for putting a judge that has the potential to be another Clarence Thomas on a path to the Supreme Court.

Like I said, a very bad and even more embarrassing trade. HuffPost’s Travis Waldron and Jen Bendery report on a 2018 letter Meredith’s former boss, Stephen Pitt, a general counsel to Bevin sent to McConnell. The letter was supporting Meredith’s nomination to a federal judgeship in 2018. Meredith, Pitt wrote, “would be a strong and dependable conservative asset to the federal judiciary for decades.” Pitt promised Meredith would “adhere to the textualist and originalist viewpoint followed by the late Justice Scalia and by other justices, such as Justice Thomas and Justice [Neil] Gorsuch.”

So, if we are to believe the Slate story, this is basically happening because of stupid insider politics in the Democratic Party. Payback to someone.

Crazy. Just makes no sense, and I don’t see how it could ever make sense considering current circumstances.

Chad Meredith.

First female and first openly gay sheriff in SC pushes back against state abortion law

At least one South Carolina sheriff is pushing back against a state law mandating that sheriffs get involved in cases of women who are pregnant as a result of rape/incest who seek abortions:

Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano commented Friday on her office’s role in the recently passed law that essentially bans abortion after six weeks.

The state legislature now asks abortion providers to send sheriff’s offices reports of women who were impregnated by rape or incest and are trying to terminate the pregnancy.

“I want the public to know that while these providers are now mandated by law to send us these reports regardless of the will of their patients, we will not contact the patient if she doesn’t want us to,” Graziano said. “We will offer our support and investigative services only if they request it.”

“I know all too well the pain and heartache that comes from sexual assault, as a family member to a victim and as someone who has worked with them as a law enforcement officer,” she continued. “It is traumatizing, and my agency will do everything we can to offer care, solace and respect to these women who are seeking health care.”

Graziano is the first female and the first openly lesbian sheriff elected in South Carolina.

Sheriff Kristin Graziano

Before Roe was decided in 1973, there was the Jane Collective

Pregnant Chicago-area women who wanted to end their pregnancies could turn to this group of women who risked their freedom and careers:

Into this moment, four years before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, came the Jane Collective, a grassroots organization of young women who provided access to terminations for women who had no other options. They saw what they were doing as an ethical imperative. There was “a philosophical obligation on our part to disrespect a law that disrespected women,” Jody Howard, one of the group’s leaders, says in an archival interview. (Howard died in 2010.) Some of them had had illegal abortions themselves. Many were also tired of being excluded or silenced by other activist organizations at the time, whose leaders seemed unconcerned about women’s rights and were hostile to members who tried to speak up about women dying on the reproductive front lines.

In its earliest days, Jane built on the work of its co-founder Heather Booth, who was a student at the University of Chicago when a friend asked her for help getting an abortion for his sister, who was pregnant and near-suicidal. Booth contacted a doctor she knew from the civil-rights movement, who agreed to perform the procedure, and subsequent others as word spread. As demand became too much for Booth to manage, she recruited other women; they named the group Jane for clandestine purposes, and because it was a “nice simple name,” one member explains. They left flyers around town reading pregnant? don’t want to be? call jane. Volunteers would drive patients to their initial consultations, and then to an apartment or a house where the procedures were performed. Patients paid whatever they could afford.

Jane was far from perfect. As time went on, its organizers became more and more demographically different from the women they treated. Few questions were asked about the medical credentials of the man who performed most of the abortions early on, a former construction worker who’d seemingly trained with a Mafia doctor and appeared largely in it for the money. (He was also “highly skillful and treated the women well,” one Jane member says, while another woman interviewed described her abortion, perhaps strangely, as “the best medical experience I ever had.”) Organizers were at times naive about the fact that they were operating in plain sight of the Chicago Police Department, who tended to turn a blind eye, likely because of the women’s middle-class credentials and the fact that they occasionally helped the cops’ daughters and mistresses.

But the lesson from The Janes is that, in the absence of justice and political power—and without any meaningful acknowledgment of the right that human life has inherent value worth preserving even after it leaves the womb—there’s enormous potential for collective action.

Now we have pharmaceutical abortifacients and “morning after” pills, but we might need a new Jane Collective to get them to women in states that make those medications — or even providing them — illegal. And, of course, to get pregnant women to medical providers who will give them choices after it is too late for pills.

(The HBO documentary The Janes is available now here.)

Members of the Jane Collective in 1972.

‘The State Behind Roe’s Likely Demise Also Does the Least for New Parents in Need’

No surprise here: Mississippi, one of the most conservative states on abortion, also provides the least in the way of services for pregnant mothers and newborns

I’d be a lot more likely to believe pro-lifers when they say their primary concern is “the precious baby” if not for the fact that so many of them also support draconian financial policies when it comes to pregnant mothers and, eventually, their newborn babies.

The people at Pro Publica take a look at this phenomenon that sort of proves that, for many socalled “pro life” people, the point is Republican politics and not the baby they claim to love so much:

When it comes to reproductive care, Mississippi has a dual distinction. The state spawned the law that likely will lead to the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade. It is also unique among Deep South states for doing the least to provide health care coverage to low-income people who have given birth.

Mississippians on Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor, lose coverage a mere 60 days after childbirth. That’s often well before the onset of postpartum depression or life-threatening, birth-related infections: A 2020 study found that people racked up 81% of their postpartum expenses between 60 days and a year after delivery. And Mississippi’s own Maternal Mortality Review Committee found that 37% of pregnancy-related deaths between 2013 and 2016 occurred more than six weeks postpartum.

Every other state in the Deep South has extended or is in the process of extending Medicaid coverage to 12 months postpartum. Wyoming and South Dakota are the only other states where trigger laws will outlaw nearly all abortions if Roe falls and where lawmakers haven’t expanded Medicaid or extended postpartum coverage.

Abortion is complicated for me. I really want to know at what point the fetus become sentient and is able to feel pain.

But I have a difficult time believing things that come out of the mouths of many pro-lifers because so much of it is right-wing gobbledygook rather than genuine concern for babies.