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‘The Planned Parenthood primary’

Politics | Abortion is becoming an important issue in 2020 race for the White House
by Harvest Prude
Posted 5/23/19, 06:01 pm

WASHINGTON—A resurgence of legislation about the rights of unborn babies in states across the country has set up abortion to become a flashpoint issue in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Public debate about the rights of the unborn ignited last week after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law protecting babies in her state from abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and a number of other states have passed laws recently that safeguard the unborn early in pregnancy and protect them from brutal abortion methods. State legislators hope to take advantage of a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court that could eventually overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that led to the legalization of abortion nationwide. It is unclear so far whether the high court will consider the constitutionality of any of these state laws.

In response, Democratic lawmakers on the national stage are upping their verbal commitments to expanding abortion to energize their base, while President Donald Trump is warning that if he’s not reelected the pro-life gains made in the first 2½ years of his presidency could be in jeopardy after 2020.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have all backed repealing the Hyde Amendment, the 1976 law that prohibits federal funding from going toward abortion. On Friday, Warren released a plan calling for Congress to codify legal abortion in hopes of preventing a Supreme Court ruling that would protect more unborn lives.

Booker announced Wednesday he would add an “office of reproductive freedom” to the White House if elected. The office would advise his administration on how to make abortion more widely available. He also pledged to repeal the Global Protect Life policy, formerly known as the Mexico City policy, which keeps American taxpayer dollars from funding international projects that involve abortion. Earlier this month, Booker told BuzzFeed News he, like Warren, would sign legislation passed by Congress to codify Roe v. Wade into national law so the Supreme Court could not reverse it.

Even self-described moderate candidates have fallen into lockstep with pro-abortion positions. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has in the past struggled with the issue and once told a Catholic magazine that “abortion is always wrong,” recently told an American Civil Liberties Union volunteer that the Hyde Amendment “can’t stay.”

Those positions represent quite a shift from former President Bill Clinton’s stance that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare,” David Thornton, a contributor to The Resurgent noted. “It’s a litmus test for Democrats. You have to be pro-choice, and everybody has to be more pro-choice than the last one.”

Matt Carpenter, deputy director of state and local affairs for the Family Research Council, described the Democratic position as abortion on demand “throughout all stages of pregnancy on the taxpayer dime,” adding, “They’re in the Planned Parenthood primary now.”

Trump waded into the debate with a tweet on Saturday that sought to shape the 2020 race as a referendum on the sanctity of life. He described his own position as “strongly pro-life” and noted he had appointed more than 100 lower court judges and two Supreme Court Justices. Shortly after taking office, he reinstated what was then known as the Mexico City policy after President Barack Obama put it on hold and strengthened it in March of this year.

“The Radical Left, with late-term abortion (and worse), is imploding on this issue,” the president said in his tweet. “We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020. If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear.”

In Kentucky, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who signed a bill in March that protects unborn babies from abortions after six weeks’ gestation, narrowly fended off a primary challenge Tuesday night. In November, he will face the states’ Democratic attorney general, Andy Beshear, who has refused to defend Kentucky’s pro-life laws in court.

Thornton noted that polling has shown many Americans, even self-described “pro-choice” voters, favor some restrictions on abortion. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 65 percent of Americans said abortion should be illegal after the first three months of pregnancy. And Politico reported that about a quarter of voters described a president’s policies on abortion as “extremely important to their presidential vote choice.”

Carpenter said efforts to expand late-term abortions in New York and Virginia, as well as talk of enshrining abortion into federal law by Democratic candidates, could backfire as the debate over unborn lives continues to gain steam.

“2020 could be one of the first elections where the country is evenly split on pro-life and pro-abortion,” he said.

Associated Press/Photo by Carolyn Kaster Associated Press/Photo by Carolyn Kaster Rep. Justin Amash

Unabashed Amash

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., lost support from longtime allies and donors last weekend when he became the first Republican to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

In a series of tweets, Amash wrote that he had read and considered the entire report by special counsel Robert Mueller concerning Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and concluded, “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.”

Amash also had particularly harsh words for his congressional colleagues.

“We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees—on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice—depending on whether they’re discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump,” he wrote.

Subsequently, GOP House members took Amash to task.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, which Amash helped to found, said the group had discussed the matter, and “every single member disagrees, and strongly, with the position Justin took.”

The libertarian-leaning Amash has clashed with party leaders in the past but scored high for taking conservative positions in a rating of lawmakers by the American Conservative Union.

He also lost the support of Michigan’s powerful DeVos family, who are high-profile Republican donors. The family, to which U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos belongs, had backed Amash against previous primary challengers but has not made contributions to him during the current political cycle and does not plan to do so, a spokesman told The Detroit News. Amash already faces two GOP primary challengers so far, but this week he said they were not serious.

Meanwhile, speculation has swirled that Amash could be eyeing a challenge to Trump in 2020 as a possible Libertarian candidate. In a interview with CNN in March, he said he had not ruled out the possibility.

Amash did not endorse Trump in 2016 and has differed from him in the past, including in the president’s first month in office over efforts to ban immigrants from some Muslim-majority nations. Amash’s father came to the United States as a Christian Palestinian refugee in the 1950s, and his mother is an immigrant from Syria. —Anne K. Walters

Associated Press/Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta Associated Press/Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta President Donald Trump

Financial disclosure

President Donald Trump ran into two new setbacks involving his financial dealings on Monday. The New York Times reported that anti-laundering officials at Deutsche Bank in 2016 and 2017 recommended that transactions involving Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner be reported to a financial crimes unit in the U.S. Treasury Department.

Deutsche Bank executives decided to ignore the warnings and continued to do business with Trump and Kushner. The Times called the bank “the only mainstream financial institution consistently willing to do business with the real estate developer.”

“WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money,” the president tweeted in response to the Times story. “When you don’t need or want money, you don’t need or want banks. Banks have always been available to me; they want to make money.”

Investigators for the U.S. House of Representatives plan to subpoena Deutsche Bank as part of their investigation into Trump’s financial history.

Also on Monday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ruled that Trump had to give up his accounting records to Congress in compliance with another subpoena. His lawyers plan to appeal the decision. —Kyle Ziemnick

North Korea slams Biden

North Korea’s state-run news agency on Tuesday attacked former Vice President Joe Biden and accused him of slandering North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

At a campaign rally in Philadelphia on Saturday, Biden, a Democratic candidate for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020, rhetorically asked the crowd whether Americans “are a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Kim Jong Un?”

North Korean state media called Biden’s remarks “an intolerable and serious politically motivated provocation.” The article went on to list past controversies and embarrassments in Biden’s political career, warning he should “think back the reason for his past two failures in presidential elections.” Biden previously sought the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008.

While Biden has yet to personally respond, campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox News, “Given Vice President Biden’s record of standing up for American values and interests, it’s no surprise that North Korea would prefer that Donald Trump remain in the White House.” —H.P.

Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

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  • PaulC
    Posted: Thu, 05/23/2019 11:47 pm

    Editor:  In Unabashed Amash, your single line sentence should read "task"  not taks.

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Fri, 05/24/2019 09:21 am

    Thank you for writing to point out the error. It has been corrected.