Monday, July 18, 2022

When it comes to the political fall-out of Dobbs, functional Republicans have a better grasp than many Democrats do

Mentally, a lot of Democrats are in a strange place these days. They... hell, let's be honest, we won (since I'm clearly taking sides here).  We control the White House and, to a lesser degree, congress. The upcoming election is challenging but, at least for the moment, polls have been trending in our favor and the Republicans have given us a lot to work with.

Given the stakes of the next two elections, this would seem to be a moment for focus on the poor quality of Republican candidates and on issues where the GOP has locked itself into incredibly unpopular positions (particularly reproductive rights, the insurrection and the attack on Social Security and Medicare).

But instead of focus, we are all too often seeing despair and panic, or at the very least, a sense of helplessness.

 Take this reader letter that Josh Marshall ran along with approving comments in his editor's blog recently. [Emphasis added.]

    Just read your latest piece. I still think you are correct on the Codify Roe promise. But every single day that goes by without explicit promises, in living rooms and cars, the energy wanes. The right to abortion (and the right to privacy in general), affects many, many people. The actuality of it, on a day to day or week to week basis, doesn’t.

 We saw a lot of think pieces a couple of months ago arguing that the electoral impact of repealing Roe would be limited since the new laws and their impact would largely be confined to strongly anti-abortion states. (Something we pushed back against at the time.)

In defense of NYT and the rest, in May it was still possible that the outrage would fade and the impact would not go much past women who sought abortions in these states and did not have the option of traveling somewhere that the procedure was available. A serious (arguably unprecedented) roll back of civil rights, but with little political consequences.

We now know how wrong that view was and the horror stories -- underage rape victims, ectopic pregnancies, life-threatening miscarriages, denial of vital medications, travel restrictions -- will only continue to multiply affecting all women between 8 and 55 who may at some point find themselves even temporarily in states with a Republican legislature, and the families of those people and their employers.

Among Republicans, all but the Flavor Aid drinkers are obviously aware of this because they are desperate to change the subject.

(And too many Democrats are eager to oblige them.)

From the LA Times:

In Texas, dispensing methotrexate to someone who uses it to induce a miscarriage after 49 days of gestation is a felony; that makes pharmacists hesitant to fill such prescriptions for almost anyone with a uterus. A new total ban on abortion in Tennessee will effectively criminalize any medication that could disrupt pregnancy past the point of fertilization, with strict exceptions for a patient who will otherwise die. And in Virginia, confusion over rules about who is permitted to prescribe drugs “qualified as abortifacients” may be blocking access to the medication.

“That’s what was shocking to me,” said Schwarz, a 27-year-old who lives in Tysons Corner, Va. “In a state where I thought I was relatively protected regardless of what the Supreme Court decided, I found out I wasn’t.”

Methotrexate was originally developed as a chemotherapy agent more than 60 years ago. But in low doses, it has proved to be one of the safest, least expensive and most effective treatments for roughly a dozen autoimmune conditions, from juvenile idiopathic arthritis to Crohn’s disease.

“It’s one of the most common medications that I prescribe,” said Dr. Grant Schulert, a pediatric rheumatology specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “It’s really a mainstay of our practice.”


In one case, a pharmacist initially refused to dispense methotrexate to an 8-year-old girl in Texas. In a note the child’s doctor shared with Edens, the pharmacist wrote, “Females of possible child bearing potential have to have diagnosis on hard copy with state abortion laws.” 


“The majority of rheumatic diseases affect females at substantially higher rates than males,” Edens explained. “The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in women to men is 3 to 1. For lupus it’s 10 to 1. And so rheumatology is a very female-predominate patient population.”

This is not a fade away kind of issue.

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