Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Senate to Vote on Contraception on Wednesday

Carrie Sheffield is, in addition to being a freelance writer, one of the several right-wingers in CNN's stable of columnists. Her brand is "common sense conservative," and her core issue is abortion. She is broadly anti-choice, as you can surely guess.

Last week, she wrote a rather remarkable op-ed for CNN. Under the headline "A winning strategy for the GOP on abortion," she argues there is a "middle ground" that both Republicans and Democrats can agree upon:

As a pro-life Republican, I believe there's a winning strategy on abortion for the GOP to embrace, one that pushes for a goal both sides of the aisle can support: making abortion rarer. The first step is working together to prevent unwanted pregnancies. After all, preventing pregnancies rather than terminating them is less risky for women and far more cost-effective—a win for everyone.

A crucial way to do so is to increase access to contraceptives, which is why it's important that former President Donald Trump made clear on Tuesday in a Truth Social post that he supports access to contraceptives after some misinterpreted an interview he gave this week.

In addition, Sheffield wishes that Joe Biden would return to his early 2000s stance that "I think that [abortion] should be rare and safe," and that "I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions." She follows that by lamenting that:

Sadly, long gone are the days of former President Bill Clinton, who popularized the call to make abortions "safe, legal and rare." Now, some on the left support measures that would allow for late-term abortions and refuse to give a cutoff date for the procedure.

In short, Democrats need to return to their previously moderate ways. And if they can, it should be no problem to have a meeting of the minds with Donald Trump.

It really is remarkable that Sheffield was able to write that op-ed with a straight face, and to not realize she was scoring an "own goal." That is to say, the "moderate" position that she lays out is already the Democratic position. The "radical" perspective, which she vaguely ascribes to "some on the left," does not exist in the way she understands it. It is unheard of (or nearly so) for a woman to carry a fetus for, say, 25 weeks and THEN to say "Nah, I don't want to be a mother, after all." Those folks who resist limits on late-term abortions are concerned with keeping women's and doctors' options open in the event of medical calamities. Meanwhile, the notion that the nation's anti-choice forces would be perfectly fine with protecting access to contraceptives, and with doing everything possible to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place, flies in the face of reality. Certainly, some of those folks are pro-birth control. But an enormous number of them, including much of the activist class, definitely are not.

We write all of this as lead-up to the observation that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) knows what the score really is. And he is preparing an object lesson for the entire country. He sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues on the matter, in which he advised them:

Democrats have been clear we will not stand for these attacks and we will fight to preserve reproductive freedoms. That is why as we return from the Memorial Day state work period, Senate Democrats will be putting reproductive freedoms front and center. Before the break, I began the process for the Senate to consider the Right to Contraception Act, led by Senators Markey and Hirono. Members should expect to vote on that legislation on Wednesday this week. And there will be more action to come after that.

The Right to Contraception Act forbids the federal and state governments from restricting access to contraception or IVF, and decrees that "the right to contraception is a fundamental right, central to a person's privacy, health, wellbeing, dignity, liberty, equality, and ability to participate in the social and economic life of the Nation."

Schumer has tentatively scheduled a vote on the bill for tomorrow. If Sheffield has the right of it, it should be 100-0 since, after all, access to contraception is something that both conservatives and liberals agree upon, right? Of course, it won't be 100-0, or anything close to that. And even if the bill passes the Senate and is not filibustered, it's not going to get through the House. And then, anyone who is paying attention will know exactly where every member of Congress stands on the question of guaranteed access to contraception. In short, Joe Biden (see above) isn't the only one doing a little maneuvering with an eye upon the November elections. (Z)

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