David M. Rubin
IS THE SLEEPING GIANT OF AMERICAN POLITICS ABOUT TO AWAKEN?
If you need evidence of how discombobulated REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE is by the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling on abortion, try to parse this reaction statement she put out on Friday, June 24:
"Abortion for any reason up until birth is extreme, and the vast majority of Americans don't support it; 75 percent of Americans support some limitations."
If abortion for any reason "is extreme," then Mace by her own definition is an extremist. She has consistently supported a woman's right to choose in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger. Clearly those qualify as "any reason."
She is quite wrong that the "vast majority" of Americans "don't support" abortion. From 60 percent to 70 percent did not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Only 15 to 20 percent want to ban abortion entirely. Sixty percent would not ban abortion until at least the 15th week of pregnancy.
Even in South Carolina, slightly more than 50 percent of those polled support some abortion rights. That may surprise many in the Palmetto State.
When Mace told Margaret Brennan on CBS's Face the Nation that the polling on abortion is murky, the only thing murky is Mace's own confusion on the issue. She is in the distinct minority on how women view abortion rights, both nationally and in her increasingly Democratic Congressional district. This gives DR. ANNIE ANDREWS, her Democratic opponent in the House race, a clear line of attack.
Where Mace is confused and flustered, SENATOR TIM SCOTT remains a predictable foe of abortion rights. He was a reliable Senate vote to confirm the three Trump appointees to the Supreme Court who rejected the will of the majority and decided that after 50 years of settled law, a woman has no Constitutional right of privacy concerning her own reproductive health.
The rest of his voting record has been consistently opposed to a woman's right to choose. For example:
Scott has voted to keep federal funds away from Planned Parenthood and any abortion services provider.
After the leak of the Alito draft opinion overturning Roe, Scott was one of 47 Senators who blocked passage of a bill that would have provided some abortion rights under federal law.
He sponsored a bill to extend Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights to the "pre-born," a litigation nightmare if there ever was one.
Further, he is on record stating that human life begins at conception. Unlike Mace, he has never made clear if he would permit abortion in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.
While Scott tries to present a courtly and amiable public face, he is, in fact, a snake. This was clear in May when he made a cynical, racist and calculated political attack on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when she testified in front of the Senate Banking Committee on the subject of inflation.
Yellen had made the obvious point that for some women, regardless of race, bearing a child without adequate financial and family resources can make it difficult to participate in the economic life of the country. Unwanted pregnancy as a correlate to poverty is hardly a controversial idea. Yellen was not encouraging or defending abortion, or singling out Black women. She was just noting that in some circumstances, abortion should be an option.
Scott was quick to pounce---rudely to Yellen's face and in a column for the Washington Post. He falsely accused Yellen of urging Black mothers to use abortion as an economic lifeline. From atop his high horse, Scott wrote that "abortion is not the way to help single Black mothers....If abortion is our first and best answer to ensure that women and low income families can thrive economically, the U.S. has reached one our darkest times in our history."
We have, indeed, reached one of the darkest times in our history, and Scott has done more than his share to get us there.
Yellen never said abortion is "the first and best" method of avoiding poverty. Scott did. He then dredged up, as he always does, his own upbringing by a hard-working single mother, as if this is the only acceptable model of parenting. She didn't abort him, so why should any mother seek an abortion or have that option? (He makes no mention of a father.)
Scott then brought up his bogus "economic opportunity zone" program and the phantom $29 billion in investment it has supposedly brought to poor communities. Even if this program actually addressed urban poverty (which it doesn't), it has zero to do with a woman's right to choose. But, when you don't have logic or facts on your side, go on the attack and change the subject. Republicans are expert at that.
Regardless of what Scott and Mace might like politically, the abortion issue will only get hotter between now and November. That is because GOVERNOR HENRY MCMASTER has pledged to recall the South Carolina Legislature to debate whether the state's current law on abortion should be made even more restrictive. McMaster wants a law that would ban abortion in all circumstances, with no exceptions. Mace does not prefer this. Scott? Who knows?
McMaster's rigid position will give his Democratic opponent, JOE CUNNINGHAM, the chance to go on the attack. Mace and Scott will be forced to weigh in. At the center will be Republican members of the State Legislature who will vote on any new bill. All members of the Assembly are up for re-election, so their votes will be closely watched.
Tricia Bruce, a sociologist at Notre Dame who studies public attitudes toward abortion, has noted that in the decades after Roe, antiabortion activists were organized, motivated, and certain that God was on their side. With Roe now history, she wonders if Americans who want abortion rights will finally awaken and fight radical Republicans to reclaim them. She calls this group a political "sleeping giant."
If Mace, Scott, McMaster, and state-level Republicans aren't worried about this as the November midterms approach, they should be. The Democratic Sleeping Giant will finally be on the offense, and it's mad as hell.