May 19, 2022
Abortion politics and the long road to Dobbs
To a remarkable degree, party elites have sorted on abortion. When the House voted on the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, codifying the right to abortion prior to viability and thereafter if “continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health,” every Democrat but one was in favor, and every single Republican was opposed. The result was the same in the Senate, where a vote to advance the bill failed 49-51. The one Democrat who voted no in the House, the corrupt but loyal Henry Cuellar of Texas, faces a runoff challenger to his left, Jessica Cisneros, backed by national groups like Justice Democrats. It is a proxy fight about House Democratic leadership generally, as those leaders have been for decades happy to back members who don’t ruffle feathers in Washington and whom they deem good fits for their districts, but in terms of abortion politics, it’s a sideshow.