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Cecile Richards and Mike Allen. Photo: Lawrence Jackson for Axios

Former Planned Parenthood head and Supermajority founder Cecile Richards told Axios' Mike Allen Friday that the wave of anti-abortion bills introduced in state legislatures this year is unlike anything she's ever seen in her lifetime of activism, and that she believes they will be politically damaging to Republicans.

"The 'heartbeat' bills are not only unconstitutional, they're absolutely inflaming women throughout the country, it's a huge issue. And with the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh [to the Supreme Court], the right to safe and legal abortion in this country is not just theoretically at risk — it is absolutely at risk."

Driving the news: The Alabama Senate was on the verge of passing the nation's strictest abortion bill on Thursday before the chamber erupted in a yelling match, forcing lawmakers to table the vote. Earlier this week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed into law a bill that prohibits abortions as soon a doctor can detect the first fetal heartbeat, which can come as soon as 6 weeks into pregnancy.

  • The Georgia "heartbeat" bill follows similar action taken by state governments in Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky and Iowa.

The big picture: Richards said that if the current trend lines continue, she believes women will comprise 53%–54% of the voters that turn out for the 2020 election. She added that it's important that so many women are running for president and bringing issues like child care and teacher pay to the forefront of the policy debate, but that she wants all candidates to be asked about women's issues.

Go deeper: A surge of restrictive state abortion bans take aim at Roe v. Wade

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Manchin, Schumer huddle with Biden in Delaware to discuss spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (L) and Sen. Joe Manchin (R) at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 13, 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will meet with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Delaware as Democrats look to reach an agreement on the massive spending measure.

Driving the news: Democrats are still negotiating what to keep in the bill and how to pay for it, with Biden saying on Thursday that the party does not have the votes to raise the corporate tax rate.

4 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.