May 16, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen
1 big thing: Now states are rushing to protect abortion

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Red states aren't the only part of America working to change abortion law in the new era of the Kavanaugh court.

  • "[A]bout nine states are considering some type of legislation that would strengthen abortion rights," the NYT reports.
  • "New York passed a law protecting abortion in later stages of pregnancy, and similar laws are now moving in Vermont and Rhode Island."
  • "Some states, including Nevada and New Mexico, are also working to repeal old restrictions that have been on the books for decades, to prevent them from being enforced if [Roe v. Wade] were overturned."

The big picture: The vast majority of abortion laws in recent years have been aimed at restricting access. 660 restrictions have passed since 2001, compared to 33 protections, the Washington Post notes.

  • "The six key restrictions include bans on many or most abortions, required counseling or waiting periods, restriction on Medicaid funding, prohibition of telemedicine for administering an abortion pill, required parental involvement for patients younger than 18 and specific restrictions on abortion clinics."
  • "The protections include support in the state constitution, legal standards protecting access, Medicaid coverage, permission for physician assistant or other providers, required private insurance coverage and protection for clinics."

Flashback: "It’s not the first time that activists in the abortion movement believed Roe was about to be overturned," the Times notes.

  • "When the Supreme Court took up Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case it ruled on in 1992, both sides of the issue felt certain that it would mean the end of federal abortion protections. Instead, it affirmed them, while opening the door for individual states to regulate at later stages of pregnancy."

What's next, per Axios' Sam Baker: Both sides of the debate expect the Supreme Court's conservative majority to uphold at least some of these state-level restrictions.

  • The court is likely to take up a challenge to Louisiana's anti-abortion law in its next term, and the justices are still debating whether to hear a suit over Indiana's restrictions, too.
  • Both of those are more incremental than Alabama's near-total ban, which will face much longer odds in a legal system that's still bound by precedent.

The bottom line: Chief Justice John Roberts seems likely to move relatively slowly here, rather than overturning Roe in one fell swoop.

  • But even narrow rulings upholding incremental restrictions still put more and more cracks in the Roe precedent.

Go deeper:

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Models walk the runway during the Ten Pieces show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Resort 20 Collections at Bondi Icebergs in Sydney, Australia.

2. What you missed
  1. Trump doesn't want his "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran to escalate to war, he told acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and other top officials yesterday, the NY Times reports.
  2. Trump's 2018 financial disclosure form is now public, shedding light into how much money he made in the second full year of his presidency. Read it yourself.
  3. The College Board will soon include adversity scores for any student who takes the college placement SAT test in an effort to better understand students' social and economic standings, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  4. The globe just experienced its second-warmest April since reliable instrument data began in 1880, according to NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency. Go deeper.
  5. #24: NYC mayor Bill de Blasio is running for president, he announced today. Announcement video.
3. 1 gator thing

"Staff at a U.S. Air Force base in Florida had to bring in a front-end loader to remove an alligator that was lounging on a runway," the AP reports.

  • "The Tampa Bay Times reports that the large reptile was spotted Tuesday morning on a MacDill Air Force Base flight line. The base shared a photo of the creature on Facebook, saying the friendly alligator was just 'preparing for take-off.'"
Mike Allen