Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democrats say they're itching for a political fight over abortion rights — and that it will help them in the 2022 midterms. But even if they're right, they’re still losing the war.

The big picture: The Supreme Court appears to be barreling toward rulings giving red states significantly more power to restrict women's access to abortions, if not to ban the procedure outright.

Driving the news: Even many conservatives were taken aback when the nation's high court on Wednesday allowed a Texas law to take effect that bans almost all abortions in the state and allows private citizens to sue anyone who helped facilitate one.

What they’re saying: Democrats say the sheer sweep of Texas’ law and the highly unusual way it’s written make it a juicy political target.

  • “I want to see the GOP defend the idea that your nosy neighbor can sue your aunt for driving you to the hospital,” a senior White House aide told Axios.

Where it stands: The court did not rule on the law’s merits, and legal experts say there’s a good chance it ultimately won’t survive that challenge. But, for now, a ban on abortions after about six weeks is on the books in America's second most populous state — and clinics are reportedly turning women away.

  • A more straightforward abortion case — one widely seen as a likely vehicle for the conservative court to chip away at Roe v. Wade — was already teed up for the justices’ next term, which starts next month.

Between the lines: Top White House aides know that a high-profile fight over abortion rights will also energize Republicans and that the odds of passing any sort of remedy in Congress are slim.

  • But they want to force centrist Republican senators to defend a law that they believe will draw substantial backlash, not only from the left.
  • Texas’ approach of allowing strangers to sue doctors, nurses, or even Uber drivers may also offend moderates — and swing voters — Democrats argue, including the suburban voters key to winning a House majority.

What’s next: House Democrats will hold a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify abortion rights into federal law, soon after they return from recess.

  • “I think this is a massive political gift to Democrats because this is exactly what we've been talking about for a very long time with respect to the court,” a senior House Democratic aide said.

The other side: “I would be careful if I were them,” said an influential conservative legal figure, referring to the White House’s desire to elevate the Texas case.

  • The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a case over Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks and will likely hand down a decision next summer.
  • Critics say a 15-week ban violates the standards the high court laid out in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
  • Mississippi, on the other hand, says the court should not only uphold a 15-week ban, but also overturn Roe.
  • “The Texas law makes the Mississippi law look very reasonable,” the conservative legal figure said. “The more play the Texas law gets, the easier it is to uphold Mississippi. Because the Mississippi law is no longer the end of the world.”

What we're hearing: Texas' new law allows anyone to sue anyone else who performs or facilitates an abortion. That vigilantism may ultimately doom the Texas law whenever the courts rule on its merits, legal experts say.

  • The Mississippi law is a much more straightforward restriction. It presents an obvious path for the court to chip away at abortion rights without overturning Roe outright — the kind of long-game ruling we’ve have come to expect from Chief Justice John Roberts — or to open the door much wider, if Roberts is again unable to persuade his fellow conservatives to go slow.

The bottom line: “The Supreme Court could overturn Roe and the Texas law could later get kicked out by a court on grounds that have nothing to do with Roe or Casey,” the conservative legal figure said.

  • A strong performance by Democrats in the midterms wouldn’t stop that from happening.

Go deeper

Oct 15, 2021 - Sports

Texas House passes bill targeting trans youth in sports

LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas state capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of trans student athletes. Photo: Tamir Kalifa via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 76-54 Thursday to pass legislation that would require public school students to play on sports teams based on their assigned sex at birth, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is poised to sign into law, would make Texas one of nine states that passed laws targeting tans youth this year.

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

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO blames predecessors for manufacturing woes

Axios on HBO

When it comes to Intel's recent manufacturing problems, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger places the blame squarely on his predecessors — many of whom he notes were not engineers deeply steeped in chip technology, as he is.

Why it matters: Gelsinger has announced a broad plan to reinvigorate Intel by doubling down on manufacturing. However, the strategy depends on the venerable semiconductor giant recovering from recent stumbles.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!