Abortion rights groups gird themselves for another disappointing court decision
Plus: Thoughts on the GOP reaction to the possible Trump indictment and what to expect from Congress and the Biden administration’s response to the SVB fallout.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Welcome to Supercreator Daily, your weekday morning guide to the politicians, power brokers and policies shaping the American creator experience. It’s Monday, March 20, aka International Day of Happiness Day.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: As the nation waits for a decision from a Texas judge in a case that could threaten access to medication abortion and states like Wyoming ban abortion pills, abortion rights advocacy groups are hard at work exploring how they can make abortion care accessible to people who can get pregnant regardless of the case outcome.
States have become abortion battlegrounds as the House Republican majority and 60-vote threshold in the Senate prevent congressional Democrats from restoring the federal right to abortion care under Roe v. Wade which was overturned by the Supreme Court last summer. President Biden has also exhausted many of the meaningful actions he can take with his executive authority so blue-state legislatures and governors are the final backstops against anti-abortion measures until the balance of power in the courts and Congress shifts again.
At the center of the Texas case and Wyoming ban is mifepristone, an oral medication typically used in combination with another drug as an alternative to surgical abortion and to manage early miscarriage.
This two-drug protocol accounts for the majority of abortions. And earlier in the pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration made it possible for mifepristone to be obtained through telehealth appointments and mail-order pharmacies as opposed to in-person, changes that the Biden administration would later make permanent. This accessibility is what’s made the drug a target of the anti-abortion movement.
“Mifepristone is safe, effective, and has been used by more than five million people since the FDA approved it more than 20 years ago,” Danika Severino Wynn, a certified nurse-midwife and vice president of abortion access at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said to Supercreator in a statement. “This case is a politically motivated attack to remove mifepristone from the market, which could have far-reaching consequences for patients’ access to abortion nationwide and to other FDA-approved medications.”
And even though medication abortion is still legal at the federal level, the inconsistency at the state level has discouraged companies like Walgreens from selling the abortion pill in Republican-controlled states after two dozen red-state attorneys general threatened the company with legal action.
Earlier this month after five women in Texas filed a lawsuit over the state’s abortion ban, Jen Klein, director of the White House Gender Policy Council, told me that a huge focus of her team’s work is on making sure voters remember the power of their voice and the importance of organizing movements ahead of elections — a stay-ready-so-you-don’t-have-to-get-ready vibe, if you will.
“Yes, it is a long time to wait until you have the chance to exercise that right again,” Klein said. “But I just urge people to keep their eye on the ball and to really follow and to know whether they are actually being represented by people who share their values so whether you’re voting for a ballot initiative or a candidate, you know and understand your role.”
See also: “Many Americans would oppose a ruling that blocks FDA-approved abortion pill” (Ricky Zipp / Morning Consult)
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IN OTHER NEWS: This weekend demonstrated another instance of former Donald Trump hijacking an otherwise chill news cycle with a hysterical claim that he would be indicted tomorrow in connection to allegations he paid hush money to sex worker Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an encounter they had years earlier.
The post to Trump’s social app Truth Social reportedly even surprised some of his own lawyers and political advisors and included what could be interpreted as a thinly veiled incitement of violence, similar to what we saw ahead of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021: “PROTEST! TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.”
As expected, House Republicans and some of their conservative Senate counterparts circled the wagons around the leader of their party while attacking Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for leading a politically motivated investigation without providing any proof — never mind the fact that Trump has been under several criminal investigations since he became a public figure in the 1970s but before he ever became a politician. (Bragg, as demonstrated in an email to his staff, seems unbothered by the noise.)
During the opening press conference of the House Republicans’ annual retreat, Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters that any lawyer would conclude that “this is the weakest case out there” although it was unclear that he had seen any evidence to back up this claim. It’s worth noting that McCarthy didn’t mention Trump or the reported indictment in his opening remarks and did reject any calls for political violence from the former president’s supporters.
But the speaker also added that he spoke with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who chairs a subcommittee on the so-called weaponization of government and indicated it would announce action on an investigation into whether federal funds were used in the Trump indictment process.
Republicans have such little credibility in this arena tough. Their modern political playbook deploys outrage as a tool to paint Democrats and their policy differences and inclusive values with broad strokes of wokeism, whataboutism and victimhood. It’s no wonder why though: In the new economy, attention is currency. And on social media and cable news and in the corporate press, these accusations don’t require evidence to support them — just an extremely online coterie to amplify these broadsides.
These distractions put pressure on congressional Democrats and the Biden administration to respond. It’s exhausting for them to do so and for reporters to cover. And the goal is to divert eyes and ears from the unpopularity of most Republican policies and the way that the GOP has gerrymandered congressional districts to make it easier for them to keep power anyway.
Democrats aren’t above reproach, of course. In recent decades, for all the inroads they’ve made with voters of color and young people, the party has largely underserved and overlooked the rural communities that now undergird today’s GOP. But that doesn’t make Democrats enemies of the state motivated by nothing more than a partisan, unquenchable thirst for power. And as long as the Republican Party’s path to victory requires it to demonize Democrats’ application of the rule of law as insidious no matter the circumstances, it’s the everyday people they’re privileged to serve who will suffer the most.
ON ANOTHER NOTE: A week after the White House sprung into action to stabilize the financial markets after the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, the administration has turned its attention to holding bank executives accountable for their role in the crisis.
The politics against government bailouts have hardened since 2009 when top bank executives were awarded nearly $1.6 billion in taxpayer dollars for salaries, bonuses and other benefits. This shift comes as wage inequality has widened, union membership has declined, and support for investments in federal social programs has increased in the years since. The administration’s policy response is a case in point.
“This is really about making sure that people have faith that this will not happen again,” Daniel Hornung, one of President Biden’s economic advisors at the National Economic Council, told me in an interview last Friday. “And one of the ways we do it is by holding folks accountable.”
Biden has called on Congress to pass legislation to enable regulators to recoup executive compensation from leaders at failed banks and bring fines against executives of failed banks. The president also wants lawmakers to prohibit executives from holding jobs in the banking industry when their banks receive a bailout.
Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the top House Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, announced legislation that would authorize the actions the president is requesting. But House Republicans and senators from both parties are hesitant to approve new regulations without thorough hearings and investigations first.
“I think you want to get all the facts, but it seems as though regulators didn’t do their jobs,” Speaker McCarthy said last Friday to reporters on his way to greet President Biden at the Capitol for the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon.
But the administration is skeptical that a deliberate response is what the current moment requires.
“It’s hard to look at the events of the last week and come to any conclusion other than that we need to take urgent action here,” Hornung said.
In the days ahead, he added that President Biden would propose additional specifics on how to repeal some of the rollbacks from the Trump administration that critics say created the conditions for the SVP collapse and to make sure the government is appropriately regulating banks appropriately so consumers, depositors and taxpayers are protected.
House Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry and Rep. Waters announced last Friday that the first hearing on the bank failures will be next Wednesday, March 29.
MONDAY HAPPENINGS: President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden this afternoon will host actor Jason Sudeikis and the cast of the Apple+ hit show Ted Lasso for a discussion about mental health at the White House.
Prior to this event, the president and first lady will host a reception in the East Room celebrating Norwuz, the Persian new year. Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will attend.
Biden’s week ahead:
Tuesday: The president will speak at the White House Conservation in Action Summit at the Department of Interior. He and Dr. Biden will also host an Arts and Humanities Award Ceremony at the White House.
Wednesday: The Bidens will host a Women’s History Month reception at the White House.
Thursday: The president will host an anniversary event for the Affordable Care Act before traveling to Ottawa, Canada with the first lady to reaffirm the US’s commitment to its partnership with Canada.
Friday: President Biden will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and speak to the Canadian Parliament. The Bidens will travel to Wilmington, Delaware from Canada for the weekend.
Vice President Harris will also hold a press call with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu after the Norwuz reception to announce funding for wildfire resilience.
The House is out as Republicans gather for the second day of their annual retreat in Orlando. (ICYMI: I attended the House Democrats’ retreat in Baltimore earlier this month. Read my coverage from the three-day confab.)
The Senate is out.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: My MacBook was on the fritz last week so Apple techs had to ship it wherever they send products they’re unable to fix at the Genius Bar.
Instead of worrying about the professional inconvenience and unexpected expense, I decided to take an unplanned hiatus from the newsletter and make progress on some other editorial projects that have been collecting dust.
Apologies for not giving you fine folks a heads-up. But big love to everyone who noticed the newsletter was MIA and checked in to ask what was up. 🤗