opinion | Republicans must pay a political price for abortion bans

The right to abortion is protected in the Kansas state constitution, and a decisive majority of voters held it there on Tuesday. Fifty-nine percent of Kansans who went to the polls voted against a constitutional amendment that would have opened the door to full-blown abortion bans like those in neighboring states like Missouri and Oklahoma.

What makes this all the more striking is the fact that Kansas is one of the most trusted Republican states in the country. Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election with more than 56 percent of the vote. Three of the four House representatives are Republicans, and the two Republican senators, Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall, are among the most conservative in the Senate.

Anti-abortion activists were confident they would succeed. Instead, they dealt a devastating blow to their project.

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this defeat. The Kansas vote marks the first abortion vote since the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned Roe v. Wade. It is the first time voters have had a chance to think about new abortion restrictions, and the result is a stunning victory for Kansans and Americans, who believe the right to abortion is an integral part of our freedom under the Constitution.

If it’s not already clear that Dobbs has messed up American politics, the Kansas vote makes it clear. Republicans can still win the House and even the Senate in November. But the sheer unpopularity of abortion bans — as well as the monstrous consequences for women in states that have banned abortion — carries a heavy weight around the neck of the entire Republican Party.

The task, for the national Democratic Party, is to make that weight even heavier. And for that they have the model of Kansas, where pro-choice activists went on the offensive against restrictists. They sharply contrasted their goals with those of their opponents and made abortion rights a hot topic for voters.

Republicans don’t want to fight in this field — see the immediate campaign to downplay Dobbs’ post-ruling impact — which is all the more reason for Democrats to get them to do it.


I didn’t have a column this week! However, I’ve done other things. I joined the Left Anchor podcast at The American Prospect (my journalistic alma mater) to discuss the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and how to take both back from the political right.

I also shot a short video for the Criterion Channel exploring the career of the late great actor Yaphet Kotto.


Annie Lowrey on pregnancy and motherhood for The Atlantic.

Jennifer L. Morgan on Slavery and Reproductive Rights for the African American Intellectual History Society.

A 1978 interview with screenwriter-director Paul Schrader about his debut film ‘Blue Collar’.

Gaby Del Valle on “environmental nativism” for The Nation magazine.

Monica Potts on Republicans and same-sex marriage for FiveThirtyEight.

The transcript of Vin Scully’s radio call of the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax’ perfect 1965 game against the Chicago Cubs.


I’m a huge fan of the Beastie Boys, so when I saw this mural the last time I was in New York, I had to snap a photo.


My son has become something of an ice cream connoisseur and often asks for different flavors of ice cream to make at home. This week we made strawberry ice cream using a recipe from David Lebovitz’s book, “The Perfect Scoop”. Here’s the recipe and, frankly, you’ll need an ice cream maker for this.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and peeled

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vodka or other liqueur

  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • a splash of fresh lemon juice

Travel directions

Slice the strawberries and toss them in a bowl with the sugar and vodka, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Pulse the strawberries and their liquid with the sour cream, whipping cream and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth, but still slightly coarse.

Refrigerate for an hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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