Democrats, Republicans React to Alabama’s Abortion Ban
On Tuesday evening, Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) signed the controversial near-total abortion ban. The bill bans abortions in most cases, including rape or incest, and would punish doctors for performing an abortion in the state with a sentence up to 99 years. Democratic presidential candidates spoke forcefully against the law while several Republican senators, such as Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), both of whom are facing tough reelection fights, avoided the issue when asked. “I’m going to leave it to the folks in Alabama how to govern that state,” Tillis said. The different party reactions to the bill may be connected to shifts in how both parties prioritize the issue of abortion. The president made no mention of the law on Twitter. According to PRRI research, nearly half (47%) of Democrats say that abortion is a critical issue to them, compared to four in ten (40%) Republicans. The reverse was true a few years earlier. In 2015, 43% of Republicans compared to 36% of Democrats said that abortion was a critical concern.
Critics Charge New Texas Voter Fraud Bill as Voter Suppression
Over 100 people took to the Texas Capitol to oppose a bill that they are calling a voter suppression tactic, writes Taylor Goldenstein in The Houston Chronicle. The bill, Senate Bill 9, would increase criminal penalties on things like making false statements on a voter registration form (making it a felony) as well as create new charges for blocking people’s pathway to a polling station. The bill is supported by the state’s Republican senators. Supporters of the bill say that the bill would enhance election and integrity while opponents say that it needlessly disenfranchises thousands of Texans. The election comes in the wake of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s voter fraud investigations that have been found to have purged almost 100,000 Texas from voter rolls after suspecting that these voters were non-citizens. Per PRRI polling, more than six in ten (62%) Democrats say voter disenfranchisement is the bigger problem, while more than two-thirds (68%) of Republicans point to voter fraud as the greater concern.
Pat Robertson: “Alabama Abortion Law Has Gone Too Far”
Noted televangelist and abortion critic Pat Robertson came out against the Alabama near-total abortion ban. “I think Alabama has gone too far. It’s an extreme law,” Robertson said. “They want to challenge Roe v. Wade, but my humble view is that this is not the case that we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this will lose.” Robertson also criticized the law’s lack of exemptions for rape and incest. PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones points out a lack of support for extreme anti-abortion laws from all groups, including evangelicals. “Only 14% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in all cases,” Jones said. “Even among white evangelicals, less than three in ten believe abortion should be illegal in all cases; this view is also only shared by one in five Republicans.”
San Francisco Bans Government Use of Facial Recognition Technology
San Francisco recently became the first U.S. city to ban the use of this technology by the police and other public agencies. The city’s Board of Supervisors voted overwhelmingly eight to one on the decision. While these technologies have been in use for several years, they’ve come under fire for racial bias from civil liberties groups. A study by the MIT Media Lab found that this software had a tendency to generate mistakes in identifying gender if the person was a woman or had darker skin. Similar legislation is being considered in nearby Oakland and the state of Massachusetts.