Good morning! This week, Ada Limón was named the U.S. poet laureate, I finally saw Everything Everywhere All At Once (overhyped, IMO) and local news proved to be essential reading for understanding exactly what a post-Roe America will look like in the coming months and years. Thank you to the reporters at the Columbus Dispatch. Thanks, also, to Maya Parthasarathy for your help with this newsletter.
Abby McCloskey is a longtime Republican, the daughter of a Republican who ran for Congress as soon as he could and the former president of Wheaton College’s chapter of Students for Free Enterprise. Today, she runs a consulting firm, and she has worked on Republican and independent presidential campaigns. But through all those years, she watched as the party fell short on pro-family policies and being inclusive to women. Then she had kids — and realized just how much the Republican Party was neglecting women as a whole but mothers in particular.
She wrote about that experience in Politico Magazine this week, but she also uses that experience as an urgent call to Republicans: Millennial mothers like her are a massive missed opportunity. And not only could they potentially save the party, they could also help fix politics. Read the full piece here. Highlights are below.
Why women are leaving the GOP: “I’m an economic analyst, not a pollster,” McCloskey writes. “But reasons given for the general flight of women from the GOP abound.” She points to the crassness of some elected Republicans, especially Donald Trump, especially when it comes to women, and the increasing focus on issues that women are likely to disagree with the GOP on: immigration, healthcare and gun rights.
But there is also the glaring fact that many of the women who lean Democratic are millennials, or those from their mid-20s to 40. These are also the women who are likely to be starting families, and who are realizing that neither party — but Republicans in particular — has really prioritized their issues. McCloskey points to the GOP’s lack of attention to family policies, such as parental leave, paid sick leave and childcare.
The party is coming around, slowly: McCloskey has experienced the difficulties of being a woman in the Republican establishment firsthand, as a staffer at the American Enterprise Institute. While there, she published articles on childcare, women’s economic opportunity and single motherhood, but she was one of only two women on her team, and felt that there was confusion over how these ideas fit into a conservative policy framework. McCloskey draws a link between a lack of robust female representation at think tanks as well as in Congress, and a lack of seriousness when it comes to considering policies that affect women and families.
Now, though, McCloskey points to a number of Republicans, including Utah Senator Mitt Romney and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who have come together with new, innovative ideas in this space, potentially pointing the way toward a new GOP.
Can a family-focused GOP square itself with a post-Roe country? Yes, says McCloskey, and it must. “As a result of that ruling, millions more babies are going to be born, especially in red states, and, morally and economically, the GOP must demonstrate its commitment to caring for those babies and their parents,” writes McCloskey.
Now more than ever, the GOP should take a look at policies that would provide job protection, financial security and paid time off for new mothers. She points to reforms that can be made to existing tax credit and block grant programs that would provide more financial support to low- and middle-income parents. There are also innovative ways to make it easier for mothers to work part time and switch jobs, McCloskey writes, such as “portable benefits” that are tied to individuals rather than employers.
More engaged mothers, in both parties, could help fix politics. “As Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky wrote in their book How Democracies Die, one of the few prescriptive ways out of our polarized doom loop is a stronger center-right party,” writes McCloskey. “This screams millennial moms to me.” These are the ones, McCloskey writes, who are just trying to get food on the table and kids put to sleep — those who don’t fit neatly into either party and thus have the freedom to hold their politicians accountable.
CALL FOR QUESTIONS – Have a lingering question about what could be ahead for reproductive rights and politics after the SCOTUS ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade? Join national political correspondent Elena Schneider on 7/21 at 1 p.m. ET for a Women Rule “Ask Me Anything” virtual conversation where reporters will answer your questions on the aftermath of the Dobbs ruling, how it is reshaping the midterms & 2024 presidential field and what it means for health care. RSVP here to submit a question.
“The secret support system for former aides taking on Trump: The other women,” by Meredith McGraw for POLITICO: “As Cassidy Hutchinson sat alone at a long wooden table inside a Capitol Hill hearing room, her one-time Trump White House colleague Alyssa Farah Griffin, watched from the CNN green room.
“Griffin felt nervous. And for good reason. Hutchinson’s testimony before the Jan. 6 committee had been kept largely secret up till a day or so before. When it was revealed, it was under the billing that it would provide bombshells about what had transpired inside the Trump White House on that day.
“As Hutchinson began laying out those eye-popping revelations, Griffin texted another former colleague, Sarah Matthews, slated to soon testify before the same committee. And she reached out to Olivia Troye, a former Trump national security official who was sitting in the hearing room as Hutchinson testified.
“The women felt mutually stunned as they watched. They were also concerned for Hutchinson, understanding that as soon as she left that hearing room, she’d face intense scrutiny from the media, nasty messages and encounters online and, at times, in person, and the loneliness of being a Republican in Washington who speaks out against former President Donald Trump. After all, they each experienced that themselves.
“When the proceedings were done they each reached out to Hutchinson, too.”
“Biden admin to pharmacies: Refusing to fill contraception and abortion pill prescriptions could break federal law,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein for POLITICO: “Senior Biden administration officials announced Wednesday that they are reminding tens of thousands of pharmacies around the country that they risk violating civil rights laws if they refuse to fill orders for contraception or abortion medication or discriminate based on a person’s pregnancy status.
“The action comes a few weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and gave more than a dozen states a green light to ban abortion, and aims to respond to a wave of reports that pharmacies in those states are refusing to not only fill prescriptions for abortion and contraception pills but also other medications that they speculate could be used off-label to terminate a pregnancy.
“‘Under federal civil rights law, pregnancy discrimination includes discrimination based on current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth,’ reads new guidance, which the Department of Health and Human Services is sending to more than 60,000 retail pharmacies this week.”
“FDA weighs first-ever application for over-the-counter birth control pills in the wake of Roe’s fall,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein for POLITICO … “Congress tees up bills to protect travel for abortion,” by Tanya Snyder and Alice Miranda Ollstein for POLITICO
Read more here.
“Unimaginable abortion stories will become more common. Is American journalism ready?” by Lauara Hazard Owen in Nieman Lab: “As more states restrict or ban abortion, more girls who are raped will face a choice between crossing state lines for care or having babies while they are still in elementary school.
“I wish that this weren’t true. But events this week make it very clear that if you can’t bear to believe it — even if it seems so impossible that it needs a heartily skeptical fact-checking treatment — it is going to happen.
“And reporters who want to tell these stories (and the news organizations those reporters work for) may have to abandon some conventional journalism wisdom in order to give the stories the attention they deserve.
“Last week, in response to the Supreme Court’s vote to strike down Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in an attempt to protect abortion access. In remarks at the time, Biden said, ‘Just last week, it was reported that a 10-year-old girl was a rape victim — 10 years old — and she was forced to have to travel out of state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life.’ The story he was citing was published by the Indianapolis Star on July 1. …
“The two-byline story — written by Shari Rudavsky and Rachel Fradette — made headlines around the world. But the firstreactionofmainlyright-leaningnews organizations — despite the fact that the doctor who performed the abortion was on the record saying this happened — was to try to debunk it.”
“Dr. Caitlin Bernard Was Meant to Write This With Me Before She Was Attacked for Doing Her Job,” by Dr. Tracey A. Wilkinson in the New York Times: “Earlier this week I was preparing to write a guest essay with my colleague, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an ob-gyn here in Indiana. We wanted to write about the chilling effect that the overturning of Roe v. Wade has had on medicine in our state and around the country in just a few short weeks. But then Dr. Bernard became a target of a national smear campaign for speaking out about her 10-year-old patient, a rape victim from Ohio who needed an abortion and had to travel to Indiana to receive one, given the restrictions in her home state.
“On Wednesday night, our state’s attorney general said his office would be investigating Dr. Bernard. So I’m writing this essay myself, not only to bring attention to the chilling effect on medicine we’re seeing at this moment — but also because I’m terrified that I or any one of our colleagues could soon face what Dr. Bernard is going through after delivering care to our patients.
“When we talk about the importance of reproductive health care in the lives of our patients, we often weave in patient stories to humanize the often complex legal and medical concepts for the audience. Dr. Bernard told the story of her patient from Ohio as an example of how abortion bans can impact the most vulnerable.
“The attacks on her were instantaneous and fierce. Multiple state attorneys general and high-profile conservatives suggested that Dr. Bernard was a liar. Punditsquestioned her integrity, and articles in numerous news outlets cast doubt on the story, with The Wall Street Journal editorial board declaring it a ‘fanciful tale’ that was ‘too good to confirm.’”
“The Older Woman Comes of Age,” by Megan Garber for the Atlantic … “For Black Girls, Womanhood Comes Too Early,” by Cleyvis Natera for the New York Times … “Janeane Garofalo Never Sold Out. What a Relief,” by Jason Zimoman for the New York Times.
Read more here.
Kate Waters will start a new role at the NSC at the White House, according to one White House official and two senior USDA officials. She is currently press secretary at the Agriculture Department and a former aide to Kamala Harris. POLITICO’s Meredith Lee reported the news this week. …
Julia Hahn has been promoted to be deputy chief of staff for communications for Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.). Hahn previously was senior communications advisor for Hagerty. Before that, she worked as deputy communications director in the Trump White House, wrote for Breitbart and was press secretary for former Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.). … Audrey Traynor has been promoted to be press secretary for Hagerty, from deputy press secretary and digital director. (h/t Daniel Lippman)
Nahid Bhadelia is now senior policy adviser for global Covid response on the White House Covid-19 response team, per Boston University’s The Brink. She’s on sabbatical from her role as a BU School of Medicine associate professor of infectious diseases. … Sandy Hogan will be SADA’s first-ever global Chief Revenue Officer.