Republicans Set To Introduce National Late-Term Abortion Ban

Plus: Backdoor censorship on social media, how the airline bailouts failed, and more...


After decades of saying abortion's legality should be left up to individual states, Republicans are wasting no time in exposing that for the convenient lie it was. Just a few months after the Supreme Court said Americans have no constitutional right to abortion, Republican leaders are set to propose a nationwide abortion ban.

Led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.), a group of Senate Republicans is reportedly backing a federal ban on abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy. Graham's bill—the "Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act"—is expected to be introduced in the Senate today.

The bill's name is misleading in that way so many pieces of legislation are—designed to make anyone who votes against it seem to the casual observer like an extremist or even a monster. (See also: any bill with sex trafficking in the name.) The phrase late-term abortion is not a medical term. But in general, it refers to an abortion in the third trimester (which starts at 28 weeks) or, at least, an abortion that takes place after the point of fetal viability (when a fetus could survive outside the womb, around 23 or 24 weeks).

Graham's bill, however, is expected to propose an abortion ban that starts at 15 weeks.

Even prior to the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, many states banned abortion after the point of fetal viability, according to reproductive rights organization the Guttmacher Institute. Since the Supreme Court ruling, bans in 44 states have gotten more restrictive, with some now entirely banning the procedure and some bans starting at six or 15 weeks.

"Just 1% of US abortions occurred after the 21 week point, and 91% occurred before 13 weeks," notes Georgetown University professor Don Moynihan on Substack. "So why allow a late and rarely used cut-off? Women are more likely to select an abortion at that point because of health risk either to themselves or the fetus. Having that option is important for women forced to make some hard choices."


Backdoor censorship on social media. A new analysis from Will Duffield of the Cato Institute looks at "jawboning" on social media. Jawboning is when "a government official threatens to use his or her power—be it the power to prosecute, regulate, or legislate—to compel someone to take actions that the state official cannot." Essentially, it's government bullying for censorial purposes. And "although courts have identified and censured jawboning in the past, it has been given a new life in the internet age," warns Duffield.


The airline bailouts failed. In 2020, the government gave airlines around $54 billion. "Nevertheless, travel by air became a nightmare for many in summer 2022 as passenger demand returned," note Veronique de Rugy and Gary D. Leff of the Mercatus Institute:

Mass cancellations and delays occurred with regularity, and each instance cascaded into further delays as crew and planes were caught out of position. The major carriers have canceled a significant portion of their flights in the past few months, creating chaos at major airports, especially during high-traffic periods. The problem is not unique to domestic travel; it affects also international flights and airlines around the world.

Numerous factors have been blamed for the current wave of delays and cancelations, including pandemic recovery, COVID-19 deaths, early retirement, and the heavy burden of occupational licensing for pilots. Each of these explanations makes some sense. Yet stakeholders have also used each to distract from the question of whether government should have bailed out airlines in the first place.

Their new brief—the third in a series examining the airline bailouts—looks at "the reasons advanced to bail out the airlines and how well the bailouts have delivered on the promises made."


• "About one in three Americans prefers strong unelected leaders to weak elected leaders and says presidents should be able to remove judges over their decisions," according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll.

New York magazine does a deep dive into "the sordid saga of Hunter Biden's laptop"—and how "the present stalemate, in which one side treats the subject with polite indifference while the other side foments and fundraises off it, is unsustainable."

• Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio wants to make your groceries more expensive.

• California's FAST Recovery Act—which creates a policy council with the power to set fast-food industry wages—is awaiting Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's signature. "He can't squash this ill-conceived initiative quickly enough," write the editors at Bloomberg News, suggesting that "micro-managed wage-fixing" will speed the automation of fast food establishments.

• Cathy Young looks at Ukraine's momentum and how "even the Russian propagandists are starting to lose faith."

• Teddy Gentry, the bassist for the country band Alabama, was arrested and jailed for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

• "It's pretty clear the honeymoon phase of the streaming revolution is over," writes Karl Bode at Techdirt.

• The Federal Trade Commission vs. the internet.