Republicans in states around the country are doing their best to use the growing coronavirus epidemic in order to push through their rightwing, anti-abortion agendas. The latest—on Sunday night, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order to “postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary” until April 21. In response, the state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton ordered all abortion clinics to stop providing “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” or face penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time.
The move by Republican officials in Texas comes on the heels of Ohio’s attorney general’s office ordering abortion clinics in Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati to “immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions.”
Framing these moves as a way to ensure that health care professionals have the resources they need, which is what officials in both Texas and Ohio have done, is an incredibly manipulative and underhanded way to sneak in anti-abortion measures under the guide of public health. In a statement to Jezebel, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas executive Aimee Arrambide wrote, “Abortion is essential healthcare, but especially in the wake of the public health crisis we are facing now.... Abortion is a procedure where time is of the essence and cannot be delayed without profound consequences.”
Donald Trump and his band of goons—like Larry Kudlow and Steve Mnuchin, as well as Republicans like Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey—clearly would rather see people die than take the needed measures to support Americans worried about their health (and how they will pay the rent on April 1). That’s the only possible takeaway from the fact that the Trump administration is beginning to signal that perhaps it’s time for people to go back to work and for restaurants, stores, and other businesses to reopen, social distancing guidelines be damned. But can you work if you’re dead or attached to a ventilator at an overwhelmed hospital, where medical staff are ALSO possibly dead or attached to a ventilator? Maybe we’ll find out!
Late on Sunday night, Trump tweeted, in all caps naturally, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!” And during an appearance on Fox News on Monday, Kudlow echoed his dear leader, saying that “the cure can’t be worse than the disease and we will have to make some difficult tradeoffs.”
After all, what’s hundreds of thousands of dead Americans compared to the plight of our nation’s CEOs, who are now fretting that they might not be able to buy their fourth vacation home? According to the Washington Post, Trump is more worried about how the plummeting economy and stock market will affect his reelection campaign and is “growing tired of talking only about coronavirus.”
- Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are showing they maybe have spines after all, pushing back against a massive Republican coronavirus spending bill that essentially amounts to a corporate bailout with few provisions for actual workers. [Politico/Washington Post]
- And on Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a House version of the spending package. [NPR]
- Can we just make Elizabeth Warren president? [MSNBC]
- Let’s all contemplate the extreme stupidity of Republican Senator Rand Paul, who went to the Senate gym and pool after taking a test for coronavirus, which later came back positive. [Associated Press]
- Amy Klobuchar’s husband also has covid-19. [Star Tribune]
- White supremacist groups are now encouraging their members who contract covid-19 to spread the coronavirus to Jewish people and, um, cops? [ABC News]
- Some good news: after organizing by Amazon workers, the company will now begin offering paid time off to part-time and seasonal employees. Now give them hazard pay! [BuzzFeed]
- Remember how Michael Bloomberg promised to pay his campaign staff until November? Remember how he fired everyone last week, during a global pandemic where people are worried about losing their jobs? Now a former Bloomberg field organizer has filed a class-action lawsuit against the billionaire. [New York Times]
- If you need to smile, here’s Representative Rashida Tlaib in full-on mom mode during Bernie Sanders’s livestream from Sunday night.