Saturday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Beth says:

    I’m number 1! I’m #1! Goddess I hate being up this early. The Sun hates me.

  2. Kathy says:


    My weekend brain likes to wake me up at 4 am on Saturdays.

    “Wake up! It’s a day off! We don’t want to waste it on sleep!”

    Today she let me sleep until 5.

  3. Jen says:

    This is going to be hell for physicians.

    For doctors, abortion restrictions create an ‘impossible choice’ when providing care

    The overall cultural differences between now and pre-Roe are vast. All of those women who passed away suddenly “from an infection,” or “from stomach problems” in the past–that’s going to change. I think we’re going to know and have far better data on who passes away from sepsis because of an incomplete miscarriage, etc.

  4. CSK says:

    Clarify this for me: Weren’t therapeutic abortions legal even prior to Roe v. Wade? And now they’re not?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I think it depended on where you lived.

  6. CSK says:

    Is surgical removal of a dead fetus no longer an option in, say, Texas?

  7. steve says:

    Good explanation at link. In short you could get an abortion if ti was medically indicated but it was expensive and difficult to do.


  8. CSK says:

    Thanks. That was helpful.

  9. CSK says:

    And, in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, guess who has suddenly reappeared? That’s right: Q of Qanon fame.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Pretty sure dead is OK, dying not so much.

  11. Jen says:

    @CSK: I’ll caveat this by saying I come at this from a PR perspective, not a legal or medical one. But, I have done some work for hospital systems and they’ve been low-grade worried about this for years. There have been enormous changes in legal liability in the period between pre-Roe and now. Hospitals are pretty risk-adverse places and do NOT want to have to navigate the “did they do what was best for the patient or did they break the law or maybe both?” questions that are going to inevitably arise.

    My hunch is that this is going to raise liability/medical malpractice rates for OBGYN doctors, who already have some of the highest rates/highest risk.

  12. CSK says:

    I wouldn’t doubt they have been worried. I’ve also noticed that for the past few decades, many OB/GYNs have been switching to purely GYN.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: I wonder how many hospitals will handle the problem by….just not having any obgyns and refusing to handle women who are or might be pregnant.

    Oh, they won’t SAY that’s what they’re doing, but I suspect fewer and fewer obgyns will end up practicing in states like Texas.

  14. steve says:

    Our outlying hospitals are all in rural or near rural areas. We havenever done an abortion in any of those. Our tertiary care hospital is in a smallish city. We used to do an occasional abortion for medically related reasons but not for a few years now. The hospital just doesnt want the controversy. People can go to the abortion clinic. From my perspective if we see abortion banned in PA I think it will likely include an exemption for mother’s life or health. That becomes pretty nebulous. At what percent risk would we be allowed to intervene and who decides? My best guess is that when they pass the law they will leave this very unclear so everyone will be scared and overly conservative about intervening. I also expect the standards to not matter nearly as much as who enforces them.

    Ultimately the well off will go somewhere else and those who cant afford it will just risk having the child. Those with fetuses that we know have non-survivable defects (renal agenesis as an example) will be forced to carry to term, just so they can watch the baby die a few minutes after delivery, like God wants.


  15. Michael Cain says:


    Is surgical removal of a dead fetus no longer an option in, say, Texas?

    The goal of the law in Texas is to make doctors afraid to perform abortion of a live fetus. What they are already starting to see is some doctors afraid to perform any procedure that can be used to abort a live fetus, regardless of the actual situation. There’s already a national shortage of ob-gyn specialists. The shortage is acute in some states (eg, Iowa and Mississippi). It’s going to get worse.

  16. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: I think it’s entirely possible that practicing OBGYNs will do what they can to relocate to states without these laws.

    I know the anti-choice crowd thinks that medically necessary terminations will still take place–for them, abortion is not a medical process, it is about intent. When Rick Santorum’s wife had to terminate her pregnancy, that was okay, because…she’s anti-abortion?

    What they aren’t thinking about is that when doctors with the medically needed skills flee to places where they are less likely to be sued, or have their license threatened, etc., the ones who remain might not have the experience necessary to save a life.

  17. Mimai says:

    The vast majority of states have a duty to warn/protect law — some of these are “permissive” and others are “mandatory.” I wonder what will transpire in the wake of the SC ruling on abortion.

    Eg, in South Dakota, abortions are now illegal, except to save the life of the pregnant person. Let’s say that the person is planning to have an abortion and communicates this to their psychologist.

    The illegality of the planned act does not necessarily require reporting by the psychologist (regardless of whether the state is “mandatory” or “permissive”). But now I wonder how the existing law in South Dakota (“permissive”) will be interpreted and/or revised.

    More broadly, I could envision “mandatory” states requiring psychologists (and other relevant professionals) to report the pregnant person who has articulated a clear, specific plan to “do harm” to an identified 3rd party.

    I could also envision many “permissive” states adding a “mandatory” clause for abortion.

  18. steve says:

    I expect that red states will try to keep women from going to other states to have abortions. I think there is little chance they could prosecute the providers in another state but am not sure. If you were an abortion provider in Illinois who performed an abortion on a Texas woman would you be at risk if you visited Texas? For that matter could they prosecute if they wanted the woman who went to another state and/or anyone who helped her do it? (The hypothetical I was considering was what would happen if someone crossed a state border to abandon a child. In which state or both would they be prosecuted?) I know they have been reluctant to go after the woman who gets the abortion (good tactics if not morally consistent) but I expect that to change as anti-abortion laws become more settled in red states.


  19. Stormy Dragon says:


    Clarify this for me: Weren’t therapeutic abortions legal even prior to Roe v. Wade? And now they’re not?

    They may be legal, but will an OB/GYN be willing to risk a murder prosecution if some Republican prosecutor hoping to make a name for themselves decides to prosecuting them under the theory they’re just covering up the abortions they perform?

  20. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I can see that happening in Texas.

  21. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “I wonder how many hospitals will handle the problem by….just not having any obgyns and refusing to handle women who are or might be pregnant.”

    I don’t see a problem there. It’s been explained to us that we are only entitled to laws that could have been passed in the eighteenth century. So why should we expect medical care that dates from after then?

  22. wr says:

    @Jen: “What they aren’t thinking about is that when doctors with the medically needed skills flee to places where they are less likely to be sued, or have their license threatened, etc., the ones who remain might not have the experience necessary to save a life.”

    So? Where in the constitution does it say a woman has a right not to die screaming in a miscarriage?

  23. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Well it seems the Republican gambit has been wildly successful. Kudos to them, I’ll always tip a hat to a long-term plan executed and successful…even if it’s at my expense. These efforts require deep thinking, bold actions, and a little luck.

    Furthermore, Democratic political and, more importantly, thought leadership is too feeble and obtuse to respond in an appropriate manner to do anything about it. Sucks but tis life.

    The Republican goal was always to create a super legislature with SCOTUS by gridlocking Congress and expanding Executive authority . EVERYTHING else, gerrymandering, FoxNews, Federalist Society, Senate Judge Confirmation factory, etc.. were supporting efforts to achieve the main outcome.

    The good news is competition/conflict occurs on a continuum. Sanity and decorum can prevail if Democrats can pull their heads out of their ass for 10 or so years and START PLAYING THE RIGHT EFFING GAMES.

    The Democratic counter over the past 30 years has been based on Clinton-era politics…coastal-focused, “minority-majority”, “we can’t do that because the Republicans would do it to us when they’re in power…”. Democrats are in Competition with a Party that’s in Conflict with them.

    Perhaps this as well as the future rulings that are handed down by the Catholic Junta will propel different voices to be heeded by the Party. In typical fashion, they are already defaulting to the the same tired “Roe is on the ballot” strategy to energize the already energized. I’m not hopeful in the short run but I’m confident the high-water mark of the MAGAverse is on the horizon.

  24. Mimai says:

    According to Guttmacher, approximately 63 million abortions have been performed in the US since Roe. Many/most of those who are celebrating its reversal consider abortion to be murder (or at least, the taking of innocent life). Given this, it’s difficult for me to see them as “winning” per se. Perhaps when the reversal has prevented approximately 63 million + 1 abortions?

    Relatedly, the US isn’t even in the top 10 of countries with the highest abortion rate — though this matter of rates is complicated by legality, contraception access, etc. The “total number” stats do put the US higher but still not at the top.

    Call the opponents of Roe what you want, just don’t call them effective altruists.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: Call the opponents of Roe what you want, just don’t call them Pro-Life.”

    FTFY, free of charge just because I like you.

  26. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Heh, thanks for that! Both parts.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    Seen on Facebook

    Brainstorming how to turn my vagina into a gun so I’ll have more rights.

  28. de stijl says:


    During summer I become quasi-vampire and try to sleep through the hot and humid days and embrace the relatively cooler night.

    I bleeping despise heat + humidity.

    I also walk about an hour a day. Usually around dawn. Sometimes earlier if I’m up and feelin’ frisky. Once this year so far and one time last summer cops have rolled up on me for walking on a public sidewalk at night. Shined the spotlight at me.

    Recreational walking at 3 AM draws attention. Carry ID.

    Thankfully, I am white and male, so I haven’t been shot, tased, or arrested yet.

    I am What We Do In Shadows only not from New Zealand and not an actual vampire.

  29. de stijl says:

    Experian now sells car insurance.

    They are the biggest data vendor in the world.

    Google is the biggest aggregator, but they don’t sell credit reports or raw data or typed consumer profiles like Experian, they sell eyeballs. Google sells advertising. Keeps the magic in-house.

    Imagine if Google started selling health insurance. Would that scare you? Imagine if Google sold financial services.

    Experian knows more about you than your spouse or your best friend does. As does Google, probably more so.

    The concept, the thought chills me to the bone.

    Data vendors do not sell information wholesale by zip code in a big dump. They sell it by individual person. So you can join to the their set by SSN or a convoluted join by address, telephone, bank accounts, public records, etc.

    The amount and breadth of what LexisNexus, Experian, and Google know about you as a person is shocking. Breathtakingly detailed.

    We live in a panopticon and the people spying on us sell us shit.

  30. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Experian’s the one I can never get my “free” credit report from. I’ve lived so many places over the years, they pull up addresses I don’t necessarily “recall”. At one point I was living in a van on the left coast and there was a whole slew of “camping grounds” we’d stay at long enough to get jobs and save up enough for the next adventure to the next town. Never more than 2 months. That was 25 years ago, like I’m gonna remember each campground address!

  31. Matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Depends as I recall reading an article over 10 years ago about a woman trying to get a dead fetus removed. She was unable to because doctors didn’t want to run afoul of late term abortion bans.