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Biden Is an Uneasy Champion on Abortion. Can He Lead the Fight in Post-Roe America?

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States after nearly 50 years has set in motion a generational struggle over Republican efforts to ban the procedure in states across the country.

But inside the West Wing, President Biden has made it clear that he is uncomfortable even using the word abortion, according to current and former advisers. In speeches and public statements, he prefers to use the word sparingly, focusing instead on broader phrases, like “reproductive health” and “the right to choose,” that might resonate more widely with the public.

Mr. Biden, a practicing Catholic who has drawn on his faith to shape his political identity, is now being called on to lead a fight he spent decades sidestepping — and many abortion rights advocates worry that he may not be the right messenger for the moment.

Once an outright critic of abortion rights and later a committed but quiet defender of them, Mr. Biden has a history that gives activists pause.

“This is not necessarily the guy that I am sure most activists wanted in the seat when this happened,” said Jamie L. Manson, the president of Catholics for Choice, referring to the court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. “It’s unfortunate because he has so much power and we need him to really get out of his comfort zone.”

For five decades, Mr. Biden has talked openly about the power of his religion, portraying himself as an advocate for workers and a warrior for social justice. His faith also had guided him toward what he once called a “middle of the road” approach to abortion — essentially, not voting to limit abortion, but not voting to fund it either.

And like other Democrats of his generation, Mr. Biden used the existence of Roe v. Wade’s protections to avoid pushing for legislation that might have enshrined the ruling in federal law.

Now, a growing chorus of women’s groups, progressive Democrats and abortion rights activists see the decision to overturn Roe as an indictment of that middle-ground approach, saying Democrats like Mr. Biden have tiptoed too carefully around the issue for years.

The Supreme Court’s decision, they say, must be met with an equally fierce legal, political and rhetorical response. And after a decisive vote this past week to defend abortion rights in deeply conservative Kansas, many Democrats see this as the moment to run more assertively on the issue.

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Mr. Biden’s advisers say that his views on abortion have changed over time and that he is deeply committed to abortion rights. Laphonza Butler, the president of Emily’s List, a group that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, said she was satisfied that Mr. Biden and his team were “using every tool at their disposal” to fight for the cause.

But the president’s history on abortion — informed by his religion and the Democratic Party’s years of careful political calculations — has left him struggling to live up to the expectations of those in his party who want a new strategy and a new energy.

“Yes, there are limits to executive branch power, there are limits to what the president can do,” said Andrea Miller, the president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health. “But this just feels like you’ve got to push the boundaries right now. This is a time to pull out all the stops. This is a time to take risks.”

In 2007, Mr. Biden wrote in his memoir “Promises to Keep” that his position on abortion had “earned me the distrust of some women’s groups.” In the book, he recounted a 1973 conversation with a veteran senator who said his cautious approach was a “tough” one.

“‘Yeah, everybody will be upset with me,’ I told him, ‘except me. But I’m intellectually and morally comfortable with my position,’” Mr. Biden wrote in the book.

Now, he finds himself championing abortion rights. In June, just days after the court’s ruling, he appeared miffed when a reporter noted that some activists did not believe he was the right person to lead the fight against Republican efforts to ban the procedure.

“I’m the only president they got,” he said.

Mr. Biden has often said that his views on abortion — and the proper role for government to play in regulating it — are the result of his faith. In 1982, when he voted in favor of a constitutional amendment pushed by Republicans to allow individual states to overturn Roe v. Wade, he said: “I’m probably a victim, or a product, however you want to phrase it, of my background.”

The Catholic Church considers human life to begin at conception and says that “the intentional killing of a human being living in the womb” is always immoral. Church teachings generally allow for “indirect” abortions when a medical procedure needed for another lifesaving reason results in the death of a fetus. But many Catholics disagree with the church’s official position. In a Pew Research Center survey released last month, 60 percent of Catholics in the United States said abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Other Democratic politicians have faced difficult moments navigating their stands on the issue. The leaders of the American Catholic Church have publicly rebuked Catholic politicians like John F. Kerry, the former Massachusetts senator, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for their stances.

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By his own admission, Mr. Biden is a deeply religious person who rarely misses a chance to attend Mass.

Last year in St. Ives, a seaside town in Cornwall on the southern tip of England, Mr. Biden, who was attending the annual Group of 7 meeting with world leaders, slipped into the back pews of the Sacred Heart and St. Ia Church for Mass with about 50 other parishioners. The Rev. Philip Dyson had been given a heads-up just minutes before the arrival of the president and his wife.

“I did find him gracious and humble and a gentleman,” Father Dyson said, recalling the brief conversation after the Mass. The priest would not talk about whether he offered communion to the president during the service. Some Roman Catholic bishops believe politicians who support abortion should be denied communion.

“It’s controversial, and it’s between him and the Lord,” Father Dyson said.

John Carr, the director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, said that abortion had been the one part of Mr. Biden’s faith that had been a source of conflict for the president and his allies over the years.

“He is a product of Catholic social teaching and Democratic orthodoxy,” said Mr. Carr, who has participated in several small-group discussions with Mr. Biden about religion and politics. “When the two go together, he’s really comfortable with the way he talks, the way he acts. Where he is the least at home is where the two conflict.”

Allies of the president note that since the Supreme Court ruling, Mr. Biden has issued two executive orders aimed at protecting the right to travel for health care and the right to access medications. This past week, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in Idaho, accusing the state of illegally restricting abortion when the procedure is needed to stabilize a woman’s health.

“The president’s faith is not the problem that we have,” said Representative Katherine M. Clark, Democrat of Massachusetts and the assistant speaker. “The problem is an extremist G.O.P. that says, ‘We don’t respect your faith, your medical history, your circumstance.’”

But for most of his career, Mr. Biden has been viewed with suspicion by abortion rights advocates because of his history on the issue.

In 1984, Mr. Biden voted to praise the “Mexico City Policy,” a decision by the Reagan administration to prevent funding of abortion services abroad. It was a position that would be anathema for a Democratic president today. Over the years since, Republican presidents have routinely reinstated the policy, and Democrats have eliminated it. Mr. Biden rescinded it eight days after taking office.

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For years, Mr. Biden also declined to join other Democrats in opposing the Hyde Amendment, a federal ban on funding for abortion. It was not until 2019 that he reversed himself. Facing intense backlash from within his party, he said he could “no longer support an amendment” that makes it harder for low-income women to get access to an abortion. Although he followed through by submitting budgets without Hyde’s restrictive language, lawmakers added it back in.

As vice president, Mr. Biden fought to exempt Catholic institutions from the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide coverage for contraception. The provision was fiercely opposed by American Catholic bishops, and Mr. Biden tried to make the bishops’ case.

He lost in the end, though the contraception mandate was later struck down by the Supreme Court.

Kathleen Sebelius, who served as secretary of health and human services under President Barack Obama, said that Mr. Biden wanted to “just avoid a battle with the church.”

“I think that’s sort of where he started the conversation,” she said. But she recalled that Mr. Biden eventually acknowledged the impact that denying contraceptive coverage would have for people who worked at Catholic institutions.

“He started in one place, and then gradually moved to a very different place,” she said.

On other issues where Democratic Party positions clashed with Catholic teaching, like support for same-sex marriage, Mr. Biden was quicker to change his position, said Mr. Carr, noting what he called the president’s “passion and eloquence” on L.G.B.T.Q. issues.

But he said abortion had always seemed more difficult for the president.

“Biden has never sought power to make abortion more available,” Mr. Carr said. “It’s just not part of who he is.”

The president admitted as much in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in 2007.

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“I’m a practicing Catholic,” he said. “And it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility.”

Two days before the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion rights advocates met at the White House with some of Mr. Biden’s top aides and with Vice President Kamala Harris, who has become a forceful voice of the administration on the issue of abortion.

Everyone knew what was likely to happen, after Politico’s publication weeks earlier of a draft opinion in the abortion case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. But some of the people around the table left unhappy with the administration’s plans to respond to the ruling.

“It was a very frustrating meeting where we were looking to the White House for guidance,” Ms. Manson, of Catholics for Choice, said. “And instead, what we got was a recap of all the conversations they had had with all of us.”

Others at the meeting described it differently, saying the administration had spent weeks preparing for the Dobbs ruling in a series of productive meetings with activists.

But the frustration clearly underscored the tension between Mr. Biden and abortion rights activists, many of whom have said publicly that the president’s past positions make it hard for them to trust that he is all-in on the fight.

Mr. Biden’s aides note that he has used the word “abortion” a handful of times since the ruling. And in a statement on Saturday condemning a new Indiana law banning almost all abortions, the White House used the term in reiterating support for reproductive rights.

But some veterans of the abortion rights movement say they remain wary of a president who is uncomfortable with using the word. Others say they are willing to judge Mr. Biden by his actions.

Mini Timmaraju, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said there was value in Mr. Biden’s approach, which can appeal to a broader audience. But she said the president should not avoid using direct, forceful language at a moment when people are scared.

“He’s done that,” she said. “And he’s going to need to get more comfortable with that because this is the modern-day Democratic Party. He’s getting there, from what I can see.”

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Katie Rogers contributed reporting from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

Read the full article here

A journalist since 1994, he also founded DMGlobal Marketing & Public Relations. Glover has an extensive list of clients including corporations, non-profits, government agencies, politics, business owners, PR firms, and attorneys.

Business

Harvard University Affordable Housing Seminar

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Mr. Suleiman Alli

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. –

Harvard University is hosting an Affordable Housing seminar titled, ‘Affordable Housing:  Principles for Changing Domestic and Global Markets’. The two-day seminar takes place at the Graduate School of Design. Individuals in the fields of development, lending, investment and policymaking, will learn the skills to navigate the affordable housing industry.

One of the attendees will be Mr. Suleiman Alli. Sule, as close associates call him, works in conjunction with a design and construction company, FABHAUS USA INC. Sule’s role is in the Marketing, Sales and Business Development department, for the African market.

The course is led by instructors in the Affordable Housing industry: David Smith, Davina Wood and Sanjana Sidhra. Sule, a Nigerian, with American permanent residency, believes that the information and collaborations obtained via this course will assist him in supporting FABHAUS. FABHAUS’ mission is to design and construct pre-fabricated homes, globally.

For nearly a decade, Sule has been investing time and money into journeying throughout Nigeria in attempts to persuade decision makers, in the African nation, to utilize natural resources to build homes for the growing population. His association with a Nigerian organization, FEDUP, led him to find that much of the problem surrounding housing affordability in the country, was political.

Sule’s vision aligns with the mission of the Harvard University course, in that the course is built for entrepreneurs. Affordable Housing is not only a Warri problem, a Lagos problem or a third world problem; Affordable Housing is a global problem and if it were a disease, it could possibly be likened to a pandemic.

Affordable Housing is a burgeoning industry that will continue to grow. This industry is interdisciplinary, encompassing political science, sociology, economics, government, architecture, engineering, etc.

BlackUSA.News will follow up on this seminar and its’ benefits, upon its completion.

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FORETHOUGHT ADVISORS IDENTIFIES STRATEGIES TO AVERT LOOMING SOCIOECONOMIC CRISIS MARKED BY RISING INTEREST RATES AND LACKLUSTER GAINS IN ‘EQUITY’ AGENDA

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In its latest newsletter, Forethought Advisors, a group of seasoned Washington insiders, said that America faces a growing socioeconomic crisis with new fault lines in the nation’s housing industry and a lackluster performance by the Biden administration in realizing its “equity” agenda.

To see progress, Forethought Advisors recommended that the Biden administration supervise the implementation of new legislation and government policy that expand racial equity while curbing inflation; that Federal Home Loan Banks should forge a marriage with fintech mortgage lenders to survive and keep cash flowing to businesses, consumers and communities; and, in a new “Big Idea,” policymakers must develop new delivery networks to channel federal funding to local partners so urban and rural transformation can truly begin.

Lawrence Parks, co-founder of Forethought Advisors and a national expert in financial services, public policy, and regulatory affairs, said, “We are in a critical flashpoint in America’s looming socioeconomic crisis. The Biden administration and U.S. Congress must immediately act boldly to reverse the devastating impact of rising interest rates on the housing industry and open the spigots to investment in local communities.”

Parks, a former senior vice president at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco who has worked as a chief policy expert at the U.S. Commerce Department and is a former congressional staffer, added: “Corporations, trade associations, state and local governments and non-profit organizations can benefit from better understand the challenging Washington environment we’re in. We can help them realize their regulatory and legislative objectives.”

The Forethought Advisors newsletter, published quarterly, offers comprehensive analysis on policy issues that public and private sector leaders, as well as non-profit organizations, need to inform their decision-making. Subscribe here: https://www.forethoughtadvisorsllc.com/.

Timothy Simons, a co-founder of Forethought Advisors and former executive at Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, KPMG and Cable & Wireless in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America, said, “We provide strategic advice to chief executives, public policy makers and corporate and nonprofit leaders that helps navigate the divided landscape in Washington, D.C., so they can realize the transformations they seek in our economy and communities.”

The latest issue of the newsletter features this analysis:

Ø Rising Interest Rates Create Fault Lines within America’s Housing Industry

As the Federal Reserve pushes interest rates higher, conservatives and economists focused on taming inflation approve of each uptick. By contrast, in most corners of the housing industry, ranging from potential home buyers to sellers, builders, developers, and lenders, there are more groans than cheers as the inflation-fighting policies raise costs throughout the entire housing sector. In fact, higher mortgage rates are stirring serious concerns about the industry’s future in both the short and long term. And at least one major question looms above the turbulence: will the Administration and/or Congress intervene in bold ways if faults in the housing sector threaten to drag the national economy into a recession?

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Ø The Big Idea: Improve the Capacity of Localities to Effectively Use Federal Resources

A radically changed business environment has emerged for corporations. Federal resources are available to pay for new infrastructure, create housing opportunities for changing populations, spur community development, help American companies compete in the global marketplace, shift strategies so more goods are manufactured and warehoused in the U.S., and many additional tasks that generate revenue. A rare common thread for Presidents Trump and Biden is recognition that government must actively engage with the private sector, buffering some economic pain from the pandemic, so that workers and the nation’s economy can benefit. Outside of wartime, this level of federal, industry-targeted resources is unprecedented.

Ø The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under Biden: More Questions Than Answers

On many fronts, President Joe Biden has aggressively pressed an agenda that returns the federal government to “active duty.” His federal spending priorities forge a new era of industrial policy that encourages manufacturing and warehousing goods in America. His domestic priorities expand the safety-net and opportunities for low-income and middle-class families. But the Administration was slow to bring leadership to an obscure government division – the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) – that plays an essential role in turning signed legislation into new realities on the ground for industry, communities, workers, and families. (Since our newsletter was published, President Joe Biden nominated NYU Law’s Dean Emeritus Richard Revesz to be OIRA administrator.)

Ø Federal Home Loan Banks: Could Mutual Benefits Derive from Collaboration with FinTech?

Looking into a crystal ball, could a future marriage between FinTech mortgage lenders and the Federal Home Loan Banks quiet their respective critics? The Home Loan Banks face sharp criticism for being stagnant for decades, with few innovations or new reasons to justify their existence in the modern banking environment.

In future newsletters, Forethought Advisors will continue offering insights on the fight against inflation, as well as other issues, and how the private sector can increase revenue, while workers receive sustainable wages.

Parks and Simons are available to comment on public policy issues or appear as speakers on panels at convenings and conferences. Enjoy our newsletter. For more information about Forethought Advisors and to subscribe to the newsletter, please visit contact Tim Simons at tim@forethoughtadvisorsllc.com (202) 827 6596 or visit

   https://www.forethoughtadvisorsllc.com/.

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Abrams for Governor Releases New Memo Highlighting Motivating Impact of Abortion Among Georgia’s Democratic Voters

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Internal campaign polling shows that abortion is a bigger motivator for Georgia Democrats than it is for Georgia Republicans 

(ATLANTA) –  Abrams for Governor campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, released a new memo detailing the motivating impact of abortion among voters in Georgia’s 2022 elections. The memo showcases how the victory of abortion rights supporters in Kansas is a great sign for Democrats in Georgia and across the country.

Additionally, yesterday, the campaign released a new TV ad, Signed, featuring women in Georgia calling attention to the dangers of Brian Kemp’s extreme abortion ban.

“Georgia’s women and those who love them have the ability to fight for reproductive freedom, liberty from interference into private medical decisions, and the full scope of health care. The gubernatorial race is already close, the incumbent is below 50%, and Kemp’s extreme and unpopular attacks on women are disqualifying to a substantial majority of voters,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo. “The time to act is now – this race can be won, provided that we invest in the people of Georgia and ensure that they can hear about how Stacey Abrams will deliver for Georgians, stop Kemp’s far right, extreme agenda, and how Kemp’s radical tenure has already and will continue to endanger women across the state.”

Recent polling from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that Kemp’s radical anti-abortion laws are wildly unpopular with Georgia voters — with Georgia voters opposing the overturning of Roe 39%-54%, Kemp’s six-week ban 36%-54%, and a total ban on abortion 21%-72%. Abrams for Governor’s internal polling is consistent with what the AJC poll shows when it comes to the motivational impact of abortion on this election. Georgia Democrats are almost completely unified in telling pollsters that abortion is important and motivational to them in 2022.

Overall Abrams for Governor’s internal research has shown:

  1. Abortion is a bigger motivator for GA Democrats than it is for GA Republicans.
  2. Independent voters in GA are overwhelmingly pro-choice and Kemp’s record of criminalizing abortion is very damaging among them.
  3. A measurable block of GA Republican voters defect from Kemp’s hard-right orthodoxy on abortion and oppose Kemp’s anti-choice agenda.

Abortion access and women’s liberty are on the ballot this year in Georgia. In his first year, Governor Kemp’s priority was signing one of the country’s most extreme and dangerous abortion laws, a law that prevents women from getting life-saving healthcare. His cruel bill sets women up to be investigated and criminalized if they miscarry; threatens to jail doctors who provide life-saving care; and forces rape and incest victims to file police reports to access care. His law bans abortion before most women know they are pregnant, stripping women of their freedom and dictating the personal medical decision of women and their families. This election is a contrast between having a governor who will fight to protect women’s reproductive freedom versus a Governor bent on controlling women’s bodies for his political gain.

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