News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Abortion Rights, Indigenous Communities, and Landings

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks with an aide in Washington, DC.
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May 12, 2022

Destined to Fail

The Story

Democrats failed to protect abortion rights.

What’s the latest?

Yesterday, the Senate voted on the Women's Health Protection Act. It already passed the House last year. If the Senate passed the bill, it would have protected the right to abortion under federal law. But that’s not all. It also would have barred states from restricting or delaying abortion access in a variety of scenarios, before and after fetal viability.

You keep saying ‘would have.’

That’s because the vote failed 49-51, shocking exactly no one.

So…why did the vote happen?

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — who’s been in office for over two decades — called for it a week after a leaked draft decision from the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

What did we learn?

Where senators stood on abortion — something their legislative websites usually include. In order to pass the legislation, 60 senators had to vote to debate on it. That was not expected to happen in a Senate with a 50-50 split. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted with Republicans against the bill, saying it would "expand" Roe rather than preserve it.

What happens next?

Two GOP senators — Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) — are working on alternative legislation they say would “maintain” the current legal framework for abortion rights. They said yesterday’s bill went too far beyond Roe v. Wade in limiting state regulation of abortion. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed, calling the Dem bill “extreme.”


In the nearly five decades since Roe v. Wade was decided, there have been multiple instances where Dems had majorities in the House and Senate. Never did they codify abortion rights. Now, SCOTUS’s final decision could come within weeks.

PS: What happens if lawmakers don't take action on abortion rights — and the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade? Here's a preview.

And Also...This

Who could be getting answers...

Indigenous communities. Yesterday, a government report revealed at least 500 Native American children died in US boarding schools. The report — commissioned by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland — also found more than 50 burial sites across the country. Officials expect the number to rise as they continue to investigate. Dating back to the 1800s, the US gov took Native American children from their communities and forced them to attend boarding schools. The goal: get them to assimilate and take their tribal land. The children suffered from physical and sexual abuse, malnourishment, and overcrowding. Some were also placed in solitary confinement. The report came without a formal apology from the US gov for its role — something Indigenous communities have called for. 

  • Eerily familiar: If this finding sounds familiar that's because countries like Canada and Australia have gone through a similar reckoning. Since 2021, Canada has uncovered hundreds of unmarked graves. In Australia, hundreds of massacres have been accounted for.

Who’s going back to the drawing board…

Florida. Yesterday, a judge struck down parts of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) congressional district map calling it “unconstitutional.” Last month, the Republican-controlled state legislature approved what DeSantis called a “race-neutral” map. But that map eliminated a district represented by a Black Democrat — prompting outcry from local Black legislators. Now, a judge agrees the map is out of line, saying it “diminishes African Americans' ability” to elect reps of their choice. The judge plans to issue an order — as soon as today — to stop the map from going into effect. DeSantis plans to appeal. But Florida isn’t the only one...

  • The Big (bad) Apple: New York’s Democratic-drawn congressional map got thrown out because of partisan gerrymandering. Now, a court-appointed special master will draw new maps. Meanwhile, NY’s primary election could be moved to late August.

Who people are mourning…

Shireen Abu Akleh. Yesterday, the veteran journalist was shot and killed while reporting on an Israeli military raid in the West Bank. Witnesses say the Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter was killed by Israeli gunfire. Her employer is calling on the international community to hold Israel accountable for her “blatant murder.” Israel said the raid was a military counterterrorism operation — amid a wave of recent terror attacks. At first, it blamed Abu Akleh’s death on stray fire from Palestinians. The government is promising a thorough investigation. But the Palestinian Authority said it would investigate independently, and declined to hand over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh for analysis.

Where people can start healing...

Surfside, FL. Yesterday, survivors and victims’ families reached a nearly $1 billion tentative settlement with building developers and insurance companies. Last June, a section of a 12-story condominium collapsed in Surfside, leaving 98 people dead. The cause of the collapse is still under federal investigation. But the lawsuit claimed that the building was “badly damaged and destabilized” causing the collapse. Now, once finalized, the settlement will aim to compensate families and survivors for their loss.

Who’s pretty fly…

This guy.

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