The second youngest woman in Congress, Democratic Rep. Sara Jacobs, of California, would be happy to see the oldest president in history run for re-election and the oldest House speaker hold onto her job, despite the misgivings of her fellow progressives.
Jacobs says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is among the few leaders who “can keep our caucus together.” Jacobs is also solidly in President Biden’s camp, she told CBS News chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett on this week’s episode of “The Takeout.”
“Many people have many different opinions. I am proud to be led by President Biden right now,” said Jacob. “I think he is our best chance of keeping the White House in 2024.” She spoke with Garrett in San Diego.
Though the president’s approval ratings have fluctuated between 41-44% since the beginning of the year, according to recent CBS News polls, Jacobs believes the American people will stick with him and with her party, despite the nationwide struggle with inflation.
“It tells me that people are experiencing a lot of difficulties right now and that those are very real. We can’t message away the fact that prices are high. Gas prices are very high,” Jacobs said. “I also think that people understand that as difficult as things are now, Democrats and President Biden are the ones who have a plan to make things better. Republicans in Congress have an extreme, radical agenda that’s not going to bring prices down.”
She also takes issue with the conservative majority on the Supreme Court who overturned Roe v. Wade last week. Jacobs, 33, protested outside the Supreme Court soon after the decision was announced.
“It felt like some radical justices think they know more about my health care and my body than I do,” Jacobs said.
She’s concerned that decisions she made about future child-bearing might now be threatened in a post-Roe legal environment.
“Last year, I froze my eggs so that I could make choices about when and how I want to start my family,” Jacobs said. “I think every person deserves the right to have all of the options available to them. It’s a little bit different when it’s my health care. Reproductive health care is my health care.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, at least five states have proposed legislation establishing “fetal personhood,” which means they would recognize a fetus as having the same legal protections as a person. This has raised concerns among healthcare professionals that these laws could be extended to apply to procedures involving embryos created outside of the womb, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Jacobs fears that states that outlaw or severely restrict abortion access could jeopardize IVF or embryo storage if the personhood measures become law.
“I froze my eggs so I could choose when it makes sense for me to start my family and have agency in that decision,” Jacobs said. “And that’s the same agency I expect to have if I decide that it’s not if now is not the right time to start a family.”
“Many people use period tracking apps or fertility tracking apps,” Jacobs said. “It helps tell us when we should expect our period. For many people who have chronic illness, it can be a really helpful tool in how to manage that chronic illness.”
Jacobs said women need protection in places like Texas, which has not only banned abortion after six weeks but incentivizes private citizens to report suspected abortions or those who may have assisted in an abortion being performed or obtained.
“I’m worried that the attorney general in Texas might decide that he wants to figure out everyone in Texas who should be pregnant but isn’t and can easily access or buy or get this data and create that digital surveillance architecture,” Jacobs said.
Pelosi has backed the bill and the White House is supportive, Jacobs said. The bill could be on the House floor in July.
Jacobs, who is Jewish, also denounced this week’s Supreme Court decision related to the firing of a high school football coach who prayed with his players after games. The high court found his prayer was not coercive and should not be regarded as state or government support for religion.
“It wasn’t that the football coach himself was praying,” Jacobs said. “It’s that he was forcing his players to pray with him after the game. Very different. I’m Jewish, so I’m a religious minority in this country. I went to public school here in San Diego for my entire schooling. I can tell you how important the protections I had to not be forced into someone else’s religion while I was at public school. And I’m very, very worried about what that decision means for the separation of church and state.”
- Democrats “complacent” on abortion rights: I think people were very complacent and comfortable in the fact that this had been a right for 50 years, that multiple Supreme Courts, including ones that were predominantly appointed by conservative presidents, continued to uphold that right, for instance, in the Casey decision in 1992. And (they) didn’t believe that this was really something that was going to happen. And so now that it’s here, I think it’s fundamentally different because now you’re talking about your rights literally being taken away.”
- Obama, Biden and abortion: “Look, as a young person, I think that there was a lot more we could have done in those first two years than we did. And that, I think people took for granted that we were going to continue having a majority. At the same time, I will say that just because we had a Democratic majority does not mean we had a pro-choice majority and in fact, the Congress starting in 2019 was the first time we actually had a pro-choice majority in the House. It’s not that President Obama and Vice President Biden and Speaker Pelosi didn’t want to make sure that these things got done. Even though we had Democratic majorities, we did not have pro-choice majorities.”
- Pelosi leadership of House Democrats: “Democrats across the caucus understand that she is one of the few people who can actually keep our caucus together, can keep us moving in the same direction, and can make sure that everyone’s different stakeholder perspectives are taken into account when these decisions are being made. I think it can’t be understated that we have a four-person majority.”
- “Build Back Better” prospects: “I think it will include some things on energy, which will be very important. I think will include some things on Affordable Care Act subsidies. And it will include tax reform and it will include something on prescription drug pricing. I think everyone understands the urgency of the moment that we’re in.”
Executive producer: Arden Farhi
Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson
CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin
Show email: [email protected]
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