The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Live updates Abortion becomes central issue as Democrats draw contrast with GOP

President Biden delivers remarks on economic growth and deficit reduction in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Wednesday. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

Welcome to Post Politics Now.

Today, the only public event on President Biden’s schedule is a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House. But behind the scenes, Biden and fellow Democrats are far less celebratory as they scramble to respond to the expected demise of Roe v. Wade from both policy and political perspectives.

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With the midterm elections approaching, Democrats see support of abortion rights as a central issue on which to draw contrasts with Republicans, whose reaction to their probable success on this issue has been noticeably muted to this point. One reason: Polls show a majority of Americans think Roe v. Wade should be upheld by a roughly 2-to-1 margin.

Your daily dashboard

  • 2 p.m. Eastern: Senate Democrats hold a news conference on writing abortion protections into law. Watch live coverage here.
  • 3 p.m. Eastern: White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing for reporters. Watch live coverage here.
  • 3 p.m. Eastern: The United Nations Security Council meets on “maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine.” Watch live coverage here.
  • 4:15 p.m. Eastern: Biden hosted a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden reception with Beatriz Gutiérrez Mueller de López Obrador, wife of the Mexican president.
  • 10:30 p.m. Eastern: First lady Jill Biden departs for Romania as part of a trip to meet Ukrainian refugees.

Got a question about politics? Submit it here. At 3 p.m. weekdays, return to this space and we’ll address what’s on the mind of readers.

3:02 p.m.
Headshot of Elizabeth Dwoskin
Silicon Valley Correspondent
Facebook warns employees against using company channels to discuss abortion ruling — In a company memo this week, a senior Facebook executive steered employees away from discussing the Supreme Court leak on public company discussion channels, while the firm also began deleting some posts where employees had expressed concerns about the issue, according to a person familiar with the announcement and a copy of the memo obtained by The Post.In the memo, executive Naomi Gleit reminded colleagues of the company’s Respectful Communications Policy, which restricts how employees can discuss controversial topics, including abortion.She directed workers to use other channels besides company communications platforms to express their concerns and feelings. She said that employees were allowed to “participate in a listening session of up to 5 like-minded people to show solidarity” or to interact one-on-one.Gleit also noted that employees could still use public social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, to share their thoughts and connect with people. Facebook’s own chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, posted on Facebook that the leaked ruling represented a “scary day for women all across our country.”The policy against discussing abortion on company channels dates from at least 2020, when Facebook tightened restrictions on public conversations among its highly vocal employee base in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests that summer.
1:54 p.m.
Headshot of Matt Zapotosky
Criminal justice editor
New questions about the FBI and intelligence ahead of Jan. 6 attack — The U.S. Government Accountability Office this week released a report tracking how federal law enforcement agencies analyzed social media posts and other publicly available information in advance of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The report mostly confirmed what has long been known: well in advance of the riot, law enforcement had seen ample online chatter indicating the possibility of violence. It has been well-documented that their response was not sufficiently aggressive.The report was notable for offering such a thorough accounting of all the intelligence products agencies produced in advance of the riot. And it raised some questions about the FBI’s public statements about what it knew and when. FBI officials have repeatedly sought to minimize what they were seeing about possible violence in advance of Jan. 6.The head of the bureau’s Washington Field Office, for example, said in the days after the attack “there was no indication” of anything planned for the day of Trump’s rally “other than First Amendment-protected activity” — even though a report from the bureau’s Norfolk Field Office had warned on Jan. 5 that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and “war.”The GAO report makes clear that multiple agencies were tracking a wide range of possible threats, and getting information directly from the social media companies Facebook and Parler. If you’re interested in reading more about it, here’s a thread I put together on Twitter and an account of the report from Just Security.