war on women

The Year Bryan Fischer Became 'Mainstream'

Back in 2011, when Mitt Romney was in the starting months of his presidential campaign, he accepted an invitation to speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual event organized by the Family Research Council. The VVS always attracts an assortment of far-right activists, but that year Romney was scheduled to speak directly before Bryan Fischer, an inflamatory American Family Association official and radio host who had viciously insulted everyone from LGBT people to women to Muslims to Native Americans to medal of honor recipients to Romney’s fellow Mormons.

After facing a public outcry for choosing to appear beside Fischer, Romney called out Fischer in his speech — albeit not by name — decrying the “poisonous language” of “one of the speakers who will follow me today.”

After that year, Fischer was nowhere to be found at the Values Voter Summit, although his employer, the American Family Association, continued to cosponsor the event.

Then, in January of last year, Fischer was, for a moment, edged further out of the conservative mainstream. When a group of 60 members of the Republican National Committee embarked on a trip to Israel organized by Christian-nation advocate David Lane and paid for by the AFA, the RNC was forced to answer why it was sending members on a junket financed by a group whose spokesman was one of the most vitriolic voices of hate in the country — and one who said the First Amendment applies only to Christians. Facing a diplomatic incident with the GOP, the AFA finally stripped Fischer of his title with the organization, although he kept his daily radio program with its affiliate, American Family Radio.

But that was then and this is now.

Earlier this month, we reported that Fischer was scheduled to join Sen. Ted Cruz at a campaign rally in Mississippi. The event was eventually canceled: not because of Fischer’s extremism but because Cruz was reportedly ill .

And, although Fischer remains one of the most hateful voices on the Right, he is hardly any more controversial than many of the figures with whom the leading Republican candidates have surrounded themselves in 2016 — or even, in some cases, the candidates themselves. As soon as the GOP began to ostracize Bryan Fischer, it was taken over by Bryan Fischer’s ideology.

Fischer himself pointed this out on his radio program last week as he prepared to discuss a column in which he reiterated his long-held views that Muslims immigrants should be barred from the U.S., American Muslims should be shut out of the U.S. military and state governments should ban the construction of mosques. Things that he’s been saying for years, he said, that were once perceived as “outlandish” and “off-the-charts lunacy,” have now “become virtually mainstream.”

He’s right. In fact, when we began to look through some of Fischer’s most controversial statements — which are bad enough that he was publicly rejected by the 2012 Republican nominee — we found that they weren’t too different from things that Republican presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz say every day.

Although Fischer has campaigned for Cruz and openly despises Trump, his ideology and rhetoric is echoed by both campaigns. (Although, thankfully, neither candidate has called for stoning whales … at least not yet.)

On Muslim immigration...

Fischer: ‘Stop Muslim immigration into the United States’

Fischer was far ahead of the trend when it came to anti-Muslim bigotry,calling as early as 2010 for the U.S. to block all Muslim immigration, “repatriate” Muslims who are already here, ban American Muslims from serving in the U.S. military, and impose a policy of “no more mosques, period.” Fischer repeated these demands just last week.

Trump: ‘A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’

He was several years behind Fischer, but Trump called last year for a temporary ban on all of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims entering the United States and deporting Syrian refugees who have been resettled in America, which have since become central planks in his platform. Echoing Fischer, Trump has also said that if he were to become president, he would have “no choice” but to close some mosques and once flirted with the idea of setting up a government database to monitor all Muslims. Cruz, for his part, has called for banning the resettlement of Muslim refugees from Syria.

On religious freedom for Muslims ...

Fischer: ‘Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims’

Fischer justifies his anti-Muslim plans by claiming that the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims or any other non-Christian religion and asserts that any religious liberty rights extended to non-Christians are simply a “courtesy”:

Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment.

Cruz: ‘Patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods’

When Cruz called for the U.S. to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in response to this week’s terrorist attacks in Belgium, it came as no surprise since he has surrounded himself with advisers who argue, like Fischer, that Muslims do not deserve the same civil rights and civil liberties as other Americans.

One Cruz adviser, the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin, has explicitly said that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections.” In an interview with Fischer, Boykin called for “no mosques in America.”

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly called for government profiling of Muslims.

On Mormonism and Mitt Romney ...

Fischer: ‘I’m more Mormon’ than Mitt Romney

Fischer has never been a fan of the Mormon faith, insisting that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Mormons and warning that a Mormon president like Romney would threaten the nation’s “spiritual health.” However, when Fischer deemed Romney to not be anti-gay enough, he declared that he himself was “more Mormon” than the candidate.

At one point, Fischer clarified that he had “love” for Mormons and just wanted them “to come into the full light of the truth” and abandon their faith.

Trump: ‘Are you sure he’s a Mormon?’

Although Trump may “love the Mormons,” he has been out on the campaign trail with Robert Jeffress , an extremist pastor who says that Mormonism and Islam are demonic faiths “from the pit of hell” (and that the Roman Catholic Church was created by Satan). It was in a radio interview with Fischer at the 2011 Values Voter Summit that Jeffress, who was stumping for Rick Perry, declared that Romney is not a “true” Christian because Mormonism is a “cult.”

Like Fischer, Trump has questioned Romney’s faith after Romney criticized him, asking a crowd in Utah: “Are you sure he’s a Mormon?”

On LGBT rights ...

Fischer: ‘Rainbow jihadists’ on the Supreme Court ‘blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble.’

Fischer reacted with predictable reason and restraint to the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell marriage equality ruling, comparing it to 9/11, Pearl Harbor and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and referring to the justices in the majority as “rainbow jihadists.”

Cruz: The gay community is waging ‘jihad’ against religious freedom

In this case, Fischer may have picked up a turn of phrase from Cruz, who several weeks before the Obergefell ruling accused LGBT rights activists of waging “jihad” against the religious freedom of Christians.

On the role of women ...

Fischer: God ‘designed’ women to be good secretaries

Fischer explained back in 2014 that he wouldn't consider male applicants for receptionist and secretary positions at his church because God “designed” women “to be warm, to be hospitable, to be open-hearted, to be open-handed, to have their arms open, to be welcoming, to be receptive, to create a nurturing, welcoming environment.”

Trump: ‘It really doesn't matter what they write, as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass’

Trump may have a different view of women in the workplace than Fischer, but it isn’t any more enlightened.

On science ...

Fischer: ‘Liberals are absolutely anti-science when it comes climatology and global warming’

Fischer contends that when it comes to climate change, it’s the scientists who are “absolutely anti-science,” citing God’s promise to Noah in the Bible that he would never again destroy the earth with floods. He also believes that the theory of evolution is “completely irrational and scientifically bankrupt ”and argues that people who believe in evolution should be “disqualified from holding public office.” Fischer has filled the vacuum left by actual science with some of his own creative theories, such as that dinosaurs were actually giant, 1,000-year-old lizards.

Cruz: ‘Climate change is not science, it’s religion’

Cruz similarly thinks that it’s climate scientists who are being illogical, telling Glenn Beck last year that “climate change is not science, it's religion.” Trump is also “not a big believer” in climate change, which he has dismissed as “bad weather” and a Chinese fabrication designed to destroy the U.S. economy.

While Cruz has deflected questions about evolution, his father and campaign surrogate, Rafael Cruz, has called the theory “baloney” and suggested that it was a communist plot to “destroy the concept of God.”

On the military ...

Fischer: We’ve ‘feminized’ the medal of honor by giving it to service members who haven’t killed people

In 2010, Fischer reacted to the awarding of the medal of honor to an Army sergeant who had rescued two of his fellow soldiers in battle by lamenting that we have “feminized” the military honor by awarding it “for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them."

Trump: ‘I like people who weren’t captured’

Trump, who, like Fischer, has never served in the military, made headlines last summer when he attacked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for his time as a prisoner of war, saying, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

GOP Rep: Only Ted Cruz Can Save Us From Single Moms Having 'Anchor Babies'

Sen. Ted Cruz continues to shore up the endorsements of some of the most far-right activists and elected officials in the country. Last week, he added to that list Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, who, in endorsing Cruz’s presidential campaign, took the opportunity to make a weird dig at immigrant single moms.

Telling talk radio host Charlie Sykes that “Ted Cruz is the one,” Grothman said that the Texas Republican “has the track record in the Senate, you know that he’s going to put a stop to this huge amount of illegal immigration in this country.”

Specifically, Grothman praised Cruz’s stance on birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, derogatorily termed “anchor babies” by opponents of the constitutional guarantee of citizenship at birth, bizarrely claiming that single moms “jump over here” to have their children.

“He stands up to the idea — he’s not for anchor babies,” Grothman said. “Some people don’t like that phrase, but the idea of saying, you know, a single mom can jump over here, have a baby and they’re an American citizen, is ridiculous.”

The comments come about two minutes into this audio clip:

It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that Grothman linked “anchor babies” to single moms, since when he was in the Wisconsin state senate he sponsored a bill that would have required a state agency to promote materials labeling single parenthood “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

Grothman has also explained the pay gap by saying, “You could argue that money is more important for men” and claimed that efforts to help women in the workplace amount to a “war on men.” Last year, Grothman justified defunding Planned Parenthood by explaining that “ as a guy” he has plenty of non-Planned Parenthood healthcare options in Wisconsin.

“Hobby Lobby II” Distorts the Principle of Religious Freedom

The following is a guest blog by Rev. Faye London, a member of the VASHTI Women’s Initiative within People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council.

The Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell case – which has now been consolidated with similar cases under the name Zubik v. Burwell – is a continuation of a strategy by the Right to gut the Affordable Care Act since they have been unable to repeal it. All of these cases are framed as "religious freedom" cases, yet trying to limit women’s reproductive freedom is based on a twisted understanding of what the original Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was meant to address.

Congress passed RFRA more than 20 years ago when the Supreme Court refused to protect native and indigenous individuals from being denied government benefits because of drug tests detecting peyote, a substance that was used in their religious ceremonies. RFRA was passed to protect people from having their free exercise of religion violated by the government.

Like so many others, this law has become a victim of targeted reinterpretation. In 2014, the Hobby Lobby decision made it legal for a corporation to act as an individual with regard to religious freedom. It also redefined religious freedom, so that people and corporations could use RFRA to avoid obeying laws that offend their religious beliefs, but don’t actually limit their free exercise of religion. Several states also considered laws intended to make it legal for any person or business to cite religion in order to ignore laws prohibiting discrimination against same gender loving people. And while that aspect of the debate was all over the news, the threat to women’s health posed by laws like this grew quietly in the background.

The case now at the Supreme Court attacks a vital piece of the puzzle by which ACA protects women's health by requiring health insurance to include contraception coverage without charge. There is an accommodation already in the law that sets an alternative route to coverage for women who work for nonprofit religious organizations that disapprove of contraception. All the organization has to do is fill out a very short and simple form or write a letter stating that as an organization they do not want to provide contraception, and they are relieved from that responsibility and the government takes over, directing the insurance company to pay for the contraception rather than the religious nonprofit. The Little Sisters of the Poor organization and others are saying that signing a one-page form is an "undue burden" on them morally, as it still constitutes participation in opening the way for women to access "sinful" contraceptive care.

This new trend is just another way to strip rights from poor people who depend on these services for survival. It is not about religious freedom. The accommodation is sufficient to protect the Little Sisters' religious freedom. This is about controlling women's bodies (and particularly poor women's bodies, since women of means can afford to pay out of pocket), in order to make space for those who would relieve themselves of any responsibility for ethical treatment of their employees or the public.

PFAW Foundation

PFAW Hosts Telebriefing on Women’s Health Cases at the Supreme Court

Two days after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about laws that use unnecessary regulations to shut down abortion clinics, PFAW held a member telebriefing on the two cases that may be the most significant for women’s reproductive rights in decades. The second case, which is about access to birth control and is being called “Hobby Lobby Part Two,” will be argued at the Supreme Court later this month.

On the call, actress and advocate Kathleen Turner, PFAW’s Marge Baker, Elliot Mincberg, and Drew Courtney, and the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Kelly Baden discussed what’s at stake in these cases – Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt and Zubik v. Burwell – as well as the future of women’s reproductive rights.

Turner pointed out that these cases underscore the importance of our courts in keeping unconstitutional attacks in check and protecting women’s liberty and bodily autonomy. Baden went on to highlight the ways in which these attacks harm low-income and rural women in particular, who are least able to travel long distances and pay high price tags for abortion care.

You can listen to the full telebriefing here:

PFAW

The Cruel Irony Of The Anti-Choice Movement’s TRAP Strategy

The Supreme Court heard arguments today in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which could be the most influential abortion rights case in decades. Whole Woman’s Health, which addresses a Texas law that aims to close abortion clinics by saddling them with expensive and unnecessary regulations, puts to the test the anti-choice movement’s long-term strategy of passing targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws meant to squeeze abortion providers out of existence.

As early as 1990, attorney Walter Dellinger, who went on to serve in the Clinton administration, was warning that the emerging strategy of setting up obstacles to abortion access would push women to obtain abortions later in their pregnancies, a more expensive and less safe procedure. These supposed “compromise” measures, he noted, were at the same time sometimes coupled with calls to cut off legal abortion during the second trimester of pregnancy. Dellinger wrote in The American Prospect:

To enact in the United States laws that simply prohibit abortions after twelve or eighteen weeks would constitute a strange and cruel response to the issue of late abortions. In this country, legislative deadlines for abortion would co-exist with access regulations designed to prevent women from being able to meet the deadline. No state truly concerned about either the increased maternal health risks or the moral implications of late abortions should consider the coercive step of prohibiting second trimester abortions while simultaneously pursuing policies that cause abortion to be delayed. … Bans on funding for abortions, shutting off access to public hospitals, parental consent/ judicial bypass laws, and testing requirements all fall into this category. Legislators who are troubled in principle by late abortions should support instead measures ensuring that every woman who wants to terminate a pregnancy can do so as early and as safely as possible.

Fast forward to late last year, when a study showed that exactly that had happened after Texas implemented its restrictive new law:

A new report released by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project — a research group based at the University of Texas at Austin that’s been tracking the state’s reproductive health policy over the past four years — finds that recent clinic shutdowns have greatly limited access to timely abortions statewide. In some cases, women had to wait nearly a month to be seen. In others, clinics had to turn women away, since they had no available appointment slots open.

As wait time to get an abortion increases, the estimated proportion of abortions performed in the second trimester increases. These later surgical abortions, although safe, are associated with a higher risk of complications and are significantly more costly to women than an earlier medical abortion. And even staunch abortion opponents are more opposed to late-term abortions compared to earlier procedures, citing the scientifically disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks gestation.

At today’s arguments in Whole Women’s health, Justice Anthony Kennedy hinted at this issue, according to the Wall Street Journal’s early reports:

Justice Kennedy ends the string of questions from the women justices.

He notes that drug-induced abortions are up nationwide, but down in Texas, where the number of surgical abortions is up since the state enacted its law. He wondered whether such an impact was “medically wise.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg similarly called out Texas’ solicitor general for undermining his own claim that the state’s regulations were meant to protect women’s health:

Justice Ginsburg asks: How many women will be located more than 100 miles from a clinic? Mr. Keller makes reference to a 25% number, but says that number is high because it doesn’t take into account some women close to clinics in New Mexico.

That’s odd, Justice Ginsburg says. She wonders why Texas would consider those New Mexico clinics an option, given that they wouldn’t meet the standards set forth in the state law. If your argument is right, New Mexico is “not a way out” for Texas, the justice tells Mr. Keller.

Even as the anti-choice movement is pushing restrictive regulations that, as the Texas study showed, drive women to seek abortions later in their pregnancy, it is championing measures at the state and federal level that would cut off legal abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, partway through the second trimester.

Of course, the anti-choice movement is focusing on these two strategies because they believe they can pass muster in the courts and in public opinion in a way that the ultimate goal — an outright ban on abortion — would not. But what is left is not a regime that protects women’s health, as proponents of Texas’ law claim, but one that makes it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for women to obtain an abortion, which has been their ultimate goal all along.

 

PFAW

PFAW Releases Report on Center For Medical Progress’ Roots in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement

WASHINGTON – Today People For the American Way released a report on the anti-choice activists driving the attacks on Planned Parenthood, including in-depth background information on the history of Operation Rescue and its links with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

The report, “Operation Rescue’s Big Break: How an Organization Rooted in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement Is Threatening to Shut Down the Government,” situates the CMP video “sting” within the history of the anti-choice fringe.

“While David Daleiden is relatively young and unknown, his Center for Medical Progress is rooted in a long tradition of activists who have used sham ‘investigations’ to smear abortion providers and undermine access to legal care,” said Miranda Blue, senior researcher at People For the American Way and principal author of the report. “It is no coincidence that when he started his project, Daleiden turned to Operation Rescue and Life Dynamics, two organizations that have spent decades waging campaigns of intimidation and fear against abortion providers. The Center for Medical Progress’ smear on Planned Parenthood is simply an updated version of these tactics, meant not to uncover the truth but to harass and intimidate health care professionals.”

Last month PFAW released a report, “Chipping Away at Choice,” on seven tactics anti-choice legislators and activists are using to erode reproductive health care access across the country. PFAW’s Right Wing Watch blog also monitors and documents the ongoing activities of anti-choice right-wing activists. 

Miranda Blue is available for interviews with the press. To arrange one, please contact Layne Amerikaner at media@pfaw.org.

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PFAW Releases Report Detailing Activists and Ideology Behind Planned Parenthood Attacks

WASHINGTON – Center for Medical Progress creator David Daleiden, the activist responsible for the recent video attacks on Planned Parenthood, was able to tap into a network of experienced anti-choice figures dedicated to undermining health care for American women, as outlined in a report released by People For the American Way today.

The report, “The Activists And Ideology Behind The Latest Attacks On Planned Parenthood,” maps out far-right activists connected with Daleiden, such as Live Action founder Lila Rose, who has teamed up with James O’Keefe – creator of the deceptive videos that resulted in the collapse of ACORN – to orchestrate similar attacks on Planned Parenthood. Operation Rescue head Troy Newman, who runs a website listing personal information and photographs of abortion providers and once publicly celebrated the death of a provider, serves on the board of Daleiden’s Center for Medical Progress.

Released in advance of the Senate’s expected vote on legislation to “defund” Planned Parenthood today, the report situates these attacks within the long-running right wing campaign aimed at ending legal abortion in our country.

“Anyone who has passed an abortion clinic protest recently knows that these videos recycle a tired tactic: the use of graphic images and the vilification of abortion providers,” said Miranda Blue, Senior Researcher for Special Projects at People For the American Way. “It’s important to see the latest attacks for what they are: one piece of the larger far-right effort to not only shutter Planned Parenthood’s critical women’s health services but to end legal abortion entirely.”

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From Wisconsin to Washington, Anti-Choice Legislators Push Unconstitutional 20-Week Abortion Bans

In Congress and state legislatures across the country, right-wing politicians are pushing hard to construct new barriers to women exercising the constitutional right to have an abortion.

Earlier this month the U.S. House passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and GOP legislators in Wisconsin are staging a parallel attack. They introduced a similar 20-week ban, which Gov. Scott Walker has indicated he would sign, and have scheduled a hearing on the bill for next week. PFAW supporters in Wisconsin will be out in force to demonstrate their commitment to protecting this core right.

A couple of important points about 20-week bans: first, they are plainly unconstitutional. One of the main holdings of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was a woman’s right to an abortion before the fetus becomes viable – that is, the point when a fetus could survive outside the uterus. As Imani Gandy writes at RH Reality Check:

In the past 40 years, the Court has never wavered from the fetal viability benchmark…Courts have consistently smacked down legislative attempts to ban abortions at 20 weeks. But states are undeterred by such pedestrian concerns as constitutionality.

Pushing these bans are a deliberate effort to prompt a challenge to the Roe decision, which anti-choice groups believe they can win.

Second, the overwhelming majority of abortions (close to 99 percent) happen before 21 weeks. Those that happen after that are often because of a complicated situation – such as the discovery of a severe fetal abnormality – and the path forward should be determined by a woman and her doctor, not by politicians looking to score points with their base.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these bans are part of an anti-choice agenda with a much broader goal: banning abortions across the board. From mandatory waiting period laws to “personhood” efforts which would give embryos full legal rights from the moment of conception, the anti-choice movement is playing the long game and slowly “chipping away at choice.”

When legislators try to insert themselves into decisions that should be made by women and their health care providers, it’s more than a political ploy. It’s a real threat to every woman’s health and autonomy.

PFAW

JD Hayworth Takes On GOP's Women Problem With Incomprehensible Speech About Marriage

Former Arizona Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth, who lost his primary challenge to Sen. John McCain in 2010, has since landed a job as an anchor for Newsmax, where he delivers the news and conducts interviews in a style eerily reminiscent of Parks and Recreation’s Perd Hapley.

Hayworth fully deployed this characteristic flare in an interview today with Kellyanne Conway, a GOP pollster, about a new poll showing that women view the Republican Party as “intolerant” and “stuck in the past.”

When Conway’s Skype connection cut out, Hayworth quipped that she was “frozen in time,” which prompted him to muse that that would be a great attack line for his political opponents.

Hayworth then launched into a barely comprehensible soliliquy about how Conway had changed her name when she married “because people marry and they take different names” and how “you can’t allow your marriage to be caricatured.”

All of which means that there is no gender gap. Or something:

After Complaining Women's Museum Will 'Indoctrinate' Visitors Into Feminism, CWA's Nance Demands To Chair Museum's Board

The House voted 383-33 last night to move forward with a plan to build a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall, despite an effort by Religious Right groups to prevent the museum from going forward.

Now, we learn that Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, the activist leading the fight against the museum, was offered a spot on its planning board but refused to participate unless an anti-feminist activist like herself was allowed to head the planning effort.

The Daily Caller reports that in an effort to shore up support for a bill authorizing a planning study for the museum, the museum’s chief Republican supporter, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, offered Nance a spot on the museum’s board. Nance refused, saying that she would only accept an offer to lead the museum as the board’s chair or to pick another right-wing activist for the job.

“Regardless of that effort some critics of this legislation have, incorrectly, said that the bill would create a museum that would portray women as monolithic in their views on abortion as well as other issues of concern to women,” said Blackburn, adding that she asked Nance to serve as a member of the commission.

Nance said that the offer — sent by Blackburn’s chief of staff on Tuesday night — is “an exercise in futility and frustration without the chairman being someone who at least is impartial on our views.”

“One seat would not change anything,” said Nance, adding “I am happy to either serve or find someone else to serve as chairman.”

Religious Right groups came out against the plan because, they said, it would place too much emphases on women who had fought for women’s rights. CWA complained that the museum would “indoctrinate” visitors into “a jaundiced view of women’s history” because the museum’s website mentioned pioneering abortion rights advocates but didn’t mention CWA’s founder Beverly LaHaye or fringe right-wing activist Star Parker.

Eagle Forum urged its members to oppose the creation of the museum, saying, “Long sought by feminists, this project would enshrine their warped view of American history on the National Mall” and added that the museum wasn’t needed anyway: “Women's history is American history, and there is already a National Museum of American History on the Mall.”

The Family Research Council warned that the museum would become “a permanent monument to radical feminism and abortion.”

Writing for RedState, David Horowitz called the museum proposal an “interesting endeavor,” but warned that it would “promote leftwing propaganda”:

One of the biggest obstacles to restoring our constitutional Republic is the inherent advantage the progressives enjoy inside of our culture. Their monopoly on media, entertainment, and education has given radicals the opportunity to slowly, yet relentlessly, introduce extreme ideas into the mainstream with a high degree of success. The least we can do as conservatives is not use our majority to gratuitously grant the feminist movement more leverage to promote leftwing propaganda in our nation’s capitol under the guise of celebrating famous women.

In the end, yesterday, activists were only able to persuade 33 Republican House members to vote against a bill that “authorizes a study to find a location for the museum and establish its mission.” Only two of the eighteen Republican women in the House voted against the bill – Rep. Michele Bachmann, who said it would “enshrine the radical feminist movement” and Rep. Vicky Hartzler.

But despite her attempted concession to Nance, Blackburn told National Journal that she could not figure out what all the fuss was about: "Look, I'm a pretty conservative person. I can't even follow that train of thought. It's too convoluted for me."

Glenn Grothman Tried To Remove Woman's Life Exception From Abortion Ban, Make Women Report 'Forcible Rape' Before Obtaining Care

Glenn Grothman, a Republican Wisconsin state senator who is currently running for the US House seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Petri, says he opposes equal pay measures because he thinks “money is more important for men,” believes women’s equality amounts to a “war on men,” and once tried to classify single parenting as child abuse.

It comes as no surprise, then, to learn that Grothman has some Todd-Akin-style anti-choice politics in his past. While serving as a state assemblyman in 1997, Grothman tried – and failed – to remove language from a “partial birth” abortion ban that would have granted an exception for abortions that would save the life of a pregnant woman. That is, Grothman wanted to make it a felony punishable by life in prison for a doctor to save a woman's life by performing a certain kind of abortion.

Grothman sponsored another, successful bill in 1996 that forced women seeking abortions to undergo a 24-hour waiting period, at the time among the longest in the country, and to require doctors to read an anti-choice script to women seeking abortions. When the state senate added a rape and incest exemption to the bill, Grothman arranged to limit the exemption to cases of what he called “forcible rape” and added language that forced the rape survivor to file a police report before being allowed to skip the waiting period.

David Callender of The Capital Times reported on April 25, 1997 that Wisconsin anti-choice groups were split over whether a bill making it a felony to perform a “partial birth” abortion should exempt procedures that would save a woman’s life. One anti-choice group claimed that the exception left “things wide open for the abortionists.” Grothman, then a state assemblyman, stepped in and said he would offer an amendment to remove the life-saving exception:

A bill to ban partial-birth abortions in Wisconsin is causing a major rift among many of the state's most active anti-abortion groups.

The bill would charge doctors with a Class A felony for performing the procedure, which could mean life in prison for offenders.

That's OK with both groups, but they are bitterly divided over an exemption in the bill that would allow doctors to perform the procedure in order to save the mother's life.

Groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference support the exemption. They contend the exception is needed for the bill to pass constitutional muster as well as to insure political support among lawmakers who generally support abortion rights.

On Thursday, the Assembly Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee approved the bill -- with the exemption -- by a 12-2 vote, with the opposition coming from Madison Democratic Reps. Tammy Baldwin and David Travis. The bill will likely come before the Assembly during the May floor period.

But a leading anti-abortion lawmaker, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said he will probably introduce an amendment that would delete the mother's life exception.

That deletion is being sought by Pro-Life Wisconsin, the Pro-Life Coalition, Collegians Activated to Liberate Life, and other conservative anti-abortion groups that identify themselves as ``100 percent pro-life.''

Without the change, "this bill leaves things wide open for the abortionists,'' said Dave Ostendorf, a spokesman for the Pro-Life Coalition.

True to his word, Grothman did offer an amendment that would remove the exemption that allowed a doctor to perform a “partial birth” abortion if it would save the life of the pregnant woman. Grothman’s amendment was eventually withdrawn without being put to a vote, but not before the extremism of his anti-choice positions was put on display.

In the other case, Grothman was the primary sponsor of a bill imposing a waiting period for women seeking an abortion and requiring abortion providers to read an anti-choice script to women seeking care, which at the time was one of the toughest in the nation. Grothman justified the bill by saying, “In many cases, women are looking for someone to talk them out of it,” and claiming that many women “have been badgered into [abortions] by their husbands and boyfriends,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

“The purpose of this bill is to be sensitive to women,'' he said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

John Nichols of The Capital Times summarized the bill in July, 1995:

The so-called "Woman's Right to Know'' bill would, if passed, require a physician to meet in person twice with a woman seeking an abortion before performing the procedure. During those meetings, the doctor would be required to offer the woman an ultrasound reading, a fetal heartbeat report and photographs showing the development of a fetus.

The doctor would also be required to describe the abortion procedure in graphic detail and detail possible risks -- even though there is no requirement that the doctor inform the woman of the risks of carrying a pregnancy to term. The doctor would even have to provide information about risks not proven to exist.

The doctor would also have to conclude not only that the woman has been fully informed, but also that her decision to have the abortion is completely voluntary -- even though a physician would have no way of knowing whether this is so. Doctors could be punished legally for failing to do so.

The state assembly passed Grothman’s bill without excemptions for rape and incest survivors. Grothman claimed that in cases of incest, “These women above all, need this extra protection.” He added, “We're victimizing women not to provide them with information at this time," according to the La Crosse Tribune.

After the state senate added a rape and incest exemption to the bill, Grothman introduced an amendment limiting the exemption to cases of what he called “forcible rape” – excluding statutory rape of minors – and allowing rape survivors to skip the 24-hour waiting period only if they could confirm to the doctor that they had first filed a police report. The amendment added the same reporting requirement for pregnancy in the case of incest involving a minor, but added a two-hour waiting period.

The assembly approved the bill with Grothman’s changes and Gov. Tommy Thompson signed it.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that an earlier Grothman amendment, which was initially passed, but then replaced once legislators realized what it contained, “would have required doctors to wait until a formal criminal complaint was filed before granting an abortion in cases of rape and incest” meaning that survivors would have to “wait weeks, instead of one day, to get an abortion.”

In Misleading UN Testimony, FRC & C-FAM Claim 'Legalizing Abortion Endangers The Lives Of Women'

Yesterday, Wendy Wright, the vice president for government relations at the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), posted a story on the group’s blog about an upcoming meeting on combating the practice of child sacrifice in Uganda. Wright, of course, thinks that the practice of kidnapping children to be sacrificed in ritual murder is “terribly close” to the work of abortion providers:

Uganda will host a conference this fall to create a plan to combat child sacrifice. Attacks have risen recently as the country’s economy is booming. People are hiring experienced [witch] doctors to kill children, believing it will bring health and wealth.

Sound familiar? It’s terribly close to the claim that abortion will improve women’s health and prospects for the future.

So it’s no surprise that when Wright delivered testimony to a UN commission Tuesday on behalf of C-FAM, the Family Research Council and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians, she used any number of misleading and false arguments to urge the UN to fight for maternal health in a way that does not include access to legal abortion.

In her speech to the Commission on Population and Development, Wright downplayed the danger and frequency of illegal abortions, misled about the risks of legal procedures, and denied a link between the criminalization of abortion and unsafe procedures. She even argued that “legalizing abortion actually endangers the lives of women.”

After recommending a number of ways to improve maternal health worldwide, Wright moved onto claiming that legalizing abortion actually endangers women.

There is no quick fix here. And legalizing abortion will not improve maternal health. Mortality from abortion, estimated at less than 15 percent of all causes of maternal death, decreases proportionately with all other causes of maternal death if the right improvements to maternal health care are made, regardless of the legal status of abortion.

This means that complications from abortions, whether legal or not, can only be dealt with through adequate investments in maternal health care. Making abortion legal does not improve maternal health in any way. It only makes it safer for the abortionist. It does not make it any safer to the mother or her unborn child.

Ireland and Chile, which have highly restrictive abortion laws, are world leaders in maternal health, with lower maternal mortality rates than the United States and other wealthy countries. Legalizing abortion actually endangers the lives of women by exposing them to health risks they would not encounter if they were to carry their pregnancies to term.

In fact, as Guttmacher reports [pdf], “there is clear evidence that restrictive abortion laws are associated with a high incidence of unsafe abortion and its health consequences, and abortions in these settings contribute substantially to maternal illness and death.” The group estimates that 47,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe abortion and notes that restrictive abortion laws do not reduce the number of women obtaining abortions.

Wright’s citation of Ireland and Chile as places with low maternal mortality rates despite restrictive abortion laws is also misleading. Data on the incidence of unsafe abortion in Chile is disputed and women in Ireland commonly travel to England, where abortion is legal, to obtain the procedure.

Wright then cited false, misleading, and disputed statistics to claim that it is actually legal abortion that is dangerous.

Abortions often result in immediate complications, like massive bleeding, infection and death – even in countries where elective abortion is legal. In the United States, abortions carried out after five months of pregnancy are more likely to result in the death of the mother than carrying the pregnancy to term.

Over 130 studies show that elective abortion results in an increased risk of pre-term birth in subsequent pregnancies. Women who abort have a greater risk of depression and suicide, as compared to women who give birth.

While Wright claims that “abortions often result in immediate complications,” even in countries where the procedure is legal, in fact surgical abortion conducted under proper conditions is one of the safest medical procedures. She then cites the risks of very late-term abortions, which constitute only one percent of the abortions performed in the United States.

Wright's claim that abortion leads to “a greater risk of depression and suicide” is also false. And while a study last year did find that there was a link in the past between repeated abortions and the risk of preterm birth, it also found that “with modern procedures the danger has all but vanished.”

Wisconsin GOP House Candidate Glenn Grothman Speaks Out Against 'The War On Men'

As we wrote earlier today, Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman is running in the Republican primary this year against U.S. Rep. Tom Petri , which promises to bring extremism in the GOP primaries to a whole new level.

In our round-up of Grothman’s extremism we mentioned a speech he gave to a 2010 Tea Party rally, in which he claimed that “gals” are unfairly getting promoted ahead of men when really “in the long run, a lot of women like to stay at home and have their husbands be the primary breadwinner.”

He also blamed the downfall of America on single mothers on public benefits, even though he claims to have met many single moms while protesting outside abortion clinics: “Now, I know a lot of gals who are having kids out of wedlock, and I love them. I’ve been outside abortion clinics, and I’ve encouraged them.”

“Our country is not going to survive if we continue this war on men,” he concludes.

Although Grothman’s speech has been reported on a number of Wisconsin blogs, we believe it deserves a wider audience. Here’s a slightly shortened version of the legendary speech, via Blogging Blue.

Also in the speech, Grothman claimed that the government is forcing businesses to hire women and people of color and thereby attempting to “divide Americans by race.”

“In addition to the unfairness, the reason that will destroy the country is we are telling people they are not Americans,” he said. “And particularly we are telling our new immigrants, when you come here, if you’re from the Philippines, if you’re from Costa Rica, if you’re from Nigeria, if you’re from Pakistan, you should walk around with a chip on your shoulder and ask your government, ‘What are you going to give me, because I’m from the Phillipines?’ and ‘What are you going to give me because I’m from Pakistan?’ and ‘What are you going to give me because I’m from Mexico?’”

GOP: Sensitivity Training in Animal House

When we learned last month that John Boehner was providing "sensitivity training" to his male Republican colleagues, I knew we would be in for a treat.
PFAW

Marking the 41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade


Today marks the 41st anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision protecting every woman’s right to safe and legal abortion. Today, according  to NARAL Pro-Choice America, seven in ten people support Roe v. Wade.

A poll conducted by NBC News and Wall Street Journal last year found that a record number of respondents supported a woman’s right to choose in all or most circumstances.

This support is especially important in light of the work conservative activists continue to carry out in an attempt to undermine women’s health and autonomy.  As noted in our 2013 report, Chipping Away at Choice, from mandatory waiting periods to “TRAP” laws, the ability for women to access safe and legal abortions is under attack. People For the American Way will continue to work with our allies in protecting women’s right to choose.

PFAW

Albuquerque says no to dangerous local abortion ban

Women’s health and freedom are at risk, and we’ll keep fighting for legislation that protects them.
PFAW

On Women’s Equality Day, Activists Recommit To Stand With Wisconsin Women at Noon Rally

To celebrate the 93rd Anniversary Women’s Equality Day on Monday, People For members joined hundreds of progressive allies on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison for the “Stand With Wisconsin Women” Rally.  The event opened with a song from the Solidarity Singalong participants, and featured Wisconsin women, activists, and legislators speaking out against the Wisconsin GOP’s war against women.

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/H2M9ovQY6nM

 

(Video credit: Scott Foval / PFAW.org)

“Thanks to the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, I will no longer pay co-pays for my birth control.  As a woman I will no longer be charged simply for being a woman, and attempting to control my own reproductive life,” said Kristina Nailen.  “I am still afraid.  I am afraid that after these nine years of accumulating debt just for my bachelors, graduating this year with 83,000 in debt before interest, that I will be able to manage my own health care and make my loan repayments.”

Nailen called on Governor Walker and the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature to reverse their decision to cut the BadgerCare program, and immediately restore health care funding and provide access to more than 100,000 Wisconsin women who count on the program for their health care coverage.

The rally also featured a roster of activists, leaders, and legislators calling for equal pay for women,  for paid family leave legislation, and endorsing the return of legislation promoting common sense, true equality, and fairness for all citizens; including working women, low wage workers, same-sex couples, disabled persons, and immigrants.  Following the rally participants entered the Wisconsin capitol building to lobby Governor Walker and members of the Wisconsin legislature, demanding they refocus on creating well-paying jobs, and stop enacting anti-woman measures as distractions from economically-focused legislation.

PFAW

Cuccinelli: McAuliffe is Waging 'The Real War on Women'…Because He Hasn't Commented on Mayor Three Time Zones Away

Last week, the Republican National Committee and the four national GOP campaign committees sent out a memo claiming that there is in fact a Democratic “war on women” being waged on two fronts: New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s sexting and San Diego mayor Bob Filner’s sexual harassment.

Claiming that “most Democrats said nothing” about the San Diego mayor’s serial sexual harassment and the former congressman’s serial sexting of strangers, the memo charges, “With their silence, they are sanctioning the actions of Bob Filner and Anthony Weiner and numerous others who have assaulted, harassed, and preyed on women.”

Now, Virginia attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has picked up on the theme, sending out a fund raising email with a graphic connecting Cuccinelli’s Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe and President Obama with Weiner and Filner.

“By not condemning Weiner and Filner’s unacceptable behavior towards women, leaders like Obama and McAuliffe are signaling to our young people that it’s okay for powerful American leaders to harass, humiliate and assault women,” the email reads.

As many commentators have noted, the GOP’s new attempt to turn the tables on the War on Women isn’t exactly convincing, especially coming from the party of trans-vaginal ultrasounds and “legitimate rape.”

But the argument is almost comical coming from Cuccinelli, who has one of the most extreme records in the country when it comes to women’s health and women’s rights. This is a candidate who:

Yet, Terry McAuliffe is waging “the real war on women” because of the actions of a man he’s never met who lives on the opposite side of the country.

Chipping Away at Choice: Five Growing Threats to Women’s Healthcare Access and Autonomy

The “War on Women” currently being waged by conservatives in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures is well documented. From attacking contraception to insulting rape survivors to threatening funding for reproductive healthcare, anti-choice legislators and activists are staging an assault on women’s health, privacy and autonomy.
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