war on women

The Right's 2012 Solution: "Just Close Your Eyes"

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Last month, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett offered a solution for women who were going to be forced by the government to undergo a completely unnecessary ultrasound against their wills: "You can't make anybody watch, okay? Because you just have to close your eyes." The governor's suggestion would be almost comical, if it weren't for the tragic fact that forcing women to watch was the whole point of the legislation Corbett supported.

But it seems that Corbett's suggestion doesn't just apply to women seeking abortions in the Keystone state. It is, in essence, what the GOP is telling to every woman turned off by the party's attacks on reproductive rights, equal pay and domestic violence protections: "You just have to close your eyes."

Mitt Romney's campaign is banking on the fact that voters of both genders are concerned about the economy in these uncertain times. Polls show that they're right. But just because you're concerned with the economy doesn't mean you ignore it when a group of people are systematically taking away your rights for their own short-term political gain.

Sadly, this is the new normal. The Tea Party's success has been based on this "just close your eyes" formula. Swept into power on a wave of economic dissatisfaction, Tea Party legislators in Washington and the states asked the country to "close its eyes" as it did everything but fix the economy. "Pay no attention while we roll back decades of progress everything else you care about. Just close your eyes while we bash immigrants, cut essential services, make it very hard to vote, and take away collective bargaining rights". Many minorities have been affected, particularly in the last two years, but arguably and amazingly, no group has been under attack more than the American majority--women.

A new report from People For the American Way investigates the new landscape that the Tea Party is creating for American women. Mississippi is set to become the only state in the country without a legal abortion clinic. Texas is on the path to denying reproductive health care to 130,000 low-income women. Wisconsin repealed its enforcement mechanism for equal pay lawsuits. Senate Republicans are fighting to stop the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Following an all-male panel speaking on women's health, a woman who dares speak in front of Congress about the importance of affordable contraception is called a "slut."

Even with closed eyes, these things are very hard to miss. The Romney campaign has attempted to distract voters from this train wreck of anti-woman policies by claiming that a second Obama administration will hurt women economically. Last week, they hammered hard on the claim that women have accounted for 92 percent of job losses under President Obama- a mangled statistic that ignores, among other factors, that many of those losses were the result of Republican-led layoffs of teachers and other government employees. Then they decided to accuse Democrats of waging a "War on Moms" - forgetting, perhaps, the candidate's history of aggressively pushing low-income women to work outside of the home when their children are very young.

Women haven't bought it. In polls, Romney still trails Obama among women voters by double digits. And in an under-reported fact, among women ages 18 to 29, he's losing by an astounding 45 points. You don't need a political science degree that know that that spells disaster.

Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans seem to think they can get away with almost anything because, in the end, their Election Day hopes will be saved by a bad economy. The problem is, the people they attack on a regular basis - women, gays, Latinos, Muslims, you name it -know the Tea Party's record on the economy and its history of cynical, culture-war attacks that deeply affect the lives of real people. We have our eyes wide open.

PFAW

PFAW Report: The Right's War on Women

Swept into power by Tea Party victories in 2010, Republicans in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress are waging an unprecedented assault on women’s rights. A new report from People For the American Way details the recent developments in the Right’s War on Women and outlines ways that progressives can fight back against it.

The full report, How the War on Women Became Mainstream: Turning Back the Clock in Tea Party America, is available here.

“While voters are concerned with moving our economy forward, right-wing politicians have been focusing on setting women back,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. “Tea Party politicians in Washington and the states have in just two years launched an unprecedented assault on women’s rights and women’s freedoms. From attacking birth control to blocking the Violence Against Women Act to insulting single mothers to legislating away the right to choose, the GOP is systematically rolling back years of advancement for women. These dangerous policies, if not countered with strong progressive voices, threaten to turn back the clock on women throughout the country.”

The report details right-wing attacks on women at the federal level and in the states, and the inflammatory rhetoric that has become common in the War on Women, including:

  • “Can someone please explain to me how and why a woman’s ‘right’ to be promiscuous is my financial responsibility?” – Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber
  • Birth control is “unrelated to the basic needs of health care.” – Rep. Jeff Fortenberry
  • “You could argue that money is more important for men.” – State Rep. Glenn Grothman
  • The contraception coverage mandate is “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen” – Presidential candidate Mitt Romney
  • “The real scandal here is that this woman could, without any trace of shame, without any trace of embarrassment, give open testimony before the entire United States of America about how much promiscuous sex she and her classmates are having.” – The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer
  • “Obama cited Fluke’s ‘bravery’ when he spoke about her. But a more apt word is ‘shamelessness.” – Religious Right activist Gary Bauer

The full report is available online at: http://www.pfaw.org/media-center/publications/war-women

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The War on Women

How the War on Women Became Mainstream: Turning Back the Clock in Tea Party America

Romney’s ‘War on Women’ Gambit

So, Mitt Romney’s campaign has a new idea, which is that they will neutralize the media devastation caused by the GOP’s attacks on women by turning things around and accusing President Obama of waging a “War on Women.” So far, the one piece of evidence Romney’s team has been able to hustle up to back up their new claim is an out-of-context jobs number that Politifact has rated Mostly False.

Asked to explain their new tagline in more detail today, Romney’s advisers were at a loss.

In the meantime, Romney shows no signs of abandoning any of the GOP’s anti-woman policies. The candidates advisors told a reporter that they weren’t sure if their boss supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a landmark law – signed by President Obama – that ensures that women can sue for pay discrimination. Ledbetter fired back, saying, “If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn’t have to take time to ‘think’ about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

Romney has done a 180 on reproductive rights, supporting extreme “personhood” measures and calling the Obama administration rule making sure women have insurance coverage for contraceptives an “attack on religious conscience, religious freedom.” When a firestorm erupted over Rush Limbaugh’s false and degrading attacks on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, Romney simply said Limbaugh’s sexist slurs were “not the language I would have used.”

And of course Romney tapped Robert Bork, a vociferous opponent of feminism and reproductive rights, to head his advisory team on courts and the law.

If Romney wants to convince American voters that his opponent is the one waging a War on Women, he’s going to have an uphill battle.
 

PFAW

Yes, There is a War on Women

In an interview with Bloomberg today, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus claimed that accusing the Republican Party of waging a “war on women” is as absurd as accusing them of a “war on caterpillars”:

“If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we’d have problems with caterpillars,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “It’s a fiction.”

Perhaps Preibus should listen to women in his own party before declaring the GOP’s war on women to be a “fiction.” Speaking in Alaska today, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was very clear that the war on women exists and is alienating female voters. According to the Huffington Post:

"It makes no sense to make this attack on women," she said at a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon, according to the Homer News. "If you don't feel this is an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and your daughters."

She also said that she would continue to support funding for Planned Parenthood, adding that the courts have affirmed a legal right to an abortion and she stands by that.

Murkowski criticized GOP presidential candidates for not condemning Rush Limbaugh for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute," which he later apologized for. Fluke was rejected as a witness before a panel on the Obama contraception mandate chaired by House Oversight And Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) last February. (She spoke Thursday to HuffPost in a Q&A.)

"To have those kind of slurs against a woman … you had candidates who want to be our president not say, 'That's wrong. That's offensive.' They did not condemn the rhetoric," she said.
 

PFAW

Donnelly: Women in Combat, Gays Will Topple Military Like Jenga Blocks

The Center for Military Readiness’s Elaine Donnelly has been making the rounds this week to discuss what she alleges is the Pentagon’s attempted cover-up of a marked increase in violent sexual assaults in the Army since 2006. The increase in sexual assaults was reported [pdf] by the Army in January and Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta immediately called the trend “unacceptable” and vowed to take steps to stop it. This week, a federal judge ordered the Army to release more detailed records on the assaults, at the request of the ACLU and the Service Women’s Action Network.

Donnelly, however, asserts that the Pentagon has been trying to cover up the increase in sexual assaults in order to cover for a new policy allowing women to officially serve in combat positions.

Speaking with Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio yesterday, Donnelly said that adding “social burdens” to the military – like allowing women to serve in combat and gays to serve openly – will eventually topple institution like a tower of Jenga blocks. Donnelly has previously claimed that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military would  "break the all-volunteer force."

Gaffney: Are we at risk, Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, of breaking the all-volunteer force with all of this?

Donnelly: Yes, yes we are. And what we’re heading toward is what I call the Jenga block military. If you’ve ever played that game with wooden blocks, you know you take the blocks out of the bottom, and you load more burdens on the top. Eventually, the tower becomes so unstable it collapses. And it’s a fun game to play on your kitchen table. But if you take things away from our military, and you keep adding social burdens on top, what you do is make a weakened force, you make that tower unstable. You, in essence, weaken the infrastructure of the culture of the military.

And let’s face it, it isn’t just about the weapons and the planes and ships and all of those hardware things, it’s the people who defend the military – the all-volunteer force. If we are doing great harm to both men and women in the military, if sexual assaults become so demoralizing, so conducive to indiscipline, what we’re doing is weakening the finest military in the world, we’re doing it gradually and according to this Army report, the progression is relentless. And it’s going in the wrong direction, it’s getting worse. And we certainly should not make it even worse than that by placing female soldiers into direct ground combat infantry battalions.

Somebody’s got to blow the whistle on this. Social engineers never are held accountable for their handiwork. Instead, the Pentagon invites them in to do more mischief, to create more problems. They don’t know what they’re doing. This report indicates that we need to really analyze this thing, and frankly Congress needs to intervene before it is too late.

Donnelly also dropped by the Janet Mefferd Show yesterday, where she claimed the Pentagon is “pretend[ing] there’s no problem” and mocked the Defense Department’s hiring of Sexual Assault Response Coordinators as a “jobs program” boondoggle:

Donnelly: You can understand why the Army did not want to trumpet these findings: they don’t fit the template. Well, now we’re going to put women into land combat battalions, the ones that are all male, the tip of the spear. They just pretend there’s no problem, and if theirs is a problem, well the problem is a myth. So, we’ll just do more training, we’ll hire more, what do they call it, ‘sexual assault response coordinators.’

Mefferd: Oh, good grief.

Donnelly: Starts to make a pretty good salary. You’re talking about a jobs program here.

Dobson: Planned Parenthood Based on 'Evil' and 'Wickedness'

Today on Family Talk James Dobson hosted Students for Life representative Kristan Hawkins. Dobson lauded Lila Rose’s dishonest and edited video “exposé” of Planned Parenthood and claimed that Planned Parenthood is saturated with “wickedness” and “evil,” while Hawkins went on an absurd rant where she explained that Planned Parenthood is an all-powerful “abortion Goliath” that only cares about making money by getting girls pregnant, tricking them into getting breast cancer and ultimately coercing them to have abortions:

Hawkins: I think the videos of Planned Parenthood have really helped to focus and to shed the light on Planned Parenthood because they are the abortion Goliath, I always refer to them as the abortion Goliath, they are the big man on campus, they’re the ones with the lobbyists, they’re getting the government funding, they’re subsidizing their abortions, they’re the ones making the money off all of this. I think the videos are very, very important in exposing their real agenda. You know Planned Parenthood sounds like a nice name, ‘ooh Planned Parenthood, and they’re providing free condoms to me, ooh yay,’ but then when you start peeling back, you know, what’s their method?

We have this new postcard, we make these little flashy postcards and they don’t really give students the answer but they’re there to raise controversy and drive people to our website where they can find out more information. It says, Planned Parenthood’s plan for you: One, give you the lowest ranked condoms that are available on the market today, the lowest ranked by Consumer Reports condoms, so you think Planned Parenthood’s great, they’re giving you bad condoms, then they’re going to give you birth control that can cause breast cancer, they’re going to give you low-dose birth control, and then they’re going to give you an abortion, and this is their plan to make money.



Dobson: If you scratch around anywhere near the Planned Parenthood message and the function of Planned Parenthood, you see wickedness; you see evil.

Never one to be left out of an ill-informed conversation, Ryan Dobson said that he hopes that when abortion is re-criminalized the government will force people who lived near Planned Parenthood clinics to walk through them just as Germans during the post-war occupation had to go through concentration camps:

You know what I hope happens, I hope what happens is what they did in Germany after World War II that the people living near concentration camps, they walk them through those areas. That’s what they did to the Germans, those living near the concentration camps, the government walked them through those places where they were killing people every day saying ‘this is what you let happen.’ Every Planned Parenthood and abortion provider in America, the people living in those communities around them should have to go through and say ‘this is what you let happen.’

Linda Harvey Decries Obama's 'Insulting Rebellion in the Face of God'

Mission America president Linda Harvey today lambasted the Obama administration’s support for gay rights and recent move to require contraceptives coverage by insurance plans, urging listeners to pray for President Obama to repent “because his insulting rebellion in the face of God is breathtaking.” She warned that while “a godless dictator and his minions do not rule this country yet,” Obama is attacking liberty and religion in order to promote “abortion and homosexuality.”

Far from apologizing or changing his mind or respecting both our faith and our First Amendment rights, no, our President has doubled down, he now says this [contraception] mandate stands and will extend even to students, so Christian college insurance plans will now be required to pay for abortion-inducing drugs without any copay for both employees and students. How does a sitting president get away this this? I don’t know and we need to pray for him because his insulting rebellion in the face of God is breathtaking. Pray for his repentance. But just as we have to call out to God for help on these issues, we Christens also need to ask—within lawful means, of course—we have the God-given freedom to make changes in America which not all oppressed people in this world do. A godless dictator and his minions do not rule this country yet, we the people do.



It is clear where this administration stands on respecting liberty, they don’t, or respecting faith, they don’t. We know they’re so committed to abortion and homosexuality that they’re willing to support late term abortion, to undermine national marriage law and to sanction open homosexual behavior in our military. Should we trust this administration? Not with our lives and our faith, and that’s really sad.

Ryan budget further exposes hypocrisy of the war on women

“There is no way for ‘experts’ in Washington to know more about the health care needs of individual Americans than those individuals and their doctors know.”
PFAW

Religious Right Groups Plan Rallies to 'Stop the HHS Mandate'

Conservative organizations are planning to hold rallies on March 23rd across the country to “Stand up for Religious Freedom” and “Stop the HHS Mandate” on contraception coverage. Members of the new coalition include the Alliance Defense Fund, American Life League, Christian Defense Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Operation Rescue, Thomas More Society and various anti-choice groups, and they seek to organize demonstrations “outside federal buildings, Congressional offices and historic sites across the country.” In a statement responding to a conciliatory move by the administration which ensures that religious-based organizations won’t have to pay directly for contraceptives, rally organizers doubled down on their criticisms of the Obama administration and said that they are against the insurance mandate’s impact on “all businesses—not just religious institutions”:

"With their March 16 statement, President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius are once again pretending to accommodate employers' conscientious objections to their HHS Mandate. The accounting tricks they're proposing are nothing but smoke and mirrors. At the end of the day, employers are still forced to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans," said Eric Scheidler, co-director of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallies across the United States.



We protest the federal government's definition of what constitutes a religious institution through the narrowly constructed "exemption" to the HHS Mandate, a definition which is both false and beyond the federal government's authority to make.

We protest the fact that religious institutions, even after President Obama's so-called "accommodation," are being forced to facilitate contraception, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs through the health plans they are mandated to provide.

We protest the Mandate forcing all businesses -- not just religious institutions -- to provide coverage of contraception, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs, if even doing so violates their own moral convictions on these matters.

We protest the HHS Mandate because, in requiring all health plans to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs as "preventative care," it treats pregnancy and childbirth as a disease.

Randall Terry Weighing Third Party Run Against 'Pimp' Obama

While Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry’s challenge to President Obama for the Democratic nomination may have hit a snag recently, his campaign based around running graphic anti-abortion ads may continue into the general election as he is considering a run as a third party candidate and drafting allied congressional candidates. Terry believes that a presidential run won’t draw votes away from the Republican nominee, but from anti-choice Democrats who would otherwise support Obama:

To help carry his message on abortion and possibly expand opportunities to broadcast his anti-abortion television ads, he said that he has also helped recruit almost a half-dozen people running for Congress in swing states across the country who are making abortion the central issue of their campaigns.

“I am going to try to run my ads in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio,” he said. “I am going to try run them in all the swing states. Then on election night, when all the commentators are saying why he lost, it will be because of the images of those dead babies.”

Reacting to the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh’s tirades against Sandra Fluke, Terry called Fluke a “political prostitute” and Obama her “Political Pimp,” saying that Obama even had his “daughters pimped for the cause of sexual immorality.” “Obama prostituted Fluke in order to motivate and mobilize a small but important part of his base,” Terry writes, “fornicating college students who want to keep their beer money for beer, and get their birth control and abortifacients for free.”

The “slut” and “prostitute” comments by Rush Limbaugh are still making waves. The Obama administration is now pondering cutting off Rush from the Armed Forces Network radio stations. Is our Commander in Chief now moving toward thought control of the military?

The hubbub surrounding Rush's comments will clearly play a roll in the political debate for the rest of this election cycle. For that reason, it behooves those of us who still possess a functioning ethical compass to defend Rush, and call out the President for his horrific roll in this political drama.

Rush Limbaugh treated Miss Fluke as a worthy adversary. She stepped into the political ring to rumble; she decided – as the seasoned pro-abortion feminist activist that she is – to become the “poster prostitute” of “free love.” She decided – of her own free will – that she would become the lightning rod for all the poor little girls who want to “sleep around,” and have the rest of us pay for their birth control and abortifacients. Rush treated her as a worthy opponent, and responded to her with rhetoric equal to the battle.

Ms. Fluke chose her role as the protagonist/political prostitute. That means she has to take her licks like a big girl, and hold her own. Miss Fluke can’t have it both ways; she can’t be the adult in a fierce debate, and also be the little girl who is getting picked on. She cannot be both sultry superwoman and helpless damsel in distress. She cannot cry foul because a great political voice treated her public and political statements as political "free game."

Enter President Obama. He pretended to be her “Knight in Shining Armor” but in fact acted as her Political Pimp. He has shamelessly used her for his political agenda. By telephoning her and lionizing her he further prostituted her for his sake, not hers. For Ms. Fluke, this is the height of being used, objectified, and “politically pimped.”

But then President Obama really crossed the line: he used his own daughters to further this agenda. Ponder it well: Obama said, “I thought of my daughters when I called Sandra Fluke…I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her, and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate.”

I (Randall) raised two little girls. When my daughters were young, neither heaven nor hell could have compelled me to use them in an illustration where they were sexually promiscuous, and then publically demanding that tax payers fund their immoral behavior. I do not know a father who would say this. And I am certain – as one dad to another – that President Obama does not want his daughters as “sexually active” unmarried girls sleeping around, calling out to tax payers to pick up their birth control/abortifacient tab. If they were, he would not be proud, he would be heartbroken. As an intelligent man, President Obama knows the heartache and dangers that attend sexual immorality.

So why did he say it? Because this was about a political agenda for getting votes; it was not about sexual ethics or good parenting. Obama prostituted Fluke in order to motivate and mobilize a small but important part of his base; fornicating college students who want to keep their beer money for beer, and get their birth control and abortifacients for free. Obama had great enthusiasm with young voters for “hope and change” in 2008; since those promises have proved illusory, he is now opting for the lower road of drugs and orgasms.

Rush is a brilliant thinker; he treated Ms. Fluke as a worthy opponent. Obama treated her like a political prostitute. History will bear Rush witness that he was right. And believe me, fathers all over America are hoping they never see their daughters pimped for the cause of sexual immorality, birth control, and drugs that kill the unborn.

Gary Bauer Warns Against Violence Against Women Act

American Values president Gary Bauer demanded Republicans oppose the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, writing in Human Events today that the bill is a “trap.” Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans all voted against re-authorization and Bauer insisted that they oppose the legislation because of “provisions allowing abused illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas and programs for same-sex couples.” As Legal Momentum’s Lynn Hecht Schafran notes, protections for immigrants and women in same-sex relationships have “always been true about the bill but required clarification.”

Bauer, who regularly rails against the “war on religion,” the “war on Christmas” and the “social, political and cultural war in our country,” also expressed his anger that progressives are using the phrase “war” as part of “painting conservatives as domestic policy war mongers,” and of course didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize Sandra Fluke:

Whether it’s the “war on science” or the “war on labor unions,” the left never tires of painting conservatives as domestic policy war mongers. Now liberals are revisiting another fictitious conservative war, against women.

At the Women in the World Summit in New York last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blasted tyrants across the globe. “They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies,” Clinton said.

Then she compared Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to Sandra Fluke. “Women and girls…throughout the world,” she said, “are assuming the risks that come with sticking your neck out, whether you are a democracy activist in Burma or a Georgetown law student in the United States.”

It was absurd for America’s top diplomat to compare a chief target of one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes to the law student/abortion activist.



Obama cited Fluke’s “bravery” when he spoke about her. But a more apt word is “shamelessness.”

Speaking of shameless, while Clinton has made advancing women’s rights a major rhetorical theme of her time at State, the Obama administration has ignored and even supported egregious violations against women.



Whining about the “war on women” in a Politico op-ed last week, former Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm wrote, “Republican obsession with Planned Parenthood alone has become a form of legislative sexual McCarthyism.”

In case there was any doubt about the centrality of the “war on women” theme to the Democratic campaign, Senate Democrats are pushing to extend the Violence Against Women Act, with a vote by the end of March.

Most Republicans support the law, but it’s a trap. The legislation includes not only laudable programs like grants to battered women’s shelters but also provisions allowing abused illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas and programs for same-sex couples.



Allusions to the Republican “war on women” will continue as a major Democratic campaign theme. But they’re just Democrats’ way of diverting voters’ attention from their own failures and injustices toward women.

Update: Concerned Women for America, a consistent opponent of the Violence Against Women Act, in an email to members today claimed that the law “destroys the family”:

VAWA, in its current form, is a boondoggle for feminist groups. It has morphed into a series of rigid and ineffective law enforcement programs that continue to spend approximately $455 million each year. Instead of helping women and children, this legislation creates a large bureaucracy and destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda.



Finally, this bill creates a new series of expensive and unnecessary programs that further complicate the process of giving aid to these women and push a feminist agenda (such as one $15 million program that attempts to "re-educate" school children into domestic violence ideology [Section 302]).

VAWA harms women by diluting assistance to real victims and by tearing the family apart. Please call your senators today at 202-224-3121, and urge them to oppose VAWA. 

Mississippi Republicans Push to Mandate Transvaginal Ultrasounds, Renew Personhood Amendment Fight

The Mississippi House passed a bill that would require doctors to detect fetal heartbeats, which in many cases would require a transvaginal ultrasound, on women seeking an abortion and without exceptions for survivors of rape or incest. An amendment that would ban men from having vasectomies failed to pass. The group Personhood Mississippi praised the bill’s passage, and said they will begin collecting signatures to put another personhood amendment on the ballot in 2013 despite its failure last November.

The bill appears to be based on Janet Porter’s Heartbeat Bill, which passed the Ohio State House and bans all abortions after a detectable heartbeat, that has been springing up in other states including Kansas and Nebraska.

During the debate over the legislation, a Republican lawmaker responded to claims that the medically-unnecessary procedure is “state-sanctioned rape” by arguing that women “allow ourselves to be vulnerable to a pregnancy”:

The Mississippi House approved a bill that would require women seeking abortions to acknowledge when unborn children have detectable heartbeats, in some cases necessitating invasive transvaginal ultrasounds.

There is no provision in the House Bill 1196 exempting women who have been victims of rape or incest from the transvaginal ultrasound.



Rep. Rita Martinson, R-Madison, rebutted Wooten's statement, specifically addressing her description of the instrument.

"What do we think is used when an abortion is performed?" she asked. "What kind of device goes in and snatches a person from the womb, tears it out, and takes that beating heartbeat and kills it?"

While Hines and Wooten said the bill holds women responsible for an unwanted pregnancy while letting men off the hook, Martinson stressed it should be the woman's responsibility.

"Sometimes it's rape, but most of the time, it's not," she said. "We're the ones who remove our pants, are we not?

"We are the ones who allow ourselves to be vulnerable to a pregnancy," she said.

Matt Barber Bemoans the 'Fornication Fandango' in his Pathetic Attack on Sandra Fluke

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber has long been one of the most factually-challenged members of the Religious Right to the point of utter absurdity. Take for example Barber’s latest column where the “pro-family” activist defends Rush Limbaugh for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” in his article, “Limbaugh and the, um, Lady,” and to attack Fluke and her “sexual anarchist worldview” with the same falsehoods and innuendos used by Limbaugh:

Still, liberal attempts to sidetrack aside, the cultural issues embedded within this Fluke flap are worthy of discussion. Only a dying culture lionizes a woman who publicly impugns – with pride – her own honor and virtue. Yet, to the left, she’s a hero.

It’s genuinely sad that, as a society, we are no longer appalled that a young, single woman – though very nice, I’m sure – would go on national television nonetheless, to proudly and publicly boast that, to her, while sex is cheap and casual, dealing with the potential consequences is so expensive that those of who disagree must subsidize her bad behavior.

Can someone please explain to me how and why a woman’s “right” to be promiscuous is my financial responsibility? If you refuse to buy your own “preventative medicine,” why not hit up the fellas? Last I heard it takes two to do the fornication Fandango.

This is by design. Secular-“progressives” have been working to deconstruct traditional sexual morality for generations. The goal is to impose – under penalty of law – their own moral relativist, sexual anarchist worldview. (Hence, the unconstitutional ObamaCare mandate requiring that Christian groups cast aside millennia-old church doctrine, and get with the postmodern program.)

But, beyond this assault on religious freedom and the moral implications surrounding the debate, Ms. Fluke has additionally set the true women’s movement back decades. Her public groveling for free contraception and abortifacients reinforces the sexist stereotype that single women can’t survive without welfare. Women’s empowerment? More like patriarchal government dependency.

Still, like so much in its propagandist bag of tricks, the left’s entire “denied access to contraception” premise is built upon a lie. Liberals would have you believe that, for decades, women seeking birth control – already cheap and often free – have been systemically tackled in front of Walgreens by a bevy of white, Republican Catholic Priests.

Name one woman who has been “denied access” to birth control – ever. Show me one Republican politico who wants to “ban contraception.”

There are none.

Actually, if Barber ever read Fluke’s testimony, he would have found examples of women denied access to birth control:

In sixty-five percent of cases, our female students were interrogated by insurance representatives and university medical staff about why they needed these prescriptions and whether they were lying about their symptoms. For my friend, and 20% of women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription, despite verification of her illness from her doctor. Her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted the birth control to prevent pregnancy. She’s gay, so clearly polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy. After months of paying over $100 out of pocket, she just couldn’t afford her medication anymore and had to stop taking it. I learned about all of this when I walked out of a test and got a message from her that in the middle of her final exam period she’d been in the emergency room all night in excruciating pain. She wrote, “It was so painful, I woke up thinking I’d been shot.” Without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the size of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary. On the morning I was originally scheduled to give this testimony, she sat in a doctor’s office. Since last year’s surgery, she’s been experiencing night sweats, weight gain, and other symptoms of early menopause as a result of the removal of her ovary. She’s 32 years old. As she put it: “If my body indeed does enter early menopause, no fertility specialist in the world will be able to help me have my own children. I will have no chance at giving my mother her desperately desired grandbabies, simply because the insurance policy that I paid for totally unsubsidized by my school wouldn’t cover my prescription for birth control when I needed it.” Now, in addition to potentially facing the health complications that come with having menopause at an early age-- increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis, she may never be able to conceive a child.

Perhaps you think my friend’s tragic story is rare. It’s not. One woman told us doctors believe she has endometriosis, but it can’t be proven without surgery, so the insurance hasn’t been willing to cover her medication. Recently, another friend of mine told me that she also has polycystic ovarian syndrome. She’s struggling to pay for her medication and is terrified to not have access to it. Due to the barriers erected by Georgetown’s policy, she hasn’t been reimbursed for her medication since last August. I sincerely pray that we don’t have to wait until she loses an ovary or is diagnosed with cancer before her needs and the needs of all of these women are taken seriously.

As for finding a “Republican politico” who wants to ban birth control, we can list every Republican in states like Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama and elsewhere who support so-called personhood legislation, which bans common forms of birth control.

In fact, Liberty Counsel is a strong supporter of personhood legislation, so Barber can look no further than the mirror to find someone who wants to ban birth control.

The War on Women in the Courts

The War on Women doesn't stop with reproductive rights. In a new post at Ms. Blog, People For's Marge Baker explains how GOP obstruction of judicial nominees is keeping women -- as well as people of color and gays and lesbians -- from reaching positions of power in the federal courts:

President Obama has made no secret of his goal to make the American courts look like America. Along with the effort to bring more women to the bench, roughly 36 percent of his nominees have been people of color, and he has nominated more openly lesbian and gay individuals to the federal courts than all his predecessors combined.

But the president’s effort to bring a diversity of voices to the federal courts is now facing a major roadblock. Senate Republicans have been obstructing President Obama’s judicial nominees to an unprecedented extent–usually not because of objections to the nominees themselves, but just for the sake of creating gridlock. Indeed, most of President Obama’s nominees have been approved by the Judiciary Committee with unanimous or near-unanimous bipartisan support. Nevertheless, after committee approval, Republicans in the Senate have forced the president’s nominees to wait four times longer to get a yes-or-no vote than President Bush’s nominees at the same point in his term.

As a result, about one out of ten courtrooms in the country are vacant and Americans are facing inexcusable delays as they seek their day in court. One of President Obama’s least-noticed but most long-lasting achievements–putting a qualified, diverse group of judges on our federal courts–has been put at risk.

Read the full post at Ms. Blog.

PFAW Foundation

Fischer: The Left Hates Women

On Monday, Bryan Fischer came to the defense of Rush Limbaugh, saying he was "lexically accurate" to call Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a "slut" on his radio program and that Limbaugh's apology was proof that we are now living under "secular Sharia."

Fischer returned to the topic on his radio program again today, during a segment in which proclaimed that all the misogyny, hatred, and vulgar attacks on women almost always comes from the Left because the Right respects women and treats them with dignity.  In fact, explained Fischer, there is really no difference between the Left and Islamic Radicals, who see women as "something less than human." 

Then, after proclaiming that the Right always treats women respectfully, he then proceeded to again attack Fluke as a someone who is "sleeping with so many guys she can’t keep track [and] doing it three times a day" while wondering if President Obama would be proud if his daughters turned out like that:

Pat Robertson Weighs in on Sandra Fluke's 'Fornication'

Televangelist Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today attacked Sandra Fluke’s testimony at a Democratic hearing, after she was barred from speaking at a GOP-led committee, in support of making religiously-based institutions like universities cover contraception in their insurance plans. Robertson falsely claimed Fluke was asking for “$3,000 a year” for contraceptives, as Fluke actually said that without insurance “contraception can cost a woman over $3,000” over the course of law school, and noted that contraceptives are important not only to prevent unintended pregnancies but also matters such as ovarian cysts, hormonal disorders and early menopause. His guest Jeffrey Bell of the American Principles Project said that Fluke’s testimony was part of a larger left-wing plot from the 1790s, not the 1970s, of “imposing the values of the sexual revolution on everybody else” and trying to “attack organized religion and the traditional family.” Bell later told Robertson, a former presidential candidate and founder of the Christian Coalition who talks about social issues almost every day of his show, that social issues “keep coming up” in political debates “because it’s in the DNA of the left.”

Watch:

Robertson: You know there was a woman, the law student at Georgetown University who appeared before a congressional committee, and she said that students needed $3,000 a year for contraception and that they couldn’t afford it. As I understand, the Catholic school was supposed to pay for it. Now Catholics say that fornication, if you will, sex outside of marriage, is a sin. This woman is saying ‘I’m going to be committing sin but I want you to pay for my sin.’ Now am I overstating that? Rush Limbaugh got a little bit over the top on that thing but is that what it amounted to?

Bell: I honestly think that the left, their greatest achievement is the sexual revolution and they want to complete the job of imposing the values of the sexual revolution on everybody else, including those who have held out and disagree with some aspects of it. They’ve been this way since the 1790s, when the word ‘the left’ was invented, that was all about tearing down the existing social institutions and the political institutions, yes the royalty and nobility, but also the left from the beginning in the 1790s with the Jacobins and Robespierre wanted to attack organized religion and the traditional family and they have never changed in that regard. Every left movement has been about getting rid of traditional institutions.

Robertson: So Obama’s playing right down to that playbook, is that what you’re saying?

Bell: I think he’s being true to it, I don’t think he calculated the potential damage of doing this to the Catholic Church because it’s in the DNA of the left, that’s why the issues are unavoidable and why they’re going to keep coming up, because the left is going to insist on that.

Rick Santorum's Latest Target -- Single Moms

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

I am a single parent.

According to the right, I am also a leech on society and pose a danger to my own son.

A new bill proposed by a Republican state legislator in Wisconsin would officially label single parents like me a "contributing factor to child abuse and neglect." When radio host Alan Colmes asked the bill's author, Glenn Grothman, to explain himself, Grossman said that women become single parents in order to live off the government, and then lie about it and say they got pregnant by accident.

As far as I know, Sen. Grothman's the first one to try to write the Single Moms Conspiracy theory into law, but he's far from the first one to think it. Bashing single moms has been a mainstay of right-wing politics for decades. Perhaps this is because it combines two of the right's favorite activities: publicly judging the family lives of others and scapegoating.

One of the most enthusiastic purveyors of the Single Moms Conspiracy theory has been Rick Santorum. Mother Jones today put together a collection of some of his early comments on single parenthood. During his 1994 Senate race, Santorum said, "We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it's falling apart because of single moms." A month later, he accused single mothers of "simply breeding more criminals."

Santorum hasn't exactly stepped back from his claim that single moms are ruining America. In October, he said that the Democratic Party's support base is single mothers with a "desire for government." At a GOP debate in December, he said that single moms aren't marrying their boyfriends because they want to keep on collecting welfare.

What's remarkable is that the same people pushing the theory that single parents are ruining America are also doing everything in their power to keep women from having access to birth control and to keep gay and lesbian parents from getting married. For them, this isn't about improving women's and children's lives: it's about creating a scapegoat.

Research shows that the key to raising healthy children is stability, not the number or gender of their parents. Kids who have parents that come and go face greater risk than kids who have only one parent throughout their lives that they can rely on to be there. If politicians like Rick Santorum want to promote stable families, they should start by respecting all families.

I can think of a lot of things that are making "the fabric of this country fall apart." Loving single parents are not one of them.

Lara Bergthold chairs People For the American Way's Board of Directors.

PFAW

Who's Sorry Now? The Republican Art of the Non-Apology

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Ralph Reed reached out to Rush Limbaugh via Twitter yesterday and accepted his apology. "Apology accepted. Let's move on," he said -- a magnanimous gesture had Rush Limbaugh actually apologized to Ralph Reed. Too bad that, despite the too quick headlines, Limbaugh not only hadn't apologized to Reed -- he hadn't really apologized to anyone at all.

Instead, Reed and Limbaugh, with the backing of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, started up the ole vast right-wing fake apology machine -- designed to temporarily quell a too hot controversy while at the same time not giving an inch.

Unfortunately for them, after too much use of the fake apology, people are catching on.

Although considered by some in the GOP to be a little too rough around the edges, Rush Limbaugh has always been considered a net asset to Republicans. Like fellow right-wing shock-jocks Glenn Beck and Bryan Fischer, he reaches a wide audience with toxic sludge that is ultimately helpful to the Republican Party, saying all the things that fire up the right-wing base, but that the politicians wouldn't want to be caught saying themselves. But Limbaugh has a peculiar kind of power -- no matter how outrageous his comments, members of the establishment Right tiptoe around him, afraid that his toxic words might one day be directed at them. George Will said it best: "They want to bomb Iran, but they're afraid of Rush Limbaugh."

The latest boot-up of the right-wing apology machine began when Limbaugh called Georgetown University law student and contraception coverage advocate Sandra Fluke a "slut," saying "She wants to be paid to have sex." And, as if contraception was sold by the gallon or the pound, he added, "She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception."

President Obama immediately stepped up, calling Fluke to check in and encourage her after she had been smeared on national radio.

Rick Santorum, in contrast, called Limbaugh's comments "absurd," but then reasoned that "an entertainer can be absurd... He's in a very different business than I am."

Mitt Romney's response was flimsier and even more timid. Asked about it while shaking hands at a rally, he said that it was "not the language I would have used." Apparently, he had no problem with Limbaugh saying that birth control advocates want the government to pay for them to have sex. He would just use different words.

Finally, Limbaugh himself fake-apologized. "I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke," he said -- before blaming the left and going on to repeat his accusation that she was "discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress."

"I wouldn't have use those words" is the new "I apologize if anyone was offended."

Ms. Fluke did not accept Limbaugh's fake-apology. Ralph Reed, however, accepted it on her behalf. Republican leaders can't be responsible for everything that comes out of the mouths of every right-wing blowhard. But if they want to be president they can be expected to provide clear responses when comments like Limbaugh's are this outrageous, instead of hiding their heads in the sand hoping that the public exposure of these outrages will go away. How hard is it to say that women who advocate for insurance coverage for contraceptives should be heard and shouldn't be called prostitutes for stating their position on the topic? Is it really worth compromising basic decency to stay in the good graces of Rush Limbaugh?

The Republican Party is increasingly buoyed by a small base whose values are antithetical to those of most other Americans. If they want to survive politically, they are going to have to stand up and no longer be fake apologists for the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

PFAW

David Limbaugh Laments 'The Radical Display of Hate and Intolerance' Directed at his Brother, Rush

David Limbaugh in his column today defended his far more successful brother, Rush, for his daily sexist diatribes against law student Sandra Fluke, attacking his brothers critics’ “viciousness” and lack of “forgiveness”:

What is a much bigger story is that the left's primary interest here is not in protecting Fluke -- in my humble opinion. Liberals are attempting to exploit this as another opportunity to destroy Rush through a calculated, organized Saul Alinsky-type community organizing campaign to pressure and intimidate his advertisers into discontinuing their sponsorship of his show.

I am watching them operate on Twitter and other social networks, and their viciousness is palpable. They didn't want Rush's apology, which they absolutely refuse to accept. They want his scalp. And they've wanted his scalp for years because he is the most effective and influential spokesman for the conservative cause.

What I am observing is the most radical display of hate and intolerance that I've witnessed in years. It does not surprise me, but it is ironic that the very people who masquerade as exemplars of tolerance, civility and compassion have no room in their hearts for forgiveness.

If this is “the most radical display of hate and intolerance” that he’s “witnessed in years,” then he must not be listening to his brother’s show.

Besides Limbaugh calling Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” who should compete for the “Wilt Chamberlin scholarship” and release a sex-tape, Limbaugh has dubbed a then-13 year old Chelsea Clinton the “White House dog,” told an African American caller to “take that bone out of your nose,” said Democrats who wanted to stop the genocide in Darfur only wanted to win over black voters, imitated President Obama calling Hillary Clinton a “B-I-itch,” and denounced feminists as “whores to liberalism” who established feminism “to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”

In another case of irony, the American Family Association is gladly promoting Limbaugh’s column attacking the campaign against Limbaugh’s advertisers as an “organized Saul Alinsky-type community organizing campaign,” even though the AFA and its affiliate OneMillionMoms runs pressure campaigns against Home Depot, JC Penney, Ford Motors, Toys R Us, Hardees, Macy’s, and AARP, and against advertisers on shows such as Degrassi, Glee and Modern Family.

Or maybe David Limbaugh can just tune in to the radio show of AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer if he feels the need to listen to more “hate” and “intolerance.”

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