Bloomberg reported this afternoon that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, in the taping of an MSNBC town hall meeting that will air tonight, said that not only should abortion be outlawed but there should be a “punishment” for women who obtain illegal abortions.
[Update: Trump’s campaign later changed course and said that abortion laws should only punish providers, saying, “The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb.”]
What happens to women in a regime in which abortion is completely criminalized is the third rail of the “pro-life” movement, and its leaders generally attempt to avoid discussing or to downplay the medical and legal consequences of recriminalizing abortion. Recent cases in which women have been arrested for botched abortion attempts or for “endangering” fetuses, however, expose some of the troubling consequences of laws that place abortion politics over the dignity of women.
Trump may have touched the third rail, but that doesn’t mean that his Republican rivals should not also be pressed on the consequences their “pro-life” policies would have for women.
And, although he didn’t recommend any specific punishment for women who obtain abortions — and suggested that bringing women to “repentance” was the answer — Newman made it clear that he saw these women as just as culpable in the supposed crime, comparing a woman who has an abortion to a “contract killer” who hires a hitman to take out her husband:
By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.
He wrote that although anti-abortion activists might be inclined to treat women who seek abortions as “victims,” there should be “no comfort” for those women until they admit to themselves that they have committed “murder”:
Those responsible for innocent bloodshed should not be excused or comforted in their sin, yet, as a society, women who have abortions are treated as victims and those who support them in the decision to kill are considered heroes who were willing to stand by their friends or family members during a time of crisis. In reality, the woman is the same as a contract killer, hiring out the murder of her defenseless child, and the supporter is a co-conspirator, aiding and abetting the crime. They believe that their charitable act of lending support will some how make up for their participation in murder. Until they can both face the fact that they bear responsibility for the murder of an innocent child and own up to it, there should be no comfort for them.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Donald Trump said in the taping of an MSNBC town hall today that abortion should be outlawed and that there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who obtain the procedure. He admitted that in the absence of legal abortion, those women would be driven to "illegal places":
At a taping of an MSNBC town hall to be aired later, host Chris Matthews pressed Trump on his anti-abortion position, repeatedly asking him, “Should abortion be punished? This is not something you can dodge.”
“Look, people in certain parts of the Republican Party, conservative Republicans, would say, ‘Yes, it should,’” Trump answered.
“How about you?” Matthews asked.
“I would say it’s a very serious problem and it’s a problem we have to decide on. Are you going to send them to jail?” Trump said.
“I’m asking you,” Matthews said.
“I am pro-life,” Trump said. Asked how a ban would actually work, Trump said, “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places but we have to ban it,” Trump said.
Matthews then pressed Trump on whether he believes there should be punishment for abortion if it were illegal
“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said. “For the woman?” Matthews asked. “Yeah,” Trump said, nodding.
Trump said the punishment would “have to be determined.”
Trump then reportedly linked the issue to the vacancy on the Supreme Court, which Republican senators are trying to keep open in the hopes that a Republican president — possibly Trump — would nominate the next justice.
“They’ve set the law and frankly the judges, you’re going to have a very big election coming up for that reason because you have judges where it’s a real tipping point and with the loss of Scalia, who was a very strong conservative, this presidential election is going to be very important,” Trump said.
“When you say what’s the law, nobody knows what the law is going to be. It depends on who gets elected,” Trump said.
So, does Trump want a Supreme Court justice who would not only help to overturn Roe v. Wade but who would support legal punishment for women who are driven to obtain illegal abortions?
Kupelian’s book, which has won plaudits from conservative activists including Phyllis Schlafly, Matt Barber, David Barton, Dinesh D’Souza and former Rep. Michele Bachmann, argues that the “progressive Left” is “whether intentionally or not, promoting widespread dependency, debauchery, family breakdown, crime, corruption, addiction, despair, and suicide.”
Kupelian told Pratt that examples of “completely insane” progressive advances include “the sexual revolution and the LGBT movement,” including the choice of 50 genders on Facebook, “forcing teenage girls to have to shower with boys,” and marriage equality.
“These are things that most people, and a few years ago everybody, would have said is not only wrong but is completely insane, okay?” he said. “A few years ago, we would have said two men getting married is completely insane. Everybody in the world of all religions, left, right, center, everybody would have said you’re completely insane.”
“The case that I’m making in ‘The Snapping of the American Mind,’” he explained, “is that you know how we hear about all the suicides going on now, we hear about the huge upsurge among white, middle-class people living in the suburbs, we hear about the huge amount, one in four middle-aged women are taking antidepressants, we have all this individual pathology, all this wretchedness, all the suffering of the addiction and the 110 million people with sexually transmitted diseases. 110 million! All of these things, I’m saying that the left is the primary cause of all of this depression, anxiety, the huge amount of mental illness, of addiction, of suicide, all of these things that we hear about in a way that we sometimes hear about them in the news, but disconnect them from the source.
Other topics covered in Kupelian’s book, according to WND, include:
How the Left has succeeded in redefining not just “marriage,” but the rest of Americans’ core values, from “equality” to “justice” to “freedom”;
Why America, unquestionably the least racist nation on earth, is now being portrayed as a deeply racist pariah state;
Why the United States is intentionally being flooded with millions of needy, dependent, Third World immigrants;
How a group that amputates healthy body parts and has a 41 percent attempted suicide rate is officially declared “normal,” yet new “research” suggests conservatives have malformed brains;
Which of the two major US political parties has a far higher incidence of mental illness;
Why Americans today are more stressed-out, confused, conflicted, and addicted than at any time in the nation’s history—and where this ominous trend is leading.
A few years ago, speaking in a panel discussion alongside Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer declared that it doesn’t matter if President Obama is secretly a Muslim because “if he were a secret Muslim, he wouldn’t be acting any differently.” (Franks agreed.)
Obama’s personal faith and allegiances are still apparently an open question to Spencer, who told far-right radio host Rick Wiles earlier this month that he couldn’t “argue against” Wiles’ assertion that Obama is a “jihadist.”
Spencer told Wiles that although he’s “not one of those given to conspiracy theories or thinking he’s a secret Muslim,” he does think that the president’s “upbringing” has given him a “very warmly positive view of Islam” to the point where he just might not care about “the jihad against the United States.”
“You’ve got to wonder,” he said, “does Barack Obama have, perhaps from his youth and his father and his stepfather, a very warmly positive view of Islam? I’m not one of those given to conspiracy theories or thinking that he’s secretly a Muslim, but I think that he has a very positive view of Islam, he thinks that Islam is good for societies, good for individuals, and perhaps that does come from his upbringing. And he clearly thinks that if he gives the various entities in the Islamic world what they want, that they somehow perhaps lessen the force of the jihad against the United States, or maybe he doesn’t even care about that.”
Wiles was having none of this vagueness, and declared that in his view Obama is more than just “a closet Muslim” and is in fact “a jihadist agent” who is “carrying out jihad against the United States of America.”
“I can’t argue against that,” Spencer responded. “I wouldn’t have a lot of evidence to go by, and that’s the disturbing thing.”
“If the president of the United States, if action after action and policy after policy assisted the Mafia, would, after seven years, would you conclude that he’s a Mafia agent?” Wiles asked.
“The difficulty here,” Spencer responded, “is that this is the president of the United States and it’s still very difficult to conceive of a betrayal on that scale, but if anyone has made it possible — made it, indeed, necessary — to consider that very seriously, it’s Barack Obama.”
In an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with Robert Vandervoort, the former leader of an Illinois white nationalist organization who now runs the English-only advocacy group ProEnglish, Rep. Brian Babin claimed that a law declaring English to be the official language of the U.S. is necessary because “people are literally dying because of political correctness in this nation today.”
In the interview at CPAC this month, Vandervoort asked Babin about the English-only bill’s prospects in Congress, which Babin said would depend on the upcoming election and whether voters elect “conservative, patriotic folks” who “have the courage to stand up against the powers that impose political correctness on us.” The refugee program and the “wide-open borders,” he said, mean that “people are literally dying because of political correctness in this nation today”:
You know what, it’s going to depend on the election. I have said more than one time, this election cycle, this presidential election, is the most important, significant election of our lifetimes. And I know we hear that every cycle; this time it’s true. If we can get some conservative, patriotic folks who are not afraid of, have the courage to stand up against the powers that impose political correctness on us. Because people are literally dying because of political correctness in this nation today, with our refugee program, with our visa program, with wide-open borders. And so I think that having an official language of English would be a huge step in correcting that problem.
The comments start about 3 minutes into ProEnglish’s video:
Throughout Ben Carson’s doomed presidential campaign, it became increasingly clear that a number of the candidate’s advisers were using the campaign’s fundraising in order to substantially enrich themselves, leading TPM’s Josh Marshall to describe the whole campaign as one big “direct mail scam.”
In an interview with Detroit talk radio host Frank Beckmann yesterday, Carson admitted that there were “a number of problems” with the management of his campaign and that some of his advisers “began to take advantage” of the money his candidacy was attracting.
“There were a number of problems,” Carson told Beckmann. “People that were hired to run the campaign were not people that I knew, but I was told that they were really good people. And, you know, what they were were political people looking for political jobs. And when they saw that my name was attracting a lot of money they, you know, began to take advantage of that situation.”
“Let me tell you,” he added, “if I were ever to do it again, I would obviously have a very different approach in terms of the kinds of people that you brought in to do things for you. But, you know, you live and you learn.”
Carson chalked up the “live and learn” campaign mistakes to the fact that he was a “citizen statesman” rather than a “politician.”
Beckmann then asked Carson if he was expecting to get a position in the administration of Donald Trump, whom he has endorsed, if Trump wins the presidency.
“I really am not looking for a title or position,” Carson responded, “but I certainly could see myself continuing to talk with him and with various people in the administration about solutions and helping to connect them with a lot of the people that I have gotten to know who really are extremely fine Americans and have a lot of good policy ideas.”
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: ‘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.”
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’
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.”
A Republican state senator in Oklahoma is angry that his party’s leadership has scuttled a bill he wrote that would classify abortion “from the moment of conception” — and possibly some forms of birth control — as first-degree murder.
Oklahoma state Sen. Joseph Silk told WorldNetDaily yesterday that his legislation would sidestep the “typical pro-life rhetoric” in order to get “justice for all these murdered children” and ultimately force the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade:
Silk said it’s time for pro-life leaders to go after what they really want.
“We need to call it what it is, which is murder – the premeditated, intentional killing of a human being – and then treat it as such,” Silk told WND and Radio America. “We’re trying to change the conversation from the typical pro-life rhetoric to actually being pro-life and getting justice for all these murdered children.”
“We need to attack the issue directly. Life begins at conception, and abortion is murder,” he said.
“Until we start doing that, [the Supreme Court is] never going to be forced to overturn that ruling.”
He said activists have changed court precedent many times in the past, most notably with respect to slavery. He also said the Supreme Court defied its own logic on the definition of marriage in just two years
“Just three years ago, they said marriage shall be defined by the states,” Silk said. “After continuous pounding, what did they do this last year? They defined it for us. Sure, some bills may get struck down, but eventually you’re going to push the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
The language of Silk’s bill, which is similar to that of some “personhood” measures, risks classifying some forms of birth control as murder. The legislation also specifically includes the destruction of embryos created in the in-vitro fertilization process in its definition of first-degree murder, saying it applies to fertilized eggs “whether conceived or located inside or outside the body of a human female.”
The legislation shows a simmering feud between anti-abortion groups over the best strategy to outlaw abortion, with “personhood” activists pressing for immediate action with more established organizations pushing for incremental laws curtailing abortion rights and limiting access.
The group Abolish Human Abortion, which supports Silk’s effort, has posted a photo of a letter that Oklahomans for Life, the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, sent to state lawmakers opposing Silk’s bill because it would replace two anti-choice measures that it supports. The group Personhood Alabama, on the other hand, has praised the bill.
It has been truly remarkable watching the Judicial Crisis Network criss-crossing the country pressuring Republican senators to keep up their blockade of President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, since during the George W. Bush administration the group was named the Judicial Confirmation Network and promoted the idea that every judicial nominee “deserves an up-or-down vote.”
JCN’s current leaders have been carefully ignoring this history in their effort to prevent the Senate Judiciary Committee from even holding a hearing on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, a situation that reached new heights of absurdity last week when the group’s general counsel, Carrie Severino, let a conservative radio host speculate at length, incorrectly, about why the group might have been named the “Judicial Crisis Network” during the Bush administration.
“Here’s what’s interesting, is you were interestingly named the Judicial Crisis Network” during the Bush administration, radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh mistakenly said during a March 24 interview with Severino.
“It’s interesting you chose that name,” he said, “I don’t know if there was a crisis going on back then, is that when they were threatening Bush about ‘you can’t nominate someone’?”
After repeating misleading claims about Sen. Charles Schumer and then-Sen. Joe Biden’s comments about Supreme Court nominations during the Bush years, Walsh fumed, “You know what I can’t stand is when people can’t even admit that they said stuff and they can’t even admit the truth.”
Severino, rather than correcting Walsh about her organization’s past as the Judicial Confirmation Network, instead complained about people who “repeat the same false facts” until “people take them as true”: “Yeah, you’re entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. If you repeat the same false facts over and over again, sometimes people take them as true, so it’s frustrating.”
“It’s the irony that you can just see the Democrats are willing to say and do whatever it takes to get this fifth vote that they just desperately want a solid liberal block on the court,” she added. “And they’re going to want to deny the people a voice in the process in order to do that. That’s a real shame.”
Rafael Cruz, the father and top campaign surrogate of Sen. Ted Cruz, warned in a radio interview today that if “one more liberal justice” is confirmed to the Supreme Court, “we will lose our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” which could lead to a dictator turning guns against the American people.
“One more liberal justice with that way of thinking and we will lose our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Cruz said on Breitbart’s SiriusXM program. “And think back in history: Every dictator that has taken the guns away from the population has used them against the population.”
“It is imperative that we elect as president someone that you can be certain that will only nominate to the Supreme Court justices that are committed to following the Constitution and the rule of law, not to legislate from the bench,” he said. “Otherwise, if we lose the court, it may take a whole generation to recover it and I don’t think we have the time.”
Cruz issued a similar warning in November, before the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, saying that “praise God there are 300 million guns in American in the hands of private citizens.”
Cruz also repeated his claim that the American public education system is being used by communists to indoctrinate children into “an anti-Christian worldview.”
“What has happened in America is that we have believed this lie of separation of church and state, which is not in the Constitution, is not in the Declaration,” Cruz said. “The total opposite is true. One of the very first Bibles printed in America was printed under the auspices of Congress to be the principal textbook in high schools, primary schools and universities.”
Cruz frequently uses the story about Congress printing Bibles to be used as textbooks in his attempts to refute the idea of church-state separation. The story, unsurprisingly, is a myth promoted by Cruz’s friend, the political operative David Barton, who is running a super PAC backing Ted Cruz’s candidacy.
He went on to say that this all changed when the Humanist Manifesto, an “ominous document,” was signed in 1933, leading to “immorality and chaos and secular humanism.” He then repeated his claim that John Dewey, the public education reformer and signer of the Humanist Manifesto “was a member of the American Communist Party.” (Dewey was in fact an “avowed anti-Communist.”)
All of this, he said, has led to the Common Core educational standards “brainwashing” public school students with an “anti-Christian worldview in an attempt to secularize America.”
“So, since 1933, those concepts of secular humanism have been immersed in our public school system,” he said, “and now, with Common Core, they have been elevated to a new level. And Common Core is not really about standards, it’s about brainwashing our kids with secular humanism, with an anti-Christian worldview, with what’s called situational ethics … And so what has happened is that kids are being brainwashed with this worldview that is an anti-Christian worldview in an attempt to secularize America.”