The House’s Benghazi Select Committee issued a draft Tuesday of its long-awaited report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya.
The New York Times succinctly summarized the committee’s findings:
Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.
In a continued embarrassment for the committee’s chairman, South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, one of the principal “new revelations” touted by the committee in an effort to justify its millions of dollars in spending was something that the public has known for years.
The committee reported that an antiterrorism team on its way to Tripoli to respond to the crisis was delayed for three hours as the team changed in and out of military uniforms. Far from a new information, this was raised by Martin Dempsey, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in 2013. It was also discussed in the House Armed Services Committees report on Benghazi early the next year.
Other “new” discoveries of Gowdy’s — that Hillary Clinton was considering a trip to Benghazi in October 2012, that the military did not deploy to Benghazi on the night of the attack, and that an anti-Muslim YouTube video was discussed during a secure video conference the night of the attack — had all been publicly reported years ago.
Former House Speaker John Boehner did not create the Benghazi Select Committee to slightly advance our understanding of the 2012 attack. Instead, Republicans created the committee because they were under pressure from the far Right to use the investigative power of Congress to implicate the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton in particular, in wrongdoing.
It was obvious from the start, despite Gowdy’s protestations to the contrary, that the select committee was simply a political tool of the far Right — one that would finally confirm their worst suspicions and bolster their conspiracy theories about Clinton, thus harming her chances in the upcoming presidential election.
Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledged this when he told Sean Hannity last year, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”
Ultimately, the Benghazi Select Committee will be remembered in history alongside other failed partisan efforts to investigate Clinton.
Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster and now Benghazi. These investigations in total have cost American taxpayers well in excess of $100,000,000, yet produced none of the results that were promised at their outsets. Yet conservatives seem destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Rather than being guided by facts, they allow themselves to be driven by the most extreme and conspiracy-oriented members of their party.
The Benghazi Committee report is a final testament to the fact that the supposed “stand down orders,” the charge that Susan Rice lied on Sunday morning talk shows following the attack, and the accusation that the CIA altered talking points “for political reasons” were all are myths. All were debunked by previous investigations whose facts were not contradicted by Gowdy’s committee.
Clearly the results of this investigation will not halt the conservative noise machine. Accuracy in the Media is planning to reveal the results of its own conspiracy-laden Benghazi investigation at a press conference Wednesday. But it is a signal to the press they should stop taking these conspiracy theories seriously.
In the lead-up to the last presidential election, conservative bloggers thought they had discovered a grand conspiracy among pollsters to suppress Mitt Romney’s polling numbers, a claim that Romney’s campaign appeared to have embraced as well, and declared that the polls must be “unskewed” to find the truth.
Of course, the polls, if anything, underestimated President Obama’s lead, and conservatives who urged Romney supportersnot to believe the polls and instead to expect a Romney landslide were, at least briefly, mocked and humiliated.
One such person who promoted the idea that polls were biased against Romney was Donald Trump, who said that polling firms oversampled Democrats to create an anti-Romney narrative:
All these polls released by news outlets are oversampling Democrats. They want to influence public perception of the race.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2012
Several Trump backers also believe that the polls, which uniformly show him trailing Clinton, have been skewed against him.
Yesterday, radio host Alex Jones and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah urged Jones’ listeners not to believe the polls showing Trump trailing Clinton, saying that in reality the two are either neck-and-neck or Trump has a double-digit lead.
Jones said that liberals are “attacking” and “stabbing people” in hopes of intimidating Trump supporters from voting because they know “Trump’s going to win with a Reagan-style landslide.” Trump campaign sources, according to Jones, tell him that “Hillary is just trying to act like she’s really winning and have the media say it because they’re looking at stealing the election.”
The bogus polls, he said, will help Clinton get away with the theft. He added that he wears his Trump hat in “communist areas” to inspire people to be more open about their support for the presumptive GOP nominee.
Farah agreed that polls aren’t to be trusted, adding that he knows Trump is ahead based on his analysis of “anecdotal relationships,” warning that “if they steal the election from him it’s all over, America’s over.”
Oliver Willis of Media Matters also found conservative pundits such as Sean Hannity and Jim Hoft alleging that the polls are skewed against Trump, just as they falsely claimed that the polls were skewed against Romney :
On Fox News host Sean Hannity’s official website, a blog post complained the poll “is heavily skewed.” On his June 27 radio show, Hannity cited the partisan breakdown and described it as a “misleading poll” because the media is “in the tank for Hillary.”
Hannity apparently didn’t learn his lesson about attempting to unskew polls in 2012, when he was saying things like, “These polls are so skewed, so phony, that we need to start paying attention to what’s going on so that you won’t be deflated.”
In a post purporting to highlight “More Polling Tricks” from an “EXTREMELY SKEWED” poll, conservative blogger Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit complained this week that “Reuters freighted their poll with 20 percent more Democrats than Republicans” and concluded that “we can safely say that Trump appears to be in much better shape than the poll suggests and could likely be headed to a landslide victory in November.”
Hoft made a similar argument in September of 2012, complaining that a CNN poll showing Obama leading Romney “drastically oversampled Democrats to get this stunning result.” He then went on to cite Dean Chambers, who said that when “unskewed” the CNN poll showed Romney leading by eight percent.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told Iowa radio host Simon Conway last week that guns were not to blame for the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub this month because if every person at the club had been carrying a gun, nobody would have been shot.
King and Conway discussed the Orlando attack on Wednesday at the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row.
The club was protected by an armed police officer who exchanged fire with the assailant, but state law prohibits people from carrying guns in establishments like nightclubs that dispense alcoholic beverages. King, however, said that the alcohol-drinking club-goers should have all been armed.
“I look at this and I think, we have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms and the problem in Orlando at the Pulse was not a problem of the gun laws,” King said, criticizing efforts in Congress to bolster gun regulations after the shooting. “I mean, he followed all of them, the FBI interrogated him at least three times, they decided that he wasn’t enough of a risk. He wouldn’t have been on a list anyway. So anything that they might propose to do would not have prevented the tragedy, the horrific, gruesome tragedy in Orlando, and yet they would trample on the very rights that are needed for people to protect themselves.”
He continued, “If everybody in that nightclub, at the Pulse, had been armed, if everybody had a gun, I would say this: I don’t think anybody would have gotten shot. [In the] first place, I don’t think the perpetrator walks in there. If he does walk in there, then we may have, but there would’ve been a lot fewer than the 102.”
Tamara Scott, an Iowa Religious Right activist and member of the Republican National Committee, joined radio host Jeff Angelo today to discuss why she opposes a possible delegate revolt against Donald Trump at next month’s convention and explain why evangelicals who have been critical of Trump just aren’t practicing Christian forgiveness.
“Here’s what I hate to see from my friends, my Iowa friends and my fellow believers,” she said. “Let’s not be judgmental ourselves. Maybe God’s called someone to a camp for various reasons. Daniel was in Darius’ camp, and because of it Darius saw the hand of God in Darius’ life. Who knows why people are being drawn to various candidates, but it could be a purpose beyond an election. God sees eternity.”
When Angelo asked if she was “comfortable with Trump,” Scott replied that she was because he has promised that “he’ll end the war on Christianity” while Hillary Clinton “created the war on Christianity.”
“So shouldn’t I, as a Christian, if I really think — you know, some of them think the end of the world’s coming because we don’t like this candidate,” she said. “If that’s the case, all the more reason I should have someone who’s going to allow someone to share my gospel. And that’s Trump, not Hillary, if you want to take it just to a spiritual level.”
She went on to criticize Christian critics of Trump for being judgmental and “not very loving” when “only God” knows the candidate’s heart “and God has allowed what has taken place this far.”
“So he may not know the scripture references, he may not speak Christianese. He may not be where we want him spiritually,” she said. “But politically, we’ve got to save a nation. We’ve got to save borders and save a country before we can save a culture.”
Later in the program, a listener called in to berate Scott for backing Trump despite his “racist comments” and making “fun of the disabled.”
Scott asked the caller if she was a Christian. “Have you ever done anything that you wish you wouldn’t have done?” she asked.
“I know in this situation,” Scott said, “he offers us the best opportunity as Christians to speak our faith, to live our faith and to continue to spread the gospel. So if that’s where you’re coming from, you’ve either got Hillary, who’s going to silence you, or him, who says he’ll end the war on Christianity.”
On a recent episode of his "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Religious Right activist and Colorado state lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt weighed in on the controversy surrounding Nattaphon Wangyot, a transgender student in Alaska who recently competed in the girls' track and field state finals.
Klingenschmitt accused the high school senior of being possessed by "a demonic spirit of cowardice" and a "demonic spirit of lying" for competing against female athletes.
"Not only is it cheating and lying," he said, "but it's perversion and it's confusion. And I don't think it is even in this boy's best interest. There is also a spirit of cowardice here. Why do I say cowardice? Because he's afraid to compete with the other boys. If he were really a man and he were able to run so fast, he wouldn't have to beat up on these girls."
"There is also a sprit of theft," Klingenschmitt continued, declaring that Wangyot is "depriving these other girls of their college scholarships" because they lost "to this boy who pretends to be a girl."
Klingenschmitt closed out his commentary by praying that school officials would take a stand against "these liars and cheaters who would want to steal from the other athletes."
On Friday, radio host Rick Wiles appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” to plug Bakker’s buckets of survival food by warning viewers that “demon-possessed” Muslims will soon target churches and that “a chemical gas attack” could kill tens of thousands this summer, leaving people to “stampede to buy this food” before the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA seize it.
“Muslims are not normal people, they’re demon-possessed,” Wiles said. “There’s no such thing as a moderate Muslim. There’s only backslidden Muslims. There are backslidden Muslims who aren’t reading the Quran. Once they get back into reading the Quran and becoming a practicing, devout Muslim, they become violent because Islam is a violent religion. So I don’t talk about moderate Muslims and radical Muslims, no. There’s just Muslims, and Islam has a history of blood. Everywhere it’s ever gone, bloodshed. They conquer with the sword. Name one country you would like to move to that’s dominated by Muslims. Every one of them is hell on earth. That’s what they want to bring here. They wanna conquer by the sword, they want to kill nonbelievers.”
“The churches are a target,” Wiles continued. “It’s very soon. Very soon. And, Jim, the remnant church is gonna go underground. We’re gonna meet in our homes, we’re gonna meet in secret places. You’re gonna have to discern who comes in because you’re bringing them into your home.”
Wiles, promoting Bakker’s products, told the audience that they “have very little time to buy food and supplies. Very little time. The window is going to close soon. We are one disaster from martial law. There are only four corporations in this country that produce this kind of food.”
“If there is an event this summer like a chemical gas attack where a vast amount of people are killed in the tens of thousands, the smart people will stampede to buy this food,” Wiles claimed. “The wealthy, the smart people, the people that know, ‘This is serious, I’ve gotta get all the supplies I can get.’ These four companies that produce this food will be sold out within days. The second thing you have to consider is that Homeland Security and FEMA either purchase all of it or seize it.”
Yesterday, Donald Trump ally Robert Jeffress, an extremist Southern Baptist pastor who has joined the Trump campaign’s evangelical advisory board, appeared on “Trunews” to chat with radio host Rick Wiles about the upcoming election.
Jeffress took issue with evangelical leaders who refuse to support the presumptive GOP nominee, boasting that Trump will shift the courts to the right and work to overturn abortion rights.
“This is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats,” Jeffress said. “It’s a battle between good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, and I think it is time for people who say they are conservative Christians to get off the fence and go to the polls and vote their convictions.”
A fiery Jeffress dismissed those who have moral objections to supporting Trump, saying that these “weak and namby-pamby” holdouts are too “proud” and “can’t get over the fact that their candidate didn’t win” in the Republican primary.
Jeffress said that unlike President Obama, who he said “hates” conservative Christians, Trump will be a “true friend in the White House” and “appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court.”
“This isn’t about partisan politics,” he said. “This is about good and evil.”
According to Jeffress, Trump told a group of Religious Right leaders that America is in decline “because of people like you all around this table, you’re the ones who have allowed the country to get into the shape that it’s in.” “And he was absolutely right about it,” Jeffress added.
Yesterday, Joseph Farah of the fringe outlet WorldNetDaily spoke with Alex Jones, whose radio broadcast is a haven for right-wing paranoia, about their shared love of Trump, whom Farah claims is energizing people across the political spectrum thanks to “his outspokenness” and “forthrightness.”
“Look at that speech he gave about Hillary last week,” Farah said. “That was amazing.”
“You could have been listening to Alex Jones or Joseph Farah give that speech!” he added.
Marriage equality opponents like Pat Robertson often argue that same-sex couples shouldn’t have a right to get married because the U.S. government should follow the “biblical” rule that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman.
However, in response to a question today on “The 700 Club” about whether Jews in the Old Testament who were in polygamous marriages were committing adultery by having more than one spouse, Robertson said that such marriages weren’t “considered adultery” according to the Ten Commandments.
Robertson, nonetheless, said that now polygamy will become legal “because the only reason they have laws against polygamy is because it is said it is unbiblical and unchristian and therefore you shouldn’t do it."
"If you can have all the other things the Supreme Court has ruled on, believe me they are going to rule it’s unconstitutional to forbid polygamy," he said."
He clarified that while the New Testament forbids polygamy, men in the Old Testament who had multiple wives still had “covenant relationships with all of them — that’s in the book.”
Rather than hold hearings on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, Senate Republicans have instead said that the seat should be held open for a potential President Trump to fill.
Trump, who has pledged to outsource the role of appointing justices to right-wing groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, said that he will only nominate those who will “unpass” the abortion rights ruling Roe v. Wade and oppose Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark marriage equality decision.
According to a new Public Policy Polling survey of swing states that also have close U.S. Senate races, the GOP’s maneuver appears to be a bust, as voters don’t trust Trump, who doesn’t seem to understand how the judicial system works, to fill the vacancy.
The poll, conducted in Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Republican incumbents are facing tight re-election races, found wide support for the Senate to move on Garland’s nomination:
Because voters trust President Obama to make a Supreme Court choice and don’t trust Trump to, there’s overwhelming support for the Senate to move forward with confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. More than 60% of voters in each of these states supports hearings for Garland, by margins ranging from 38 to 46 points. That includes overwhelming support from critical independent voters, and even plurality support from Republicans in 4 of the 6 states
In Iowa, home of Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a clear majority — 64 percent — of voters want the Senate to hold hearings on Garland’s nomination, as do a plurality of Republicans.
Voters across the board “say that they’re less likely to vote for [Republican incumbents] because of their opposition to hearings for Merrick Garland.”
Rather than act to fill the vacancy on the court, it appears that Republicans would rather take their unprecedented obstructionism to the next level.
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver called on churches and Christian organizations to pass resolutions supporting "traditional marriage" and vowing never to accept the legitimacy of gay marriage, saying that doing so will put them on "the right side of history."
Staver cited a resolution that he helped to write that was recently passed by the Southern Baptist Convention as the sort of thing that other denominations should emulate.
"I encourage other denominations and churches to pass resolutions," he said, "and we're certainly willing and able to draft them ... I encourage your people in your churches to step on the right side of history and step on the side of marriage and the natural created order of man and woman."
Staver went on to lament that some churches turned memorial gatherings following the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando into a "homosexual love fest."
"Even in the situation following what happened in Orlando," he said, "churches got involved and they led in some cases and in other cases they followed and they ultimately allowed that situation, instead of an opportunity to pray, some of them allowed it to be a homosexual love fest. That's not something that we need to celebrate, this is a tragedy that is against all Americans."
Co-host Matt Barber then joined in to fault gay-friendly Christians because they are "disobeying Christ, are actually running afoul of God and Jesus in the context of the marriage debate and are siding with the Prince of the World who is trying to redefine marriage."
"Believe me, this idea of gay marriage didn't come from God, it didn't come from Christ," Barber said, "so who did it come from?"
On Wednesday, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., joined conservative radio host John DePetro at anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, where Tancredo claimed immigrants degrade the environment and expressed his hope that Donald Trump might help the anti-immigrant movement achieve its long-held goal of winning over the environmentalist movement.
“There’s another area in which we and Donald Trump, I think, has the ability to begin to communicate with another group that we’ve had a difficult time with over the years, and that’s the environmentalists, because if you concentrate on this issue, if you think about it for any length of time, you will recognize that massive immigration, both legal and illegal, has a significant impact on the environment,” Tancredo said.
The anti-immigrant movement has long tried to “greenwash” itself in a so far unsuccessful effort to build alliances with major environmentalist groups.
Tancredo claimed that “everybody coming to Colorado will soon have to actually make reservations to get into the national park. All of the park systems throughout the country are being eroded and degraded by the massive numbers of people, the water supply, you name it.”
“I mean, even Colorado, there’s no way that we can possibly keep up with the infrastructural needs of the state because of the massive number of people coming there from all over, not just from other states but, of course, all over the world,” Tancredo said. “And so there is a degradation of the environment with massive numbers, and a lot of people in that movement understand that.”
Americans, Tancredo said, “can find common ground” on immigration restriction and environmental protection.
“A person like Trump, I think, can actually begin to make inroads where we hadn’t before, and this is one area,” he said.
On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer interviewed right-wing activist and attorney Steve Crampton about the Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law aimed at limiting access to legal abortion under the guise of protecting the health of women.
Fischer and Crampton, who is currently running for a seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court, mocked the idea that having to travel hundreds of miles and spend hundreds of dollars to obtain an abortion because unnecessary requirements had shut down dozens of women's health clinics in Texas created an "undue burden" upon women, saying that nobody is entitled to have medical care located nearby.
Fischer absurdly likened this situation to people with cancer who incur significant expenses and travel requirements in order to obtain treatment at renowned hospitals like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
"Nobody says that is an undue burden and therefore we are going to require every community to have a MD Anderson clinic," Fischer said, "and we're going to require every state to have a Mayo Clinic."
"I think you're exactly right," Crampton replied. "Where it is written that we have a right to access a hospital or, in this case, a specialty kind of thing, within X number of miles of our home? I don't think that's in my version of the Constitution."
Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's historic marriage equality decision and American Family Radio's Bryan Fischer "honored" it on his radio show today by repeating his assertion that the ruling was the moral equivalent of 9/11.
"That day, June 26, 2015, is a date that will live in infamy," Fischer declared. "Just as the Pearl Harbor date is a date that will live in infamy, so this day in which same-sex marriage was imposed on the United States against the will of the citizens is a date that will live in moral infamy."
"What moral jihadists did on June 26, 2015," he continued, "what they did to the twin pillars of truth and righteousness [is] the same thing that the Muslim jihadists did to the World Trade Center on 9/11. So moral jihadists took down the twin pillars of truth and righteousness just like Muslim jihadists took down the twin towers on 9/11."
Glenn Beck was live on the radio today when the news broke that the Supreme Court had struck down a Texas law designed to limit access to legal abortion under the guise of protecting women's health. In response to the ruling, Beck's co-host Stu Burguiere lamented that Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are the only two reliably conservative votes on the court at the moment and noted that Donald Trump is hoping to use this issue to win over conservative voters in November.
Beck, who doesn't think that Trump really has any chance of winning in November, said that it is a mistake for the Republicans who control the Senate to keep blocking President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat left by the late Antonin Scalia.
"I personally think that it is a mistake for them not to give him an up or down vote," Beck said of Garland. "I think it is a mistake. And I also think that they did this for a reason, that they put somebody in who is somewhat acceptable and they did it because they could say, 'See, they're absolutely unreasonable.' And if Hillary gets in and there is a Democratic congress or Senate? Done! You think that they're going to get more reasonable than this guy?"
"I would pull the trigger," Beck stated, "because the Constitution says give them an up or down vote. That doesn't mean you accept them; it does mean give them an up or down vote. And just take that issue away from them."
Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson accused President Obama of coddling the Muslim Brotherhood and bringing the group into “the inner circles of the government of the United States.”
Robertson hinted that the president may be a secret Muslim, falsely claiming that Obama attended an Islamic madrassa while living in Indonesia. He also falsely claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood inspired the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hezbollah, secular and Shiite rivals of the group, respectively.
After declaring that “the government doesn’t want us” to fight terrorist groups, Robertson said that extremists are the ones who truly follow Islam: “The people who are distorting Islam are not these radical groups, they are following right down the line what the Quran says. The ones who are distorting it are the so-called moderates who refuse to go along with it.”
“It’s shocking, it should be horrifying and it’s time the American people stand up against it,” Robertson said. “We’re being taken over, it’s a very subtle thing. Europe is being overrun and taken over and country after country after country are facing Islamic extremists and it is very hurtful.”
“We have got to do something in this country,” he added. “We’re looking at a revolution in England and maybe looking for a revolution in this country. We’ve had enough.”
The reactions from anti-abortion groups to the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt have started pouring in. Most repeat the claim that the Texas law in question, which was meant to regulate the majority of the state’s abortion providers out of existence, was in fact an honest attempt to protect women’s health and stand up to unscrupulous providers. A few linked the decision to the upcoming presidential election, urging voters to elect a president who will nominate justices hostile to Roe v. Wade, as Donald Trump has promised he will do.
Americans United For Life, the legal architect of many TRAP laws, including the one in Texas, said that the law was meant to “protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry” and repeated the increasingly common anti-choice talking point that legal abortion providers are the true “back alley”:
“Women lost today as the Supreme Court sides with the abortion industry, putting profits over women’s health and safety by opposing life-saving regulations and medically endorsed standards of patient care. Sadly, the commonsense laws that protect women in real, full service healthcare centers won’t be in effect in Texas abortion clinics, but Americans United for Life will continue to fight – in legislatures and in the courts – to protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry,” said AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe. …
“In striking down these commonsense requirements, the Supreme Court has essentially accepted the abortion industry’s argument that it should be allowed to keep its profits high and patient care standards low,” said Forsythe. “It inexplicably turned a blind eye to what it has repeatedly held since Roe v. Wade: states may regulate the provision of abortion to protect maternal health. This ruling endangers women nationwide as health and safety standards are at risk.”
“Today’s abortion clinics are the true ‘back alleys’ of abortion mythology,” noted Denise Burke, Vice President of Legal Affairs at AUL. “They consistently operate in the ‘red light district’ of American medicine where the problem of substandard abortion providers is longstanding and pervasive. The fight against this public health crisis will continue, despite today’s ruling.”
Stephen Aden of the Religious Right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom linked the law to Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion provider who was found guilty of a number of crimes related to a squalid clinic he ran, claiming that Texas’ law was “clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell Scandal”:
“Abortionists shouldn’t be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow. We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled against a law so clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell scandal. The law’s requirements were commonsense protections that ensured the maximum amount of protection for women, who deserve to have their well-being treated by government as a higher priority than the bottom line of abortionists. Any abortion facilities that don’t meet basic health and safety standards are not facilities that anyone should want to remain open.”
The Family Research Council similarly claimed that the Supreme Court decision “gives the abortion industry a free pass,” ridiculously claiming that abortion providers face less stringent regulation than hair salons and restaurants:
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down H.B. 2 undermines the health and safety of vulnerable women. This decision is a loss for women and gives the abortion industry a free pass. The need to regulate abortion facilities is necessary to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion facilities. Mandating basic and necessary health and safety standards such as trained staff, corridors that could accommodate a stretcher in case of emergency, admitting privileges to a hospital, and up-to-date fire, sanitation, and safety codes should be beyond the politics of abortion. When abortion facilities are not held to the same standards as other facilities, women’s lives are endangered. In 2011 alone, 26,500 women experienced abortion-related complications, and close to 3,200 women required post-abortion hospitalization. Hair and nail salons, public pools, restaurants, and tanning centers must meet basic health and safety standards—shouldn’t abortion facilities? Abortion facilities cannot be exempt from following basic health standards.
"While the need to protect the health and safety of women failed to remain at the forefront of the Supreme Court's decision, we will continue our work to protect women and children from the predatory abortion industry,” Perkins concluded.
FRC’s Arina Grossu, Director of the Center for Human Dignity, released the following statement:
“One cannot be pro-woman and stand for the substandard facilities that many abortion centers operate which risk women’s lives. Striking down abortion facility regulations leaves the door open for continued and rampant disregard for women’s health and safety. Status-quo is not good enough," concluded Grossu.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver also claimed that the Supreme Court was siding with abortion clinics’ bottom lines over the health of women:
“How foolish a decision by the Supreme Court to strike down common sense regulations regarding health and safety,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “They expect us to believe their opinion is based on the Constitution? It certainly is not. This is a sad day and another dark chapter in the history of America. Women should not be relegated to substandard facilities in order to save abortion providers a few dollars.”
The Susan B. Anthony List, which acts as the political arm of the anti-choice movement, turned the conversation to the election, while never quite mentioning Trump by name:
“Today’s tragic decision by the Court means that Texas women will not be protected from the unsanitary conditions and even Gosnell-like horrors that permeate the abortion industry,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, referencing the 2013 trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, currently serving a life sentence for murdering babies after botched, late-term abortions, and for the negligent death of one mother, Karnamaya Mongar.
“The abortion industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself and they know it. That’s why they fought tooth and nail against common-sense health and safety standards and requirements for abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. We have documented page after page of incidents of abuse, negligence, and brutality since 2008. This decision means the filth and exploitation will continue unchecked.
“The stakes for the 2016 election could not be higher. The next president will be tasked with selecting Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement and up to three others. We must elect a pro-life president and safeguard today’s pro-life majorities in the House and Senate. Only with a pro-life Congress and White House can we begin to address the havoc wrought by the Supreme Court on America’s unborn children and their mothers.”
Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also linked the decision to the election:
The Supreme Court is now the Supreme Medical Board, setting its own standards for patient care in the United States. This decision is an outrageous usurpation of legislative power and it only underscores the critical importance of electing a President who will nominate -- and Senators who will confirm -- justices to the Supreme Court who will adjudicate, not write the law.
As did Tim Head, the executive director of Ralph Reed’s group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition:
“The U.S. Supreme Court once again failed to protect the rights, health and safety of women and unborn children today in its Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. Texas and many other states have enacted common sense laws that protect the rights of the unborn and the health and safety of thousands of women subjected to the horrific conditions of abortion clinics across the country, and its shameful that the Supreme Court overturned these safeguards. The Court’s failure today is another example of the urgency to elect a pro-life President in November who will be responsible for filling the enormous vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s passing and possibly fill other seats on the Court. The pro-life community must also unite to elect legislators across the country who will work to protect women and unborn children.”
Fox commentator Todd Starnes referenced the need for the anti-choice movement to ensure ideological purity among judges, even those nominated by Republican presidents:
Justice Kennedy sided against the unborn -- a justice appointed by a Republican president.— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) June 27, 2016
Russell Moore, the policy head of the Southern Baptist Convention, meanwhile, filmed a video outside the Supreme Court in which he claimed that the “sad and pathetic ruling that essentially leaves the abortion industry unregulated in a kind of wild west, laissez faire sort of situation in the state of Texas that we wouldn’t allow for any other industry.”
Christians, he said, “need to be standing up for our vulnerable unborn neighbors and their vulnerable mothers.”
A 5-3 majority of the Supreme Court today struck down parts of a sweeping anti-choice law passed in Texas in 2013. The case dealt with the law’s targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) provisions that created burdensome and unnecessary regulations on clinics that would have forced the vast majority of the state’s providers to close. The law not only threatened Texas women’s access to safe and legal abortion, but was a calculated assault on Roe v. Wade and was the product of decades of anti-choice efforts to undermine the decision without overturning it.
From the beginning, the law’s proponents claimed that these regulations were simply meant to protect women’s health, though they often did a pretty bad job of staying on message. During oral arguments in the case, for instance, the state’s solicitor general argued that women burdened by Texas’ law could simply drive over the border to New Mexico, which does not have the same regulations, undermining the whole argument that the idea was to protect women’s health.
And already, the law is proving to be actually detrimental women’s health: One study found that since the law’s passage, hundreds of thousands of women in Texas “have tried to self-induce their abortions without medical assistance, making it more common in Texas than in other parts of the U.S.”
As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her concurrence to the decision, “it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.”
It’s hardly been a secret within the anti-abortion movement that the Texas law was meant to cut off access to abortion rather than to shut down unsafe clinics.
At a Pro-Life Women’s Conference in Dallas this weekend, many speakers alluded to the spate of TRAP laws across the country, including the one in Texas, as a sign that their movement was winning. In one revealing exchange during a panel about anti-abortion politics, Texas anti-abortion activist Carolyn Cline held up a brick that she said she had gotten from a pastor friend who told her it was “the last brick in the lot” of a facility that had been closed by HB2, prompting enthusiastic applause.
Moments later, Arina Grossu, who works on anti-abortion issues for the Family Research Council, argued that pro-choicers should support laws like HB2 because they are meant to protect “women’s health and safety” while at the same time portraying it as a sign that the movement to end legal abortion is winning.