Marjorie Dannenfelser

Anti-Choice Leader: Abortion Ban's Rape Exception Is 'Abominable' but Politically Necessary

Sen. Lindsey Graham is pushing for a vote on a 20-week abortion ban, similar to one recently passed by the House. While he has the support of major anti-choice groups including the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life and the National Right to Life Committee, some in the anti-choice movement are balking at a provision that exempts rape survivors if they undergo a 48-hour waiting period.

At a press conference yesterday, LifeSiteNews confronted Graham and some of the bill’s supporters about the rape exception, which SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said she accepted for political purposes even though it is “abominable.”

“No one should give up or give over a rape exception unless there is simply no chance of saving those other children,” she told the anti-choice outlet, adding that in drawing the line at 20 weeks, they’ve “excepted…most children” from the ban, but that “it’s a place that we can actually get the legislation through”:

Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, who moderated the press conference and whose organization has been a prominent backer of the 20-week ban in its current form, said that she believes that rape exceptions are "abominable."

"I agree. I agree that the rape exception is abominable," she told LifeSiteNews. "I also know that with it, we were able to move forward, and we have the potential of saving 15,000 to 18,000 children a year. No one should give up or give over a rape exception unless there is simply no chance of saving those other children. I really believe that."

I also think that -- look at this bill, it's a 20-week bill. We left out every other child. We've excluded, and excepted, most children from this. So by the same argument, I reject that, but I also know that we've found a sweet spot that we can get common ground on, and it's a place where the country is, and it's a place that we can actually get the legislation through."

Dannenfelser told a conservative radio program after the House passed its version of the bill that she found the rape exception “regrettable,” “just wrong” and “completely intellectually dishonest,” but that politicians sometimes require them for “political” reasons.

Scott Walker To Anti-Choice Leaders: I Didn't Mean What I Said About Abortion Being Between 'A Woman And Her Doctor'

Last night, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker met with a few dozen social conservative leaders in Washington, including representatives of the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and the National Organization for Marriage, attempting to win them to his side if he decides to run for president.

According to people who attended the meeting, one subject that came up was a TV ad Walker ran last year in which he promoted his efforts to chip away at abortion access in his state, which, he said, would still leave “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List, told the Weekly Standard that Walker explained to her that in the ad he was “using the language of the other side to support our own position” and that people who said he was trying to paint himself as more pro-choice than he was were quoting him “out of context”:

Walker's pro-life credentials have been questioned by one Republican rival because of a 2014 Walker TV ad in which the governor defended laws regulating abortion as “legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

According to Dannenfelser, Walker brought up the ad during Tuesday's meeting and "explained his perspective on that — that using the language of the other side to support our own position is a good thing, but you can only do it if people aren't trying to call you out and quoting you out of context. And I actually liked the way he formulated this in general."

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Dannenfelser said that it’s just this sort of evasiveness on abortion rights that she’d like to see from other anti-choice GOP candidates:

Dannenfelser said Walker brought up his 2014 abortion ad before being asked.

“He felt very quoted out of context, very misunderstood,” she said. “He said there was a snippet of the ad used that did not convey the full meaning, and his communication was using the other side’s language but with the idea of forging common ground on ultrasound, because he’s a true believer on that.”

Walker signed legislation in 2013 requiring both that women seeking abortions get ultrasounds first and that the doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Dannenfelser said he defended his use of the phrase “leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor” as a way of co-opting pro-choice rhetoric for the pro-life cause.

“To the extent that we use the other side’s rhetoric to undermine their positions, we’re better off,” Dannenfelser added.

She said she was impressed with Walker’s way of talking about abortion.

“It’s the whole style of communication and content of communication that you want to see moving into a presidential cycle that will make it different from 2012,” she said.

Here's Walker's "Decision" ad:

Anti-Choice Leader Admits Rape Exceptions Are 'Political,' Goal Is To Outlaw All Abortion 'From Conception'

A long-simmering debate within the anti-choice movement about whether anti-choice bills should contain exceptions for survivors of rape and incest emerged yet again in the recent debate over a House bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, had been bogged down twice in the past two years with internal disputes over a rape exception, and finally passed last week with a limited rape exception that included a 48-hour waiting period.

The bill’s rape exception split the anti-choice movement, which has been divided between “incrementalists” who want to ban abortion by gradually chipping away at access and legal protections and “immediatists” who want to swiftly declare that fertilized eggs and fetuses have the full rights of “personhood” under the 14th Amendment.

While some personhood leaders opposed the bill because of the rape exception, the main incrementalist groups, which oppose rape exceptions in principle but not necessarily in practice, lobbied behind the scenes to limit the rape exception while publicly supporting the final bill.

One of those groups was the Susan B. Anthony List, whose president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, spoke candidly about the political calculations behind rape exceptions in an interview Saturday with the Iowa conservative radio program Caffeinated Thoughts.

“Regrettably, there is a rape and incest exception” in the bill, she said. “It is the only way it was going to be allowed onto the floor by the leadership. I mean, I say regrettable, I really mean it. Any child at any stage should be protected from conception, and certainly at 20 weeks excepting anyone is just wrong.”

Host Shane Vander Hart told her that while he’d “love to see abortion completely outlawed and see some sort of a personhood amendment or a human life amendment,” he thought the 20-week ban did “move the ball forward.”

“Well, that’s why this is big,” Dannenfelser responded, adding that the 20-week bill shifted the debate to “talking about the child and his or her rights.”

Later in the interview, the program’s cohost Brian Myers asked Dannenfelser what it would take to make the GOP leadership realize that rape exceptions are “intellectually…inconsistent with the pro-life position.”

“It’s going to take winning,” she responded, citing anti-choice victories in the 2014 elections where “we had unapologetic pro-life people who didn’t talk about rape and incest.”

“I believe that it’s going to take winning the presidency for there to be a little more injection of courage, which will be required to understand the consistency of life that you’re describing,” she said.

“Do you think that at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about for a lot of those politicians, that they realize [rape exceptions are] an inconsistent position to take but they take it because they think it’s a political reality?” Myers asked.

“Yes. I think that’s why,” Dannenfelser agreed. “I think that they think they can’t get, that they will lose if they don’t. Most of them don’t believe in it in principle. Some do, which, as you say, is completely intellectually dishonest, but most of them don’t. And I think that sometimes, especially when you’re in that insular world on Capitol Hill that’s not in touch with reality, you make sacrifices that you don’t need to make.”

“I think you’re right,” she added. “It’s a political judgement. It’s not a principled judgement. And I think they made the wrong judgement, but we would have no bill at all and no 15,000 children saved if we had not allowed it to move forward with the exception.”

Interestingly, Dannenfelser held up Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as an example of “a joyful warrior going in there and boldly arguing” on the issue. Graham has said he’s “always had exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest,” even while acknowledging that opponents of exceptions are being “intellectually consistent.” She also recently wrote a glowing profile of presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who favors such exceptions.

At CPAC, Anti-Choice Groups Declare 'Abortion-Centered Feminism Is Dead'

An anti-abortion panel at CPAC this afternoon was clearly gunning for a spot on the main stage next year. Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, and Darla St. Martin, co-executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, made the case that their movement is winning and that they can fill a room with activists.

Dannenfelser started the discussion by declaring that "abortion-centered feminism is dead."

The three credited their carefully formulated, incremental strategy that has brought them a slew of state-level victories cutting back on abortion access and pushing narrowly-tailored abortion bans meant to push back on Roe v. Wade in the courts while winning public opinion to their side.

Dannenfelser put her hope in so called "pain-capable" abortion bans which, based on questionable science, ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a calculated attack on Roe. Since Nebraska passed such a ban in 2010, 11 other states have followed suit. The House postponed a vote on a national version of the ban after Republican women and moderates protested language in a rape exception. (SBA List had reportedly worked to insert the problematic reporting requirement language into the bill's rape exception.)

Dannenfelser, acknowledging that the 2003 "partial-birth" abortion ban -- which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007 -- barred a specific procedure rather than curtailing any actual abortions, said that the national passage of a 20-week ban would be "the most important moment in the pro-life movement since 1973."

Yoest focused on her group's strategy of regulating abortion providers out of existence, pointing to Texas's harsh anti-choice law, which could close nearly half the abortion providers in the state, as a success story. Yoest framed it differently: "The reason clinics are closing is because they refuse to provide decent services to women."

All three groups — in contrast to the all-or-nothing "personhood" movement — sing the praises of incremental victories. St. Martin, in a barely veiled dig at the personhood movement, repeatedly said​ that "the perfect is the enemy of the good." Yoest used a football analogy to describe her group's strategy in advancing "yard by yard by yard" to the total criminalization of abortion.

"Be encouraged, guys, we are making progress," she said. "We are marching down the field."

Correction: This post has been edited to correct the date that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed. It was signed into law in 2003 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/22/14

  • The American Family Association's Patrick Vaughn assures us that the AFA is not an anti-gay hate group.
  • Meanwhile, the AFA's Bryan Fischer declares that "the homosexual agenda is the greatest threat to religious liberty we have ever faced in American history."
  • David Barton and George Barna warn that "unless we invite God to be at the center of our process and operate in strict accordance with His principles, we are doomed to continue our downward slide."
  • The New Yorker profiles Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
  • Tony Perkins, Mike Huckabee, The Benham Brothers, Todd Starnes, Rick Scarborough, Phill Robertson and others will all gather in Houston, Texas next weekend for "I Stand Sunday."
  • Finally, Bill Muehlenberg is quite pleased that he is occasionally mentioned here at Right Wing Watch, which he calls "a leading U.S. leftist hate site."

Cuccinelli Backers: We Were Betrayed; Expel Bolling

With Ken Cuccinelli’s conservative backers already crying foul about their failed candidate’s supposed mistreatment, the GOP’s Civil War continues.

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is fantasizing about voter fraud despite offering absolutely no proof, and Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips wants Virginia’s Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — who refused to endorse Cuccinelli — expelled from the GOP:

The Republican Party of Virginia has bylaws that call for the automatic expulsion of members who support Democrats in contested elections. Bill Bolling’s support of Terry McAuliffe has been well documents [sic].



Had the Republican establishment not worked against Cuccinelli, he would be governor today. Conservatives need to make an example of Bolling. He should be persona non grata at any Republican function in Virginia. His name should be synonymous with being a sell out [sic].

And if the Republican Party of Virginia does not publicly expel Bolling, then conservatives need to find a new political party in Virginia.

Just to add some perspective, Phillips hailed Cuccinelli’s running mate E.W. Jackson as the “future of the conservative movement.” Jackson was soundly defeated 55-44%.

John Nolte of Breitbart News attacked Chris Christie for not helping Cuccinelli in Virginia and said that Cuccinelli’s defeat actually helped the Tea Party:

Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning, NBC's Chuck Todd reported that New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie refused to campaign for Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia Republican who narrowly lost his own governor's race to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. "They begged Christie, and you can make an argument," Todd said on Morning Joe. "That to bring a Chris Christie to Northern Virginia might have helped. But Chris Christie is worried about his own brand."

Part of Christie's brand problem, though, is his behavior during the closing days of last year's presidential campaign. After running one of the most divisive administrations and re-election campaigns in recent memory; in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Barack Obama went to New Jersey seeking bipartisan credibility. And in the eyes of many, Christie went above and beyond to give it to him.



Had Christie taken just a half-day to stump for Cuccinelli, not only would that have helped wash the Sandy stain away, it might have actually made him a hero to the base for both defying the Morning Joe crowd and helping to drag Cuccinelli over the finish line.



If Christie wins the 2016 Republican nomination but loses Virginia, and with it the general election, last night should be remembered as the most short-sighted and spiteful cutting off of the nose to spite the Tea Party in years.

The GOP Establishment and Morning Joe crowd keep lecturing the Tea Party about how it is all about winning elections. In Virginia last night that talking point was laid bare as nothing more than a lie.

Longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie maintained that Cuccinelli’s loss has nothing to do with his radical views. Viguerie even compared Cuccinelli to Goldwater, who lost the 1964 presidential election in a landslide:

What is clear is that Cuccinelli’s ideas weren’t rejected so much as he was drowned in the sea of money that flowed in to Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to keep Virginia government growing, taxes rising, to roll back the progress social conservatives have made in the state, and most importantly, to keep cronyism as the governing principle at the Virginia state Capitol building.



The betrayal of Ken Cuccinelli by Bolling and other nominal Republicans, such as political consultant Boyd Marcus, mirrors the betrayal of Barry Goldwater by the Republican establishment and their nominal allies in the business community.



George Will once wrote that Barry Goldwater didn't lose in 1964, it just took 16 years, until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, to count the votes. We expect that the same will be said of Ken Cuccinelli and we believe he will be vindicated in the future.

Ken Cuccinelli did not lose last night because he is a principled limited government constitutional conservative. Cuccinelli lost because he was drowned in a sea of money and undercut by a Republican establishment that would rather see a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion than end the good ole boy politics in Richmond and allow a real conservative anywhere near the levers of power that he might use to make good on Republican promises to govern as limited government constitutional conservatives.

Anti-choice activist Marjorie Dannenfelser said that Cuccinelli was hamstrung by the Star Scientific scandal and “misleading attack ads,” but insisted that the “Republican establishment” is to blame “for abandoning this race.”

Somehow, Dannenfelser thinks that Cuccinelli’s loss shows the need for candidates to emphasize their opposition to abortion rights, even though 61% of Virginia voters [PDF] said they are pro-choice.

In response to Ken Cuccinelli’s close defeat in the Virginia gubernatorial election tonight, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), told LifeNews that the race shows the pro-life movement needs to spend more time exposing how extreme candidates like McAuliffe are on abortion.

“Despite being woefully outspent and compromised both by the government shutdown and the ethics scandal faced by Governor Bob McDonnell, Cuccinelli came within inches of victory. The political prognosticators that can often drive election results by their predictions ought not to have given up on him. The results make clear that more support from outside groups in the final weeks could have changed the outcome. Shame on the Republican establishment for abandoning this race and failing to push Ken over the finish line.

“Terry McAuliffe spent well over $5 million on misleading attack ads about Ken Cuccinelli and the fictitious ‘war on women,’ including running more than 5,600 spots on the abortion issue alone. Attacks on Cuccinelli were left unanswered, or answered too late, and the negative message stuck.

“This election shows that it is imperative for pro-lifers to be on offense in 2014 against the distortions and extremism of the Left. The Democrat strategy for 2014 is set: demonize pro-life candidates and spend big on ‘war on women’ advertising. The party, candidates, and movement must aggressively expose the other side’s extremism and penchant for putting women and children at risk through their abortion policies.”

Women Speak Out – Virginia, the state PAC of the SBA List, raised and spent $870,000 in support of Ken Cuccinelli’s candidacy, working to turn out the pro-life base. The organization canvassed the homes of 69,700 voters, engaged in volunteer calls reaching 255,000 identified pro-life inconsistent voters, and had get out the vote calls reaching as many as 1 million homes.

UPDATE: Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage accused the Republican Party of abandoning Cuccinelli over his opposition to same-sex marriage:

"Too many leaders of the Republican Party have drunk the Kool-Aid of the consulting class that they should abandon conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli because they have taken principled stances on social issues such as preserving marriage and protecting life," said Brown. "How many elections do they need to lose before they realize they are implementing a disastrous election strategy and ruining their chances of success?"

Brown noted that when the marriage issue has been on the ballot, it has outpolled the Republican ticket by a significant margin. Support for traditional marriage polled an average of seven points higher than Mitt Romney did in the four states it was on the ballot in 2012.

"The GOP elite wants candidates to be silent about their views on marriage and other social issues, but election results show that is exactly the wrong thing to do," Brown said. "Election after election has shown that voters across America, including in deep blue states, support traditional marriage by a significantly higher margin than they support the GOP. For the second election in a row, Republican leaders and consultants have pursued a flawed strategy of urging silence on social issues that has cost their candidates. If they don’t wake up, they could face disaster next year."

Ken Cuccinelli Calls In The Religious Right Reinforcements

While Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has been trying to dodge social issues such as abortion rights and marriage equality — likely because his actual views and record are far out of the mainstream — sagging poll numbers and increasing divisions among Republicans have led the candidate to rely on his traditional far-right backers. After campaigning alongside his ultraconservative and homophobic running mate E.W. Jackson, Cuccinelli tonight will attend a fundraiser cosponsored by the Family Research Council’s political arm and the head of a major anti-choice organization.

Tonight’s fundraiser featuring Jeb Bush and a whole host of former GOP politicians-turned-lobbyists is sponsored by FRC Action PAC and Marjorie Dannenfelser, who leads the Susan B. Anthony List.

Cuccinelli has partnered with FRC in the past, addressing at their Values Voter Summit and appearing on the group’s Washington Watch radio program. Dannenfelser’s group, meanwhile, committed at least $1.5 million to boost Cuccinelli.

Dannenfelser and FRC Action hope that Cuccinelli will continue his efforts to close the majority of the state’s abortion clinics. As the Washington Post editorial board noted yesterday, “If Mr. Cuccinelli is elected governor in November, most of the remaining 18 clinics are likely to shut their doors within months.” 

The FRC — whose leaders have referred to gays as pawns of Satan, abnormal and destructive while also calling for their criminalization and exportation — can also take pride in Cuccinelli’s anti-gay rhetoric and activism.

The upcoming fundraiser with two of the country’s foremost social conservative groups shows that as much as Cuccinelli would like Virginia voters to forget about his extreme stances, he is, first and foremost, a Religious Right ideologue.

Marjorie Dannenfelser says Obama is trying to 'Exploit Women' and do 'Exactly What the Early Suffragists Warned Against'

Marjorie Dannenfelser of the ironically named Susan B. Anthony List has dedicated her group to inserting their anti-choice agenda into the presidential and congressional races. But now as the Obama campaign is stressing the President’s pro-choice views while Mitt Romney and Republicans across the country run away from the abortion debate, Dannenfelser is singing a new tune, saying that voters don’t want to hear about abortion after all.

She spoke to Janet Mefferd yesterday to criticize Lena Denham’s web ad for the Obama campaign (where she made a joke similar to one told by Ronald Reagan) as a “very smart” campaign tactic that will backfire. Dannenfelser compared it to the Tom Wolfe novel “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” which she said is “all about the equalization of on-campus sex and how women now are the new predators and it is an unbelievable appeal to young women who are at that place and who may be confused but they want that.” “This whole ‘women’s vote’ thing is truly a way to exploit young women and any woman in childbearing years and we need to see it as that,” Dannenfelser lamented.

Mefferd chastised the Obama campaign for “treating women like they are idiots” or “brain-dead” while telling them “lies like that Planned Parenthood needs to be supported to help women’s health.” Dannenfelser even said that Obama’s outreach to women and support for reproductive rights are “exactly what the early suffragists warned against: the exploitation of women.”

Later, Dannenfelser argued that voters consistently back candidates who favor the criminalization of abortion. However, a recent CNN poll [PDF] show that just 15 percent believe it should be illegal in all cases, and a USA Today survey found that female voters who list abortion and birth control as among their top election priorities are disproportionately backing Obama. If Dannenfelser is so sure that voters are ready to abandon Obama over his support for reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood, then why is the Romney campaign now running ads in swing states moderating his position on abortion in order to appeal to pro-choice voters?

She goes on to charge that Obama “underestimates the courage and confidence and intellectual power and decision-making that women actually have” by trying to have them “be bought out with a packet of pills,” while Mefferd said Obama views women as “little sexual machines that need the government to take care of us.”

Dannenfelser: When they understand the difference in opinion they will always vote on our side. In fact every election that we have tracked since 2002 shows that when voters are—when the abortion issue is top-of-mind for them, when it is something very important for them, no matter how outspent we are they give the margin of victory to the pro-life candidate. This president is the main ally of Planned Parenthood, I mean you can’t find a better ally of Planned Parenthood than this president. They put in a billion dollars into this and the president of Planned Parenthood is on the stump in Ohio, Pennsylvania, every battleground state, they know what’s at stake, they understand that their funding is going. There is only one thing that they can’t lose at Planned Parenthood and that is the abortion business, if they lose that they’ll go under. They are not about women’s health, they know that when this is taken out of the calculation they will go under so when people understand that, they get it.



Dannenfelser: I think your point at the beginning is how much he underestimates the courage and confidence and intellectual power and decision-making that women actually have, that we could be bought out with a packet of pills, a packet of contraception, like ‘we’ll pay for your contraception, that’s the price for your vote.’ That’s actually what he’s doing right now.

Mefferd: Right as if all we are is little sexual machines that need the government to take care of us.

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/25/12

  • Colin Powell has again endorsed Barack Obama which, of course, means he "is a man without honor."
  • Well, this is quite the "scoop" from CBN's David Brody! 
  • FRC prays that "the U.S. Supreme Court will rule DOMA constitutional, affirming the authority of the states and the U.S. Congress to hold fast the historic definition of marriage."
  • On a related note, what is the deal with this video FRC posted that compares gay marriage to drug abuse and pedophilia? The National Organization for Marriage posted the exact same video.
  • Peter LaBarbera says Ted Haggard is "wrong to call himself a Christian and a bisexual, and he should step aside from public ministry."
  • Finally, the fact that Marjorie Dannenfelser, Penny Nance, and Phyllis Schlafly have all come to Richard Mourdock's defense just about tells you everything you need to know about the Religious Right groups that claim to represent women. 

Another Romney Abortion Flip-Flop: No Exceptions for Health of the Mother

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Mitt Romney said he disagreed with his own party’s support for criminalizing abortion without exceptions: “My position has been clear throughout this campaign; I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

Of course, Romney’s position on the legality of abortion has been anything but clear. Now his campaign denies that he supports allowing abortion when a woman’s health is in jeopardy, as he told reporter Scott Pelley. Instead, they say he only supports allowing abortion when a woman would die without one.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-choice group, in an interview with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association insisted that the Romney campaign told her that Romney does not in fact believe in exceptions for the health of the mother, contradicting what he said in the Monday interview. If he did, Dannenfelser said, he would not have received the endorsement of her anti-choice organization.

Watch:

 

Religious Right Groups Launch the 'Life and Marriage Coalition'

A number of Religious Right organizations are coming together for an election season coalition to attack President Obama in swing states. The Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, The Family Leader, Concerned Women for America, American Principles Project, the Susan B. Anthony List and Common Sense Issues have joined the “Life and Marriage Coalition,” which FRC head Tony Perkins said is needed to defeat Obama’s “anti-marriage and anti-life policies.”

A coalition of the nation’s most prominent conservative social issue groups (www.lifeandmarriagecoalition.com) today announced that they are coordinating efforts in Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina to talk about the importance of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and supporting the sanctity of human life. The groups hope to influence voters in key swing states that Barack Obama carried in 2008.

“This is a historic coming together of premiere social conservative groups to coordinate efforts in three swing states most likely to determine the outcome of this fall’s presidential election,” said Tony Perkins, president of FRC Action, the legislative action arm of the Family Research Council. “Many supporters of life and marriage do not realize that their votes could determine the outcome of the election, which in turn could determine the future of marriage and life in this country. We’re working together to ensure they understand that President Obama is anti-marriage and anti-life.”

The Life and Marriage Coalition includes FRC Action, Susan B. Anthony List, National Organization for Marriage, American Principles in Action, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and Common Sense Issues. Combined efforts will include independent expenditures for radio advertisements, billboards, phone and bus tour events designed to educate and mobilize socially conservative voters in the three targeted states.

“For millions of Americans, this election is about more than the economy, it’s about the direction our nation takes on foundational principles, like what constitutes marriage, and whether unborn children have a right to life,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List added, “We will work together as national groups and partner with local pro-family organizations to make sure that voters know that if we value marriage and want to stop government funding of abortion groups, we must defeat Barack Obama.”

State groups that are part of the effort are the North Carolina Values Coalition, and The Family Leader in Iowa.

“Fiscal and social issues are not separate issues and it is our goal to educate voters of this indisputable truth,” said Patrick Davis of Common Sense Issues. “In fact and in practice they are inseparable principles fortifying and empowering each other much like the fiscal, spiritual and emotional union of a man and woman in marriage or the life-long relationship between a mother and father and their child. All fiscal issues have a social element to them.”

The coalition also said its efforts this year are just the beginning. “Our coalition members are determined to defend American values on marriage and life for the long haul, said Davis. “The 2012 election is critical, but it is also important to lengthen the horizon to make sure that we have marriage and life champions running in critical races over the next several election cycles. We’re beginning to talk to prospective candidates now.”

Religious Right Groups Laud Paul Ryan, Highlight Anti-Choice and Anti-Gay Voting Record

Conservative leaders hailed Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan, the far-right congressman, to be his running mate, emphasizing his opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights.

Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance said that besides his one-time vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, she is excited “to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’”

Paul Ryan is a great choice. He has one little blip in that he voted for ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) a long time ago but voted right on the marriage amendment and supports the unborn. Plus, I get to pull back out my t-shirt from 2008 that says ‘Our VP is hotter than your VP!’ Bonus.

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition commended Ryan’s “100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record.”

Mitt Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee is an inspired, outstanding selection. Paul Ryan is a rare and exceptional public servant who combines the courage of his convictions with a sharp intellect and a winsome personality. I have known him since he worked for Jack Kemp at Empower America in the early 1990s, worked with him in passing sound budgets in the House, and am proud to count him as a friend. He is a person of devout Christian faith who has a 100 percent pro-life and pro-family voting record in his 14 years in Congress. He will excite and energize social conservatives, who will play a critical role in the outcome of the elections.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is proud that Ryan “believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible.”

Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan shows that he is serious about getting America's fiscal house in order. Paul Ryan's voting record also suggests that he believes that social, fiscal and national security conservatism is indivisible. Paul Ryan's philosophy clearly includes the understanding that America's financial greatness is tied directly to its moral and cultural wholeness.

As a member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, he has been a defender of religious expression in the public square. Paul Ryan has spoken out strongly against President Obama's abortion drug and contraception mandates as an affront to religious liberty. He has articulately described how the President's government takeover of health care has pushed aside our First Amendment right of religious freedom.

We look forward to hearing Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan speak at the upcoming Values Voter Summit so that the conservative grassroots will have an opportunity to hear more about their agenda on the critical issues facing our country including religious liberty, marriage, the sanctity of human life as well as fiscal responsibility and national security.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjore Dannenfelser hailed Ryan’s rejection of a “culture war truce.”

“By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “A longtime pro-life advocate and a strong fiscal conservative, Congressman Ryan has insisted that there can be no ‘truce’ when it comes to advancing the rights of the unborn and achieving fiscal responsibility. He has a pristine pro-life voting record and will be an asset to Governor Romney’s campaign.

“Pro-life voters are a key demographic and help secure victory in critical elections,” continued Dannenfelser. “The addition of a second strong pro-life leader to the ticket energizes the pro-life base – we are thrilled with this pick.”

The Catholic Association called Ryan an “excellent choice” since “he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.”

We believe Governor Romney has made an excellent choice. As a smart, serious Catholic, Congressman Ryan has been steadfast on issues of fundamental principle – defending religious liberty, life, and traditional marriage.

In addition, he has been thoughtful and articulate in applying Catholic principles to the other challenges facing America.

The American Center for Law and Justice’s David French noted Ryan’s opposition to reproductive rights.

In the next days and weeks, there will be a lot of attention on Paul Ryan’s economic expertise and experience with fiscal reform. He became famous in political circles for the “Ryan budget” and for his fearlessness and effectiveness in challenging President Obama in the midst of the Obamacare debate. But what many may not know is that Paul Ryan is a man completely committed to the cause of life.

Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families is glad this “youthful, forward-looking ticket [is] reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us.”

Just moments ago, Governor Mitt Romney formally announced his selection of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate. He made the announcement at a naval museum in Norfolk, Virginia, with the USS Wisconsin as his backdrop. This is a bold choice, and I am very excited about this pick!

The selection of Paul Ryan shows Governor Romney is serious about confronting the fiscal challenges facing our country. It shows the kind of talented and experienced team Governor Romney will put together that will work for American exceptionalism.

Ryan is a strong conservative. He is pro-life and believes in traditional marriage. Of course, what he is most known for is entitlement reform and stopping the growth of government. He's 42 with a young family.

So this will be a youthful, forward-looking ticket, reminding us that with the right choices America's best days are still ahead of us. It will be a stark contrast to Obama's failed tax and spend policies that are taking us down the dead-end road of European-style socialism. It's clear which presidential ticket is serious about making real change!

Anti-Choice Groups Get Behind Romney to Stop Obama's 'Radical Pro-Abortion Agenda'

Today, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Mitt Romney, who last week met with NRLC executive director Darla St. Martin along with other conservative activists including Jay Sekulow, Ed Meese and David Keene. In a press release, NRLC said it is time “for time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney.”

Determined to secure a pro-life victory in the November election, which will decide the fate of unborn children for decades to come, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, today endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States.

“On pro-life issues, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama provide a stark contrast. As the country's most pro-abortion president, Barack Obama has pursued a radical pro-abortion agenda,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “It is now time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney. For the sake of unborn children, the disabled, and the elderly, we must win.”



“We are extremely gratified that every candidate who has run for the Republican nomination for president took a pro-life position and kept the life issues at the forefront of the race,” Tobias added. “We look forward to Mitt Romney's election as our next pro-life president on November 6th.”

Concerned Women for America CEO and past Santorum supporter Penny Young Nance appeared on a Romney campaign conference call today, and Marjorie Dannenfelser’s Susan B. Anthony List also decided to back Romney, who refused to sign the group’s candidate pledge.

Dannenfelser was a major Santorum booster, and in February told Janet Mefferd that Romney’s erratic anti-choice record is “devastating.” Referring to a Slate article chronicling Romney’s multiple inconsistencies, Dannenfelser said that she remains unconvinced that Romney is a genuine opponent of abortion rights, “I really don’t know”:

But now says that she is “proud to endorse Governor Romney”:

“Now is the time to unite behind Governor Romney in order to defeat the most ideologically pro-abortion president in our nation’s history,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “The SBA List is proud to endorse Governor Romney and plans to spend $10 to $12 million in senate and presidential battleground states mobilizing pro-life voters to ensure victory.”

“Women deserve a president who truly respects our views on an issue so central to womanhood,” continued Dannenfelser. “A President Romney will be that man. If there was murkiness during the last election over Barack Obama's extreme abortion position, absolute clarity exists now – and his abortion position is rejected by women young and old.”

"The difference between Governor Romney and President Obama couldn’t be clearer, which is why our Board of Directors voted unanimously to get behind him," said Jane Abraham, Chairman of the SBA List Board of Directors. “It is the responsibility of all pro-life voters to now unite behind Governor Romney. Together we can put a pro-life leader in the White House.”

Religious Right Reacts to Rick Santorum Exiting the Race

With Rick Santorum suspending his presidential campaign, far-right activists lauded Santorum for pushing his fellow Republicans to the right, particularly on social issues.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who did not officially endorse Santorum but clearly favored his candidacy, applauded Santorum’s “message of faith, family and freedom”:

"Rick Santorum's historic run for president achieved remarkable success because his campaign was based not on money spent but on the message of faith, family and freedom that he carried. I commend his courage, boldness and tenacity in fighting for the values that made America great, and are fundamental to returning America to greatness.

"Millions of voters flocked to Rick not because he was a Republican, but because he passionately articulated the connection between America 's financial greatness and its moral and cultural wholeness. He realizes that real problem-solving starts with an understanding that the economy and the family are indivisible.

"This values message generated enthusiasm and drew many new voters into the process. If the Republican establishment hopes to generate this same voter intensity in the fall elections, Santorum voters must see it demonstrate a genuine and solid commitment to the core values issues," concluded Perkins.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, who organized a bus tour on Santorum’s behalf, said:

“With great vision and passion, Rick Santorum reached the hearts of pro-life voters and allowed them to show the strength of their voting bloc,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “The Susan B. Anthony List is proud to have mobilized those key voters.”

“Pro-life voters are a consistent and growing constituency, who proved invaluable to Senator Santorum in state after state throughout the primary elections. We will continue to reach out and mobilize those voters and millions more like them across the country. The political muscle of the pro-life movement will be critical to defeating President Obama in November.” Others were more plain in their disappointment.

Right-wing radio host Steve Deace tweeted that it is “time for a slate of new blood after Obamney loses in November,” and anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera lamented that the Republican Party is “stuck” with the “pro-homosexual” Mitt Romney.

Conservative luminary Richard Viguerie, who yesterday made clear that he will never consider Romney a bona fide conservative, today urged Romney to pick a conservative running mate, but is disappointed in the current crop of potential candidates:

The demand that there must be some conservative vs. moderate balance on the Republican ticket is already starting to lead the media to engage in some comical contortions as various establishment commentators try to bend their favorite Republican elected official’s record and views to be conservative enough to place a Romney led ticket in the conservative camp if their favored candidate is picked.

The problem with this exercise is that by-and-large the names offered are either not movement conservatives or they are not yet power players in national politics with a strong movement conservative constituency of their own.

Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bob McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez and the rest of the names floated by the inside-the-Beltway pundits all have their good qualities – but none has established their conservative bona fides by being tested on the national scene and none brings a strong base in the conservative movement to add real grassroots conservative credibility to a Romney led ticket.

Viguerie also warned that Romney’s attacks on Santorum may hurt him with the conservative base:

To date Mitt Romney has spent some $100 million to drive the conservative candidates from the field, in some case through vicious personal attacks. However, he has spent little effort making the case for his own candidacy to grassroots movement conservatives.

The first great challenge facing Republicans is whether or not Mitt Romney can heal the wounds created by his negative campaigning.

The grassroots movement conservative voters who powered the Santorum campaign can not be taken for granted. During the 2006 congressional elections some 4 million conservative voters stayed home, producing one of the biggest defeats for the Republican Party in the modern era.

The next step is up to Mitt Romney. Romney is seriously behind with committed conservative voters, to catch up he must make the case that he merits the support of movement conservatives and that a Romney administration, if elected, can and will produce conservative government.

UPDATE: Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families and a prominent Santorum supporter said his candidacy “will contribute to the end of the Obama Administration this November,” and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention claimed Santorum successfully “resurrected himself once again as a major political figure in our nation” through his role “in the most important election in our nation since 1860.”

Another Santorum booster, Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance, urged Romney to “reach out to conservative women since they are the ones who get on the phones and do tons of volunteer work,” and on a similar note Liberty Counsel chairman Mathew Staver, who backed Newt Gingrich, said Romney has “to make some intentional steps to reach out to evangelicals and religious conservatives,” adding that “it would be a mistake to assume he has every vote from evangelicals and religious conservatives locked up.”

However, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College, who signed a letter of far-right leaders who described a Romney nomination as a “disastrous mistake,” told CNN that he may not back Romney in the general election:

Evangelical activist Michael Farris was not exactly surprised that Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean that Farris, a longtime political organizer, knows what he’s supposed to do now.

“Right now my choice is to sit on my hands and do nothing or to actively try to find some alternative” to Mitt Romney, Farris said in an interview shortly after Santorum's announcement.

“Some of us just have a hard time supporting a person who said he was going to be more liberal on gay rights than Ted Kennedy,” said Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, referring to remarks Romney made in a 1994 letter.

Farris’ reaction is a stark emblem of the disappointment among religious conservatives over Santorum's announcement, and a reminder that Romney’s enthusiasm deficit among the conservative evangelicals who form the GOP’s base hasn’t gone away.

JCN's Wendy Long Resurfaces in Run for Senate

Once upon a time, there was a right-wing group called The Judicial Confirmation Network that was created "to ensure that the confirmation process for all judicial nominees is fair and that every nominee sent to the full Senate receives an up or down vote." 

Such a mission made sense back during the George W. Bush administration, when the group was founded ... but didn't work so well when Barack Obama was elected and suddenly the organization was fighting to ensure that his nominees didn't get confirmed.

Eventually, the JCN realized that it couldn't keep calling itself the Judicial Confirmation Network if it was actively working to prevent the confirmation of judges, so the name was changed to the Judicial Crisis Network and the group likewise wrote up a new mission statement.

Eventually, the original founders left, with Executive Director Gary Marx signing on with Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition and Chief Counsel Wendy Long stepping down in order to "devote her time to her family and other causes."

Among those "other causes" to which Long is dedicating herself is a run for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November.

Last month, Long won the endorsement of the Conservative Party of New York State and today secured the endorsement of the anti-abortion zealots over at the Susan B. Anthony List:

The Susan B. Anthony List, the influential pro-life organization, offered an early and enthusiastic endorsement for Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long this morning.

“There could not be a more clear contrast between longtime pro-life leader Wendy Long and EMILY’s List poster child Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group's president, in a statement ... “From her days as a Hill staffer to her time at Americans United for Life and her work on behalf of Supreme Court Justices who practice judicial restraint, Wendy has constantly been engaged in the fight for adherence to the Constitution and the right to Life laid out in the Declaration of Independence,” Dannenfelser said in the statement. “We look forward to having her back on Capitol Hill and adding to the number of pro-life women in the Senate.”

...

In her statement, Dannenfelser echoed Long's earlier criticism of Gillibrand for accusing Republicans of waging a "war on women."

“Wendy understands that the only ‘war on women’ is the one being waged against women of faith and conscience by the Obama administration and their allies in Congress and the abortion lobby. She has boldly called on Senator Gillibrand to end the assault on Life, conscience, and religious liberty.”

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