Wendy Wright

C-FAM Upset State Department Advocated For LGBT Rights On International Day Of Families

Wendy Wright of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) is very upset that the Obama administration chose the UN’s International Day of Families last week to issue a joint statement with Finland on LGBT rights. In the statement, which was issued on May 15 in advance of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the two countries vow to work together to ensure “the ability of LGBT persons to live safely, freely, and without discrimination.”

Wright tells CBN’s David Brody today that the timing of the statement showed that the Obama administration is attacking “the concept of male and female” and “triggering perilous consequences” by such actions as opposing Russia’s ban on gay “propaganda” to children.

The United States chose the International Day of Families to release a statement on “homophobia and transphobia.” The move underscores a priority in the “Obama Doctrine,” the President’s foreign policy that is racking up criticisms worldwide – and triggering perilous consequences.

Christian, Jewish, Muslim, academic and civil society leaders spoke at UN headquarters on Thursday on the virtues of the family for every society. Several attributed male and female distinctions, particularly in parenting, for its success in forming healthy individuals and societies. One warned that, despite agreement that unifies people around the globe, the family and the concept of male and female are “under attack.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. issued a joint statement with Finland vowing to focus on “combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons” and announcing Finland’s contribution of 1 million Euros to Obama’s global equality fund. The fund boosts lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists in other countries and treats restrictions on homosexual and transgender activity, such as prohibiting promoting LGBT to children or requiring persons identify their accurate sex on passports, as human rights violations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religious Right Activists Attack Jon Stewart For (Hypothetically) Discriminating Against Christians

Wendy Wright and Chelsen Vicari co-hosted Sandy Rios In The Morning this week, and used the opportunity to attack The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart for discriminating against Christians… in a hypothetical scenario that the two Religious Right activists invented.

Wright, the former head of Concerned Women for America who is now vice president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), was upset about a Daily Show segment from 2005 that poked fun of the “Christian persecution complex,” noting Christianity’s ascendency in the West following the conversion of Constantine I. Wright said she couldn’t understand why Stewart thinks “we are in charge and we are the oppressors,” referring to the Crusades as an instance in which Christians faced persecution. “I guess he never heard of the Crusades; the Crusades were actually defensive against the Muslim hordes,” she said.

Yes, that’s right, she cited the Crusades as an example of anti-Christian persecution.

She also spoke to Vicari, who like Wright used to work for CWA but now is with the Institute on Religion and Democracy, about Stewart’s recent interview with Malala Yousafzai.

Vicari was upset because she imagined that while Stewart and President Obama lauded Yousafzai, they wouldn’t have done so if she was shot while defending the rights of Christians.

I couldn’t, I just couldn’t see why there was such a disconnect between the way Jon Stewart was treating Malala for something very admirable, a girl’s right to an education, but he couldn’t stand up for the right to believe in Jesus Christ,” she said. I had this thought, Wendy, I thought, you know if Malala Yousafzai was a Christian standing up for girls’ rights to believe in Jesus Christ, would we still know her name? Would she receive all this praise that she’s getting from the international community? From our national leaders? The president just invited her to the White House on Friday. Would Jon Stewart have had her on his show? The answer is probably not and I have to ask the question, why that is?

Of course, Vicari has no idea if Stewart would have interviewed a girl who survived a shooting over her defense of Christians’ freedom of religion, but nevertheless she maintained that Stewart hypothetically discriminated against Christians.

Truth In Action: America is Turning into Nazi Germany

Truth in Action Ministries regularly produces slick documentary-like videos filled with Religious Right leaders warning that activist judges are destroying the country, gay rights is turning America into a "lawless" nation, and how the United States is on the road to becoming just like Nazi Germany.

In fact, warning that America is turning into Nazi Germany seems to be Truth in Action's favorite scare tactic, which explains the organization's newest video, "Tyranny: The High Cost of Forgetting God," which "looks at Christians who stood against Hitler's tyrannical rule, and modern day Christian 'heroes' fighting for righteousness in America today."  In the video, Tony Perkins, Richard Land, and Wendy Wright explain that things like banning prayer in schools, legalizing abortion, and kicking God out of the public square all signal that the United States is following the same path that led to the Holocaust: 

To Hell with Health Care Reform: Religious Right Leaders Attack Obama, Spout GOP Dogma about "Socialism" While Fanning Flames on Abortion

Much of the Religious Right's organizing energy has been devoted to incendiary and false claims about the administration's alleged stealth plan to force every health plan to cover - and force all doctors to provide - abortion services. None of these approaches are actually included in the plans working their way through Congress. In fact, anti-choice members of Congress are using health reform to institute a new nationwide abortion ban in private insurance plans taking away coverage women already have.

Themes from the Right -- Nomination Day

Right-wing political and legal groups and pundits responded to President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by cranking up their well-funded attack machine, following their pre-fab attack script (they have been attacking her for months as a potential nominee), launching ads against her confirmation, and threatening to use the nomination as a political bludgeon against Democrats from more conservative states.

Free speech, Irresponsible Speech, and the Climate of Intolerance in 2009

Shortly after anti-government terrorist Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, President Bill Clinton urged Americans to challenge those who use powerful political and media platforms to promote the kind of inflammatory falsehoods that poison public discourse, make civil conversation impossible, and can ultimately lead to violence. The reaction from right-wing leaders of the day was sadly predictable and by now familiar: they claimed that Clinton was seeking to "silence" voices of dissent, even though his speech affirmed that the First Amendment protects both the purveyors of irresponsible speech and those who challenge him.

The Right Re-Tools as a 'Resistance Movement'

Now that the Religious Right and the Republican Party are regrouping from significant electoral defeats, many progressives as well as pundits are tempted once again to dismiss the movement or the continued threat it poses to the constitutional principles of equality, privacy, and separation of church and state. But the legal, political, grassroots, and media infrastructure that has been built steadily over recent decades is still largely in place. It maintains a powerful ability to shape public debate and mobilize millions of Americans. And it is finding a renewed focus in opposing the Obama administration and obstructing progressive change.
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