Abortion

As Anti-Abortion Groups Gather in D.C., A New High Profile For A Radical Movement

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

This week, many of the various factions of the anti-abortion movement will gather in Washington for the March For Life, an annual event that marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

The wide array of events surrounding the march reflect many of the strands of the anti-choice movement. This morning, far-flung members of the “rescue” movement -- those who protest outside of clinics and sometimes harass providers and patients -- joined local activists who have been protesting at a new Planned Parenthood building, much to the dismay of the elementary school next door. On Wednesday, a group of demonstrators elsewhere in Washington mistakenly protested outside of a closed Planned Parenthood building. Over the next few days, young activists will have two rallies and a conference dedicated just to them. Lawyers and law students will meet about legal strategies for turning back abortion rights. For the first time, there will be a conference focused on evangelicals.

But many of these events will be connected by the presence of one familiar face: David Daleiden, the young activist whose “sting” operation against Planned Parenthood has shaken up the anti-abortion movement. Daleiden isn’t scheduled for a main-stage slot at the march, but he’ll be making appearances at the Planned Parenthood protest, the evangelical summit, the lawyers’ event and a Family Research council event, along with a related Students for Life event on the West Coast on Sunday.

Daleiden’s influence will likely be felt even at events where he isn’t present: The keynote speech at the march itself will be delivered by Carly Fiorina, the Republican presidential candidate who has routinely recited a false story of what she claims to have seen in one of Daleiden’s films.

The central role of Daleiden in this week’s events reflects the extent to which his project, which stemmed from one of the most radical strands of the anti-choice movement, has brought radical protest groups back to prominence and shifted the strategy and priorities of the more “mainstream” parts of the movement.

Last summer, Daleiden started releasing a series of videos, taken undercover in conversations with Planned Parenthood employees, which he claimed showed the women’s health organization illegally profiting off fetal tissue donated for research. Those claims didn’t hold up, but they opened up a new line of attack for the anti-choice movement -- along with a new wave of violence -- that culminated in the recent votes in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, something that anti-choice leaders say they will now be able to do once and for all if a Planned Parenthood foe is elected president. Planned Parenthood is now suing Daleiden and his accomplices.

This renewed focus on Planned Parenthood has helped to elevate the rescue movement, which Daleiden’s project grew out of. Two of Daleiden’s closest advisors, Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman and Life Dynamics’ Mark Crutcher, helped to pioneer the strategy of cutting down access to abortion by making life miserable for abortion providers and patients. Crutcher has specialized in doing this through “sting” operations, including one that Daleiden’s was modeled after, and now hopes to train and “unleash a whole army of David Daleidens” on abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood has long been a target of these groups. After Daleiden started releasing his videos, anti-choice groups began directing their activists to protests in front of Planned Parenthood clinics led by some of the old guard of the rescue movement. This created what Newman described as “the largest coordinated protest of abortion clinics” since the prime of the rescue movement in the 1980s and 1990s.

Daleiden’s videos have also prompted a shift in how major anti-choice groups are talking about their work. Americans United for Life, the influential anti-abortion legal group, has been a leader in the strategy of pushing abortion restrictions in the name of “women’s health,” offering legislators anti-choice model bills through what it calls its “Women’s Protection Program.” But since Daleiden started releasing his videos, AUL has sensed an opportunity and started shifting its rhetoric toward legal rights for fetuses, launching what it calls an “Infants’ Protection Project” that quietly aims to build on “personhood” protections for fetuses.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the anti-choice campaign powerhouse Susan B. Anthony List, told ProPublica that in Daleiden’s videos, her group “saw our opening -- and we jumped all in.”

That has certainly also been the case with Fiorina and her fellow Republican presidential candidates, nearly all of whom say they want to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood’s services to low-income women (none of which goes towards abortions), and several of whom have vowed to attempt to ban all abortion, some through a radical “personhood” strategy.

The official theme of this year’s March for Life is “Pro-Life and Pro-Woman go Hand in Hand,” a nod to the strategy of portraying abortion restrictions as protections for women. But it seems likely that it will be hard to escape Daleiden’s attack on Planned Parenthood and its aftermath.


PFAW

Standing United Against Harmful Policy Riders

People For the American Way proudly stands with them and is an active member of the nearly 200-strong anti-riders coalition. PFAW is also among women's health advocates pushing back against riders. Please join us by signing our clean budget petition.
PFAW

Coalition Nearly 200-Strong Takes a Stand and Says "NO" to Harmful Policy Riders

Far-right members of Congress take a dislike to something, say . . . the critical reproductive and preventive healthcare services offered by Planned Parenthood, and they write a line or two into an appropriations bill that says that government money cannot be used for that purpose. All kinds of programs and laws are subject to this kind of indirect assault: Just prohibit any money from being spent on it.
PFAW

House Judiciary Committee Takes Up Planned Parenthood Witch Hunt, Women And Voting Rights Suffer

An overwhelming amount of energy spent rehashing decades of settled law and Supreme Court precedent at the expense of women who seek not only abortion services from Planned Parenthood, a very small portion of their work, but a wide range of reproductive and preventive healthcare.
PFAW

House Judiciary Committee Investigates Planned Parenthood But Still Refuses To Hold VRA Hearing

The Committee is putting its commitment to this far-right smear campaign ahead of its commitment to democracy. As they take up Planned Parenthood, Congress is more than two years past due in restoring what the Voting Rights Act lost in 2013 through the Supreme Court's damaging Shelby County v. Holder decision. They should instead be holding a hearing on the Voting Rights Advancement Act.
PFAW

PFAW Releases Report on Seven Tactics Aimed at Chipping Away at Reproductive Choice in the States

WASHINGTON – As the Supreme Court decides whether to review a Texas law that would force more than half of the state’s abortion clinics to close and could have sweeping implications nationwide, a new report from People For the American Way provides a snapshot of the tactics anti-choice legislators and activists are using to erode reproductive health care access in Texas and across the country. The report, “Chipping Away at Choice: Growing Threats to Women’s Healthcare Access and Autonomy: 2015 Update,” notes that 51 new abortion restrictions were enacted in states in the first half of 2015 alone, from the extension of mandatory waiting periods to laws placing unnecessary burdens on abortion clinics with the goal of shutting them down.

“The Texas case serves as a major test of the right-wing strategy of incrementally chipping away at women’s access to reproductive health care,” said Miranda Blue, Senior Researcher for Special Projects at People For the American Way. “Anti-choice activists have been quietly working to erode all access to reproductive choice. As women face longer drives, higher price tags, and other unnecessary burdens when they seek reproductive health care, the right to safe and legal abortion becomes increasingly abstract.”

The report examines seven threats to choice:

  • Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, like Texas’s House Bill 2, which place unnecessary regulations on abortion providers with the aim of closing the clinics altogether.
  • Crisis pregnancy centers, which have been found to provide women with false or misleading information, and are often not staffed by medical professionals.
  • Mandatory waiting periods, which place an unnecessary burden on low-income women and those who live in one of the 90 percent of U.S. counties without an abortion clinic.
  • Genetic anomaly, race- or sex-selective abortion bans, cynical efforts to create new obstacles to women’s choice, which risk placing additional burdens on women of color.
  • Interference with medical providers, such as forcing doctors to read scripts written by politicians and requiring doctors to perform medically unnecessary procedures like early-term ultrasounds.
  • 20-week abortion bans, like the bill passed in the U.S. House and being considered by the Senate, which are aimed not only at diminishing abortion access but challenging the ban on pre-viability abortion prohibitions established by Roe v. Wade.
  • Defunding abortion providers, which result in cutting off access to cancer screenings, contraceptives, and basic health care, especially for low-income and rural women.

The full report, which updates a 2013 report of the same name, can be found here: http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/chipping-away-choice-growing-threats-women-s-health-care-access-and-autonomy-2015-updat

PFAW Senior Researcher for Special Projects Miranda Blue is available for interviews. To arrange one, please contact Laura Epstein at media@pfaw.org or call 202-467-4999.

Chipping Away at Choice - 2015 Update: Growing Threats to Women’s Health Care Access and Autonomy

In this 2015 update to our "Chipping Away at Choice Report," we examine the incremental attacks -- including mandatory waiting periods, TRAP laws, and crisis pregnancy centers -- that conservative legislators and anti-choice groups are using to gradually whittle away at women's access to safe and legal abortion.

The Activists And Ideology Behind The Latest Attacks On Planned Parenthood

The right-wing extremist group behind the recent Planned Parenthood smear has failed to prove any wrongdoing -- but has succeeded at reinforcing long-held myths within the anti-choice movement.

Scott Walker Doesn't Get Why His 'Cool' Ultrasound Remark Was So Offensive -- And That's The Problem

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Gov. Scott Walker was chatting recently with right-wing radio host Dana Loesch about his efforts to set up regulatory hurdles to abortion access in Wisconsin, when heoffered this defense of a law he signed that would require a woman to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound before exercising her constitutionally protected right to an abortion:

I'm pro-life. I've passed pro-life legislation. We defunded Planned Parenthood, we signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea. You know, most people I talked to, whether they're pro-life or not, I find people all the time that pull out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids' ultrasound and how excited they are, so that's a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, we still have their first ultrasounds. It's just a cool thing out there.

Right Wing Watch, a project of People For the American Way, was listening to the show and brought attention to Walker's comments, and they understandably hit a nerve.

Sure, an ultrasound could be "cool" if you are a woman carrying a healthy child, surrounded by family, love and support and making your own medical choices along with your doctor. Or you are excited grandparents looking forward to years of joy with a child. What's not "cool" is if the state mandates that you undergo a medically unnecessary procedure in an effort to prevent you from making a choice that you, an adult woman whose circumstances your politicians have no right to know or judge,have already made and are unlikely to change

Even less "cool" is the fact that the ultrasound bill was passed as part of an explicit effort to undermine women's access to health care. Its companion bill was an "admitting privileges" requirement, a common anti-choice tactic, that threatened to close two abortion clinics in the state. Since then, Walker has boasted to anti-choice leaders of using deceptive rhetoric about the ultrasound bill in order to downplay its true intentions.

Unlike the ultrasounds of the Walkers' children, forced ultrasounds like these aren't the kind that anyone wants to show off. What's astonishing is that Walker doesn't seem to get this. Instead, he's accusing the "gotcha" media of being "biased" and "lazy" and twisting the meaning of his comments. Unfortunately, some of the media are taking him at his word.

Walker's remarks weren't twisted. You can listen to his whole answer to the questionhere. The problem is that Walker just doesn't seem to get why what he said was so offensive. For someone who wants to be president, that's deeply troubling.

PFAW

PFAW Foundation Board Member Kathleen Turner Discusses Abortion Access, the “Personhood” Movement on “All In with Chris Hayes”

People For the American Way Foundation board member Kathleen Turner appeared on “All In with Chris Hayes” on Friday to discuss the “personhood” movement and how it’s working in concert with its rivals in the anti-choice movement to end abortion access, especially for low-income women.

Turner said that she sees “personhood,” which would give fertilized eggs and fetuses the same rights as people, as “a Trojan horse.”

She explained:

The fact is because [personhood] has been soundly defeated in several states – Mississippi, North Dakota – that one thinks that it’s a non-issue. But in fact at the same time, there’ve been hundreds, hundreds of bills in every state that have made it more and more difficult to access any kind of healthcare, not just abortion.

Watch the full clip here:

To learn more about the personhood movement, be sure to check out PFAW Foundation’s new report, “The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes from and What It Means for the Future of Choice,” and read Kathleen Turner’s piece in RH Reality Check, “Think the “Personhood” Issue Is Over? Think Again.”

 

PFAW Foundation

The Personhood Divide: The Anti-Choice Movement's Bitter Feud Over The Best Way To End Legal Abortion

(Originally posted on RightWingWatch.org)

The “personhood” movement — those who seek sweeping bans on all abortion and common types of birth control in an effort to confront Roe v. Wade head-on — is hugely divisive within the anti-choice community. Groups like National Right to Life Committee, which have been pushing a more careful, incremental approach toward ending legal abortion, worry that the personhood movement risks undermining their progress toward the ultimate goal. Meanwhile, personhood advocates accuse groups like NRLC of selling out the ultimate goal in the service of small steps that they claim will never lead to the full criminalization of abortion.

A few months ago, we published a series of posts exploring the anti-choice personhood movement, its history, and how it is confronting a changing political landscape. People For the American Way Foundation has adapted that series into a report, “The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From And What It Means for the Future of Choice,” which was released today. 

As the national debate over a NRLC-backed federal bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy have shown, one of the major sticking points between the two factions is whether the anti-choice movement should accept “compromises” that exempt women who have been raped from abortion bans. From the report’s introduction:

The largest and best-funded groups opposing abortion rights have, over the past several years, achieved astounding success in chipping away at women’s access to legal abortion in the United States. But these successes, Personhood Alliance’s founders maintain, are too small and have come at a grave cost.

In seeking mainstream approval for anti-choice politics, personhood advocates believe, groups like the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and Americans United for Life (AUL) have adopted a secular tone and downplayed their Christian origins. In focusing on drawing attention to issues like late-term abortion, they may have won some support for the cause but have done little to end the procedures they targeted. In seeking incremental successes, personhood advocates argue, the movement has given up on making a moral argument for the humanity of fertilized eggs and fetuses and lost sight of its larger goal of eliminating legal abortion entirely.

But the greatest betrayal in the eyes of these personhood advocates is the willingness of major anti-choice groups to endorse legislation that includes exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. The personhood movement’s leaders contend that these political concessions are not only immoral and intellectually inconsistent, but also threaten to undermine the movement’s goals in the long term.

The personhood movement provides an interesting look into the bitter “incrementalist vs. immediatist” divide that has split the anti-choice movement since before Roe v. Wade. Both sides want an end to legal abortion; neither trusts the other to get there. But in the meantime, each is making progress in making it more difficult and more dangerous for women to access safe and legal reproductive care.

PFAW Foundation

The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From and What It Means For the Future of Choice

The largest and best-funded groups opposing abortion rights have, over the past several years, achieved astounding success in chipping away at women’s access to legal abortion in the United States. But these successes, Personhood Alliance’s founders maintain, are too small and have come at a grave cost.

95 Senate Roll-Call Votes While Lynch Waits for Hers

McConnell needs to drop his ridiculous demand that the Senate approve an unrelated bill before he allows a confirmation vote for attorney general.
PFAW

Fourth Circuit Strikes Down North Carolina Ultrasound Law

Judges nominated by Reagan, Clinton, and Bush-43 agree that North Carolina's law violates the Constitution.
PFAW Foundation

Roberts Court Strikes Down Clinic Buffer Zone Law

With the Chief Justice writing the majority opinion, the Roberts Court votes to strike down a Massachusetts clinic buffer law.
PFAW Foundation

Michael Bresciani Says The 'Ghosts Of Millions Of Aborted Children' Will Haunt Obama's Presidential Library

Christian Post blogger Michael Bresciani believes President Obama, much like Vlad the Impaler and Adolf Hitler, will be remembered as one of the world’s most evil men.

In a blog post yesterday, Bresciani writes that no one will visit his presidential library besides “a few democrats [sic] and liberals and those of the LGBT persuasion,” for it will be “haunted by the ghosts of millions of aborted children.”

Bresciani also warns that the gay rights movement will turn the United States into a North Korean-style police state even though “most of the people in this nation still view homosexuality as a perverse and un-natural lifestyle.”

The idea of re-education for the socially inept is not new. China, Russia, North Korea and Vietnam are a few countries that interred people into camps or re-education centers to forcibly change their way of thinking. Some of these countries do so to this day.

North Vietnam employed highly sophisticated means of coercion such as torture, deprivation and abuse. Hundreds of thousands died in those camps after the fall of Saigon and some people spent as much as 17 years in the re-ed centers.

We don’t have anything resembling the re-ed camps of Vietnam, but the seeds have been planted by the homo-fascists as seen in recent events in the wide world of sports. Will America water these seeds and culture them in the days ahead? If the trend of intolerance and excess now seen in the gay movement is not reeled in, then anyone’s guess is as good as mine.



No minority can be discriminated against according to the Constitution but no minority can circumvent or dismiss the will of “we the people.” Is it time to let the LGBT know this in no uncertain terms. Most of the people in this nation still view homosexuality as a perverse and un-natural lifestyle. We do not need to apologize for this position and we also should refuse to be punished in any way shape or form for our views.

We are judges of evil thoughts when we think rejection of a perverted pop-culture trend is reason to punish those who disagree with it.



While Vlad was a murderer in real life who impaled his enemies on stakes, he became a legend after death. Millions have been thrilled by the stories of Count Dracula made popular by novelist Bram Stoker. Most great evil figures are not so lucky. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and others are known today mostly for their acts of barbarism and genocide.

History may not be so kind to Barack Obama. He is a gay enabler who with a few well-chosen words has dismissed mostly the entire Bible except the Sermon on the Mount and has abandoned civilization’s longest standing sanctified, God given ordinance – the marriage of one man and one woman.

What will we put in his presidential library? If someday his real birth certificate is found and a release of his school transcripts is made, they may be on display, but who will come to the library other than a few democrats and liberals and those of the LGBT persuasion? Will a West Virginia coal miner darken the door or someone who lost their health coverage and their trusted doctor?

Being the most active and highest ranking politician in history to wholeheartedly support abortions it is not impossible to imagine a presidential library haunted by the ghosts of millions of aborted children. They were impaled and worse on the scalpels and devices of doctors no less terrible than Vlad the Impaler.

Barack Obama has appointed activist judges, refused to defend DOMA, and in general has made great strides in popularizing the perverted in America. He is both an enabler and a child of error according to the scriptures that he has dismissed.

Nance: Legal Abortion Worse than the Holocaust

Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, writes in a Christian Post column this week that legal abortion “is the seminal human rights issue of our time” and a “heart-breaking atrocity against mankind” that is worse than the Holocaust.

Abortion is the seminal human rights issue of our time. For our grandparent's generation, the Holocaust was the most heart-breaking atrocity against mankind. As many as 1.5 million Jewish children were killed as a result of the Nazis' horrific genocide scheme. What's shameful is that America surpassed this number of little lives lost to a cruel genocide long ago. Since 1973, the deaths of more than 54 million unborn children have been reported in the United States alone. Every year, approximately 1.21 million more unborn children will be aborted. And nearly 4,000 abortions are performed daily, as reported by National Right to Life. This is an injustice which must end.

Texas this week is ground zero in the abortion debate, as pro-life supporters engage in a righteous battle to protect babies in utero and their mothers. And as one side of the debate sang "Amazing Grace" and the other chanted "Hail, Satan," we clearly see the founding principles on which opposing belief systems are based. One is life. One is death.

Earlier this year, Nance linked then-transportation secretary nominee Anthony Foxx to the Holocaust, claiming that his declaration of a National Day of Reason represented the kind of thinking that “led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust.”
 

Trent Franks Goes Akin: His History of Anti-Choice Extremism

At a hearing today on his bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy without exception, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona said he opposed adding a rape exception to the bill in part because “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” 

Franks added, nonsensically, “But when you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that’s impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose of such an amendment.”

Franks’ misinformed, Todd Akin-like comments on the mechanics of pregnancy are just the latest in a long line of extreme anti-choice positions.

Aside from his anti-choice activism, Franks pushes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, has flirted with birtherism, and has claimed that marriage equality is a “threat to the nation’s survival.”

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