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.”
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
At a rally in Germantown, Maryland this week, anti-choice activist Lila Rose compared the effort to bring about “the complete end of abortion” with the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, the movement to end child labor, the Revolutionary War and the early women’s movement.
Who says we can’t have an America completely free, with the complete end of abortion? We can have that America. We overcame many things in our history. We’ve overcome many things, from slavery to civil rights abuses in the 20th century to child labor. We’ve overcome many things, even the Revolutionary War to have our independence won. We’ve overcome many things in this country. The women’s rights movement for suffrage. And we can overcome, to defeat the hopelessness and the lies and the despair that says that we need abortion somehow. And it’s happening.
Rep. Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, joined Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and anti-choice activist Lila Rose on an FRC webcast yesterday on “exposing America’s late-term abortion industry.” Franks, who recently introduced a bill that would institute a national ban on the rare practice of abortion after 20 weeks, compared his fight against reproductive rights to the ending of the Holocaust and the abolition of slavery. “We are the ones that rushed into Eastern Europe and arrested the Holocaust, we are the ones that said no more to slavery after thousands of years, and by the grace of God, we’re going to be the ones that say that we’re going to protect our own children,” he said.
When Perkins asked him to elaborate on the stakes of his bill, Franks answered that if it fails, “I would suggest to you that we undermine everything that America was ever dreamed of to be and we step into that Sumerian night where the light of compassion has gone out and the survival of the fittest finally prevails over man…If we turn our backs on this, I’m afraid we’ve broken the back of what America really is.”
The anti-choice movement has for several years been experiencinga quietrift over extreme state-level measures would ban all abortions – and in some cases, in vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control – in a head-on challenge to Roe v. Wade. As Personhood USA and Janet Porter gain more and more success in pushing “personhood” and “heartbeat” bills at the state level, national pro-life groups who oppose the laws for strategic reasons find themselves in a bind.
In March, when North Dakota passed a “heartbeat” bill which would ban nearly all abortions in the state and strike directly at Roe v. Wade, it also passed two narrower measures banning abortion based on genetic abnormalities or the sex of the fetus. The national anti-choice group Concerned Women for America praised heartbeat the bill, while Americans United For Life issued press releases that ignored the bill and praised the narrower measures. National Right to Life went even further, actively speaking out against the North Dakota bill and similar “heartbeat” measures in other states.
In an article for the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly this week, Americans United For Life’s senior counsel, William Saunders, lays out his fears of what would happen if the Supreme Court were given the opportunity to reconsider Roe v. Wade. While he praises the “admirable and inspiring” efforts behind the trio of new abortion restrictions in North Dakota, Saunders warns that a direct challenge to Roe will give the Supreme Court a chance to rewrite their 1973 decision on more solid “equal protection” footing.
Instead, he argues, anti-choice activists should target incremental measures at wearing away the opposition of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to uphold the so-called “partial birth” abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart. “Can the statute be fashioned so as to make it as easy as possible for him (and the others) to go the one step (or two or ten) further than Gonzales in restricting abortion?,” he asks.
Taken together, these three laws provide significant food for thought.
While the persistent efforts of pro-life Americans at the state level are admirable and inspiring and must be encouraged, how does one evaluate the wisdom of any particular proposed (or enacted) law? First, I suggest, one must recognize the legal realities—what kinds of statutes will the courts certainly overturn? Of course, this is not to say that the courts should govern this matter. In fact, the usurpation of the political process by courts is, in my view, unconstitutional itself and should be resisted. However, if we know a law will be overturned by a court, we should consider the risk of such a decision. At least one significant risk is that the Supreme Court, in overturning a law, will entrench “abortion rights” more firmly in constitutional jurisprudence, perhaps under an “equal-protection”-based right, as Justice Ginsburg and three colleagues wanted to do in the Gonzales dissent.
Sad as it is to consider, Gonzales was decided by only one vote, that of Justice Anthony Kennedy. The opinion he wrote for the majority, while speaking of the right of the legislature to choose among divided experts in fashioning law and while recognizing that abortion harms at least some women, did no more than uphold the outlawing of one abortion procedure when others were available. Is such a person likely to uphold a ban on all abortions at any point in pregnancy? If so, what rationale for doing so (what basis) is likely to appeal to him? Can the statute be fashioned so as to make it as easy as possible for him (and the others) to go the one step (or two or ten) further than Gonzales in restricting abortion? Might a statute with a ban (or limit) early in pregnancy lead him to “protect” the “abortion right” and vote with Ginsburg and her colleagues in favor of a firm affirmation of a “constitutional” right to abortion? Is it better to move the ball gently, seeking to build momentum for the ultimate reversal of Roe/Doe, or to force the issue with a broad and early ban? While reasonable people can differ on the answers to these questions, the consequences of a possible forty more years of unlimited abortion due to another Casey-like decision by the Supreme Court counsels for very careful consideration of what prudence requires.
A jury today found Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell guilty in the deaths a woman and three infants in a squalid, nightmarish abortion clinic. Anti-choice groups have been closely following the trial, attempting to link Gosnell’s crimes to the very existence of legal abortion. They have exploited the Gosnell trial to push for state-level “TRAP” laws meant to close abortion clinics with unnecessary regulations. Now, anti-choice groups are targeting legal abortion in Washington, DC.
Reacting to the Gosnell verdict, the Family Research Council and the Susan B. Anthony List both singled out a bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also plugged the bill in an interview with Janet Mefferd about Gosnell. The bill, similar to several that have been considered in state legislatures, is based on the disputed claim that 20 weeks is the point at which a fetus can feel pain. Such procedures are rare, accounting for just 1.5 percent of abortions.
DC has long been a convenient target for Republican lawmakers looking to expand school vouchers, eliminate needle exchange programs, stop gun control measures…and, of course, infringe on abortion rights. Thanks to a 2011 budget deal, for instance, the District is currently barred from using its own local tax dollars to help low-income women access abortions – a policy that has been in effect off and on for 25 years.
When soon-to-be Senator Tim Scott was running for Congress in 2010, he touted his record as a social conservative in the state house. On the “Social Conservative” page, he featured his support for three outrageous anti-choice bills.
The first was the so-called Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, a disgusting and misleading piece of legislation. According to Scott’s site, the bill would “protect babies who survive abortions.” The second bill, the Right to Life Act, was described as a “step in the right direction to recognize ‘pre-borned’ (sic) babies as ‘human persons’ with the same equal protection under the law as borned citizens (sic).”
And then there was the Unborn Children’s Monument Commission. The bill, explained Scott’s site, would lead to the erection of a “monument on the statehouse grounds to remember all the aborted babies in South Carolina.”
A JOINT RESOLUTION TO CREATE THE SOUTH CAROLINA UNBORN CHILDREN'S MONUMENT COMMISSION TO ERECT A MONUMENT ON THE STATE HOUSE GROUNDS AS A MEMORIAL TO SOUTH CAROLINA CHILDREN WHOSE LIVES ENDED BEFORE THEIR BIRTH AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION AND TO REQUIRE PRIVATE FUNDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THIS MONUMENT.
By 2011 Scott was serving in Congress, but the effort to erect the monument moved ahead without him. The version of the bill introduced last year includes this stipulation:
The monument must be a wall six feet high and five feet wide depicting a pregnant woman pushing a baby stroller.
Throughout the 1840s, J. Marion Sims, who is often referred to as "the father of gynecology", performed surgical experiments on enslaved African women, without anaesthesia. The women regularly died from infections resulting from the experiments. One of the women was experimented on 30 times. In order to test one of his theories about the causes of trismus in infants, Sims performed experiments where he used a shoemaker's awl to move around the skull bones of the babies of enslaved women.
There is also, among others, a monument to legendary racist and erstwhile segregationist Strom Thurmond, whose re-election campaign was once co-chaired by Tim Scott. The monument was later updated to include the name of Thurmond’s biracial daughter by his then-teenage African-American housekeeper. I suppose it’s a testament of sorts to South Carolina that a fetus monument would barely stand out.
On March 11, 1993, Dr. David Gunn was shot three times in the back and killed outside his Pensacola, Florida clinic by an assassin who stepped out of a group of anti-abortion protesters. Days later, longtime Todd Akin associate Tim Dreste delivered a chilling message to St. Louis-area doctor Yogendra Shah. Dreste stood in front of his clinic with a sign that read “Dr. Shah, are you feeling under the Gunn?” – referring to the slain Florida doctor. We’ve obtained a short video recording of this infamous incident, which you can watch below.
Dreste would later be convicted of extortion on the basis of this incident and others that followed. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones ruled in 1999 that Dreste “acted with malice…and with specific intent in threatening plaintiffs.”
Yet Todd Akin donated to Dreste’s long-shot campaign for the state house in October 1993, just months after Dreste threatened Dr. Shah. Very few others did so – Akin’s $200 contribution was Dreste’s 2nd largest individual contribution and made up 9% of his total donations.
Akin had known Dreste for the better part of a decade by then and would have known what he was supporting when he cut that check – the St. Louis Post-Dispatch later wrote:
Wearing a hat adorned with shotgun shells, Tim Dreste is a familiar sight among the anti-abortion protesters who regularly picket the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City.
Dreste was the talk of the anti-abortion and abortion-rights camps when, after the murder in 1993 of Dr. David Gunn in Florida, he carried a sign asking, "Do You Feel Under the Gunn?"
Akin and Dreste were both involved in the Pro-Life Direct Action League in the late 80s. Dreste – under orders from Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry – broke away in September 1988 and formed a more radical group, Whole Life Ministries. The following month, Akin appeared at one of the group’s events and described Dreste’s foot soldiers as “freedom fighters.” Days later, Akin was elected for the first time to public office.
In 1989, Akin intervened on behalf of one of Dreste’s protesters who had been convicted of assaulting a clinic worker. When Dreste launched the Life Chain of St. Louis in 1990, Akin signed on as an endorser and attended the event through the 90s and beyond. And when Dreste helped form a new militia group in 1995 – the 1st Missouri Volunteers – Akin signed on to support them as well.
Given what happened in 1993 and 1994, it’s both deeply revealing and disturbing that Akin continued to work with and support Dreste. In April 1994, Dreste co-founded a radical new anti-abortion group – the American Coalition of Life Activists – and met with Paul Hill. On July 30th, Paul Hill murdered Dr. John Bayard Britton, who replaced Dr. Gunn in Pensacola, as well as Britton's bodyguard.
Days later, Dreste appeared outside a St. Louis-area clinic with a sign reading “Abortionists 50 million, Babies 3.” He also contributed to Hill's legal fund, told a clinic worker, “I’m John Hill, you know my brother Paul,” and tried to terrorize doctors by passing out “wanted” posters outside their homes and clinics (similar posters were distributed before Gunn and Britton were murdered). Through all of this, Akin remained loyal to Dreste.
In December of 1994, Dreste helped launch the 1st Missouri Volunteers militia group, becoming its chaplain and captain. A couple months later, Akin appeared on fliers promoting the militia’s March 1995 rally. He didn’t attend due to “scheduling conflicts” and sent a letter of support instead, which was read aloud by a militiaman. Then on May 2nd, not even two weeks after the Oklahoma City bombing, Akin defended Dreste’s militia in the Springfield News-Leader, saying “there’s a lot of potential for good.” And their relationship didn’t end there.
To recap, Akin stuck with Dreste after he publicly threatened a doctor and condoned murder in 1993. And he stuck by his old protest buddy in 1995 even though the year before, Dreste:
met with a domestic terrorist who murdered two people three months later
condoned those murders and contributed to the killer’s legal fund
threatened doctors and clinic staff during his frequent protest appearances.
Akin sure is loyal! To be sure, Akin has tried his best to cover up his long ties to and support for Dreste. He's openly lied about his history with the 1st Missouri Volunteers, and his campaign just wants to change the subject. But the truth is slowly coming out, including his numerous arrests (four at last count!) and name switcheroo to conceal them. But if you judge a man by his actions, not his press releases, Akin has remained loyal to the bitter end.