Anti-Choice

Kevin Swanson: 'It's Amazing That God Has Not Judged America' For Gay Rights & Legal Abortion

Kevin Swanson, the Colorado pastor and homeschooling activist who last year hosted three GOP presidential candidates at a conference in Iowa, hosted an event near Cincinnati over the weekend to help families prepare their children to avoid cultural pitfalls and be prepared to enter the metaphorical Noah’s ark of Christianity. Among the speakers were Ken Ham, the Creationist activist who just completed a life-sized replica of Noah’s ark near the site of the conference, and GOP favorites David, Jason and Flip Benham.

Swanson started things off by impressing upon attendees the need to prepare their children to fend off and avoid God’s wrath by declaring that it’s “amazing that God has not judged America” already for gay rights and legal abortion.

“It’s amazing that God has not judged America in 1973,” he said, “hard to believe that God didn’t judge America in 2001 [sic] with the Lawrence v. Texas decision, it’s hard to believe that God didn’t judge America with Obergefell.”

“It is amazing that God has not brought judgment upon this world shortly after [the Obergefell decision] happened in July [sic ]of 2015 or in August of 2015 or even in September of 2015 or maybe even October,” he added.

“So be assured, my friends,” Swanson said, “judgment is coming. I have no idea when it will come. Will it be 120 years from 1900? Will it be 120 years from 1890? Will it be 120 years from 1973, Roe v. Wade, the decision to eliminate hundreds of millions of babies in America and of course all around the world, same thing has happened since the 1960s? Will it be 120 years from 2015, the day on which the most powerful court in the world ruled against God’s institution of marriage in one of the most radical, arrogant insults against Almighty God? When will God’s judgment come? I have no idea, but I will tell you, it will come.”

(It took Noah 120 years to build his ark before the Flood came, thus the 120-year delay in judgment that Swanson is suggesting.)

Frank Pavone: Legal Abortion 'Like Several Atomic Bombs Have Already Gone Off On Our Own Soil'

In an interview on a Catholic radio program earlier this month, Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, made the case for Donald Trump to a skeptical listener by explaining that while Trump may have the potential to kill people as president—whether it be by deliberately murdering the family members of suspected terrorists or launching a nuclear war—such a fear should be outweighed by Hillary Clinton’s support for the “raging holocaust” of abortion.

A caller to the “The Drew Mariani Show” told Pavone that he wouldn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump in the presidential election, pointing to Clinton’s support for abortion rights and Trump’s “statements about going after families of suspected terrorists or known terrorists,” explaining that while he thought “protecting infants in the womb is probably the most important thing,” there are “other lives at stake, there’s other issues that do have to deal with life.”

Pavone said that he agreed that it was an important question, and that he’d approach it by first establishing that all “lives are of equal value,” then figuring out if he was fairly interpreting a statement from a candidate or if it had been skewed by the media, and then asking if the president actually has “the power to unilaterally do that or are there people around him that are going to rein him in or put boundaries on what he can do.” (Pavone made a similar argument while defending Trump at the National Right To Life Convention last month, saying we’re not “voting for a dictator.”)

Finally, Pavone said, you must compare the cost to human life that both candidates might cause. In this case, he said (without naming candidates), while Trump has indicated that he might kill innocent family members of suspected terrorists or might be quick to drop an atomic bomb, Clinton would definitely continue the “raging holocaust” of legal abortion, which is “like several atomic bombs have already gone off on our own soil”:

And then, of course, the final element of the analysis as far as I’m concerned is, are we talking about a potential destruction of the innocent or an actual destruction of the innocent and in what numbers? Right now, we have a raging holocaust going on, and it’s not ‘maybe’ and it’s not ‘potential’ and it’s not ‘maybe we’re going to kill these families’ or ‘maybe we’re going to drop an atomic bomb.’ It’s like several atomic bombs have already gone off on our own soil when it comes to just the sheer numbers. And so, with abortion we’re talking about an actual, daily killing of the innocent as opposed to something that maybe, if we’re analyzing properly what he said, could be a potential killing of the innocent.

Mat Staver: Legal Abortion Means 'We Are Doing The Same Thing' As ISIS

In a speech to a Pennsylvania anti-abortion group earlier this year, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver compared legal abortion in the U.S. to the atrocities of ISIS, declaring that “God cannot continue to allow this country to exist” if legal abortion continues.

Staver, speaking at an April event hosted by the New Castle, Pennsylvania, chapter of People Concerned for the Unborn Child, spoke of a display at his group’s recent Awakening conference detailing some of the atrocities committed by ISIS, especially against Christians.

“But you know, as much as we cry at that kind of brutality, and certainly should,” he said, “we are doing the same thing under the rubric of ‘choice,’ under the idea that this is the rule of law and the people up there in Washington, D.C., seven in '73 and five in '92, said ‘the Constitution says so.’ Because we’re decapitating children, we’re breaking off their arms and legs, we’re brutalizing them in the same way that these larger people are being brutalized by ISIS.”

“Now, we want to go in and bomb those countries, right?” he asked. “We want to go in and take ‘em out to stop that brutality. In fact, there’s even people there that have given videos, ‘Please, bomb us so that we don’t have to continue’—these are people who are under the control of ISIS, they’re asking for us to bomb them to get them out of their misery, to kill everyone, to stop the carnage. But that’s happening in this country, and we drive by those places where our children are being brutalized in the same way.”

God, he said, won’t “overlook this kind of sin” and “will ultimately reap judgment on this country if we do not individually, as a church, and corporately repent of our sin and turn from our wicked ways.”

“God cannot continue to allow this country to exist under those kinds of circumstances,” he added. “He cannot bless America under those kinds of circumstances. I want God’s blessing on this country, but he cannot bless this country when we’re going down this path of destruction of the people who are created in his very image.”

Anti-Abortion Group Wants To Accost Clinton With 'Actual Unborn Children' At Campaign Events

Mark Harrington, head of the anti-abortion-rights group Created Equal, announced in a press release and YouTube video today that he is launching a new effort called “The Hillary Project” in which he and fellow activists will attempt to “personally present” Hillary Clinton “with actual unborn children” at campaign stops.

While Harrington doesn’t make clear in what form he will present these “actual unborn children” to Clinton, he seems to make a distinction between his new project and the graphic images that his group routinely uses at protests:

Created Equal PAC, a project anti-abortion activist Mark Harington, is launching an effort to present Hillary Clinton with the victims of abortion. Mark Harrington, acting the volunteer director for Created Equal PAC, will be directing activists to personally present presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with actual unborn children at campaign stops around the country. Additionally, Mark will be coordinating public protests at Clinton public events using abortion victim imagery.

There is precedent for this: In 1992, an anti-abortion protester with Operation Rescue “thrust a fetus in a plastic container” at Bill Clinton while he was leaving for a morning jog during the Democratic National Convention in New York.

Created Equal spent this summer protesting at both the Democratic and Republican conventions, including hiring planes to fly graphic banners over both conventions.

Harrington’s video announcing “The Hillary Project”:

Anti-Abortion Event: Satan Used Susan B. Anthony To Put Women In The Workforce

Last month, Operation Save America organized a week of anti-abortion protests in Wichita, Kansas, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Summer of Mercy, the famous 1991 abortion protest event. Participants in OSA’s event were treated every night to a lecture at their host church including, one evening, a talk about the “deception of the homosexual agenda” that touched on how Satan worked through Susan B. Anthony to get women into the workforce.

Bishop Otis Kenner, a Louisiana clergyman who does African-American outreach for OSA, told participants that through Satan, “Susan B. Anthony and the women’s lib and equal opportunity has devalued our women and has put them into the workforce”:

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:3, Christ is the head of man, man is the head of the woman and God is the head of Christ. Satan has devalued our women. Proverbs Chapter 31 talks about the virtuous woman and talks about her occupation in the home. She rises up early before her family gets up to prepare meat for them. She goes into the marketplace, she sews, she cooks, she invests. But Susan B. Anthony and the women’s lib and equal opportunity has devalued our women and has put them into the workforce. Whoever told our women that to be a homemaker was subservient?

Kenner said that women should be “pampered” and have a “good time” as long as they do all of the childcare work and are home when their husband gets home from work:

What it looks like, I got steel-toe boots on with a bandana around my head because I’ve been in the workforce, and my wife comes home looking like me? I mean, I just believe that women were to be pampered and was to be loved. You should get your nails done as much as you want, your feet done as much as you want, I mean just go shopping and all that kind of stuff, take care of the children, watch over them, just have yourself a good time, just be home when I get home from work. That’s not so bad, is it?

“Here’s the deal,” he concluded. “Because Satan has broken the governmental authority of God, he had put the women in the workforce. Who are raising our children? The government. And our public schools, they our turning our children out one by one.”

Operation Save America recently posted a video of the speech on YouTube.

Revealed: The Right-Wing Movement’s Agenda For Trump’s First 180 Days

The Conservative Action Project is a network of more than 100 right-wing leaders created in 2008 as “an offshoot” of the secretive far-right Council for National Policy, making it part of an array of conservative coalitions that bloomed around and after the election of Barack Obama. Originally chaired by Edwin Meese, the Conservative Action Project is now headed by Becky Norton Dunlop, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. It includes leaders of all of what are often described as the three legs of the conservative movement: social, economic, and national security conservatives.

The Washington Post reported in 2010 that the Conservative Action Project was helping fuel closer coordination across the multifaceted conservative coalition with its weekly Wednesday morning meetings at the Family Research Council. The group also promotes shared messaging and strategy with its “Memos for the Movement.” Now this collection of right-wing leaders has identified its policy priorities for the first 180 days of a new administration.

At a forum organized by the American Conservative Union Foundation at the Republican National Convention, participants were given of a set of pocket cards containing policy proposals, quick facts and “market tested messages” on the one dozen highest priorities selected by Conservative Action Project leaders. The 12 priorities are divided into four categories: Constitutional Issues and the Judiciary; Preserving and Protecting Our Culture; Freeing Our Economy so Everyone Can Win; and Defending Our Freedoms.

The package provides a clear picture of the ideas that right-wing organizations are pushing Trump to embrace. Some are vague, like, “The President should revive Public Diplomacy,” but others are quite specific. Taken together, they’re a pretty good indication of what we’d have in store on the policy front with Trump in the White House. 

Among the proposals, which signal the intense desire of right-wing organizations to infuse their priorities throughout the federal government’s executive branch agencies:

  • Immediately rescind all Obama Executive Orders consistent with recommendations by Constitutional and trusted advisors such as The Federalist Society, The Heritage Foundation, and other conservative advisors and transition committees.
  • Terminate all executive branch individuals still within their probationary period and freeze hiring for all regulatory positions.
  • The President should eliminate taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood using executive action and seek a permanent legislative solution.
  • The President should freeze and withdraw all regulatory activity on the Obama energy and climate agenda.
  • Submit legislation to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.
  • The President should support the rule of law and reject amnesty proposals and fully enforce and strengthen interior enforcement measures in the United States.

The policy proposals listed under “Restore Religious Freedom” include calls for the president to ensure passage of the First Amendment Defense Act, which carves out exceptions from nondiscrimination laws for people who claim anti-LGBT religious beliefs, and to “issue an Executive Order requiring that the Executive branch respect the 1st Amendment and provisions of the First Amendment Defense Act.”

The package proposes a new tax code that is “simpler, fairer, flatter and stimulates growth,” insisting that all tax reform “should lower individual and business tax rates, particularly the top marginal rates, to encourage saving and investing.”

It says senators “should vigorously question judicial nominees about their intent to remain faithful to the original meaning of the Constitution and laws.”

On education, the movement’s priority is to “Advance School Choice,” and it calls on the president to appoint “a movement conservative” as secretary of education. It wants the president to “champion the policy of dollars following the children,” language used by advocates for private school vouchers and other forms of public school privatization.

The Conservative Action Project’s “memos for the movement” provide a further sense of the group’s worldview.  For example, it responded to last year’s marriage equality decision by the Supreme Court in apocalyptic terms, saying, “The Court’s abuse of power is of such historic proportions that the conservative movement, and indeed every American who cherishes liberty must now address the serious damage done to the cause of freedom and the very foundation of our civil society.”

The group has intensely opposed efforts to expand disclosure requirements for political “dark money,” portraying conservatives as “a persecuted class” who are “bullied to either conform or suffer retribution.”

Among its 2016 releases was a March memo urging Senate Republicans to be resolute in refusing to consider a nominee from President Obama to fill the Supreme Court seat that became vacant with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Here’s an excerpt from the group’s thoughtful and rational rhetoric:

The president and his liberal allies know what is at stake and so do we.  It is nothing short of their intent to eradicate precious constitutional rights. These leftists have made clear their first target is our 1st Amendment right to political speech and the silencing of conservative voices. They mock the 2nd Amendment right of the people to protect themselves and their families and are determined to take away our constitutional right to bear arms. They welcome the prospect of unleashing unaccountable federal agencies like the IRS and EPA to impose a liberal policy agenda that will harm Americans and punish any who dare to disagree with their worldview. And not least of all, they vow to use the Court’s power to impose an “unconditional surrender” in their cultural war against our fundamental institutions of faith, family, marriage, home, and school — and will wipe out any pro-life protections, instead imposing abortion on-demand, up to the moment of birth, paid for by the taxpayers.

 

Flip Benham Says He Warned America About 9/11 But No One Listened

Flip Benham, the former head of the anti-abortion, anti-gay protest group Operation Save America who is now enjoying a renaissance as the father of right-wing culture-war heroes David and Jason Benham, made a surprise appearance at OSA’s “Summer of Justice” in Wichita last week, where he spoke at a rally for participants on Saturday night.

Benham recalled that he had been arrested in front of the White House just days before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which he said was a prophetic warning about the punishment that God was about to mete out on America for legal abortion.

On the day of the Sept. 11 attacks, Benham issued a statement directly linking the attacks to legal abortion:

The horrific attack on America this morning was no coincidence. Reminiscent of accounts in the Old Testament when God used prophets to warn nations of their wicked ways, America has been given its own warning over the shedding of innocent blood. The most recent national rebuke was this past weekend when a prophetic word was spoken to the White House and President George W. Bush on Saturday, September 8, 2001.

Rev. Flip Benham and 18 other pro-life pastors and leaders from across the nation gathered in the nation's capital to bring a prophetic warning that if we continue to sow bloodshed in the womb, we will reap it in ever increasing horror in our streets.

The astounding events of this morning are just another sign of the judgment of God upon our nation. We have turned our backs on God and we are now reaping the horrible consequences of our error. The President of the United States of America asked this morning for a "moment silence" to remember those in harm's way. There was not one mention of crying out to the only One who can save us, Jesus Christ!"

Benham returned to the theme in his speech last week, recalling his arrest in front of the White House in September, 2001, along with fellow anti-abortion activist Cal Zastrow. As police arrested them after a number of warnings, Benham said, an OSA protester read officers a passage from Deuteronomy in which God threatens to heap calamities upon those who defy Him.

“Do you know how many of us were arrested?” Benham asked. “How many? Nineteen. Nineteen of us. We come home on Sunday the 9th … and we get back home, and then on Tuesday, what happened? Nineteen men with box cutters tore us apart, crashed into the World Trade Center, both buildings, slammed into the Pentagon. God had given a warning! God had given a warning. Was there anybody that listened? But God was making himself known.”

Operation Save America Declares SCOTUS Rulings On Abortion & Gay Rights 'Null And Void'

A major theme at last week’s “Summer of Justice,” an event that Operation Save America convened in Wichita to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the anti-abortion Summer of Mercy, was the idea that laws that violate a particular reading of the Bible are not real laws and therefore should be ignored by elected officials.

As such, organizers convened an “ecclesiastical court” in front of Wichita’s federal courthouse on Thursday to hold the federal courts and the Supreme Court in “contempt” of God’s law, as determined by them. Eight OSA members, holding coffin-shaped signs with the names of Supreme Court cases on church-state separation, reproductive rights and LGBT equality, took turns coming to the microphone to read “charges” against the federal courts. The proceedings followed a script that the group used at a similar “ecclesiastical court” in Alabama last year.

The “charge” based on Roe v. Wade held that “America has committed domestic terrorism in the womb, and we are reaping terrorism in our streets.” The charge based on Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the central finding of Roe, linked the case to the 1999 Columbine school shooting, saying that the court “declared that man can determine his own reality, standards and meanings apart from the objective truth of Almighty God,” as the Columbine shooters did.

On Lawrence v. Texas, the case striking down bans on consensual sex between adults of the same sex: “Homosexuality means the burning out of man. It will destroy those who practice this perversion and nations that condone it.”

OSA leader Rusty Thomas closed the proceedings by declaring that “the Supreme Court of the United States of America has sinned against God” in issuing decisions protecting reproductive rights and LGBT rights (or, as he put it, “sodomy”) and accusing the court of “high treason against God and our nation.”

“Yes, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has betrayed our God, our nation, our people, our children, and has invited the wrath of Almighty God to come  upon us — all of us,” he said.

The Supreme Court, he said, has “forfeited all moral authority” and therefore “by the authority invested in us as ministers of the gospel of the kingdom,” OSA would render these objectionable rulings null and void.

He led the crowd in declaring: “We cancel these wicked decisions. We render them null and void. We prohibit their enforcement upon America and its citizens. We declare with one voice that these wicked decrees are no longer binding upon us, our children or our nation.”

“You’re literally acting today like a Moses to Pharaoh” by “telling our government what you are doing is not lawful in the eyes of God,” Thomas said.

 

Operation Save America To Police: End Violence By Outlawing Abortion

Operation Save America, the organization that grew out of the abortion protest group Operation Rescue, is in Wichita, Kansas, this week commemorating the 25th anniversary of Operation Rescue’s 1991 Summer of Mercy, in which thousands of people were arrested blockading abortion clinics. (The group that is now called Operation Rescue, which has long been in a bitter feud with OSA about its name, has tried to distance itself from the event.)
 
This week’s event has drawn a few hundred people, about half of them from out of state — a sizable group but a far cry from the phenomenon that was the Summer of Mercy. The activists are meeting up to protest in front of clinics and throughout the city in the morning and attending rallies in the evening, where they’re hearing a series of lectures on what OSA leader Rusty Thomas calls the need for a “paradigm shift” in how the anti-abortion movement approaches its cause.
 
Last night, attendees heard from Matt Trewhella, a pastor who runs a group called Missionaries to the Pre-born out of Milwaukee. Trewhella has written a book called “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates,” which argues that “lesser magistrates,” meaning everyone from state governors to county clerks, have the duty to “interpose” to stop unjust laws being enforced by a higher authority. (Marriage equality and abortion rights are two examples; Trewhella also believes that adultery should be a criminal offense.)
 
Thomas riffed off this concept yesterday when he released an “open letter to the police in America” in which he urged police officers to demand that their legislatures call special sessions to “immediately outlaw abortion, grant the police the authority to shut down any death camp in their jurisdiction, and arrest those who participate in the barbaric act of abortion.”
 
The “violence, carnage, terrorism, and massacres” in America, Thomas wrote, are the result of the nation’s “blood guilt” stemming from Roe v. Wade. Also displeasing God, he wrote, is the willingness of law enforcement to be neutral on “sodomy, gay marriage, transgendered bathrooms etc.”
 
“Peace will never come to America as long as our country protects violence in the womb,” he wrote.
 
The swearing of the oath of every police officer ends with these words, “So help me God.” Thus, the oath of office taken by police officers does not just merely acknowledge God, but also implores His help to fulfill this ministry of good for our nation. Ultimately, police officers are called to be faithful to God from whom their lawful authority is established. Again, civil government is a delegated authority under God. Tragically, in recent decades, this oath has been greatly challenged by those who practice evil, (abortion, sodomy, gay marriage, transgendered bathrooms etc.). These subversive entities expect law enforcement to be “neutral” despite the fact that their activities are not only sinful, but criminal according to God. The federal government through immoral, unjust, and unconstitutional decrees has decriminalized their crimes.
 
 
 
The thin blue line that separates the criminal element from society is fading fast. Anarchy runs rampant while government tyranny grows. O ur nation stands in awkward amazement as violence, carnage, terrorism, and massacres are becoming a common everyday experience in our nation. To our horror, this violence has now targeted our law enforcement agencies. Why is this happening? There is only one answer from God’s Word, Blood guilt!
 
America has made a covenant of death with those who seek to murder innocent babies in the womb for blood money. Roe vs. Wade violated the sacred trust of law enforcement, which is to protect life and stop the shedding of innocent blood. Our nation has been defending the indefensible ever since.
 
Law enforcement officers, whom God has appointed to protect the most innocent amongst us are being used to protect those who would harm them. We call upon law enforcement to come out of the shadows of neutrality and join the Church of Jesus Christ to break this covenant with death. We charge them to lend their voice and influence to help end the violence that is not only savaging our nation, but our brave police officers as well.
 
We beseech police departments throughout America to rise up and demand the governor of their perspective states to call a special session. Police officers need to insist their states immediately outlaw abortion, grant the police the authority to shut down any death camp in their jurisdiction, and arrest those who participate in the barbaric act of abortion. Peace will never return to America as long as our country protects violence in the womb. We can shout black lives matter, blue lives matter, or all lives matter till the cows come home, but until preborn lives matter, no lives matter, including the police.

 

Mike Pence Backed Personhood Bills To Criminalize Abortions Nationwide

There's a reason anti-choice groups are celebrating Donald Trump's decision to tap Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate: Pence has spearheaded congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, even if it meant shutting down the government, signed anti-abortion measures into law in Indiana and rallied opposition to President Obama's effort to roll back prohibitions on stem-cell research.

Pence, who pledged at an anti-choice rally to send Roe v. Wade, which he called "the worse Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott," to "the ash heap of history," also cosponsored anti-choice "personhood" resolutions while serving in Congress.

The Life at Conception Act, which Pence cosponsored, called for Congress to "implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn person," defining legal personhood as beginning at the "moment of of fertilization."

Pence also cosponsored the Right to Life Act, a similar personhood bill.

Advocates of federal personhood bills believe that if Congress passes legislation defining “personhood” as beginning at conception, they can bypass and nullify Roe v. Wade, criminalizing abortion nationwide with no exceptions. While the personhood movement has traditionally sat on the far-right fringes of the anti-abortion movement, in recent years Republican politicians like Pence have brought the extremist cause into the GOP mainstream. Unlike more established abortion rights opponents that seek to cut off access to abortion and gradually outlaw the procedure, personhood activists want the government to immediately end abortion in all cases.

Trump, of course, has taken several contradictory positions on abortion rights throughout the campaign, including saying that women who have abortions should face legal punishment. While many anti-abortion groups condemned his remarks, his call for punishing women who have abortions was completely compatible with the message of personhood groups like Personhood USA, which praised the prosecution of a Tennessee woman for murder last year after she attempted a do-it-yourself, coat-hanger abortion.

Now, with Pence as his running-mate, Trump has decided to fully bring the personhood movement into his campaign.

The Anti-Choice Movement Is Going All-In For Trump

At last weekend’s National Right to Life Convention outside of Washington, D.C., there was one name that was on everyone’s minds, even if it was rarely uttered aloud: Donald Trump.

Speaker after speaker discussed the 2016 election while sidestepping what one conference-goer called the “elephant in the room,” Trump’s place at the top of the Republican ticket. But attendees were not about to let the topic go, and several speakers were pressed about the organization’s stance on the presidential election during question-and-answer sessions.

While a handful of National Right to Life state affiliates have endorsed Trump, the national group has yet to take an official position in the general election. The group endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz in the waning days of the Republican primary, citing Trump’s many flip-flops on abortion rights.

James Bopp, the legendary conservative attorney who serves as the National Right to Life Committee’s general counsel, was one of the few speakers to bring up the presumptive GOP nominee without prompting, never mentioning the candidate by name but saying that “there’s only one conclusion you can come to” in the race since the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is “100 percent evil” and “will never make a correct decision on anything.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, made a similar argument after being pressed about his position on Trump at the conference, attempting to downplay the power that Trump would have and play up the influence that he would give to those around him, presumably people more in line with the anti-choice movement’s goals and messaging.

“When you think about it,” Pavone said, “the situation we have now is just a heightened version of what we face in any electoral choice, namely you’re choosing between two people, you know, you can have problems with both of them. A vote doesn’t mean that you agree with the person, a vote doesn’t mean that you think the person’s right. A vote is a transfer of power.”

“Remember that the presidency is more than the man or woman who occupies the Oval Office,” he added. “You’re putting a whole party into power. You’re putting a whole team into power. Every one of these candidates is surrounded by a large number of smart and influential people who are going to set boundaries and advise them and point them in the right direction. And not only that, but you have, we still do have checks and balances in our system. So if we were voting for a dictator it would be a very different scenario.”

Pavone mentioned that he had recently spoken with John Mashburn, a Trump aide whose hiring was meant in part as a bridge to abortion rights opponents.

Karen Cross, National Right to Life’s political director, was also confronted about Trump during a breakout session by an attendee who called the Republican candidate “the elephant in the room at this whole convention.”

Cross, whose presentation had been about the damage she said was caused by anti-choice activists who demand purity in their candidates and thus let pro-choice candidates win, also offered the Clinton-is-worse argument.

“We have to work against Hillary,” she said. “Hillary is 100 percent pro-abortion, she is the Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, voted and worked against — I mean, she's against the partial-birth abortion ban, she's spoken against the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, she has committed to appointing pro-abortion justices to the court. She is horrible.”

Yet she acknowledged that “this is the most different, most difficult election I've ever seen, ever.”

Mainstream anti-abortion groups have largely fallen in line behind Trump, despite their initial doubts. The Susan B. Anthony List, for instance, has said it will back Trump despite the fact that its president once signed a letter urging primary voters to “support anyone but Donald Trump,” calling into question his commitment to the anti-abortion cause and saying she was “disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular.” Americans United for Life has not taken an official position on Trump, but its acting president told The Washington Times in May that it would be impossible to support Clinton.

At the National Right to Life Convention, speakers focused on the goal of keeping a Republican majority in the Senate, while not dwelling on the risk that having Trump at the top of the ticket may pose to some of their favored candidates.

In one moment of dissonance, Raimundo Rojas, the National Right to Life Committee’s director of Latino outreach, who was giving a workshop on reaching Latino audiences, showed a slide detailing the performance of past Republican presidential candidates among Latino voters. He noted that ignoring or alienating the Hispanic media can spell doom for a candidate. He never mentioned Trump.

Grassley Is Deliberately Obstructing Judicial Confirmations, Anti-Choice Lobbyist Confirms

A prominent anti-abortion lobbyist acknowledged this weekend that Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is deliberately slow-walking President Obama's federal judicial nominees at all levels in order to keep seats on the courts open for the next president to fill.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said on Saturday at his group's convention in Virginia that "the left is quite unhappy with the number of nominations that have not come to a vote in the Senate." This, he said approvingly, is because Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have "moved with very deliberate speed on those nominations and it's safe to predict that there will be quite a number of vacant seats on the federal courts, including that Supreme Court vacancy, when the election rolls around."

"There certainly would be a lot more Obama-nominated federal judges if the Senate had remained in Democrat hands," he said.

Grassley has denied that he is slow-walking federal judicial nominations, despite ample evidence to the contrary, telling The Des Moines Register in April that he is simply following the practice of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Johnson particularly praised Grassley and McConnell for blockading the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

After Scalia died, he said, "the Senate majority leader reached out to senators all across the country and the world and indicated that what they had to do is take a hard line that this seat was not going to be filled by Barack Obama in the last year of his presidency, that who fills this seat was going to be determined by the person selected to be president by the American people in November. And they agreed to that."

McConnell, he said, "knew what had to be done."

"This made a difference," he said. "If this had been a Democrat Senate, possibly even been a Republican Senate under different leadership, that seat would have been long since filled."

He added that he was disappointed that the Senate's obstruction of the Garland nomination hadn't stopped a victory for abortion rights in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, but noted that it "has been decisive on some other important matters."

James Bopp: Trump The Only Choice Against '100 Percent Evil' Hillary Clinton

James Bopp, the general counsel of the National Right to Life Committee, who has been the brains behind the dismantling of campaign finance reforms and a driving force in the effort to chip away at abortion rights with incremental legal victories, urged abortion rights opponents to vote for Donald Trump last week, saying that Hillary Clinton as president would be “100 percent evil.”

Speaking to a small group at the National Right to Life Committee’s convention outside of Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Bopp said that the vacancy on the Supreme Court and possible upcoming vacancies give conservatives and abortion rights opponents a “really big stake” in the presidential election.

In politics, he said, “You have two choices. You have to compare the choices. You don’t examine just one and say, ‘Well, I don’t like that so I’m just not going to vote for it.’”

“I think there’s only one conclusion you can come to” in the presidential race, he said, saying that “as flawed as people may think the Republican candidate is,” Clinton “will be 100 percent evil. She will never make a correct decision on anything.”

The four moderate justices on the current Supreme Court, he said, display “unthinking, reflexive voting based on policy results,” which he called “chilling.”

“Five, six, seven of these liberal judges voting in lockstep, mindlessly voting in lockstep to impose every liberal policy agenda that they can think of is what we have at stake” in the election, he said.

Citing an article in The Atlantic by law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, Bopp warned, “These people have crazy, nutty ideas and they’re going to use their bloc to do it.”

On abortion, he warned, a more liberal court could rewrite the Roe v. Wade decision on gender discrimination grounds and “what that would mean is that every limitation, every restriction, every condition on abortions will be illegal. Every one. All of them.”

The anti-abortion movement is regrouping after the Supreme Court struck down unnecessary regulations on Texas abortion clinics in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Bopp acknowledged this, saying that the standard for new anti-abortion laws is “What will [Justice Anthony] Kennedy accept post the Texas abortion case?”

He suggested that anti-abortion legislators and lawyers could turn their attention to 20-week abortion bans, “dismemberment abortion” bans or restrictions such as ultrasound requirements that Kennedy’s previous rulings have indicated that he might accept.

What Kennedy will do, he said, “is really based on the individual circumstances that would be presented in the future,” noting that the circumstances of the Texas case were “somewhat extreme” in the number of clinics that shut down after the law was passed, although he said the clinic shutdowns were merely correlated with, not caused by, the Texas law.

Frank Pavone: Abortion Is Worse Than Terrorism

Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, told Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection” yesterday that the choice in this year’s presidential election is not “complicated” because if a candidate supports abortion rights, they ought to be rejected as automatically as a candidate who supports terrorism since “abortion is no better than terrorism, in fact it’s worse.”

The program’s host, Teresa Tomeo, asked Pavone about the protests that a few anti-abortion groups are planning to hold around the Republican National Convention this month urging the party to keep a strong opposition to abortion rights in its platform.

“Of course, where there’s even more awareness needed is at the Democratic convention,” Pavone said. “There ought to be a picture of an aborted baby plastered on every person going to that convention. And they’re the ones who need to be shaken up even more.”

Pavone, who has urged anti-abortion activists to vote for Donald Trump despite their qualms, added that the whole election comes down to a choice about abortion rights. “You know, it’s not necessarily a complicated conversation with this election,” he said. “It’s a few very basic points. And I always go back to the position I have, is that if a candidate came up and said, ‘I support terrorism,’ you know, the conversation stops there. You don’t ask them, you don’t start comparing other positions, other issues. You support terrorism, you’re out. And abortion is no better than terrorism, in fact it’s worse.”

The Anti-Abortion 'Seneca Falls'

Last weekend, about 500 anti-abortion activists — nearly all of whom were women — gathered in Dallas for what was billed as the first-ever “Pro-Life Women’s Conference.”

The event’s organizer, Abby Johnson, said that she wanted to “reclaim the narrative” of the movement, putting women at its front and including “many different groups of people,” including nonbelievers and LGBT people. She repeatedly said that the movement needs to “embrace the f-word”: feminism.

“This is our Seneca Falls, baby!” she said.

Johnson recalled speaking at a recent March For Life alongside a long line of men. “We know that the pro-life movement is led and has been led by women,” she said. “But for many years, women have sort of been leading from behind. And we haven’t done a very good job with our optics, right? So there’s photos and in the photos, it’s dudes.”

The conference came immediately before the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ attempt to limit abortion rights by regulating clinics out of existence, an effort that had been dubiously promoted as an effort to protect women’s health. The mainstream anti-abortion movement in recent years has been trying to claim that their main focus is on “protecting” women and to portray abortion as an unsafe and damaging procedure promoted by nefarious, profit-hungry organizations.

But Johnson’s conference aimed for something more: crafting a narrative that presented opposition to abortion rights as an explicitly feminist movement, one that could attract more than what she called “the traditional Christian pro-lifer.”

While Johnson said she wanted to create a unified “pro-life” message, the conflicts within the movement — and the challenge of expanding its reach — were evident even that weekend in Dallas.

Finding Common Ground With Pro-Choicers?

Several speakers at the conference — all of the speakers were women — urged the anti-abortion movement to take on issues with which they might find common ground with pro-choice feminists , including family leave policies, poverty alleviation and access to child care.

Serrin Foster, the head of Feminists for Life, said, “There are three key reasons for the feminization of poverty: Lack of education, lack of workplace accommodation and paternal support. Do that, three-fourths of the reasons that women have an abortion are over.”

She accused the abortion rights movement of giving up on these issues, saying that “by accepting pregnancy discrimination in the school and in the workplace, by accepting … the lack of support for pregnant women and parents, especially the poor, [Sarah] Weddington [the attorney who argued Roe v. Wade] and the Supreme Court betrayed women and the greatest experiment on women and children began: abortion.”

Similarly, Leah Jacobson, the president of the Guiding Star network of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, talked about the need “to look at how women’s bodies function and make sure that our employers take this into account,” including by pushing for maternity and paternity leave laws, flexible work schedules for parents, and subsidized or on-site workplace child care.

Jacobson coupled this call with a heavy dose of maternalism, alluding to the transgender bathroom debate and saying that women must live out their “motherly calling”: “Men are wonderful but women are the heart of society. We love, we connect, we empathize, we are relational. Men are very good at seeing the large picture sometimes but they don’t see the littlest of all. We need to humanize the culture as women. And so it’s so important as women we live our motherly calling even if it’s not as a physical mother.”

While issues such as expanding family leave requirements and access to child care could be an area of consensus for self-identified pro-life and pro-choice feminists — whatever their reasons for supporting them — there seemed to be little enthusiasm at the conference for working with pro-choicers on these causes.

When Johnson asked who “the abortion movement” was united behind, an audience member yelled out, “the devil!” (The answer was Planned Parenthood.)

Similarly, when Johnson read a polite form letter that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had sent in response to a request to speak at the conference — Johnson had invited all three remaining presidential candidates, but Clinton was the only one to respond — it was met with howls of laughter and derision.

While Clinton has the clearly better record on policies supporting mothers — policies that speakers like Foster and Jacobson said help dissuade women from choosing abortion — the only positive references to presidential candidates at the event were allusions to Donald Trump’s promises to pick Supreme Court justices who would roll back Roe v. Wade. Anti-choice leaders as a whole have rallied behind Trump, who besides vowing to “cherish” women and appoint anti-choice judges, has not offered any serious plans for improving the lot of women in the workforce or helping women out of poverty.

The “pro-woman” talking points, ultimately, were largely meant to further one principal policy goal: recriminalizing abortion.

Many speakers hailed the slew of abortion restrictions that have been passed in the states in recent years, while noting that they don’t go far enough.

Karen Garnett, the director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of Dallas, moderated a panel on anti-abortion politics, telling the audience, “We cannot get pro-life laws passed unless we have pro-life legislators sitting in the state houses to pass those laws and in Washington, D.C. And it’s been good that we’ve been able to get that much done. But have we ended abortion yet? No. Have we fulfilled our call yet — no — to end this? It matters — look at this, where we are, where we sit together today with this Supreme Court decision coming down tomorrow — it matters who is sitting in the Oval Office in terms of the appointments of the Supreme Court justices.”

Star Parker, a frequent speaker at Religious Right events, kept her standard pitch to conservative audiences, blaming government “safety nets” for people getting “lost” and implying that churches rather than the government should be in charge of poverty alleviation: “Maybe God was right that you’re supposed to take care of the poor, not throw them off to some government bureaucrat.”

Ending Roe, Eliminating Planned Parenthood

While some speakers made nods to policies such as paid family leave and efforts to support pregnant women on college campuses, the real political enthusiasm at the event was behind shutting down abortion clinics, defunding Planned Parenthood and eventually eliminating Roe v. Wade.

“Roe v. Wade started here in Dallas, Texas,” Johnson said, “and I believe we can end it here.”

Marilyn Musgrave, a former Republican congresswoman who is now the vice president of governmental affairs at the Susan B. Anthony List, gave a speech in which she praised the House committee investigating Planned Parenthood for “kicking down the gates of hell.” She commended Texas’ restrictive legislation that was before the Supreme Court, saying that it was “going to save thousands of lives” and praying “that those abortion clinics will close down that do not meet those standards.”

During the politics panel, Texas activist Carolyn Cline held up a brick that she said was “the last brick in the lot” of an abortion clinic that had been closed by the Texas law, another acknowledgment that the law’s goal was to close clinics rather than improve safety. The law, said the Family Research Council’s Arina Grossu, was another sign that the anti-abortion movement “is winning.”

Throughout the event, Planned Parenthood was portrayed as a remorseless villain. Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who now runs a group that tries to get abortion clinic employees to quit their jobs, showed a video she had recently found from her time at the group guiding counsellors on how to speak to women who are considering abortion, which she said showed “coercion” on the part of the group.

Parker went so far as to pin America’s economic troubles on Planned Parenthood’s continued existence: “Is it any wonder things are so dark in our country? Is it any wonder our economy is still sputtering? I don’t think that God is ready to bless America right now.”

Erin Brownback, a communications consultant who has worked with a number of prominent anti-choice politicians, had a similar warning about legal abortion in the U.S., saying, “Societies throughout history that allow a culture of death are destroyed. That is historically true, you can look back at the gladiators and different groups that have not protected life and those cultures have all died.”

While the criticism of Planned Parenthood centered on its role as a legal abortion provider, there was an undercurrent at the conference about resistance to hormonal contraception, including a workshop on Natural Family Planning. American Life League, a Catholic anti-abortion group, distributed a pamphlet arguing that the birth control pill “may cause an abortion.”

One interesting trend among the women anti-abortion activists was a willingness to talk forthrightly about their opposition to rape exceptions in abortion laws, something that Musgrave’s group has trained male politicians to avoid addressing. (This was in part thanks to the prodding of Rebecca Kiessling, a “conceived in rape” activist who asked as many speakers as she could about exceptions.) Some speakers approached the subject by portraying abortion in such cases not as violence against the “unborn” but as additional violence against the woman.

Musgrave, in response to a question by Kiessling, boasted of her group’s efforts to unseat Rep. Renee Ellmers, an anti-abortion Republican who derailed a vote on a 20-week abortion ban because she was worried that its rape exception was too restrictive. SBA List opposed Ellmers, she said, “because you know what, if we had let that action go unchallenged, we would have dumbed down ‘pro-life’ to where it didn’t mean anything.”

LGBT And Secular Outreach

Johnson made a deliberate effort to expand the reach of her conference beyond what she called “the traditional Christian pro-lifer.”

The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) set up a table. One piece of literature the group distributed explained that the line of Supreme Court cases establishing a “right to privacy” that encompasses both reproductive rights and the rights of gays and lesbians is irrelevant because LGBT rights would have succeeded anyway without the courts. “Abortion rights will fail because, unlike gay rights, they are not the result of a democratic process but rather a brand new ‘constitutional right’ created by a court impatient with democratic changes,” it said, seemingly dismissing the importance of major court victories that furthered LGBT equality. The group shared its table with the Pro-Life Humanists, who distribute anti-abortion literature at atheist events.

Kelsey Hazzard, the head of Secular Pro-Life, gave a workshop on “reaching non-Christian, LGBT, and other minority audiences with the pro-life message.” Aimee Murphy, the director of Life Matters Journal, gave a workshop faulting both political parties for what she said was an inconsistent ethic of human rights when it comes to abortion, capital punishment, torture and war, echoing the message of some early liberal Catholic anti-abortion activists. Kristen Day, the head of Democrats for Life, spoke and sponsored a booth.

A panel of mostly young women discussing activism strategies lamented that the anti-abortion movement had alienated LGBT people and others. Kristen Hatten, the vice president of the group New Wave Feminists, said that her gay friends “don’t really feel welcome in the movement. I would love to see that change, and not just for homosexual people, but transgender people and just everybody, everybody of all colors and creeds.”

Yet some of that alienation could be seen at the conference itself. Parker railed against the “war on marriage” and the “elimination of all gender binary.” She lamented that a “war on religion” had removed “any reference to God” from schools and that Americans were sending their kids “to these cesspools we call schools and they learn secular humanism.” She urged young, anti-abortion women to become lawyers “so they can make you a judge and you can get on these courts” and reject laws that are “unlawful in God’s eyes.”

The Family Research Council, one of the most stridently anti-LGBT advocacy groups in the country, sponsored a booth.

In some cases, the embrace of LGBT and secular allies didn’t seem all that sincere. Brownback, the conservative messaging consultant, said at a breakout session how delighted she had been to talk to the representatives of LGBT and secular groups at the conference. Just weeks before, Brownback had written on Twitter that while she loves her gay friends she thinks “they are hurting themselves and society” and opined that it’s “sad to see a feminized man.”

While the event seemed to be mostly comprised of Christians, and was heavily sprinkled with references to the Bible, Johnson seemed to catch on at the end as she noted before a closing prayer that not everyone in the room would choose to participate.

Despite the presence of Democrats for Life and other nontraditional allies, there was not much suggestion of moving beyond the movement’s current alliance with fiscally conservative Republicans who resist expanding the social safety net but are on board with punitive abortion restrictions. Many speakers steered away from explicitly political topics, speaking instead about building a “culture of life” in which women choose not to terminate pregnancies. But politically, there was little question that this self-proclaimed “feminist” movement would continue to ally itself with the party of Donald Trump.

Victims And Heroes

Brownback, a former Alliance Defending Freedom employee who said that she had worked with congressional Republicans on messaging around their efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and with the Texas attorney general, who brought the recent Supreme Court case, gave a crowded workshop on “Successful Pro-Life Messaging.”

She gave tips for how to connect with people on all sides of the issue. She recommended warming to pro-choicers by telling them “I hear you,” “that must be really hard” and, creatively, “you’re so pretty.” With people in the middle concerned with cases like rape and saving a woman’s life, she recommended not engaging on those issues but instead telling them that if they’re anti-abortion in 99 percent of cases, they’re anti-abortion.

Critically, she urged anti-abortion advocates to tell stories that “create the perception of a victim, a villain and a hero.”

In those stories, she said, the woman obtaining an abortion is the victim and the provider is the villain (with supporting villain roles sometimes played by overbearing boyfriends pressuring women to get abortions). “Anyone coercing women into having an abortion is in the role of the villain,” she said. “And keep in mind that a lot of times the people coercing women into having abortions are the ones who stand to financially profit from it. So that’s why we’ve talked about Planned Parenthood and we’ve talked about abortion businesses, because they are trained to sell abortions.”

“And who is the hero?” she asked. “You are the hero, your supporters are the heroes. You’re saying, here’s a victim that you have saved from this or someone that you could have saved. You are the hero, you are in that position.”

She said that she tries to bolster this image of anti-abortion heroes by taking “pictures of very attractive, beautiful, youthful people” at events and posting “a ton of them” on social media.

Brownback’s template story of the woman as a victim and the abortion provider as a villain looms large in the messaging of the anti-abortion movement. Yet not everyone at the conference was on board with characterization. Murphy said she was sick of anti-abortion literature that portrayed women as “a damsel in distress,” saying, “Let’s give them information that’s going to empower them and not play into this whole victim mindset.” Destiny De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists said, “When you make someone the hero of their own story, I think that’s very important, and I think the pro-life movement has missed an opportunity because, unfortunately, we tend to put women in the victim role a lot.”

Anti-Choice Groups React To Whole Woman’s Health Decision: Protect 'Vulnerable' Women, Elect Trump

The reactions from anti-abortion groups to the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt have started pouring in. Most repeat the claim that the Texas law in question, which was meant to regulate the majority of the state’s abortion providers out of existence, was in fact an honest attempt to protect women’s health and stand up to unscrupulous providers. A few linked the decision to the upcoming presidential election, urging voters to elect a president who will nominate justices hostile to Roe v. Wade, as Donald Trump has promised he will do.

Americans United For Life, the legal architect of many TRAP laws, including the one in Texas, said that the law was meant to “protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry” and repeated the increasingly common anti-choice talking point that legal abortion providers are the true “back alley”:

“Women lost today as the Supreme Court sides with the abortion industry, putting profits over women’s health and safety by opposing life-saving regulations and medically endorsed standards of patient care. Sadly, the commonsense laws that protect women in real, full service healthcare centers won’t be in effect in Texas abortion clinics, but Americans United for Life will continue to fight – in legislatures and in the courts – to protect women from a dangerous and greedy abortion industry,” said AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe. …

“In striking down these commonsense requirements, the Supreme Court has essentially accepted the abortion industry’s argument that it should be allowed to keep its profits high and patient care standards low,” said Forsythe. “It inexplicably turned a blind eye to what it has repeatedly held since Roe v. Wade: states may regulate the provision of abortion to protect maternal health. This ruling endangers women nationwide as health and safety standards are at risk.”

“Today’s abortion clinics are the true ‘back alleys’ of abortion mythology,” noted Denise Burke, Vice President of Legal Affairs at AUL. “They consistently operate in the ‘red light district’ of American medicine where the problem of substandard abortion providers is longstanding and pervasive. The fight against this public health crisis will continue, despite today’s ruling.”

Stephen Aden of the Religious Right legal group Alliance Defending Freedom linked the law to Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion provider who was found guilty of a number of crimes related to a squalid clinic he ran, claiming that Texas’ law was “clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell Scandal”:

“Abortionists shouldn’t be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow. We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled against a law so clearly designed to protect the health and safety of women in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell scandal. The law’s requirements were commonsense protections that ensured the maximum amount of protection for women, who deserve to have their well-being treated by government as a higher priority than the bottom line of abortionists. Any abortion facilities that don’t meet basic health and safety standards are not facilities that anyone should want to remain open.”

The Family Research Council similarly claimed that the Supreme Court decision “gives the abortion industry a free pass,” ridiculously claiming that abortion providers face less stringent regulation than hair salons and restaurants:

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down H.B. 2 undermines the health and safety of vulnerable women. This decision is a loss for women and gives the abortion industry a free pass. The need to regulate abortion facilities is necessary to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion facilities. Mandating basic and necessary health and safety standards such as trained staff, corridors that could accommodate a stretcher in case of emergency, admitting privileges to a hospital, and up-to-date fire, sanitation, and safety codes should be beyond the politics of abortion. When abortion facilities are not held to the same standards as other facilities, women’s lives are endangered. In 2011 alone, 26,500 women experienced abortion-related complications, and close to 3,200 women required post-abortion hospitalization. Hair and nail salons, public pools, restaurants, and tanning centers must meet basic health and safety standards—shouldn’t abortion facilities? Abortion facilities cannot be exempt from following basic health standards.

"While the need to protect the health and safety of women failed to remain at the forefront of the Supreme Court's decision, we will continue our work to protect women and children from the predatory abortion industry,” Perkins concluded.

FRC’s Arina Grossu, Director of the Center for Human Dignity, released the following statement:

“One cannot be pro-woman and stand for the substandard facilities that many abortion centers operate which risk women’s lives. Striking down abortion facility regulations leaves the door open for continued and rampant disregard for women’s health and safety. Status-quo is not good enough," concluded Grossu.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver also claimed that the Supreme Court was siding with abortion clinics’ bottom lines over the health of women:

“How foolish a decision by the Supreme Court to strike down common sense regulations regarding health and safety,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “They expect us to believe their opinion is based on the Constitution? It certainly is not. This is a sad day and another dark chapter in the history of America. Women should not be relegated to substandard facilities in order to save abortion providers a few dollars.”

The Susan B. Anthony List, which acts as the political arm of the anti-choice movement, turned the conversation to the election, while never quite mentioning Trump by name:

“Today’s tragic decision by the Court means that Texas women will not be protected from the unsanitary conditions and even Gosnell-like horrors that permeate the abortion industry,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, referencing the 2013 trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, currently serving a life sentence for murdering babies after botched, late-term abortions, and for the negligent death of one mother, Karnamaya Mongar.

“The abortion industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself and they know it. That’s why they fought tooth and nail against common-sense health and safety standards and requirements for abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. We have documented page after page of incidents of abuse, negligence, and brutality since 2008. This decision means the filth and exploitation will continue unchecked.

“The stakes for the 2016 election could not be higher. The next president will be tasked with selecting Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement and up to three others. We must elect a pro-life president and safeguard today’s pro-life majorities in the House and Senate. Only with a pro-life Congress and White House can we begin to address the havoc wrought by the Supreme Court on America’s unborn children and their mothers.”

Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also linked the decision to the election:

The Supreme Court is now the Supreme Medical Board, setting its own standards for patient care in the United States. This decision is an outrageous usurpation of legislative power and it only underscores the critical importance of electing a President who will nominate -- and Senators who will confirm -- justices to the Supreme Court who will adjudicate, not write the law.

As did Tim Head, the executive director of Ralph Reed’s group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition:

“The U.S. Supreme Court once again failed to protect the rights, health and safety of women and unborn children today in its Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. Texas and many other states have enacted common sense laws that protect the rights of the unborn and the health and safety of thousands of women subjected to the horrific conditions of abortion clinics across the country, and its shameful that the Supreme Court overturned these safeguards. The Court’s failure today is another example of the urgency to elect a pro-life President in November who will be responsible for filling the enormous vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s passing and possibly fill other seats on the Court. The pro-life community must also unite to elect legislators across the country who will work to protect women and unborn children.”

Fox commentator Todd Starnes referenced the need for the anti-choice movement to ensure ideological purity among judges, even those nominated by Republican presidents:

Russell Moore, the policy head of the Southern Baptist Convention, meanwhile, filmed a video outside the Supreme Court in which he claimed that the “sad and pathetic ruling that essentially leaves the abortion industry unregulated in a kind of wild west, laissez faire sort of situation in the state of Texas that we wouldn’t allow for any other industry.”

Christians, he said, “need to be standing up for our vulnerable unborn neighbors and their vulnerable mothers.”

 

 

Supreme Court Turns Back Texas Attempt To Undermine Roe

A 5-3 majority of the Supreme Court today struck down parts of a sweeping anti-choice law passed in Texas in 2013. The case dealt with the law’s targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) provisions that created burdensome and unnecessary regulations on clinics that would have forced the vast majority of the state’s providers to close. The law not only threatened Texas women’s access to safe and legal abortion, but was a calculated assault on Roe v. Wade and was the product of decades of anti-choice efforts to undermine the decision without overturning it.

From the beginning, the law’s proponents claimed that these regulations were simply meant to protect women’s health, though they often did a pretty bad job of staying on message. During oral arguments in the case, for instance, the state’s solicitor general argued that women burdened by Texas’ law could simply drive over the border to New Mexico, which does not have the same regulations, undermining the whole argument that the idea was to protect women’s health.

And already, the law is proving to be actually detrimental women’s health: One study found that since the law’s passage, hundreds of thousands of women in Texas “have tried to self-induce their abortions without medical assistance, making it more common in Texas than in other parts of the U.S.”

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her concurrence to the decision, “it is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.”

It’s hardly been a secret within the anti-abortion movement that the Texas law was meant to cut off access to abortion rather than to shut down unsafe clinics.

At a Pro-Life Women’s Conference in Dallas this weekend, many speakers alluded to the spate of TRAP laws across the country, including the one in Texas, as a sign that their movement was winning. In one revealing exchange during a panel about anti-abortion politics, Texas anti-abortion activist Carolyn Cline held up a brick that she said she had gotten from a pastor friend who told her it was “the last brick in the lot” of a facility that had been closed by HB2, prompting enthusiastic applause.

Moments later, Arina Grossu, who works on anti-abortion issues for the Family Research Council, argued that pro-choicers should support laws like HB2 because they are meant to protect “women’s health and safety” while at the same time portraying it as a sign that the movement to end legal abortion is winning.

House GOPer: Investigate Planned Parenthood Just Because They Provide Abortions

Rep. Dianne Black, R-Tenn., spoke today at the Family Research Council about her work on the House’s “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives” that House Republicans convened in response to the Center for Medical Progress’ smear of Planned Parenthood but that has a broad mandate to investigate basically anything involving abortion providers.

In her opening remarks, Black acknowledged that she saw the panel as an extension of her efforts to “go after” Planned Parenthood that began even before the Center for Medical Progress released its videos that claimed, falsely, that the women’s health organization illegally profits from the small amount of fetal tissue it donates to medical research. In fact, she said, the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortion is evidence enough that “we must expose them.”

“Even before last summer’s videos were exposing Planned Parenthood and their role in the trafficking of aborted baby body parts,” she said, “their own annual report told us in black and white why we must expose them and go after what they stood for: They’re the largest abortion provider in this nation. They perform more than 320,000 abortions annually while they receive over $500 million of taxpayer dollars to perform these abortions.” (This last figure is incorrect: Planned Parenthood is barred by federal law from using taxpayer funding on abortions except in very limited cases.)

Black recalled how the very first law she introduced in Congress was a 2011 measure to cut funding from Planned Parenthood in a short-term spending bill but that her project met with “tepid” reception on Capitol Hill until David Daleiden’s videos provided an “opportunity” to further that goal.

Earlier this year, President Obama vetoed legislation that would have cut all federal funds from Planned Parenthood, which Black said means “if we had a willing partner in the White House, this is possible, so we cannot give up.”

She said that the select panel was designed as an alternative to this legislation: “We wanted to focus, since this didn’t become law, on the first steps that we can take to hold the abortion industry accountable that don’t require the signature of a president. And that was the genesis, really, of the [committee.]”

Remarkably, after explicitly saying that the panel grew out of her years-long fight against Planned Parenthood, Black said that the panel is not actually meant to target Planned Parenthood.

“They’ve called us a witch hunt against Planned Parenthood, though Planned Parenthood is never named anywhere in the resolution that authorizes the panel’s formation and was not called to testify at either one of our two public hearings that we have head to this point,” she said.

Later in the speech, when asked by an audience member what medical providers can do to help prevent abortion, Black responded that doctors should “help to educate young women with prevention first, using healthy practices to prevent pregnancies before they’re ready for that family” — which is, incidentally, the exact kind of medical care that much of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding goes toward.

Black’s full presentation is here:

Former Tea Party Darling Defeated As Anti-Choice & Tea Party Groups Turn Against Her

Back in 2010, after the Tea Party sweep helped Republicans regain control of the House, we profiled the “10 scariest Republicans heading to Congress,” most of them Tea Party crusaders. One of these was Renee Ellmers, a former nurse who based her campaign on opposing the Affordable Care Act and ran a campaign ad calling an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan a “victory mosque” built in celebration of 9/11.

Ellmers credited her start in politics to Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch-backed group that rallied opposition to Obamacare, and won the support of anti-choice groups including the Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America.

Then things changed. Yesterday, Ellmers lost a Republican primary in part thanks to redistricting that pitted her against another GOP incumbent and in part due to the $1.1 million that her former conservative allies spent to defeat her.

AFP spent six figures on ads opposing Ellmers and dropped in dozens of field workers to knock on doors in her district, condemning her for straying from the Tea Party line and working with GOP leadership to support compromise spending bills and the Export-Import Bank. Other conservatives were troubled by her bucking of hardliners on a few immigration votes.

But what was the most stunning was Ellmers’ fall from grace in the anti-abortion movement. Ellmersopposes abortion rights and has a 100 percent rating on the National Right to Life Committee’s congressional scorecard. But she angered her former anti-choice allies last year when she led a group of Republican women and some moderates who derailed a planned vote on a 20-week abortion ban — the anti-choice movement’s premier legislation — when, at the last minute, they expressed concerns about a provision that would have exempted rape survivors only if they reported the crime to the police. The bill was later reintroduced with modified language, but the anti-choice movement had lost its chance to hold a vote on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as activists flooded Washington for the March for Life.

National Right to Life sent an email to its members last week calling Ellmers a “pro-life traitor” and boasting of its efforts to defeat her in the primary. “Nothing has the potential to do more damage to pro-life efforts than people who run as pro-life candidates back home in their pro-life districts and then stab the babies in the back when they come to DC and work against pro-life efforts,” the group wrote.

In an interview with the conservative website The Pulse last week, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, citing her group’s early support of Ellmers, said, “Well, we brought her into the political process, and we intend to take her out.” She acknowledged that Ellmers has “a 100 percent record” on her group’s issues, but her sabotage of the 20-week bill “totally trumped every single thing else that we were looking for in a candidate.”

While Tea Party funders were angered by Ellmers’ cozying up to her party’s leadership and anti-choice groups were angered by her derailing of an important symbolic vote (even though she agreed with the substance of that vote), Ellmers hardly became a moderate. After all, she was the first congressional candidate to earn an endorsement from Donald Trump, thanks to her early support for his presidential candidacy.

Yesterday, in a bizarre ending to a strange tale of shifting Republican allegiances, Ellmers, maybe feeling that she had nothing left to lose, told a North Carolina Republican activist who had abandoned her to support one of her primary rivals that she had gained weight, all in front of rolling news cameras:

Georgia Anti-Choice Group Wants Abortion Providers Investigated For Violating Law That Nobody Knew About

A leading Georgia anti-abortion group wants abortion providers to be investigated for violating a law that, due to a clerical error, was in effect for seven months with nobody knowing it.

CNN reports that a Georgia judge dismissed an ACLU challenge to the state’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in October 2015 and lifted an injunction on the ban, thereby putting the new law into effect. But due to a clerical error, the ACLU was never notified and medical providers were not alerted that the law had gone into effect until seven months after the fact:

For nearly seven months, it has been illegal for physicians in Georgia to provide abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy -- but almost no one knew it.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the obstetricians in November 2012, challenging the measure on the grounds that it violates the right to privacy, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Director Jen Dalven said. An injunction prevented the law from taking effect while the lawsuit was in play.

Fast forward to October 2015, when Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds of sovereign immunity, which bars citizens challenging the constitutionality of state law and protects state agencies from being sued in their official capacity unless the General Assembly waives that protection. The injunction was lifted and the ban was effectively in place.

Due to a clerical error, however, the ACLU said it was not notified and consequently missed a chance to appeal the ruling within 30 days. The organization only found out when a lawyer in another state noticed the order on the Fulton County Superior Court website and brought it to their attention, said Atlanta lawyer Don Samuel, who is representing the organization after the previous lawyer left.

CNN notes that “doctors, hospitals or clinics, or the public were not informed that the case had been dismissed, and that the law was in effect. Not even the Georgia Department of Public Health knew. In December 2015, the state agency sent a letter to abortion providers indicating the law was still enjoined by the courts and the injunction was still in effect.”

However, Georgia Right to Life, a group that broke with the National Right to Life Committee because of the national group’s willingness to accept some exemptions in abortion bans, wants abortion providers investigated for violating a law that nobody knew was in effect:

Gen Wilson with Georgia Right to Life said, "Dozens, if not hundreds, of babies between 20 and 24 weeks gestation were illegally killed" over the past several months.

Wilson, in a statement Thursday, urged the attorney general to conduct a criminal investigation of all abortion providers to determine whether charges should be filed.

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