Anti-Choice

Pat McCrory Tries To Have It Both Ways On Political Prayer Rally

North Carolina’s Pat McCrory is the fourth Republican governor to agree to host a “Response” prayer rally organized by Christian-nation extremist David Lane and other dominionist activists. Rick Perry used a “Response” rally to launch his doomed 2012 presidential bid; since then Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley have hosted rallies in their states.

As we have repeatedly explained, there are serious problems with governors lending their name and the power of their office to events that are built on the premise that the only answer to the nation’s problems is for the country to “return” to Jesus. They are exclusionary events that suggest only Christians — more specifically, Christians who share the Religious Right’s views — can be part of solving the nation’s problems. And, while pretending to be nonpolitical, they use politicians to give credibility to their anti-gay, anti-choice, America-as-Christian-nation agenda. They turn politics into spiritual warfare and political opponents into enemies of God.

The North Carolina “Response” event is scheduled for September 26 at the convention center in Charlotte. On Monday, organizers placed a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer, featuring a photo of McCrory and the invitation, “Come Join Me in a time of worship, prayer, fasting and repentance.”

McCrory is getting some negative feedback, and the Observer reported yesterday that McCrory has distanced himself from the ad, with a spokesman saying the governor had agreed to speak but had not given permission to use his name in inviting people to the event. McCrory reportedly said he’s “proud to attend the event and be a part of what hopefully will be a constructive dialog.”

But either McCrory hasn’t done his homework or he’s being disingenuous. Response events are not meant to be a dialogue. They are part of a strategic public relations and political strategy being advanced by men like David Lane, who is trying to mobilize an “army” of conservative Christians to turn the 2016 elections and to remake the United States along the lines of what Lane sees as the country’s covenant with God. America, Lane says, is a nation founded by Christians “for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

This event, like other Response rallies, will be hosted by “apostle” Doug Stringer and paid for by David Lane’s American Renewal Project, which operates under the umbrella of the viciously anti-gay American Family Association. In advance of the rallies kicking off Perry’s and Jindal’s presidential bids in Texas and Louisiana, organizers distributed materials that blamed supposed national sins like the acceptance of homosexuality for Hurricane Katrina.

Huckabee: Planned Parenthood Like ISIS Because Both 'Take People's Heads Off'

Mike Huckabee said in an interview with Newsmax TV yesterday that Hillary Clinton owes him an “apology” because after criticizing him for claiming that the Iranian nuclear deal would march Israelis to the “door of the oven,” she made an oblique reference to “boxcars” in a recent speech about immigration.

Huckabee also lit into Clinton for saying that the Republican Party’s “extreme views on women” are what you might expect from “some of the terrorist groups. Planned Parenthood, Huckabee insisted, are the ones who are “most like terrorists.”

Saying that the media had applied a “total double standard” in its coverage of his "legitimate and appropriate" Holocaust remark, Hucakbee said, “It was also a double standard when she was talking about Planned Parenthood and Republicans are like terrorists."

"I’ll tell you what terrorists do," he said. "Terrorists take people’s heads off, that’s what they do. Planned Parenthood takes the heads off of unborn children and sells the body parts. So if you want to talk about what is most like a terrorists, is it a Republican trying to save a human life or is it Planned Parenthood murdering human life and selling the body parts as if they were selling parts of a car.”

Huckabee made a similar comparison between Planned Parenthood and ISIS at a campaign stop in Iowa last week.

The Quiet Battle To Undermine Abortion Rights In The States

Anti-choice activists have for decades been waging two simultaneous battles: to sway public opinion enough to recriminalize abortion across the country, and to work quietly behind the scenes to make legal abortion more difficult to access.

While the anti-choice movement still hasn’t convinced Americans to want to ban abortion outright, they have had more success with the second, quieter battle. Since 2010, state governments have enacted at least 282 new abortion restrictions since 2010. These restrictions often take the form of regulations billed as “protecting women’s health” but are, in reality, aimed at placing crushing burdens on abortion providers in the hopes of forcing them to close. The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether to consider the constitutionality of a set of such laws passed Texas, which, if it is allowed to stand, could close most of the abortion clinics in the state.

Today, People For the American Way released a report that reviews some of these quiet anti-choice tactics and the impacts that they have on women’s lives. The report updates our 2013 “ Chipping Away at Choice” report with new data and analysis. The tactics we examine are:

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

The full report, “Chipping Away at Choice: Growing Threats to Women’s Healthcare Access and Autonomy: 2015 Update,” is available here.

‘Replacing’ Planned Parenthood – Minus Birth Control

Republican legislators and governors have dramatically restricted women’s access to abortion in recent years. Those successes have emboldened the anti-choice movement to pursue ever-more extreme goals, which is why we now see Republican presidential candidates vowing to grant full constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, and pledging to use the power of the White House to legally ban abortion in all circumstancesincluding rape, incest, or to save a woman’s life. The Religious Right’s relentless campaign to destroy Planned Parenthood is part of this broader effort to eliminate women’s access to abortion altogether — and the push to control and restrict women’s sexual autonomy and health care extends even further, to undermining access to birth control.

The current campaign against Planned Parenthood relies not only on the deceptively edited videos purporting to show wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood staff, but also on the dubious claim that women’s access to health care will not suffer because women can get health care at other clinics. In this mix are not only federally funded community health clinics, but also religiously affiliated networks of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) and medical clinics whose business model is to intercept women seeking information about abortion and provide them with misleading or one-sided information intended to talk them out of it. Many of those clinics, purporting to “replace” the care that women receive from Planned Parenthood, do not provide contraception.

Earlier this month, the conservative National Catholic Register asked, “Can National Pro-Life Health Centers Become the Cure for Planned Parenthood?” It was a reprise of an article from last year in which anti-choice activist Abby Johnson explained that upgrading crisis pregnancy centers into medical clinics was a strategic way to hurt Planned Parenthood by taking away some of the business it does in providing testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings. Asked whether she thinks “these modern pro-life centers” could threaten Planned Parenthood, she responded, “Yes, absolutely. I think they are the No. 1 threat to Planned Parenthood.”

In July, the right-wing National Review published a collection of responses it received when it “asked some distinguished experts what would become of women’s health in a post-Planned Parenthood era.”

One of National Review’s respondents was Erika Bachiochi, an anti-choice attorney who edited a book that defends Catholic teaching on sex and marriage, including the church’s opposition to contraception.  Among the groups that Bachiochi says are “working heroically to replace Planned Parenthood” are Obria Medical Clinics and the Guiding Star project.

Obria Medical Clinics offer what the National Catholic Register calls “comprehensive medical care,” but that depends on your definition of “comprehensive.” The article states, “The affiliate agreement stipulates no contraception or abortion referral or things of that nature will be allowed.”

But Obria’s website is far from clear on this point, offering women who come to the site a section entitled “Contraception: A Variety of Choices.”

Before taking any contraceptive, it is important to understand how contraception works and what it could mean to your health to practice various forms of birth control. Understanding the different types of birth control options that are available is critical in making the best decision for you. It’s also valuable to understand how your body works and to track your monthly cycles. At Obria, our medical professionals are happy to go over information about available contraception methods with you and help you feel empowered.

Knowing that Obria does not provide or refer women for contraception makes this language seem a thin cover for anti-contraception propaganda CPCs have been known to provide.

The Obria Foundation seeks to transform CPCs into “life-affirming medical clinics” and hopes to expand from its base in Orange County, California into a statewide, then national network. Its website says it also teaches abstinence education. Obria lists the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as one of its partner organizations; it is also partnering with churches in Orange County, Florida, to raise funds and steer teenagers away from abortion providers by presenting them “with a Christ-centered perspective.” Obria founder Kathleen Eaton Bravo received a Distinguished Leader Award from the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List this year.

Another group praised by Bachiochi that is hoping to build a national network to “replace” Planned Parenthood is Guiding Star. Guiding Star describes itself as “a group of people who uphold Natural Law through the promotion of New Feminism.”

Guiding Star’s website explains that “New Feminism” discards the bad idea of “old feminism” that men and women are “interchangeable”— and replaces it by “viewing femininity through a lens of hope and joy.” They are working to establish “a nationwide family of Guiding Star Centers” that they say will “provide support for natural means of family planning, fertility care, childbirth, breastfeeding, and family life.” One thing Guiding Star clinics will not do is provide women with contraception, because Guiding Star believes that contraception and abortion “interrupt natural, healthy, biological processes and are not in the best interest of women and their families.”

Obria and Guiding Star are joining existing networks of crisis pregnancy clinics (CPCs) with similar outlooks on contraception. In last year’s National Catholic Register story, Johnson cited both Heartbeat International and Care Net as having models for centers who want to upgrade their medical services in order to pull patients away from Planned Parenthood.

Heartbeat International has a video online specifically saying that if Planned Parenthood is defunded, women can get care through “life-affirming” centers and clinics. The group, which says it has “supported, strengthened and started” 1,800 “pregnancy help organizations” globally), describes itself as broadly Christian: “All Heartbeat International policies and materials are consistent with Biblical principles and with orthodox Christian (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) ethical principles and teaching on the dignity of the human person and sanctity of human life.” But Heartbeat International’s position on contraception goes well beyond opposition to methods that it believes act as abortifacients, and therefore well beyond the understanding of many Protestant and Orthodox churches, not to mention most American Catholics:

“Heartbeat International does not promote birth control (devices or medications) for family planning, population control, or health issues, including disease prevention.”

Among the standards that clinics are required to adhere to in order to join the 1,100+ affiliates of the evangelical Care Net is this one:

“The pregnancy center does not recommend, provide, or refer single women for contraceptives. (Married women seeking contraceptive information should be urged to seek counsel, along with their husbands, from their pastor and/or physician.)”

That makes it clear that one goal of those creating and funding these clinics is restricting women’s sexual autonomy. As this month’s National Catholic Register story notes, “Obria and Guiding Star’s providers do not prescribe or refer for contraception; both abide fully by Catholic teaching on sexual ethics and fertility.” Adds Abby Johnson, a board member of the Guiding Star Project, “One of the really important things about pro-life medical centers is they can help women change their behavior.”

 

Alveda King: Planned Parenthood Gives Women Breast Cancer So They Will Donate To Susan G. Komen

Alveda King, a Fox News contributor and the director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life, managed to combine a dizzying number of anti-abortion conspiracy theories in an interview with Iowa religious right activist Tamara Scott last month, claiming that Planned Parenthood uses birth control to give African-American women breast cancer so that they will then donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which in turn provides breast-cancer screening grants to Planned Parenthood.

King, who has exploited her status as the niece of Planned Parenthood supporter Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in her effort to fight abortion rights, explained to Scott that Planned Parenthood “targets” black women in an elaborate money-making scheme.

“They entice these ladies into their facility knowing that once they get there, it’s a very lucrative experience,” she said. “Because they’re going to give her medicines and birth control shots and pills and things that will expose her to breast cancer. Then she’ll go to Susan Komen, because Susan Koman exchanges money with Planned Parenthood, the money goes back and forth between them. And if she gets pregnant, they’re going to give her an abortion and then they’re going to traffic the body parts of the baby. So they make a lot of money off of black women that are underserved, off of all women.”

“Now make no mistake about it,” she concluded, “Planned Parenthood’s agenda is about money — and eugenics.”

Troy Newman: God Sent Planned Parenthood Videos To End Legal Abortion

In an interview with Religious Right broadcaster Jerry Newcombe earlier this month, Operation Rescue president Troy Newman declared that the series of videos smearing Planned Parenthood that he helped produce were God’s answer to the prayers of anti-abortion activists, sent in order to make “the abortion industry collapse in front of us under their own weight of sin.”

“We’re clearly winning on this issue because I think it’s the most preeminent issue that God wants us to be involved in,” Newman said. “The taking of innocent life is, I think, first and foremost on God’s heart.”

When Newcombe asked him about “real examples of spiritual warfare” going on in front of an abortion clinic in Rockford Illinois, Newman agreed that there was “satanic activity going on at that abortion clinic” but that God was taking notice.

“You know, God says that He cannot be mocked,” he said. “And whenever I see people in these abortion clinics boldly declaring they’re never going to close [and] blaspheming God’s name, I think it’s just a matter of time before you close.”

“God says that He will answer the prayers when they are prayed according to His will,” Newman continued, “and He does want abortion clinics to close, He wants babies to be saved, He wants moms to be spared the lifelong trauma and horror of the fact they killed their baby.

“And so when we pray, according to God’s will, that this abortion clinic will close or this abortion clinic will close, it will happen. Maybe not just instantaneously or overnight, but it will happen. And these videos are a product of these prayers. We’re seeing the abortion industry collapse in front of us under their own weight of sin because they’re killing children and there’s a strong, faithful community like you, Dr. Newcombe, that are opposing this evil.”

The Abortion Protester's Guidebook For Invading Patients' Privacy

A ProPublica investigation published in the Washington Post today looks at the sophisticated data collection methods used by abortion-clinic protesters to gather information about abortion providers, which has occasionally led to the identities of abortion patients being publicly exposed against their will.

“In recent years, abortion opponents have become experts at accessing public records such as recordings of 911 calls, autopsy reports, and documents from state health departments and medical boards, then publishing the information on their Web sites,” writes ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein. “Some activists have dug through clinics’ trash to find privacy violations by abortion providers — such as patient records tossed in dumpsters — and used them to file complaints with regulators.”

Aggressive data collection about abortion providers and patients, often by the same people serving as “sidewalk counselors” for anti-abortion groups, has become a hallmark of the anti-choice “rescue” movement since the advent of laws preventing activists from literally blocking the doors to clinics. The de facto leader of this movement is Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who has been in the news recently as the patron of a series of “sting” videos smearing Planned Parenthood.

Ornstein writes that these activists “appear to be drawing from an unofficial playbook: Some wait outside clinics, tracking or taking photos of patients’ and staffers’ license plates and ambulances, if called.”

A version of that “informal playbook” was put into writing last year by Newman and his Operation Rescue colleague Cheryl Sullenger in their book “Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time,” published by the far-right outlet WorldNetDaily.

In it, Newman and Sullenger (who says she has embraced nonviolence after serving time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s) outline for anti-choice activists how they can collect information on abortion providers, make it public, and use it to try to drive providers out of business and convince legislators to try to do the same.

Newman and Sullenger review various tactics for anti-choice activists looking to gather information on abortion providers, including public records requests, sting operations like the one behind the recent Planned Parenthood videos, and collecting information on vendors who work with abortion providers in order to harass them into ending their association.

“Make a record of all the vendors you can, and photograph their vehicles, especially if they bear the company logos,” Sullenger and Newman counsel, adding that protesters should “keep a camera and a notepad” with them at all times.

Newman and Sullenger tell protesters to aggressively take photographs or video whenever they witness a patient being transferred to a hospital as a result of complications.

They proudly tell how once while standing outside the Wichita clinic of George Tiller — who was later murdered by an anti-abortion extremist — they saw Tiller escort a woman who had suffered a complication to the emergency room. The anti-abortion activists took pictures of the woman, which they then printed on postcards that they mailed to the neighbors of employees of Tiller’s clinic:

We enlarged the pictures of Tiller wheeling the injured woman into the emergency room, plastered them on the sides of our Truth Truck, and parked it out in front of his clinic driveway gate, where it aided in turning many women away from having abortions out of concern that they might be next. We put the photos on postcards and sent them to every legislator, asking for laws to protect women, which helped push forward pro-life legislation. We sent the images to the neighbors of abortion clinic workers, asking them to pray for their neighbor to leave the abortion industry, which prompted several workers to quit their jobs at Tiller’s clinic.

“Photos that show the victim on a gurney being taken from the abortion clinic are useful and dramatic,” the activists write in a list of tips for sidewalk counselors. “Submit a FOIA request for the 911 audio file and CAD transcript of the call as soon as possible,” they add.

“Don’t be worried about compromising a patient’s privacy when taking photos, because faces can be blurred using editing software before they are published,” they advise.

Newman and Sullenger tell of how, in an effort to find the identity of a new doctor Tiller had hired, they pieced together the pieces of a private medical form discarded by a patient:

A woman had tossed torn-up pieces of paper out her window before driving away from the abortion clinic. The sidewalk counselor had retrieved them and gave them to us. We pieced them together and discovered the initials S.R. on a line that required a physician’s signature.

Although Newman and Sullenger never advocate deliberately exposing the identities of abortion patients, that is certainly not the case for providers, whose names, address and photographs they catalogue on their website AbortionDocs.com. In their book, they urge activists to dig up whatever dirt they can on providers, even when it’s completely irrelevant to their medical practice.

They tell, for instance, of finding a “ridiculous” photo of an abortion clinic administrator on social media that showed the “bleached blonde” with her “dark roots embarrassingly showing,” which they made a point of using “repeatedly” on their website:

Search social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Sometimes very interesting insight can be garnered from their social network profiles, including photos of the abortionists doing crazy things. For example, the administrator of an abortion chain in Texas left her social profile public, and we found a ridiculous photo of the bleached blonde — dark roots embarrassingly showing — making a silly face while peering through a curtain of plastic grass. That picture made her look like anything but the serious medical professional she purported herself to be. We have used the photo repeatedly on our own website.

Newman and Sullenger also provide guidance for “stings” such as that conducted by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, for whom Newman seems to have served as a mentor and funder. Starting the chapter of their book with a quote from Sun Tzu, “All warfare is based on deception,” they offer a biblical justification for using false identities to investigate a “godless enemy”:

Some have no problem whatsoever stretching the truth to a godless enemy who is bent on destroying innocent lives — especially if it can be used to save babies. One need only look at the story of Rahab in the Bible for an example of a woman who used misdirection to save the lives of the Jewish spies and was honored by God for it (See Joshua 2).

Groups like Operation Rescue serve as an important part of the anti-choice movement’s effort to chip away at abortion access by regulating providers out of existence. While large, politically influential groups like Americans United for Life advocate for laws that place unnecessary regulatory constraints on abortion providers, groups like Operation Rescue look for any small violation that they can use to attack the clinic.

Although activists often say they are seeking to find gross mismanagement and abuses like those at Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia, Newman and Sullenger tell activists that no violation is too small to be used against a clinic. They urge protesters to look for minor violations of zoning codes, like insufficient parking or improper signage. If you look hard enough, they say, you’ll eventually find something:

In all our combined decades of experience, we have yet to find an abortion business that abides by all applicable laws. That means every abortion clinic is legally vulnerable and subject to closure. Our job is to find out what the abortionists are doing wrong and exploit their weaknesses.

They urge activists to simultaneously encourage their elected officials to “whittle away” at abortion access by implementing “regulations and laws that essentially make it impossible for abortion mills to operate”:

Some pro-life groups believe that an all-or-nothing approach is the way to go. They won’t support any legislation — and in some cases will block it — if it doesn’t ban abortions outright. We feel that there is plenty we can do right now to promote pro-life legislation that will save lives now while we continue to work toward full abolition. For instance, we can whittle away at the industry by supporting regulations and laws that essentially make it impossible for abortion mills to operate due to their proclivity to function well below accepted medical standards.

Alveda King: Planned Parenthood Is Feeding America A Poop Brownie With Arsenic-Laced Sweet Tea

Alveda King, director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life, joined End Times conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles on his “TruNews” program yesterday to discuss efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of a series of smear videos by an anti-abortion group.

Wiles told King that while GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has said he supports maintaining federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services, “To me, the issue isn’t whether funding should be cut off, the issue is the arrest and imprisonment of Planned Parenthood officials. These people need to be in prison.”

King agreed that “legal penalties must be enforced” and “funding does need to be cut off” from the group, and blasted people who say that “Planned Parenthood still does some good” through women’s health services such as STI testing and providing affordable contraception.

Talking about Planned Parenthood’s wide-ranging women’s health services, she said, is like offering a guest to your home a brownie and sweet tea, but lacing the brownie with dog poop and the sweet tea with arsenic.

“Well that’s like you come over to my house — I live in the South — with some sweet tea, a nice brownie with a rich frosting on it,” she explained. “Now, I may lace the sweat tea with arsenic, you’ll never know because the sugar’s so sweet it will take over the bitterness until you fall and you die. … That nice little cupcake with the frosting on it, I took a secret ingredient out of the back yard where the dogs run around in the field, I took a little spoon of that but there was some little worm eggs in there, but later you wonder why you’re sick and dying.”

“So Planned Parenthood may be giving some services that appear to be good,” she concluded, “but at the end of the day, they’re doling out death.”

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

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

Alveda King Links Iraq War & School Shootings To Legal Abortion

In a press release promoting a new anti-abortion book by her boss, Frank Pavone, Priests for Life’s Alveda King links the Iraq war, urban violence, school shootings and the massacre at an African-American church in South Carolina to legal abortion, asking, “[W]hat would you expect from societies that allow a mother to kill her own child and call it a personal 'choice?'”

King starts off by comparing Pavone to her uncle, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., writing that just as the civil rights leader “fanned the flames of the civil rights movement, so today Rev. Frank Pavone is doing the same for the movement to end abortion.”

She goes on to blame legal abortion for the fact that “ALL life has been devalued” in America, leading to war, violence and mass shootings:

Life today seems to have less value, at least in the eyes of many. Whether it's Black lives, unborn lives, lives of the disabled, lives of the elderly, ALL life has been devalued. Yet what would you expect from societies that allow a mother to kill her own child and call it a personal 'choice?'

Today death has spread from the abortion facilities to the deserts of Iraq, to the streets of our cities, to the classrooms of our schools, and to the prayer meetings of our churches.

The killing will not end until we begin to defend the most innocent of all, the unborn babies in the womb. When we say that their lives matter, then we can truly say, "All Lives Matter." And yes, we can even put a hashtag in front of it if we like.

King made similar remarks in a Fox News interview shortly after the Charleston shooting, saying, “You kill babies in the womb, kill people in their beds, shoot people on the streets so now you go into the church when people are praying.”
 

Rand Paul Claims That His Personhood Bill Is Merely Meant To Start A 'Debate'

Sen. Rand Paul was the chief sponsor in the last Congress of a “personhood” bill that would have granted full constitutional rights to zygotes, thereby banning all abortions, in-vitro fertilization, and even possibly common forms of birth control. But for someone who champions an unambiguously anti-abortion plan, Paul has been curiously unwilling to talk about it in a straightforward manner.

In his communications with anti-abortion activists, Paul has taken a hard line, writing in a fundraising email for one pro-personhood group that his Life at Conception Act would “collapse” Roe v. Wade without even needing a Constitutional amendment and telling another Religious Right group that American civilization won’t “endure” without ending all abortion.

“Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over,” he enthusiastically declared in an email for the pro-personhood National Pro-Life Alliance. “Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it.”

But to the mainstream media, Paul has been more circumspect, claiming that the no-exceptions abortion ban he sponsored would have “thousands of exceptions,” saying that the country is too divided to change any abortion laws, and opining that laws about the very procedure that his bill would attempt to ban nationwide would be best left up to the states.

Paul took the obfuscation tack again in an interview last week with the Catholic television network EWTN, responding to news anchor Raymond Arroyo’s question about his Life at Conception Act by saying that the goal of the bill is to merely “drive the debate about when life begins” and to make liberals talk about abortion.

“We get trapped by the other side, the liberals who always want to talk about the very beginning of gestation,” he said. “And I think it’s important to want to talk about and make them express their opinion that a six-, seven-, eight-pound baby has no rights. But I believe for religious and scientific reasons that life begins at the beginning, otherwise we just keep finding an arbitrary time.”

Paul has won praise from anti-choice activists for trying to turn criticism of his extreme anti-abortion policies back on liberals. But he can hardly claim to be starting a “debate” when he won’t even cop to what his true policy position is.

President Mike Huckabee Will Outlaw Abortion By Executive Fiat

At a campaign stop in Iowa last week, Mike Huckabee elaborated on his pledge to outlaw all abortion by declaring legal “personhood” for fertilized eggs and fetuses, telling the audience at a town hall event that if he is elected president, he will simply start operating as if zygotes have full constitutional rights. If anyone were to have a problem with that, he said, they could challenge him in the courts. (Whether or not he would actually abide by a court ruling is still an open question.)

“As president, I would say, ‘We will protect every person,’” Huckabee said in Waukee, Iowa. “And I know that would just send shockwaves. There would be lawsuits immediately. Fine. Let there be. Let’s let this now work its way, but from the position, instead of being where we defend the killing of 60 million babies since 1973…let us now operate on the principle that it is not okay and let them fight for the right to take those baby’s lives, let them tell us when that person becomes a person, let us argue their point of the unrestricted right to deny life and liberty to that person.”

The former Arkansas governor added that he would feel compelled to make such a move — which would criminalize abortion in all cases and could threaten common forms of birth control — because otherwise he couldn’t continue to ask God to bless America.

“We’ve never had a president who was willing to go there,” he said. “Well, I’m not just willing. If I’m elected, I will go there. And the reason why is because I don’t believe I can honestly make a speech and end it by saying ‘God bless you and God bless America’ if we are committing such savagery as the infanticide that we have continued to slaughter so many unborn children.”

Huckabee went on to reiterate his hope to see Planned Parenthood “criminally prosecuted” and “go out of business” because “we simply are protecting the people that they used to take money to end their lives.”

The Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts posted the comments on its YouTube page:

Santorum: 'Poisonous, Wretched, Cancerous' Abortion Rights Creating Another Holocaust

Speaking at an anti-Planned Parenthood rally in Iowa on Saturday, Rick Santorum compared the “poisonous, wretched, cancerous” legalization of abortion in America to the Holocaust, saying that both were “based on a lie.”

Santorum told the rally that he had recently read the book “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews and thought it applied just as easily to legal abortion as to the Holocaust.

“The title of the book is ‘How Do You Kill 11 Million People?’ He could have retitled it ‘How Do You Kill 55 Million People Here In America?’” he said. “This book is about the Holocaust. And you know what his answer was, in one simple sentence? How do you kill 11 million people? You lie to them. Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry, Roe v. Wade, all of it is based on a lie about when a child becomes a human being.”

“We see the poisonous, wretched, cancerous result of that lie,” he continued. “Every lie, we all know, we tell our kids that when you lie that one lie leads to another lie, and another one, and another one, and pretty soon you just have this poisonous web that you can’t get out of. That’s where we are.”
 

 

Linda Harvey: 'It's A Very Dark And Black Place That We’re Heading For' As God Judges America For Gay Rights

Mission America’s Linda Harvey stopped by the radio program hosted by Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith last week, where the two warned that God’s judgment is already beginning to befall America thanks to gay pride parades and Planned Parenthood.

Smith told Harvey about a recent promotional video put out by the Cuyahoga County GOP that features some vaguely rainbow colors in the background, which she found “very upsetting,” along with the failure of Republican leaders in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Well, you know, and many people would say that the signs are all here that we are reaping some of God’s judgment,” Harvey agreed. “I believe that the fact that we are being shown in no uncertain terms what abortion is all about, what homosexuality is all about — they’re parading down our streets, we have hundreds of thousands of people that come to the Columbus gay pride parade, and you can see what they’re parading, it’s horrendous. And the Boy Scouts are now on board with this and they’re in these parades.”

“People should open their eyes,” she warned, “and if they’re not willing to, God is just going to give us what the majority of America, what we want, and it’s a very dark and black place that we’re heading for.”

Later in the interview, Harvey warned that opponents of gay rights might soon be forced to go to jail.

After Smith declared that “we will be persecuted and we are being persecuted,” Harvey advised listeners to “start thinking about where you will draw the line, at the workplace and schools, because you will be asked and God will be watching all of us.”

“It is going to cost,” she said. “Not simply reputation, but it may cost you a job or money. Down the road, it may cost people their freedom, there may be jail involved.”

Smith compared the future jailing of gay rights opponents to the arrests of anti-abortion protesters: “the same thing that happened in the pro-life movement, many people went to jail because they refused to accept what was going on.”

Lawyer Behind Smear Videos: Planned Parenthood's Legal Tissue Donation 'Reminiscent' of 'Nazi Gas Chambers'

Catherine Short, the head of an anti-choice legal group that worked closely with the Center for Medical Progress in its release of a series of videos smearing Planned Parenthood, compared the women’s health group’s legal fetal tissue donations to “Nazi death chambers” in an interview Wednesday with End Times radio host Rick Wiles.

“It’s reminiscent of, you know, with the Nazi gas chambers where it wasn’t enough to kill thousands of innocent people, then they robbed their bodies afterwards,” Short, director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, told Wiles on his “Trunews” program. “And that’s the difference between this and, you know, the organ donation after death, or something like that, is that, you know, these are the people who caused the death and then they’re profiting off of it.”

“There really isn’t anything else to compare it to other than the Nazi death chambers. Planned Parenthood is on the same level as the Nazis,” Wiles agreed.

Wiles, livid about the temporary restraining order barring the release of two more of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos, argued that “the judge should have been threatening to imprison Stem Express,” a tissue supplier to medical researchers, “for trafficking in human body parts. This should have been the other way around. The judge should have been telling Stem Express, ‘I’m gonna have you locked up for trafficking in human body parts.’ Instead the judge is covering for them.”

“In my opinion, the state police in every state of America should be raiding Planned Parenthood facilities. They should just be conducting SWAT team raids on them,” Wiles advised.

“These are baby killers in there, chopping up babies, using tweezers to pick through their flesh, and taking out their organs and selling their organs,” Wiles continued. “I mean, if you did this any place else other than a Planned Parenthood facility, you would have a SWAT team inside your building.”

Ted Cruz Renews Pledge To Support Radical Personhood Amendment

Georgia Right to Life, one of the most outspoken proponents of the movement to grant legal “personhood” to fertilized eggs and fetuses, has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for president after he signed their candidate pledge promising to “support a personhood amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

GRTL’s pledge, which the group says Cruz signed, asks candidates to affirm that “a continuum of human life and personhood begins at the moment of fertilization” and promise to protect “the civil rights of the pre-born at an embryonic or fetal level.” In practice, personhood would not only criminalize all abortions, it could also endanger some common forms of birth control and put women who have suffered miscarriages at risk of prosecution.

The Georgia group’s advocacy of sweeping personhood measures to ban abortion is so radical that it caused it to split from the National Right to Life Committee. 

When Cruz was running for Senate in 2012, he promised another personhood group that he would cosponsor the Life at Conception Act, a personhood bill that seeks to ban all abortions and even some types of birth control through legislation rather than a constitutional amendment. When Cruz’s presidential rival Rand Paul introduced the bill, however, Cruz never signed on as a cosponsor.

Here is a photo of Georgia Right to Life's Joshua Edmonds presenting Cruz with what appears to be GRTL's endorsement:

 

 

Marco Rubio's Fetal Personhood Argument In Disguise

In last week’s GOP presidential debate, Mike Huckabee made an explicit argument in favor of radical fetal personhood laws, claiming that Congress could pass a law granting rights to fertilized eggs and fetuses under the 14th and Fifth Amendments, thus criminalizing all abortion and possibly common forms of birth control in one fell swoop.

But one of Huckabee’s fellow candidates made a very similar comment, which has received less attention because he did not explicitly acknowledge the personhood movement. Here’s what Marco Rubio said when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked about his support for abortion bans that have contained exceptions for survivors of rape and incest, a deal-breaker for personhood proponents:

Kelly: You don’t favor a rape and incest exception?

Rubio: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.

And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.

As Katie McDonough at Fusion pointed out, Rubio’s answer was a “roundabout” personhood argument.

By saying that the Constitution already entitles fertilized eggs and fetuses to “the protection of our laws” and that Congress merely needs to “pass a law” stating that “says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection,” Rubio seems to be arguing for a personhood bill such as that proposed by fellow GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul in the Senate. (Personhood proponents believe that there is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that allows a ban on all abortions and some common forms of birth control to be accomplished legislatively, rather than through a constitutional amendment.)

However, Rubio did not sign on as a cosponsor of Paul’s bill. And the Florida senator has supported abortion bans containing rape and incest exceptions, although he clarified after the debate he did so out of political necessity, not because he supports such exceptions.

Even anti-choice activists are unclear about what Rubio meant in his answer to Kelly. The Christian Post thinks that Rubio was taking the same position on Personhood as Huckabee. Personhood USA, the group behind state-level personhood ballot measures, was more skeptical, writing that while Rubio expressed a “noble sentiment,” he must “repent” for supporting laws containing rape and incest exceptions and “will have to clarify” his position.

What is clear is that Rubio’s answer was calculated to appeal to radical anti-choice activists without being immediately off-putting to viewers who are terrified of fetal personhood laws. Beyond that, he should be asked to clarify what his position on personhood really is.

Huckabee Goes All In On 'Equal Protection' And 'Due Process' For Zygotes

In a field of GOP presidential candidates who spent a good part of their first presidential debate trying to out-extreme each other on the issue of abortion restrictions, Mike Huckabee is trying to stand out by going all in on the idea of fetal personhood, which would criminalize abortion under all circumstances and could even ban common forms of birth control. 

As we noted last week, Huckabee seems to have gotten behind the idea that fertilized eggs and fetuses can be granted equal protection and due process rights under the 14th and Fifth Amendments through simple legislation, rather than a constitutional amendment, a legal theory that is disputed by even some major anti-choice groups.

Although Huckabee remains vague on how he would go about granting constitutional rights to zygotes, he seems to have decided that talking about fetal personhood — an idea so unpopular that it has been repeatedly rejected by voters, even in the deep-red states of Mississippi and North Dakota — is his ticket to the GOP nomination.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, Huckabee said that the personhood issue is what “separates” him from the other GOP candidates (despite the fact that Rand Paul sponsored a personhood bill in the Senate). He also explicitly rejects the anti-choice movement’s strategy of chipping away at abortion access, saying that although he does want to "eradicate Planned Parenthood," the GOP also needs “to ratchet up this discussion.”

I think it’s time for us to realize that this is not just about us creating a few little restrictions here and there, stopping funding for various organizations. That’s all good, and I’ve been a part of those efforts, signed every piece of legislation imaginable as a governor when I was in Arkansas, helped pass a human life amendment in Arkansas to our state constitution before I even got involved in politics. But I think now that we really need to focus on that this is about personhood, this is about, is that baby a human being? Because if it is, then, David, we have a constitutional responsibility under the Fifth Amendment for due process, we have a responsibility under the 14th Amendment for equal protection, to provide a protection and due process for that person.

So I think we need to ratchet up this discussion and make it not so much about whether we’re going to fund a particular Planned Parenthood organization — which certainly doesn’t need to be funded, they’re butchers, they should have not tax dollars whatsoever. But even if we eradicate Planned Parenthood, you still have 4,000 babies a day that are dying, so why don’t we take the issue where it really belongs, and that’s personhood.

And the one thing that I think separates me from the other candidates, all of whom are pro-life, or they say they are, is that I think it’s time to invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment and make this an issue of personhood and start protecting innocent life, that’s how we should be approaching this.

The Activists And Ideology Behind The Latest Attacks On Planned Parenthood

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

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/7/15

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