Reproductive Health

After Week Of Sexist Meltdowns, Anti-Choice Activists Stick With Candidate Who Once 'Disgusted' Them

In late January, just days before Iowa caucus-goers cast the first votes of the presidential nominating contests, a coalition of leading women in the anti-abortion movement issued a scathing open letter urging Republican voters "to support anyone but Donald Trump." They cited what they saw as Trump's lack of commitment on their key issue, including their doubts about whether he would nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, help them to defund Planned Parenthood, or pick a vice president friendly to the anti-abortion cause.

But the letter ended with something more personal: an indictment of Trump's appalling treatment of women.

Moreover, as women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular. He has impugned the dignity of women, most notably Megyn Kelly, he mocked and bullied Carly Fiorina, and has through the years made disparaging public comments to and about many women. Further, Mr. Trump has profited from the exploitation of women in his Atlantic City casino hotel which boasted of the first strip club casino in the country.

America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women. We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either. Therefore we urge our fellow citizens to support an alternative candidate.

Signing the letter were Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser and her SBA colleagues Jill Stanek and Marilyn Musgrave, former National Organization for Marriage leader Maggie Gallagher, activist Star Parker, Concerned Women for America founder Beverly LaHaye and CWA president Penny Nance.

Many of these activists have tried to paint the anti-abortion movement as a feminist, woman-centered endeavor and portray Planned Parenthood and Democrats as the true enemies of women.

Eight months later, several of the women who signed the letter are supporting Trump’s candidacy and a few are even “pro-life” advisers to his campaign.

What changed?

Certainly not Trump. Yesterday the Associated Press published a story detailing Trump’s history of demeaning treatment of women on the set of his reality show “The Apprentice”:

During one season, Trump called for female contestants to wear shorter dresses that also showed more cleavage, according to contestant Gene Folkes. Several cast members said Trump had one female contestant twirl before him so he could ogle her figure.

Randal Pinkett, who won the program in December 2005 and who has recently criticized Trump during his run for president, said he remembered the real estate mogul talking about which female contestants he wanted to sleep with, even though Trump had married former model Melania Knauss earlier that year: "He was like 'Isn't she hot, check her out,' kind of gawking, something to the effect of 'I'd like to hit that.' "

Former producer Katherine Walker said Trump frequently talked about women's bodies during the five seasons she worked with him and said he speculated about which female contestant would be "a tiger in bed."

A former crew member who signed a non-disclosure agreement and asked not to be identified, recalled that Trump asked male contestants whether they would sleep with a particular female contestant, then expressed his own interest.

"We were in the boardroom one time figuring out who to blame for the task, and he just stopped in the middle and pointed to someone and said, 'You'd f... her, wouldn't you? I'd f... her. C'mon, wouldn't you?'"

The person continued: "Everyone is trying to make him stop talking, and the woman is shrinking in her seat."

This story came just days after Trump, in the first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton, defended his history of comments demeaning women by saying that one object of those comments, Rosie O’Donnell, “deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.” At the same debate, Clinton got under Trump’s skin by bringing up his treatment of Alicia Machado, the Miss Universe winner whom he reportedly called “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” Trump responded the next day by explaining that Machado had “gained a massive amount of weight.” Then, a few days later, Trump took to Twitter in the middle of the night to call Machado “disgusting” and urge Americans to “check out” her nonexistent “sex tape,” only for it to be revealed that Trump himself was featured in a 2000 pornographic film by Playboy.

It was between the debate and the “sex tape” tweet that Trump’s campaign announced the formation of a “pro-life advisory council” that would work to help solidify social conservative support for the GOP nominee. The council, as had previously been announced, would be led by Dannenfelser. Its members would include Nance and Stanek, both of whom signed the anti-Trump letter with Dannenfelser back in January.

Some of the signers of that January letter have held firm, notably Gallagher, who wrote in The National Review in May that it would be “just too degrading” to support Trump. “If you join Team Trump,” she wrote, “you have to swallow not just what Trump has done and said but the next thing he will say or do. Truthfully, I think he lost me in March, when all it took was just a little prodding from little Marco to get the man to discuss his genitals on national TV. I don’t know what insulting, immoral, gross thing he will say next.”

Gallagher’s observation has held true, as Trump’s supporters have, again and again, had to put up with “the next thing he will say or do.”

But for the core of Trump’s new anti-choice team, his new promises to nominate justices who would overturn Roe and to sign a bill defunding Planned Parenthood and his pick of anti-choice hero Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate seem to have erased any concerns about his “disgusting” treatment of women—even as he continues what they once called his “disparaging public comments.”

The anti-choice movement is increasingly attempting to portray itself as “pro-women” rather than just anti-abortion. The support of activists like Dannenfelser for Trump, even after he gets caught in sexist meltdown after sexist meltdown, shows that for much of the movement this “pro-women” rhetoric is just window dressing.

Trump Names 'Pro-Life Advisory Council' In Attempt To Reassure Anti-Choice Movement

Donald Trump’s campaign has given the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody a sneak peek at the members of a “pro-life advisory council” that the candidate is set to introduce today. Earlier this month, Trump sent a letter to “pro-life leaders” laying out a number of promises that he would make to their movement and announcing that Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the anti-choice electoral group Susan B. Anthony List, would spearhead the new anti-abortion coalition for his campaign.

Trump has given the anti-abortion movement some serious heartburn during his campaign as he’s continually reshaped his position on the issue and bungled their talking points, including at one point saying that women should face “some form of punishment” for abortion if the procedure is recriminalized. But since earning the Republican nomination, he’s started to win over many skeptical anti-abortion leaders with promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who share their views and to help them dismantle Planned Parenthood.

Brody writes that the full list released today “may indeed give comfort to those remaining evangelicals who are having a tough time making their way to the voting booth this Election Cycle.” Indeed, while Trump has attempted to say different things about abortion rights to different audiences, this new coalition shows that he is ready to go all-in with a movement that ultimately wants to ban the procedure without exception.

On the new list of Trump’s anti-choice allies are a number of legislators who have taken the lead on fighting abortion rights in Congress, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who led the House select committee investigating Planned Parenthood, Rep. Diane Black, Rep. Trent Franks and Rep. Chris Smith. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is on the list, as is Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

Also joining the new coalition are Religious Right activists including Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council; Gary BauerRalph Reed; the American Principles Project’s Frank Cannon; Bill Dallas of United in Purpose; Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance; C-FAM’s Austin Ruse; and Ed Martin, head of the late Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, who is apparently sympathetic to many of Trump’s views.

The list also includes anti-abortion activists Day Gardner of the National Black Pro-Life Union, Kristan Hawkins of Students for LifeAlveda King and Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and former Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest, who now works for Bauer’s American Values.

Dannenfelser has made no secret of the fact that she eventually wants to ban abortion without exception (except for a narrow exemption for saving a woman’s life) and her group opposes some common forms of birth control, claiming that they cause abortions. Many of the activists in Trump’s new coalition have similarly extreme views and are confident that Trump will let them have their way.

Ruse, who works at the United Nations to attempt to stop the adoption of language friendly to LGBT equality and reproductive rights, has declared, for instance, that “comprehensive sexuality education” is “a phrase created in the pits of hell by wicked individuals who wanted to undermine the family and ultimately destroy any institution that stands between the family and the state.” After meeting with Trump earlier this year, Ruse said that the GOP candidate “doesn’t care about” reproductive rights and therefore will “let our side do exactly what we want to do.”

Others have presented different reasons for supporting Trump. Priests for Life’s Pavone, who has said that legal abortion is worse than terrorism, has been somewhat lukewarm about Trump but has argued that Trump’s promises on abortion overcome any other faults he might have.

In response to a caller to a Catholic radio program who said that Trump’s stances on things like nuclear warfare and going after the families of suspected terrorists aren’t exactly pro-life, Pavone said that the potential of Trump dropping an atomic bomb is less dangerous than the certainty of Hillary Clinton continuing the “raging holocaust” of legal abortion. On another radio program, Pavone argued that it is more important that a candidate be “right on abortion” than on “poverty, immigration, war and peace, homelessness [and] health care.”

Pavone, after Trump said he supported punishing women who have abortions, floated the possibility of legal punishments for abortion “accomplices,” such as the person who brings a woman to a clinic.

Pavone’s Priests for Life colleague, Alveda King, also has some extreme views on reproductive rights, including alleging that “chemicals and things” in birth control make women infertile and that Planned Parenthood gives women contraception in order to give them breast cancer.

Other activists in Trump’s coalition have been leaders of the effort to chip away at abortion access by attempting to regulate abortion providers out of existence. When Yoest was at Americans United for Life, she was at the forefront of what she called this “stealth strategy” of “trench warfare and gaining ground under the radar.”

Trump's New Pro-Life Adviser Doesn't Want To Talk About Contraception

Yesterday, The Telegraph published a largely sympathetic profile of Marjorie Dannenfelser, the anti-choice leader who is now heading up Donald Trump’s new “pro-life coalition.” Dannenfelser’s organization, the Susan B. Anthony List, is apparently pleased with the article and has been promoting it to its email list.

As The Telegraph notes, Dannenfelser is one of the best messengers the anti-choice movement has, intent on avoiding topics and tone that might make the movement look bad.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that when The Telegraph asked her about her stance on contraception, a critical topic in a movement that has differing views on where the line between contraception and abortion stands, Dannenfelser declared that the question was “not relevant”:

As a result, she doesn't want to speak about her views on contraception: apparently "it’s not relevant" and she is "not interested in talking about it".

A follow-up request to the SBA List spokesperson reveals why: the organisation is opposed to some kinds of birth control – namely, IUD coils and the morning after pill – because in both instances, there’s a chance they could prevent a fertilised egg from implanting.

As The Telegraph notes, SBA List does take a stance on contraception. The Guttmacher Institute reported in 2014, “SBA List has routinely referred to emergency contraceptives as ‘abortion drugs’ and describes the copper IUD as causing ‘early abortion.’” This view was critical to the group’s support for Hobby Lobby, which claimed that a requirement that it insure such contraception methods amounted to support for abortion.

Dannenfelser also repeated to The Telegraph her view that abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions except to save the life of a pregnant woman:

So what would her ‘perfect abortion bill’ look like?

“It would have an exception for the life of the mother only," she says, eventually, before her pragmatism rears its head. "But we’re not living a perfect world, and I have also been behind bills that have included the rape, incest and life of the mother exception."

Dannenfelser told the paper that she trusts Trump “immeasurably” (a change from her assertion during the presidential primaries that she was “disgusted” by his treatment of women), specifically citing his pledge to nominate foes of abortion rights to the Supreme Court.

Rep. Trent Franks: Civil War Started Because 'The Left Was So Committed' To Slavery

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., compared legal abortion to slavery on Friday, insisting that it was in fact “the left” in America that started the Civil War because “the left was so committed” to slavery.

Franks made the remarks while speaking with Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, who was guest-hosting the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program.

When Piper asked Franks about President Obama’s opposition to so-called “born-alive” bills that are a favorite of anti-choice activists, Franks responded that the president “knows that if this country ever wakes up and realizes that we’re in the center storm of the greatest human genocide in the history of humanity, what we’re doing to unborn children and newborn children, that there won’t be a Democrat left standing in the northern hemisphere… in an election, that is, if there’s ever a realization of what the Democrat Party has stood for.”

“It’s so sad, because we’re just not students of history, Doctor,” he continued. “You know, the left gets very angry when we use the slavery parallel, but the parallel is so profoundly appropriate. Because the Supreme Court said in Dred Scott that the slave was not a person, that they were chattel, and you could do whatever you want.

“And there were a group of people, they called them Republicans, they began to coalesce as a new party, that said, no, these slaves are children of God and we as Americans stand for the notion that we’re all created equal and that includes slaves. And we stood up for them and the left was so committed to it that it precipitated a bloody civil war and we ended up shooting ourselves to doll rags. That’s how committed an irrational conclusion can become when there is an investment of these kinds of political proportions in a certain narrative.”

Franks is far from the first conservative politician to conveniently forget the history of the last half century to declare that today’s Democrats are the party of slavery and Jim Crow.

Religious Right Leaders Vow To Defy Laws On Abortion, 'Sexual Perversion' In 'Declaration Of Dependence Upon God'

A group of Religious Right activists, including prominent advocates of dominionism, have joined together to circulate a “Declaration of Dependence upon God and His Holy Bible” in which signers vow to “refuse any mandate by the government that forces us to fund or support abortion” and to “oppose same-sex marriage, polygamy, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion prohibited by Holy Scripture.

Colorado Springs pastor Andrew Wommack, who wrote the pledge, says that he will spend $500,000 promoting it online and in newspaper ads. On Sunday, Wommack’s ministry bought a pricey full-page ad in the New York Times that showed the full text of the “declaration” and some of its most prominent signers.

Among those who have signed Wommack’s pledge, according to the ad, is Religious Right activist David Barton, who has been teaching students at a Bible college run by Wommack to retake the “mountain” of government in accordance with the Seven Mountains dominionist belief that conservative Christians must take control of the seven areas, or “mountains,” of society.

Other signers are Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council; Focus on the Family founder James Dobson; prominent televangelist Kenneth Copeland; leading Seven Mountains advocate Lance Wallnau; prosperity gospel preacher Creflo Dollar; and Kelly Shackelford, whose First Liberty Institute has been at the forefront of the narrative that conservative Christians are losing their religious liberty in America.

Another notable signer is Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm, who earlier this year sponsored a bill to make abortion a felony in the state, which was vetoed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

Among the signers are some prominent supporters of Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Dobson and Copeland are members of Trump’s evangelical advisory board. Boykin was recently one of the retired military leaders to sign a letter supporting Trump, which was promoted by the GOP nominee’s campaign. Wallnau is a member of the “National Diversity Coalition for Trump” who has argued that Trump can help reclaim the “seven mountains” from Satan.

In a video message, Wommack says that he believes he was “divinely inspired” to write the declaration, warning that “Satan is fighting for the heart and soul of this nation.”

Another video promoting the declaration shows Fox News pundit Todd Starnes reacting to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision means gay rights now trump religious liberty. If you think the cultural purging of the southern states has been breathtaking, wait until you see what the activists are about to release on American Christians.” In the video, a young girl turns to her grandfather and asks, “Grandpa, we’re Christians, aren’t we?”

Wommack’s declaration reads like a shorter version of the Manhattan Declaration, a 2009 document that joined conservative Catholic and evangelical leaders in a pledge to commit civil disobedience in the face of the supposed impending government persecution of Christians.

Here’s the full text of the “Declaration of Dependence upon God and His Holy Bible”:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Since our Creator gave us these rights, we declare that no government has the right to take them away. Among these rights is the right to exercise our Christian beliefs as put forth in God’s Holy Bible.

We therefore declare that God grants life at conception and no one has the right to take that life unless it is a direct threat to the life of the mother.

Marriage was instituted by God between one man and one woman. The Lord gave only this family unit the responsibility to have children and raise them in the fear of the Lord.

We therefore respectfully reserve the right to refuse any mandate by the government that forces us to fund or support abortion. We also oppose same-sex marriage, polygamy, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion prohibited by Holy Scripture.

We proclaim that Jesus has provided the cure for all sin and therefore reach out to the sinner in love, but do not embrace the sin, knowing its destructive nature.

Therefore, we, the undersigned—not only as Christians but also believing we have the constitutional rights as Americans to follow these time honored Christian beliefs—commit to conducting our churches, ministries, businesses, and personal lives in accordance with our Christian faith and choose to obey God rather than man.

Frank Pavone: 'More Important' That Politicians Oppose Abortion Than Address 'Poverty, Immigration, War And Peace, Homelessness'

Father Frank Pavone, who heads the group Priests for Life, has been hard at work in radio interviews and event appearances trying to convince Catholic voters to overcome their qualms and support Donald Trump in the presidential election simply because he opposes abortion rights while Hillary Clinton supports them.

This has led Pavone to make some interesting leaps of logic, such as telling one radio caller who worried about Trump’s decidedly un-Catholic stances on issues like nuclear war and war crimes that a possible nuclear war under Trump was less of a concern than the definite continuation of legal abortion under Clinton.

Pavone confronted these issues again in an appearance on Tuesday on the Catholic radio network Relevant Radio, when host Drew Mariani asked him about Tim Kaine’s recent prediction that the Catholic Church will eventually change its position on marriage equality. (Mariani mistakenly said that Kaine also predicted that the Church will change its stance on abortion; Kaine, who is pro-choice, has long discussed his personal “faith-based opposition” to abortion.)

The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Pavone said, “represents a brand of thinking” among some Catholics who talk about social justice issues like “poverty, immigration, war and peace, homelessness, health care” when really abortion is “a more important and weighty issue than all these other issues” and it is “more important that someone be right on abortion than they be right on these other issues.”

In fact, he said, “you cannot be right on these other issues if you are wrong on abortion.”

It was such a disservice to the Church. I mean, he represents a brand of thinking, we find it in the Church, we even find it among some clergy, you know, talk about social justice but ignore the core of social justice, which is the right to life. You cannot be right on these other issues, whether it’s poverty, immigration, war and peace, homelessness, health care—let me make a very clear statement here: Not only is abortion a more important and weighty issue than all these other issues and not only is it more important that someone be right on abortion than they be right on these other issues, but I will say it this way, you cannot be right on these other issues if you are wrong on abortion.

And the reason is, to allow abortion is to allow an attack on what is the core, the heart, the foundation of all these other issues, this is the right to life. If I say a baby’s life can be taken, well then I’ve just said his health care can be taken and so can his education and his right to vote and his right to immigrate and his right to anything else, to be protected from terrorism. What does it mean to say the baby should be protected from terrorism if I can get the abortionist to go in there with forceps and chop his head off? I don’t understand. This is basic logic and the people like Tim Kaine who present themselves to us to lead this nation, not only are they contradicting Catholic faith, they’re contradiction reason and they’re contradiction the purpose of public service, which is to serve the public, not to kill the public.

Trump's New 'Pro-Life' Adviser Wants To Ban Abortion Without 'Abominable' Exceptions

Donald Trump announced today that he is forming a new “pro-life coalition” that will be led by Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List. Dannenfelser, who warned in January that Trump would not deliver on the anti-choice movement’s priorities of appointing like minded Supreme Court justices and defunding Planned Parenthood, has come around to Trump since he became the GOP nominee and began promising the anti-choice movement what it wanted.

Trump’s pick of Dannenfelser to head his campaign’s anti-abortion effort shows just how willing he is to hand his reproductive rights policy over to the anti-choice movement. Dannenfelser is a savvy political operative, but she has also been very clear about her ultimate goal: to criminalize abortion in America, without exception.

When the House passed a bill last year banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with a narrow exception for rape and incest survivors, Dannenfelser said that the bill’s rape exception was “regrettable” and “intellectually dishonest,” saying that she’d like to see all abortions banned at “any stage” of pregnancy. In a press conference, Dannenfelser said that although her group supported the legislation, “the rape exception is abominable.”

Dannenfelser has also held a hard line against abortion-ban exemptions for women whose health is at risk, saying in 2012 that her group would not support a candidate who supported health exceptions.

While Dannenfelser’s ultimate goal is to ban abortion without exception, she has said that the best way to achieve that goal is for anti-choice politicians to avoid discussing those exceptions. After Rep. Todd Akin made his infamous “legitimate rape” comment in 2013, the SBA list started training GOP lawmakers to avoid discussing why they want to withhold abortion rights from rape survivors.

Asked in 2015 what she thought it would take for GOP leaders to fully embrace a no-exceptions abortion policy, Dannenfelser responded, “It’s going to take winning.” She cited anti-choice victories in the 2014 elections where “we had unapologetic pro-life people who didn’t talk about rape and incest.”

During the GOP presidential primary, she attacked Republican candidates who criticized their opponents for holding no-exceptions policies. Earlier this year, her group targeted an anti-choice GOP congresswoman who had delayed a vote on the 20-week bill because she was concerned about a police reporting requirement in its rape exception.

Dannenfelser is also a fierce opponent of Planned Parenthood, saying last year that shutting the women’s health provider down would “liberate” its employees, “whose hearts are so calloused over.”

Later in 2015, Dannenfelser mocked Planned Parenthood’s “gender-based, grievance-oriented politics,” saying that “real women who truly love what womanhood really is” should also be concerned about “equal rights” for men in health care.

“I love men!” she declared. “What about men’s health? I mean, do we have anything to say about men’s health and the particular health problems that men have? Do we ever talk about the ‘men’s gap’ when we’re moving into an election?”

Dannenfelser, however, has been trying to claim the mantle of feminism for the anti-choice movement. The Susan B. Anthony List is named after the suffragist pioneer; Dannenfelser declared last year that “abortion-centered feminism is dead.”

In January, Dannenfelser signed a letter along with other female anti-choice leaders urging GOP primary voters to “support anyone but Donald Trump.” The group claimed both that Trump couldn’t be “trusted” to back them on abortion policy and that they were “disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular.”

Now, it seems, Trump has made enough promises to the anti-choice movement that Dannenfelser is satisfied on the first count and willing to overlook the second.

Mat Staver: Legal Abortion Will 'Bring God's Wrath Down On A Nation'

At last weekend’s Values Voter Summit, the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel distributed a new booklet written by its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, titled “Planned Parenthood Exposed!”

Staver’s booklet is mostly a rehashing of the Planned Parenthood smear videos produced by David Daleiden last year, but it ends on a more apocalyptic note.

Noting that Daleiden based his project on a similar effort by anti-abortion activist Mark Crutcher, who, in the late 1990s, also tried to attack legal abortion with a flawed “investigation” of the practice of fetal tissue research, Staver writes that Daleiden has given America “one more chance” to “bring fetal tissue trafficking to a halt” and “ultimately, to end legal abortion in America.”

If the U.S. fails to take this opportunity to criminalize abortion, he writes, we will face the wrath and judgment of God, just as God cursed Cain after he murdered Abel:

Now, America gets one more chance to make that happen—and it’s crucial we keep pressure on politicians to bring fetal tissue trafficking to a halt. And, ultimately, to end legal abortion in America.

The stakes are enormous—for the unborn, for America and each one of us.

That’s because God is just and will act to avenge the lives of innocents taken by abortion. When Cain killed Abel, God told him, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground So now you are cursed from the earth” (Genesis 4:10-11). Just as Abel’s blood cried out to God for justice and brought a curse on Cain, the blood of more than 58 million precious unborn humans—the most innocent of victims—also cries out to God.

And just as God cursed Cain, so too His curse rests on our nation which protects the right of a mother and her doctor to end the life of her child. The shedding of innocent blood pollutes or defiles a land and will bring God’s wrath down on a nation, as it did ancient Israel

Likewise, the death of innocent preborn infants, their blood spilled (and harvested) in abortion facilities across America, invites God’s judgment on modern America. “The Lord hates…the shedding of innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17) and holds people accountable for what they do to protect the innocent from murder…

Radical Anti-Choice Activist Troy Newman Endorses Trump, Citing His 'Commitments' To The Movement

Troy Newman, the anti-choice activist behind Operation Rescue and the Center for Medical Progress, formally endorsed Donald Trump for president today, writing that “[n]o other GOP ticket in history has made such commitments to the Pro-life Movement.”

Newman’s endorsement is yet another sign that Trump has promised enough to the anti-choice movement to get even the movement’s most extreme activists on his side.

As we wrote in a report on Newman last year:

Troy Newman does not speak in the polished talking points of more prominent anti-abortion leaders. Instead, he pickets in front of schools with posters of aborted fetuses, calls women who have had abortions “murderers,” thinks emergency contraception is also “murder,” and has blamed everything from the AIDS epidemic to the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the current drought in California on God’s disapproval of legal abortion.

Newman has, in recent years, attempted to distance himself from anti-abortion violence, and has never advocated for it directly, but has a troubling history of sympathy for those who take a more violent stand.

Newman’s second in command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who has spent time in prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic. In 2003, after anti-abortion activist Paul Hill shot and killed an abortion provider and his bodyguard in Florida, Newman called Hill a “political prisoner” and said that Hill should have been allowed to argue in court that his crime was justifiable homicide. In a book he published in the early 2000s, Newman wrote that the U.S. was facing God’s judgment in part because the government had “abrogated its responsibility” to execute “convicted” abortion providers.

In a press release announcing his endorsement of Trump, Newman notes that he attended the meeting that Trump held for conservative religious activists in June and writes that Trump’s promise to appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices and his pick of Mike Pence as his running mate were enough to convince him that he will be on the anti-choice movement’s side:

"After examining Trump's position on life issues and his assurances that he will appoint conservative, pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, I am convinced that Trump offers our best hope of pushing back the Culture of Death in America," said Newman. "We know all too well what we will get with Hillary Clinton, and that is more abortion, more tax funding of abortion, and favors for her campaign contributors at Planned Parenthood. A Clinton presidency will result in more dead babies, and this we cannot allow."

Newman understands the moral conflicts some hesitant pro-life adherents have expressed, but warns against sitting out this election or writing in a name with no chance of winning.

"America stands at a crossroads. A Clinton presidency will fundamentally change our nation to the point that is will be unrecognizable to those of us who grew up in the 50's and 60's," said Newman. "Her rabid support for abortion without restriction will create a climate that will make it nearly impossible for us to end the shedding of innocent blood through abortion once and for all.

"On the other hand, Trump has promised to stand strongly for life and appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. His Vice-Presidential running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, is a pro-life warrior who has promised to work toward ending abortion. No other GOP ticket in history has made such commitments to the Pro-life Movement.

Pence: Trump Administration Will Begin Fight Against Abortion Rights On Day One

On Saturday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told conservative activists at the Values Voter Summit that a Trump-Pence administration would launch its fight against abortion rights “from the first day we take office.”

After declaring that he wants to “send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” something Trump has promised to do with his Supreme Court appointments, Pence boasted of his own record opposing abortion rights and ran down a litany of anti-choice policies that a Trump White House would champion.

“The days of public funding for Planned Parenthood are over when a Trump-Pence administration arrives in Washington, D.C.,” he said, referring to Trump’s proposal to veto any funding for Planned Parenthood unless the group vows to do away with its abortion services.

FRC's Agenda For President Trump's First 100 Days: Roll Back LGBT & Reproductive Rights

At a panel at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, activists representing the event’s organizer, the Family Research Council, and other conservative groups laid out what they will press Republican lawmakers to do in the first 100 days of the next presidency.

Under a Hillary Clinton administration, the conservative activists said, Republicans in the Senate should do as much as they can to obstruct her nominees to the judicial and executive branch. If Donald Trump is elected, they had a wish list of priorities for his administration, focusing on rolling back advances to LGBT and reproductive rights that have taken place during the Obama administration.

Mandi Ancalle, the FRC’s general counsel for government affairs, reminded the audience that FRC had helped to shape the Republican Party’s ultraconservative platform at the GOP convention in Cleveland and was hopeful that a Republican president—i.e. Trump—would help to make much of it law.

Ancalle said that the FRC is “working to generate a comprehensive list” for the Trump administration of executive orders, executive guidance and administrative regulations that a President Trump should rescind soon after taking office, and of Bush-era policies that he should reinstate. She said that the group was working with contacts on Trump’s transition team to get their wish list into the GOP nominee’s hands.

Among the priorities that she said FRC is pushing for in the first 100 days of a Trump administration:

  • Rescind the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s guidance assuring that federally funded emergency shelters house transgender people according to the sex with which they identify.
  • Reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which bars U.S. foreign aid from going to groups that provide abortion-related services or advocate for abortion rights abroad, even when those services are not paid for by U.S. government funding. This so-called “ global gag rule” was rescinded by President Obama.
  • Reinstate a rule instituted by President George W. Bush that provided broad “conscience protections” for health care workers refusing to participate in care for religious reasons. According to the Washington Post, the rule “was widely interpreted as shielding workers who refuse to participate in a range of medical services, such as providing birth control pills, caring for gay men with AIDS and performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women.” In 2011, the Obama administration rescinded much of the Bush-era regulation but maintained conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to perform abortions. Ancalle noted that the FRC wants to make sure that new regulations allow physicians not to care for transgender patients by providing hormone therapy and other treatment.
  • Rescind President Obama’s executive order banning federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination.

Although Ancalle did not explicitly name them among FRC’s first-100-days priorities, she also criticized the Department of Education’s guidance on access for transgender students in public schools; the Department of Health and Human Services' contraception mandate; the “completely lawless” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on access for transgender people in the workplace; and President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

She also indicated that the FRC would urge a President Trump to undo the Obama administration’s work pushing LGBT and reproductive rights abroad, saying that the administration has “in some ways become a lobbying organization” and that “ambassadors that are appointed and sent overseas to represent American values have not only kind of flipped on their head what Americans stand for, what you and I stand for, but have really begun to lobby governments in attempting to accept same-sex marriage, in attempting to accept this gender identity dysphoria and attempting to push abortion acceptance and pro-abortion legislation in those different governments.”

She reminded the activists in the room that executive branch nominees—including nominees for ambassador—can be confirmed or blocked by the Senate, and urged the Senate to broadly exercise its power to block these nominees, whoever becomes president.

“It’s important that as we maintain a majority in the Senate that we’re encouraging our senators to not defer to what the president—honestly, whether it’s a Trump or a Hillary Clinton presidency—not to just defer to the president,” she said. “We’ve heard some senators say ‘elections have consequences’ and just put their stamp of approval on any secretary, on any nominee, and it’s really important that senators are out here in Washington, D.C., representing you all as you’re back at home, and representing your views on who those heads of these very authoritative departments and agencies are.”

Anti-Choice Activists With Extremist Ties Given Top Billing At Values Voter Summit

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to address the Values Voter Summit, an annual Washington, D.C., event hosted by the Family Research Council, tomorrow. In doing so, he’ll be sharing the stage not only with extreme anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim activists, but also with activists who are rooted in the radical fringes of the anti-abortion movement.

Trump will address the summit soon after David and Jason Benham take the stage. The Benhams are twin brothers who became Religious Right megastars in 2014 after HGTV cancelled a show they were set to star in following Right Wing Watch’s revelations about their extreme anti-gay, anti-choice activism.

The Benhams’ status as martyrs within the Religious Right has too often obscured the true radicalism of their activism.

The brothers’ activism is rooted in the work of their father, Flip Benham, a North Carolina preacher who took over the anti-abortion protest group Operation Rescue after the infamous Summer of Mercy, in which anti-abortion activists spent weeks laying siege to Wichita, Kansas, in 1991. Benham later changed the name of his group to Operation Save America and expanded its work to include anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism. (The group is now led by Rusty Thomas, although Benham remains involved.)

David and Jason Benham worked closely with their father and Operation Save America but also became activists in their own right. Leading one protest outside a Charlotte abortion clinic in 2013, David Benham told protesters they were standing against the “gates of hell” and the “altars of Moloch.” He has also called abortion “child sacrifice.” David and his wife lead and fund a Charlotte-based group called Cities4Life that leads sidewalk protests outside of abortion clinics and distributes “abortion pill reversal kits.” On its website, the group compares legal abortion to the Holocaust and explains why it uses graphic signs in its protests:

Women are rarely told the truth about abortion. Without the truth, Satan is free to rob, kill, and destroy. It is urgent for these women to know the truth about this hidden evil, done in secret. We must lay bare the demonic lie that an unborn baby is not a human life. When we shine the light of truth about this “legal” procedure, it wakes up the sleeper and moves them to action.

The Benhams continue to associate with the fringes of the anti-abortion movement that their father represents. This spring, for instance, it was announced that they would appear in a movie directed by Patrick Johnston, an Ohio “personhood” activist. In 2008, the Colorado Independent revealed that Johnston had ties to militia groups and once wrote a troubling essay on the website of the violent anti-abortion network Army of God attacking a pastor for criticizing Paul Hill’s murder of abortion clinic doctor John Britton and his bodyguard.

Also speaking at the Values Voter Summit will be David Daleiden, the young activist who’s undercover “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood took the anti-choice movement by storm last year.

Like the Benhams, Daleiden’s work is rooted in the fringe world of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement. Troy Newman, who runs the group now called Operation Rescue—which has been in a years-long feud with Flip Benham’s Operation Save America over its name—helped Daleiden to get his project off the ground. Newman, who moved his group to Wichita in 2002 in order to go after Dr. George Tiller, who was later assassinated, has written that the U.S. government has “abrogated its responsibility” to execute abortion providers and argued that a man who murdered an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that the homicide was justifiable. Newman’s second-in-command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who has spent time in jail for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

The Benhams and Daleiden have both been embraced by the “mainstream” Religious Right despite their roots in the radical fringes of the anti-choice movement. And now all three are speaking alongside the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

Ohio Activists Petition To Classify Abortion As 'Aggravated Murder'

Activists in Ohio have filed a petition with Attorney General Mike DeWine seeking to put a constitutional amendment on the state’s ballot that would classify abortion as “aggravated murder.”

The proposed amendment would “prohibit abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception, and [classify] it as aggravated murder in the State of Ohio.” Its authors claim that it would not affect “genuine contraception” or “IVF procedures that respect the right to life of newly created human beings”—carefully worded qualifications that seem designed to ease public discomfort about the amendment while not actually creating exceptions.

Under Ohio law, “aggravated murder” can be punished by death or life in prison. reports that the amendment petition was submitted by Ohio activists Laura Burton, Anthony Dipane and Dustin Paulson. Although the news outlet reports that the activists are “not connected with Right to Life or other organized anti-abortion rights groups,” the language of the amendment is identical to a bill posted on the website of Abolish Abortion Ohio, a state group connected with the group Abolish Human Abortion. Dipane and Paulson are both associated with Abolish Abortion Ohio.

In a Facebook post about the proposed amendment, Paulson wrote that he and his allies were calling on legislators to ignore “the unjust rulings of an unjust Supreme Court” and “defy the higher magistrates” (i.e. the courts) on the issue:

We're calling our fellow citizens, Ohioans, Christians, to repent of their apathy and capitulation during this war on the unborn.

They've seen their neighbor left for dead and passed by on the other side.

The legislators who are sworn to uphold the Constitution, not the unjust rulings of an unjust Supreme Court, have helped to codify their murders.

Our message is simple and unchanging:

-Repent with us for failing to do for the least of these what we would most certainly have done for Christ.

-Call for, and only for, the uncompromising abolishment of abortion in our state and nation.

-Defy the higher magistrates who have become unquestionable kings in our nation, no matter the cost to state and country.

An Oklahoma bill seeking to classify abortion as first-degree murder this year was similarly pushed by the “abolitionist” group in the state. That bill foundered, but the Oklahoma legislature soon passed another bill seeking to make abortion a felony, which was vetoed by the state’s Republican governor.

Trump Ally: No Voting Rights For Women Using Free Birth Control & Welfare Recipients

Wayne Allyn Root, a Donald Trump admirer who often claims to be in frequent contact with the GOP candidate has led campaign rallies for him in Nevada, said yesterday that people who receive federal benefits such as Medicaid, welfare and food stamps should lose their right to vote, as should women who use “free contraception” under the Affordable Care Act.

Root’s plan would cut a large swath of Americans from the voter rolls: Roughly one in five Americans benefit from means-tested benefit programs, while 67 percent of women with private health insurance use copay-free contraception through the Affordable Care Act (which, by the way, is paid for by insurance companies, not by the federal government).

Root told Virginia radio host Rob Schilling yesterday that much of the energy behind Trump’s campaign, as he discusses in his new book “Angry White Male,” is that the country is “evenly divided between the makers and the takers,” so “the middle class is basically paying, paying, paying and the poor get everything free, and it’s a disaster.”

Root said that he had recently seen a map on the internet showing that if only “taxpayers” had been allowed to vote, the 2012 election would have been “a Republican sweep.”

“So if the people who payed the taxes were the only ones allowed to vote, we’d have landslide victories,” he said, “but you’re allowing people to vote. This explains everything! People with conflict of interest shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you collect welfare, you have no right to vote. The day you get off welfare, you get your voting rights back. The reality is, why are you allowed to have this conflict of interest that you vote for the politician who wants to keep your welfare checks coming and your food stamps and your aid to dependent children and your free health care and your Medicaid, your Medicare and your Social Security and everything else?”

Root quickly amended his statement to say that receiving Social Security and Medicare shouldn’t disqualify someone from voting, but “in general most of the things I just rattled off should preclude you from voting.”

“Social Security should not, Medicare should not, because you paid into the system,” he said. “But all the other stuff, all the other goodies, free Obama phones, free contraception, you know what, you can get them but you shouldn’t be allowed to vote, it’s a conflict of interest. Take that away, we’d win every single election in this country.”

Trump Adviser: God Will Judge America If We Don't Elect Donald Trump

Last month, pastor Ramiro Peña spoke with televangelist Jim Bakker about his role as an adviser to Donald Trump, warning that if Trump isn’t elected president in November, God will judge America for failing to support a candidate who would try to do away with abortion rights.

“When a nation continues to go that direction, it will come under God’s judgment,” he said. “We need to ask God to have mercy on our nation and if we’re waiting for a perfect candidate to come along, don’t hold your breath, we will never have a perfect candidate. People, especially of my culture, say to me, ‘How can you support Mr. Trump when he has said these things?’ Look, I know what the other side looks like and it is so bad. Mr. Trump has said specifically, ‘I will appoint pro-life justices to the United States Supreme Court.’”

Peña added that while Hillary Clinton would hand the Supreme Court over to a “pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage philosophy,” Trump would help the country “get back to the biblical values that founded our nation, a nation that was founded for God.”

Later, Peña cited the writings of Chuck Pierce, a self-proclaimed prophet, to suggest that God is raising up Trump’s candidacy, while Bakker’s co-host Zach Drew cited “prophet” Rick Joyner’s claim that “patriotism is going to win in America” because the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory was a message from God.

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.)

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.”

Jim Bakker: Atomic Strike 'Wouldn't Do Any More Damage That What Abortion Has Done'

Last week, televangelist Jim Bakker declared that legal abortion is a sign that we are in the Last Days, expressing shock that anyone would favor abortion rights.

“People are literally, it’s a big thing in the news right now, they’re having nervous breakdowns over the political campaign,” he said, “because there’s people who feel so strongly on both sides. Isn’t it amazing, people are so strong that they want to kill babies, that they’re fighting for the right to kill babies?”

He added: “If an atomic bomb had dropped on America, it wouldn’t do any more damage than what abortion has done.”

Alveda King: Where Are The Lawyers For Embryos And Fetuses?

Last week, Alveda King spoke with televangelist Jim Bakker about everything from terrorist population schemes to how Hillary Clinton will “usher in the Antichrist,” often returning to the subject of abortion.

After Bakker declared that “the devil loves abortion” and lamented that “the modern woman says ‘I can kill my baby if I want to,’” King asked, “Where is the lawyer for the baby?”

Where is the lawyer for the baby? A woman has a right to choose what she does with her body, where is the lawyer for the baby? I ask mothers all the time, I said, ‘Okay, we’ll give you the right. You don’t want to carry that baby for nine months, just don’t kill the baby. Figure it out. If you can figure out how not to kill the baby and not birth the baby then we can have another discussion. And there is no answer to that. Nine months is not a long time. So we have to know that the baby is a person.

King, an anti-choice activist and Fox News contributor, urged viewers to reflect on the importance of the Supreme Court, saying that future appointees “must be justices who fear God, who understand that God is not mocked.”

“We’re dealing with emotions in a woman, ‘I don’t feel like carrying a baby for nine months, da da da.’ Well, it’s not always about what we feel, it’s about what’s right,” she said.

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”:

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