Reproductive Health

Anti-Choice Groups Lobbying To Keep Renee Ellmers Off Planned Parenthood Committee

Roll Call reported yesterday on some interesting behind-the-scenes wrangling that’s going on as House leaders convene a panel to investigate Planned Parenthood. The staunchly anti-abortion Rep. Trent Franks, Roll Call reports, is “serving as an informal liaison” between GOP leaders and outside anti-choice groups that are seeking to influence which members are picked for the select subcommittee.

There’s also one GOP congresswoman whom the anti-abortion movement really does not want the Planned Parenthood committee: Rep. Renee Ellmers.

Ellmers, who opposes abortion rights and wants to defund Planned Parenthood, has reportedly been trying to get on the investigative committee, which was created under the guise of investigating the organization’s fetal tissue donation practices.

But Ellmers got on the wrong side of the anti-choice movement earlier this year when she led a group of Republicans who objected to a 20-week abortion ban because its rape exception was too harsh on rape survivors, which she warned could turn off young voters. The House had planned to vote on the bill during the annual March for Life on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. When Ellmers’ objections led the vote to be cancelled at the last minute, anti-choice leaders were furious, and Sen. Lindsey Graham memorably pleaded that he needed “help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape.”

It later came out that anti-choice groups including the Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America had lobbied for the tightened rape exception, which would have only exempted rape survivors if they first filed a report with law enforcement. After the 20-week-ban debacle, the National Right to Life Committee threatened to go after Ellmers “at the polls.”

In the end, House Republicans settled on a rape exception that was only slightly less severe, omitting the reporting requirement but adding a waiting period for rape survivors.

Now, CWA’s Penny Nance is saying that Ellmers “could potentially distract from the overall mission” of the Planned Parenthood committee and Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee is saying that to “reward her with a seat on the special panel would be inappropriate, to put it mildly.”

As we noted earlier this week, the House GOP’s supposed “investigations” of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donation program — the ostensible target of a series of anti-choice smear videos — have quickly turned into an all-out assault on Planned Parenthood and legal abortion in general. The fact that Ellmers — who committed one minor infraction against anti-choice orthodoxy — is now deemed to moderate to be in the panel just underscores that point.

Anti-Choice Leader To Planned Parenthood: 'What About Men’s Health?'

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the influential anti-choice group Susan B. Anthony List, dismissed the women's health gap in an interview with a West Virginia radio show on Tuesday, saying that Planned Parenthood’s talk about women’s health care is just “gender-based, grievance-oriented politics” and that “real women who truly love what womanhood really is” want “equal rights” for men, including a focus on “men’s health.”

“It’s as if men or other people don’t even matter,” WVHU radio host Tom Roten told Dannenfelser in a discussion of Planned Parenthood. “It just seems like a way to get to people is to talk about ‘women’s health, women’s health, women’s health.’ What about the females who are being aborted? What about those women and their health?”

“Yeah, equal rights for unborn women,” Dannenfelser responded. “But, look, I’m with you, Tom. I love men! 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? I mean, real women who truly love what womanhood really is have enough confidence to go ahead and also really love men and truly see that, yeah, really, equal rights. So this gender-based, grievance-oriented politics is something that I hope the Republican Party will not fall into.”

“I’m not going to pretend that women’s health issues aren’t riveting, but so equally are men’s,” she added. “But the things that are so easily manipulated are the emotions that lead to feeding the lies, and we cannot buy into this lie that somehow Planned Parenthood is the central distributor of women’s health in general, they’re simply not. They are a population-limiting organization, that’s in their 990s, that’s their mission, that’s who they are. They’re not centrally positioned to do much beyond that.”

Planned Parenthood’s 990 tax filings, for the record, do state the organization’s mission as “ensuring the provision of reproductive and complementary health care services.”

Newest Planned Parenthood Hearing Shows Real Goal Of House 'Investigation'

Back in July, after a group called the Center for Medical Progress started to release a series of videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials violating federal laws regarding the donation of fetal tissue for federal research, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte launched an investigation into the claims. The CMP’s claims have not been substantiated — six states have so far closed investigations into Planned Parenthood’s practices without finding any wrongdoing — but that hasn’t deterred Republicans in Congress from going full steam ahead in attacking Planned Parenthood anyway.

The House Judiciary Committee has announced the witnesses for its second hearing on Planned Parenthood (the Oversight Committee also held its own hearing interrogating Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards), and the list makes it pretty clear that Republicans have completely lost interest in the CMP’s original debunked claims and are now just going after Planned Parenthood and legal abortion in general.

The witnesses for Thursday’s hearing are progressive constitutional lawyer Caroline Frederickson, along with three outspoken anti-choice activists: Dr. Anthony Levatino, Susan Thayer and Luana Stoltenberg.

While committee Republicans invited to the last hearing two self-professed “abortion survivors,” Levatino, Thayer and Stoltenberg are all representatives of another favorite group within the anti-abortion movement – people who have experienced a “conversion” from being an abortion provider or patient to being an anti-choice activist.

Levatino is a former abortion provider who has since become an activist working with extreme anti-choice groups including Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League; Thayer is a former Iowa Planned Parenthood manager who has also become an anti-choice activist; and Luana Stoltenberg tells a story of getting pregnant as a teenager, becoming “very, very promiscuous” and having several abortions before converting to Christianity and becoming an anti-abortion activist.

These three activists may have interesting stories, but none is at all relevant to the question that the committee is supposedly investigating. Instead, the choice of these witnesses reveals yet again that House Republicans are using the smear on Planned Parenthood not to launch a genuine investigation, but to attack the very existence of legal abortion.

Frank Pavone: Support For Planned Parenthood Would Be Lower If Pollsters Just Lied

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, who has described himself as “close to” the Center for Medical Progress’ smear of Planned Parenthood, argued this week that public support for Planned Parenthood has been inflated because pollsters aren’t lying to poll respondents about the nature of the organization’s federal funding.

In an interview on Ave Maria Radio on Wednesday, Pavone reacted to a Pew poll finding that 60 percent of Americans support federal funding to the women’s health provider by saying that surveys should instead ask, “Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion business in the country, do you believe your taxpayer money should fund those abortions?”

The reason pollsters don’t ask the question that way may be because, under federal law, no federal funding goes to the organization’s abortion services except in very limited cases.

Pavone also insisted that “much of the American public does not even realize that Planned Parenthood does abortions” because “they cleverly hide it in the very title of the organization. ‘Planned Parenthood’ sounds something like you’re in favor of parenthood, not that you’re in favor of snuffing it out.”

Pavone also reasoned that Planned Parenthood must not be interested in providing health care to low-income people because if it, was it wouldn’t attract campaigns to defund it, or something:

If you, Planned Parenthood, really believe that, if you believe that you are so necessary to provide so many good things to people that otherwise wouldn’t have them, then why do you act so irresponsibly doing this immoral things that most of the public rejects, doing potentially illegal things that you’re now being investigated for? If you really consider yourself to be such an important part of society’s service to people, clean up your act! If you think that if you close your doors, all these people are going to be out of services, then shouldn’t you be more careful that the government doesn’t have to come in and close your doors? Stop the immoral and illegal activity!

Mark Crutcher: CBC 'Sold Their Souls To The Devil' By Supporting Planned Parenthood

Mark Crutcher, the Texas anti-choice activist who inspired David Daleiden’s attack on Planned Parenthood , has recently turned much of his attention to arguing that legal abortion is the equivalent of “black genocide.” Crutcher brought his case to VCY America’s “Crosstalk” earlier this week, where he declared that African-American groups that support reproductive rights have “sold their souls to the devil” and “sold their own community down the river.”

Crutcher attacked the Congressional Black Caucus for holding an event in support of Planned Parenthood, saying that it was no different than if they had come out to “celebrate the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party.” CBC members, he said, “have completely sold their souls to the devil and they have sold their own community down the river”:

For these people in the Black Congressional Caucus, who, by the way, have a long history of selling out the black community in a lot of areas, but this one in particular, for these people to come out here now and celebrate this organization would be absolutely no different than for them to come out and celebrate the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party. In reality, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation and the rest of the American abortion industry has done far more to wipe out the black community than the Klan ever dreamed of.

Just to give you an example of that, in four days, the American abortion industry wipes out more black people than the Ku Klux Klan killed in 150 years, and they do that every four days. So these people that you’re talking about, these politicians that you’re talking about, have completely sold their souls to the devil and they have sold their own community down the river because it is politically expedient for them to do so.

Crutcher also took aim at Black Lives Matter protesters who have expressed support for Planned Parenthood, comparing them to freed slaves who “would go into business for themselves and they would buy slaves”:

They are ambitious people who know that their ambitions can only be satisfied by supporting the abortion lobby, the population control people, so they will sell their own people down the river in order to do that. …

During the days of slavery, there were incidences … where slaves would earn their freedom, be set free by some method or another by the person who was their slaveowner, and then those people would go into business for themselves and they would buy slaves. So you would have black, African-Americans who were former slaves who now owned slaves.

Richard Land: Obama's Presidency 'Is A Direct Judgement Of God On America For Killing 57 Million Babies'

Richard Land, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm who is now president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, repeated his claim on Tuesday that Barack Obama’s presidency is “a direct judgment of God on America” for legal abortion.”

“In our society, there’s an idea abroad that unborn babies are not fully human beings and don’t deserve the protection of the law,” Land told South Carolina pastor and radio host Kevin Boling. “That’s resulted in 57 million babies being killed, it’s resulted in a rise in euthanasia and rationed health care to the elderly and a brutalization and devaluation of human life in the United States. And I believe it’s also brought about the judgment of God.

“You know, nobody ever talks about the fact that if you wantonly turn your back on God and you engage in horrific and barbaric activities, God’s going to judge you. I believe that Barack Obama being president of the United States is a direct judgment of God on America for killing 57 million babies.”

Land added that the only reasons “why God has not judged us more severely than he has” is that “we have blessed Israel” and that “in spite of all of our paganism in this country we still provide 90 percent of the manpower and 95 percent of the funding for the worldwide missionary effort of the Christian faith.”

Earlier in the conversation, Land disputed the right-wing conspiracy theory that President Obama is secretly a Muslim, saying that the president is “a very typical example of a 21st century mainline Protestant who has a very cafeteria approach to biblical truth”

He added, however that the president is “sympathetic to a lot of anti-American causes,” citing Dinesh D’Souza’s movie “America,” to claim that Obama has “an anti-colonial bent that he got from his father and he just thinks America is a bad influence in the world, and everything ought to be done to withdraw American influence and to have other influence.”

Troy Newman Claims He Never Called For Executing 'Abortionists.' Has He Read His Own Book?

Troy Newman, the head of the anti-choice group Operation Rescue and a driving force behind the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood, made news this week when he was barred from entering Australia after a member of parliament raised concerns that his extremism “would cause significant harm to our community.”

Operation Rescue is understandably upset with the decision, and is taking advantage of the controversy to gin up plenty of publicity for itself. But the group has also taken exception to some of the Australian MP’s complaints, specifically claiming that Newman has never called for the execution of abortion providers, as MP Terri Butler wrote in a letter disputing Newman’s visa.

Operation Rescue said in a statement:

A pro-abortion Member of Parliament, Terri Butler, sent a spurious letter to Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton falsely accusing Newman of advocating the execution of abortion providers, which Dutton never bothered to fact-check.

Newman has never advocated violence against abortion providers or facilities and has instead adamantly encouraged pro-life activists to work through the legal, legislative, and justice systems to bring abortionists who are breaking the law and harming women to justice.

In fact, as Butler detailed in her letter, Newman said exactly that in his 2000 book “Their Blood Cries Out,” whose 2003 revision includes this passage:

When moms, dads, abortionists are added together, well over 100,000,000 people bear personal bloodguilt for at least one abortion. The doctrine of community bloodguilt found in Scripture further implicates the entire nation. The perpetrators are far too numerous and the bloodguilt has spread too far. We deserve God’s judgment.

In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people. Instead, the act of abortion has been elevated to a “God-given right” and the abortionists canonized as saints. Consequently, the entire nation has the blood-red stain of the lives of the innocent upon its head.

And also this one:

The innocent blood of the New Covenant in Christ has the power to atone for all the innocent bloodshed from the beginning of time to the end, and to purify the whole earth — the land. Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.

Sure, Newman wasn’t advocating the extralegal killing of abortion providers — he’s always been very careful to never quite go there — but he was very explicitly saying that providing an abortion should be a capital crime equivalent to murder. In fact, he was saying that all of America suffers “bloodguilt” for legal abortion because of the failure to punish abortion providers through the legal system.

Whatever one may think regarding the legitimacy of Newman's complaint about being barred from Australia, he cannot simply pretend that he never wrote words that are very clearly written in his book.

GOP Congressman Confused Why Planned Parenthood Gets More Money Than Boys And Girls Clubs

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards spent much of her time at yesterday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on her organization’s federal funding explaining how Medicaid reimbursements work. Planned Parenthood, just like other health care providers that accept Medicaid, receives reimbursements for its health care services for low-income people, excluding abortion services.

Many Republican members of the committee, however, were unable or unwilling to grasp this, including Rep. John Duncan of Tennessee, who demanded that Richards explain why Planned Parenthood gets more federal funding than the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Richards noted that the Boys and Girls Club, which receives some grants from the Justice Department for its youth programs, is not a health care provider.

“Well, I think the cost of providing health care to 2.7 million people, and I very much respect the Boys and Girls Club, but we work like hospitals and other health care providers in being reimbursed directly for services that we provide,” Richards explained. “Again, I think the comparison is a little apples and oranges.”

After Richards explained again how Medicaid reimbursements work, Duncan changed strategies and asked Richards to clarify that she does not “defend the sale of baby body parts.”

Dave Brat: GOP's Planned Parenthood Criticism Just A Ruse To Hide Budget Increases

Rep. Dave Brat, the Tea Party-aligned Republican who unseated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia last year, attacked congressional leadership of both parties last week, claiming that they were encouraging the “little drama” about Planned Parenthood defunding in order to create a “shiny object” to distract from their attempt to jettison the budget caps put in place by sequestration.

“Everyone’s trying to act like it’s this shiny object at budget time with Planned Parenthood or something,” Brat told Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks last Thursday, the day before House Speaker John Boehner announced his retirement. “That’s got very little to do with it.”

“The key question for the press right now is who is in charge of the United States budget?” he said.

He offered one possibility: “[Maryland Democratic Sen.] Barbara Mikulski is in that room, we know that, she is encouraging all this Planned Parenthood drama and all this kind of thing. But those issues are not front and central in the budget process, and we should have debated them in regular order as we were promised. And so I just encourage folks, don’t get lost in this Planned Parenthood shiny object thing, look at what’s really going on, both sides, the Republicans and the Democrats, want to break the budget caps. That’s what this is all about.”

“Is this whole Planned Parenthood thing just like a ruse to get everybody’s eye off the ball?” Fredericks asked.

“Yeah, yes, yes!” Brat answered. “The budget is $3.5 trillion, that is the main game in town, that’s where the power is, that’s where the money is. Think ‘House of Cards.’ What’s it about? Is it about Planned Parenthood or is it about massive power in a $3.5 trillion budget? I mean, anyone knows the answer to that.

“So at the end of the day, the press all unites, blames a few conservatives for this that or the other thing. It has nothing to do with it. This thing has been orchestrated for over a year, over three or four months ago, Hal Rogers, the head of Approps, in quotes said ‘we need more flexibility up here,’ that means we need more spending. There was no videos back then, there was no Planned Parenthood debate back then, the entire budget set-up has been put in play by leadership, and so they need to get us out of it, they don’t get to blame somebody at the end of the day over some little drama.”

GOP Congressman: Planned Parenthood Unnecessary Because 'As A Guy' I Have Plenty Of Options

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., perhaps best encapsulated today’s House hearing grilling Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards when he told Richards that her organization’s services aren’t necessary because “as a guy” he has plenty of health care options in his home state.

Grothman, who presumably receives very good health insurance through his job as a member of Congress, told Richards that “when I look at cities around me that have a Planned Parenthood clinic … usually in those cities, as a guy, I could go to many clinics locally that have all the machines that one would need, all these clinics as far as I know take Medicaid dollars, so you could go to any of those clinics to get any medical service you could.”

“I guess what I’m getting at is if Planned Parenthood disappeared tomorrow in those towns, there would still be three or four or five clinics or hospitals providing all the … medical care you would want,” he said.

Grothman then claimed that Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income people, is “superior care” to private insurance because “without the deductibles and copays it’s usually better insurance than other people have.” Grothman has previously claimed that people who use the public safety net are fleecing taxpayers by living luxuriously.

Richards reminded Grothman that Planned Parenthood’s 22 health centers in Wisconsin serve 65,000 people a year. The claim that other health care providers could easily absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients if it was forced to stop providing care is simply false, especially since many of the supposed “replacement” clinics Planned Parenthood’s critics point to don’t have reproductive health care expertise.

How Abortion Restrictions Can Land Pregnant Women In Jail

In a new paper for the Guttmacher Policy Review, Andrea Rowan explores how the many new restrictions on abortion access, combined with laws criminalizing women who attempt to self-induce abortions, are leading to disturbing cases of women being prosecuted for attempting to self-induce or even for suffering miscarriages.

Rowan writes:

Since Roe v. Wade, a number of women have been prosecuted in the United States for self-inducing abortion under a variety of state statutes, ranging from fetal homicide to failure to report an abortion to the coroner. Recently, the issue has gained greater attention because of several well publicized cases in which women were prosecuted—and even imprisoned—for self-inducing an abortion or being suspected of doing so. Despite claims from antiabortion advocates and lawmakers that abortion restrictions are intended to only criminalize providers of abortion care, some prosecutors have exercised their discretion under current state laws to penalize women who end their pregnancies on their own. Moreover, these laws are even being used to pursue women who are merely suspected of having self-induced an abortion, but in fact had suffered miscarriages.

She notes that this pattern can be seen clearly in El Salvador, where abortion is criminalized and dozens of women have been charged with attempting to self-induce an abortion:

This phenomenon has been playing out for some time and most starkly in other countries where abortion is illegal altogether. For instance, El Salvador has been one of the most aggressive countries in terms of accusing, prosecuting and imprisoning women believed to have medically self-induced an abortion. An estimated 129 women in El Salvador were charged with self-inducing an abortion between 2000 and mid-2011, and at least 26 were convicted of homicide and imprisoned; however, some of these women emphatically assert that they did not know they were pregnant or that they miscarried without attempting to self-induce.

Laws criminalizing “fetal homicide” in a number of states have been an important part of the radical anti-choice movement’s attempt to establish fetal “personhood” with the goal of one day outlawing all abortion and even some forms of birth control. Sociologists Jeanne Flavin and Lynn Paltrow have documented hundreds of cases since Roe v. Wade in which pregnant women have been detained under these and other laws that can effectively criminalize pregnancy.

The Radical History Behind The Center For Medical Progress' Sham Planned Parenthood Investigation

This summer, a group called the Center for Medical Progress began to release a series of videos from an undercover “investigation” which it claimed showed that Planned Parenthood “sells aborted baby parts” for profit.

Since then, those claims have been roundly debunked, but the stir created by CMP’s videos has led to votes on defunding Planned Parenthood in the House and Senate and in several states, multiple House hearings (including one happening right now) and the threat of a government shutdown, and even contributed to the resignation of the speaker of the House.

Although little was known at first about who the Center for Medical Progress was, researchers and journalists quickly traced its ties to a number of radical anti-choice groups, and especially to Operation Rescue, which has existed for decades on the radical fringe of the anti-choice movement.

In a new report released today, People For the American Way explores the ties between CMP and its founder, David Daleiden, and Operation Rescue, placing Daleiden’s project in the history of the “direct action” anti-choice movement’s attempts to harass and intimidate abortion providers and patients.

In a radio interview first reported in the PFAW report, Operation Rescue’s second-in-command, Cheryl Sullenger, who spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for attempting to bomb an abortion clinic, explained that Daleiden approached her organization because he “shared our vision” for bringing “an end to the abortion industry in America” through attacking Planned Parenthood.

The “direct action” movement that Operation Rescue and CMP represent originated with dissidents from the National Right to Life Committee, which after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade was the main organization working to overturn the decision and outlaw abortion through legislation. Early “direct action” protesters abandoned this legislative strategy and instead focuses on attacking legal abortion at its source, harassing abortion providers and patients and sometimes physically preventing women from entering abortion clinics in what became known as “rescue” missions.

As part of this strategy, Operation Rescue now advises activists to use a wide range of methods, including covert ones such as the “sting” operation Daleiden carried out, to gather information on abortion providers (and sometimes patients) in order to harass them at their homes and workplaces or to make their clinics expensive to operate.

One strategy later perfected by Mark Crutcher, who runs a group called Life Dynamics, used sham “investigations” to infiltrate and unnerve abortion providers. One of Crutcher’s investigations attacked the legal practice of fetal tissue donation for medical research; Daleiden has admitted that Crutcher gave him the idea for CMP’s project. The purpose of Crutcher’s investigations was not to shed light on hidden truths, but instead to intimidate abortion providers in order to stop them from offering their services, with the goal of building Crutcher once called “an America where abortion may indeed be perfectly legal, but no one can get one.”

Although Daleiden calls himself an “investigative journalist,” he actually comes out of this tradition of intimidation and harassment disguised as investigation.

PFAW’s full report, “Operation Rescue’s Big Break: How an Organization Rooted in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement Is Threatening to Shut Down the Government,” is available here.

Santorum: America Is 'Never Going To Be Blessed By God' So Long As Abortion And Gay Marriage Are Legal

Rick Santorum kicked off his remarks at the Values Voter Summit today by declaring that the United States will never be a great nation or receive God's blessing so long as gay marriage and the right to an abortion remain legal.

Bragging that he has attended every VVS event since it began 10 years ago, Santorum thanked those in attendance for "standing up and bringing to this city the issues that are at the core of the problems in this country."

"America is never going to be a great country if we're a country that kills our children in the womb, ever!" he said. "We're never going to be blessed by God if we're a country that kills our children in the womb. We are never going to be a great country if we allow for the destruction of the American family, that's what's happened over the last 50 years."

Marco Rubio's Planned Parenthood Whopper Places Him In Far-Right Fringe

There have been several layers of lies that have grown out of the smear campaign that anti-choice groups are currently waging against Planned Parenthood.

The first is the baseless allegation found in the heavily edited tapes that activists calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress have been slowly releasing: That Planned Parenthood violated federal laws by profiting from its voluntary fetal tissue donation program. (Or, in CMP’s words, is “selling aborted baby parts for profit.”)

Those allegations do not hold water. CMP’s videos edited out many instances of Planned Parenthood employees making clear that the organization does not profit from fetal tissue donated to medical research. Several states launched investigations into Planned Parenthood after the videos were released, and every investigation to conclude so far has found no wrongdoing.

The next layer of lie is the claim that Planned Parenthood participates in fetal tissue research in order to turn a profit. This claim, rooted in the anti-choice movement’s years-long campaign to frame abortion providers as a money-hungry “industry” is completely absurd, especially given that just two of the organization’s 59 affiliates and just one percent of its clinics offer patients the opportunity to donate fetal tissue to research.

But the third lie, the truly astounding whopper, is that Planned Parenthood only offers abortions in order to sell fetal tissue for profit. Although this is the thought process that the Center for Medical Progress seems to hope that people will follow, only the farthest-right of the anti-choice fringe has put it into so many words.

Alveda King of Priests for Life alleged that Planned Parenthood makes “a lot of money” by using birth control to give women breast cancer and coercing women to have abortions so they can sell the fetal tissue. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made a similar claim when he suggested that Planned Parenthood opposes the 20-week abortion ban that was blocked in the Senate today because they can profit more off of fetuses in later stages of development: “This suggests why they may have been opposed to bans such as this, these five-month bans, because the longer the pregnancy goes, the more valuable the parts.”

But yesterday, Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida and supposedly “establishment” presidential candidate, gave this completely absurd idea a new platform when he claimed on an Iowa TV news program that women are pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit”:

Yes, not only does Rubio think that women who choose to terminate pregancies are “pushed into” it, but that the providers who are supposedly doing the pushing are doing it solely to protect a nonexistant fetal-tissue racket.

That’s something that we expect to hear from the farthest fringes of the anti-choice movement, not from a presidential candidate.

Planned Parenthood Vote Shows The GOP Can't Sidestep It's 'Definitional Problem With Rape'

The House today approved a bill that would block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood for one year, unless the organization certifies that it will no longer perform abortions, something that it does not currently use federal funds for.

The vote, driven by a smear campaign from anti-choice extremists, was divided mostly along party lines, with the notable exception of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who voted “present.” In a video statement, King explained that he didn’t think the House bill went far enough in attacking the “diabolical” Planned Parenthood, taking particular issue with the fact that the bill would allow Planned Parenthood to continue offering abortions for women who have survived rape or incest:

Leading anti-choice groups have been trying desperately to stop anti-abortion lawmakers from talking about abortion rights for rape survivors after disastrous comments by Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock helped to sink their respective 2012 Senate bids.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, one of the most influential leaders in the anti-choice movement, held trainings to teach Republican politicians how to change the subject when rape comes up. Dannenfelser has been very clear that she opposes rape exceptions in abortion bans, which she has called “abominable,” “regrettable” and “ intellectually dishonest,” but will urge lawmakers to support a bill that has to contain such exceptions for political reasons.

But hard as Dannenfelser and her allies might try to get anti-choice lawmakers to shut up about rape, they face an uphill battle. Although most anti-choice activists oppose rape exceptions, a vocal portion of the movement believes that lawmakers should automatically reject any bill that includes such exceptions.

A 20-week abortion ban that passed in the House earlier this year and will be coming up for a vote in the Senate next week has been mired for years in anti-choice infighting about rape exceptions. Before a version of the bill came up for a House vote in 2013, Republican leaders scrambled at the last minute to add a rape exception to neutralize controversial comments made by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks.

In January of this year, the House was planning to vote on the bill to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but scrapped the plan after a coalition led by female Republican lawmakers objected to a provision that would have required rape survivors to report the crime to law enforcement. An exasperated Sen. Lindsey Graham told anti-choice activists the next morning, “I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape.”

After extensive negotiations, the House finally settled on a bill that includes an exception for rape survivors if they first undergo a 48-hour waiting period.

But, as Steve King’s “present” vote shows, as long as they’re spending time attacking abortion rights, the GOP is going to be stuck with what Graham called “this definitional problem with rape.”

Rep. Trent Franks: Prepare For Judgment For Legal Abortion, Like 'Altars Of Baal'

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., was Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ guest on his “Washington Watch” program on Saturday, where he warned that continued legal abortion “rivals almost anything that happened on the altars of Baal” and will lead to God’s judgment on liberals and on America as a whole.

“As a nation, we are accountable for what we know,” Perkins said, “and we do know now, without excuse, what Planned Parenthood is doing. I tremble for my nation, for this country, to move forward in choosing the wrong path when we now know what is happening in these abortion clinics across the nation.”

“You know, for some reason, and I don’t understand it,” Franks said, “all through history, God has always done His part, but He’s required us to do ours. And He ultimately wins the battle, but what happens in history is oftentimes directly reflective of man’s responsibility or irresponsibility. And for some reason, we are created to be responsible and to listen to God’s foundational precepts. And when we don’t, it brings great suffering on us and upon those we love and upon the greater human family. And right now, you are so right, we have seen the evil of Planned Parenthood and the murder of these little children that rivals almost anything that happened on the altars of Baal. And if we don’t, as a nation, say, ‘No, we reject that,’ I’m afraid we’ll bring great sorrow upon all of us.”

Franks went on to warn pro-choice liberals that if they believe in God, they should be “trembling.”

“You know, I have absolutely every conviction that God is on His throne and He’s going to prevail here,” Franks said. “But in human terms, if Christians and people of good will and people who have a respect for their fellow human beings don’t begin to assert themselves soon, the barbarians are going to overrun the gates.”

“I really fear for” pro-choice people, he said. “Because there are two questions I would ask the left: What if these really are babies? And what if there really is a God? Those are things that if I had to ask in their position, there would be great trembling in my life if I held their position.”

Anti-Planned Parenthood Activist Troy Newman's Terrifying, Woman-Shaming, Apocalyptic Manifesto

The anti-abortion movement has been attempting to remake itself in recent years as a kinder, gentler cause more concerned with women’s health than with the apocalyptic warnings associated with the movement's more extreme fringes. The recent set of videos smearing Planned Parenthood by falsely alleging that the women’s health organization sells fetal tissue for profit are part of this trend.

Although the videos, produced by the so-called Center for Medical Progress, have prompted investigations in several states (none of which have turned up any wrongdoing) and even a congressional hearing this week, they are in fact the product of some of the most extreme anti-choice activists in the country. The group is run by a young and previously little-known activist, David Daleiden, but it appears to rely heavily on the knowledge and resources of its board member Troy Newman of Operation Rescue.

Newman, who now advises activists on how to harass abortion patients and providers in the hope of shutting down clinics, has a long history of championing the most extreme wing of the anti-choice movement.

His ideology is perhaps most clearly spelled out in “Their Blood Cries Out,” a book he published in 2000 and revised in 2003, that attempts to convince Christians to join the abortion “rescue” movement in order to absolve the nation of its “bloodguilt” for abortion and prevent God from destroying America in punishment.

Although “Their Blood Cries Out” is now out of print, it has had some influence among anti-abortion activists. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life wrote the foreword to the 2003 edition. Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion terrorist who killed abortion provider George Tiller after spending time with Operation Rescue, had a signed copy. (There are long passages in the book comparing Tiller to Adolf Hitler.)

“Their Blood Cries Out” is not written in focus-grouped, more moderate language that even activists like Newman are now attempting to use. Instead, it’s an Old-Testament-heavy tirade that calls for the execution of abortion providers, calls women who have abortions “murderesses” and warns of God’s impending judgment on the nation for legal abortion, a judgment that Newman says has already begun through calamities such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the AIDS epidemic.

Newman wrote the book with contributions from Cheryl Sullenger, his Operation Rescue colleague who spent time in prison in the 1980s for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

Here are the six most terrifying passages of Newman’s tour de force:

Execute Abortion Providers

Newman explains that abortion providers and women who seek abortions bear “personal bloodguilt” for their actions, while the nation as a whole bears “community bloodguilt” for failing to stop them — the church through failure to win souls and the government through a failure to prosecute abortion as murder, as he says the Bible commands.

He illustrates the levels of “bloodguilt” with this chart:

Although he never explains exactly what he thinks the civil punishment for women who have abortions should be, Newman directly calls for the execution of “abortionists” as “convicted murderers” who are bringing God’s judgment on America:

When moms, dads, abortionists are added together, well over 100,000,000 people bear personal bloodguilt for at least one abortion. The doctrine of community bloodguilt found in Scripture further implicates the entire nation. The perpetrators are far too numerous and the bloodguilt has spread too far. We deserve God’s judgment.

In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people. Instead, the act of abortion has been elevated to a “God-given right” and the abortionists canonized as saints. Consequently, the entire nation has the blood-red stain of the lives of the innocent upon its head.

He explains that the only way to purify the land is through atonement…or the “lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture":

The innocent blood of the New Covenant in Christ has the power to atone for all the innocent bloodshed from the beginning of time to the end, and to purify the whole earth - the land. Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.

… And Maybe Even The 'Murderesses' Who Have Abortions

While Newman never explicitly calls for the execution of women who have had abortions, as he does abortion providers, he makes very clear that he sees these women as equally culpable for the supposed crime.

He tells the story of a woman in California accused of paying two men $1,000 and some “sexual favors” to murder her husband. Both the woman and the men who executed the hit, he reports, received the same sentence. How, Newman asks, is this different from abortion?

There was no outpouring of public concern from the community declaring her a victim of society. There were no help centers set up to give aid to all future contract killers so that they might find alternatives to murdering their husbands. The churches did not welcome her on the condition that neither of the parties would discuss the crime. There was no legislation brought forward by the National Organization for Women to pardon her and all future murderesses. There was no sympathy publicly expressed for her — only the satisfaction that comes from witnessing justice.

Why, then, do we consider any differently the women who seek to hire killers to murder their pre-born children? Why the hesitancy to say that not only the mothers, but also the fathers who willfully abort their babies, are guilty of murder? Why is there such outrage expressed at the notion that those who know of the crime but do not intervene, like most of the churches in America, share a portion of the guilt?

Who holds the fathers, the mothers, the neighbors, the pastors, and the bystanders guilty? Who would dare?

God can! God does!

By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.

'No Comfort' For Women Until They Admit To 'Murder'

In a chapter titled “Moms Who Murder,” Newman writes that while it may be “politically correct” not to tell a woman who has had an abortion that she is a murderer, that is the only way to lead her to “repentance”:

In our current social climate, it is acceptable to lay blame for abortion at the feet of the abortionists, the social liberals who encourage the abortions, and the law-makers who allow and even pay for them. But the mother is the one person we are not allowed to call guilty. Ironically, she is the one who needs most to see what she has done.

Even in the pro-life movement, rescuers, those who take direct action to save a life, want to call abortion murder, but they are hesitant to call the mother a murderer to her face for fear of offending her and the “politically correct” crowd. By confronting the woman with her sin, our objective is to get her to see the evil that has resulted from her actions. By withholding truthful confrontation from her, we prevent her from being brought to repentance and ultimate restoration.

He continues on the “contract killer” theme:

Those responsible for innocent bloodshed should not be excused or comforted in their sin, yet, as a society, women who have abortions are treated as victims and those who support them in the decision to kill are considered heroes who were willing to stand by their friends or family members during a time of crisis. In reality, the woman is the same as a contract killer, hiring out the murder of her defenseless child, and the supporter is a co-conspirator, aiding and abetting the crime. They believe that their charitable act of lending support will some how make up for their participation in murder. Until they can both face the fact that they bear responsibility for the murder of an innocent child and own up to it, there should be no comfort for them.

'Abortion Is A Sacrifice To Demons'

Newman writes that “in addition to murder, abortion is also a form of idolatry.”

In a chapter called "Baal is Alive and Well on Planet Earth," he explains that like Baal worshipers in the Old Testament, Americans are now engaged in “idolatrous child sacrifice.” Both, he says, are the brainchildren of Satan: “Throughout history the Enemy has been known to take the innocent blood of every boy or girl he can get, whether it is through Baal worship or abortion”

“Dead babies defile our land and God is furious. We must expect to suffer the same consequences as that of Old Testament Israel," he writes, reminding readers that said consequence was "complete annihilation.”

He continues:

The correspondence to today’s society is striking. Our American culture figuratively worships at the altar of Baal and Astoreth. It rabidly promotes and defends with religious fervor a corrupt lifestyle of illicit sex, then aborts the offspring that results, sacrificing them, as it were, upon the altar of “convenience as the sacrament of “Choice.”

The argument can logically be made that abortion is a sacrifice to demons. The evil spirits to which children were sacrificed in the Baal groves are probably the same ones hanging out down at the Planned Parenthood offices!

The nation is being ravaged by a horde of thieves and murderers. Our government school system has been invaded by Midianites who are razing our crops before the children have a chance to bear fruit. The Midianites are encamping all around us, desecrating our land with drugs, homosexuality, pornography, lewdness, foul language, anti-God legislation, prostitution, idolatry, and divorce.

He adds:

Abortionists and "safe sex" proponents are as the prophets of Baal and Ashteroth. Jezebel rules in Congress, Planned Parenthood, and in many of our churches ... Then, as now, sexual immorality leads to child killing. The spirit of Jezebel, embodied in the widespread practices of recreational sex and abortion, is prosperous here in the United States and the Baal/Ashtoreth trade -- as reflected in pornographic films, books, videos, TV, magazines and the Internet -- is big business

It's time, he writes, to "send the likes of Jezebel back to the pit of hell."

9/11 And AIDS Were God’s Warnings About Abortion

After concluding that "judgment for America is a foreseeable inevitability” because of legal abortion, Newman explores what that judgment might look like. He posits that God is already "warning this nation, preparing her for a day of reckoning” through everything from road rage to terrorist attacks to AIDS.

It is possible that America is already within the clutches of remedial judgment. One needs only to analyze the current societal dilemmas to see the hand of God moving upon our land. The historical record of the Bible shows that God chastens before He sends cataclysmic destruction.

Listing a parade of current "societal dilemmas," including the “drug epidemic,” “school shootings,” “unbridled pornography,” “divorce, marital infidelity, and rebellious children,” “terrible violence, from rape to road rage” and “unprecedented terrorist attacks,” Newman writes, “In all of these, it may be that God is showing that His hand of protection is being withdrawn.”

He has more solid evidence that disease and natural disaster are warnings from God:

There is good reason to believe that the root cause of droughts, floods, and wildfires is not global warming but God’s discipline on a rebellious nation stained with bloodguilt. AIDS, cancer, mutated antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and other plagues meet the criteria for being judgments from God… Since Scripture tells us that God places wicked people to rule over nations that are in rebellion to Him, wicked leaders and ungodly Congressional officials are manifestly a judgment from the Lord.

(Newman has recently called the drought in California and other unfriendly "weather patterns" part of God's judgment for abortion.)

But what will the final judgment look like? He writes that "there can be no doubt" that God is preparing an "oppressor" to arrange for the “final and total destruction” of America. Possible God-sent adversaries, he speculates, are "Islamic jihadists," China, or “a world organization such as the pro-abortion United Nations."

If You Disagree, Enjoy Hell

Newman's message to "those who are unconvinced that abortion is wrong, unwilling to admit any responsibility, or refuse to lay down their lives for the cause of righteousness":

Those in that unrepentant state are unable to discern God's heart in this matter and will probably go to their grave blood-guilty, their souls corrupted with the innocent blood of murdered children. They can only look forward to the time when, at death, they will hear the innocent children howling their names in testimony against them, demanding vengeance.

Tony Perkins Blames Economic 'Roller Coaster' On Planned Parenthood, 'Moral Climate'

On his “Washington Watch” radio program today, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins took a call from a listener who asked him about the End Times rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s “Shemitah” theory, which holds that some big event will happen this month as a sign of God’s wrath.

Perkins said that he was trying to arrange for Cahn to come on his show soon, noting that “we’re coming up to that point” that Cahn is predicting.

He then tied the whole thing into attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, saying that business groups were wrong to be concerned about the economic implications if the debate leads to a government shutdown this month because the real problem with the economy right now is “the moral climate.”

“I’ve been giving a lot of thought to that because there are a lot of things converging right now,” he said. "And this goes back to a point I didn’t get to, but those in the business community are really leaning heavy on Congress to not get into this fight on Planned Parenthood that could lead to a government shutdown or could affect the debt limit because we don’t want to in any way affect the economy."

“Well, folks, I’m telling you what, the economy’s going to be affected, if we can’t get the moral climate, the moral foundation of America straight, that’s why our economy is like a roller coaster. There is no stability in our society. Who knows, I mean there might be another riot. We are living in such a volatile time it is hard to predict anything.”

Last month, televangelist Pat Robertson similarly blamed a stock market plunge on Planned Parenthood funding.

Sensenbrenner: If We Fund Planned Parenthood, How Will We Feed Starving Children?

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, used his time at today’s House hearing on Planned Parenthood to demand that the single pro-choice witness at the hearing choose between federal funding of Planned Parenthood’s preventative health care services for low-income women and “feeding starving children.”

“Could you please tell us why Planned Parenthood needs to get over half a billion dollars of federal funding every year when there are other pressing needs, such as feeding hungry children, that maybe we should put that money into?” Sensenbrenner asked Yale Law School’s Priscilla Smith.

“I’d like to know what your priority is,” he repeated, “Planned Parenthood or feeding hungry children?”

When Smith noted that Planned Parenthood’s services, such as affordable contraception, STI testing and cancer screenings, help the “mothers of those children,” Sensenbrenner was baffled.

“How can they be the mothers of the children when children are aborted through Planned Parenthood?” he asked.

Trent Franks: Legal Abortion 'The Worst Human Rights Atrocity' In US History

Today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on what the committee’s Republican leadership called “the horrific abortion practices at the nation’s largest abortion provider” was supposed to amplify the Center for Medical Progress’ recent smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. But seeing as neither a representative from Planned Parenthood nor from the Center for Medical Progress was invited to testify, it turned into a catch-all discussion of various efforts to turn back reproductive rights.

Rep. Trent Franks, the Arizona Republican, used his time at the hearing to call for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and to push his 20-week abortion ban, which passed in the House earlier this year.

Franks said that legal abortion after 20 weeks — a point at which only a tiny percentage of abortions take place — is “the worst human rights atrocity in the history of the United States,” claiming that many fetuses aborted after 20 weeks “cried and screamed as they died, but because it was amniotic fluid going over the vocal chords instead of air, we couldn’t hear them.”

“What is so liberating about brutally and painfully dismembering living, helpless little human babies?” he asked.

Claiming that he was “protecting these little babies and their mothers” against the “evil acts” of legal abortion and Planned Parenthood, Franks declared, “The sands of time should blow over this Capitol dome before we give Planned Parenthood another dime of taxpayer money.”

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