Reproductive Health

Brooklyn Bishop Views Obama as the Anti-Lincoln

Brooklyn’s Roman Catholic Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is out with a column arguing that voters who supported President Obama’s re-election have brought America a “step deeper into the culture of death” and aided “the forces of death.” He claims that Obama “has been a proponent of an expediency that is shameful and criminal in the eyes of Almighty God” and is behind “an assault on the people of faith in our country” through his support for a woman’s right to choose.

DiMarzio concludes that unlike Abraham Lincoln, Obama has not “stood on the side of freedom for all” but instead “stands on the side of political expediency.”

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This Executive Order freed the slaves in the 10 states that were in rebellion. It was not until 1865, with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, that slavery was abolished in the United States.

How far we have come as a Nation that 160 years later we will celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

Yet, we also commemorate the 40th anniversary of our national shame: the lamentable Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy.

The so-called “pro-choice” movement has its roots in the ideology of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who understood her call to be one who would “assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” Of course, a young Barack Obama was precisely the sort of unfit child that Sanger and her allies would want to eliminate.

Tragically, the President has not been an advocate for those young children faced with similarly difficult circumstances. He has chosen to use the bully pulpit not to call upon us all to be nobler and to embrace each child, regardless of origins and circumstances; rather, he has been a proponent of an expediency that is shameful and criminal in the eyes of Almighty God.

The forces of death press on from every side in contemporary American culture. It is clear there is an assault on the people of faith in our country. For instance, there are the current health insurance reforms that were imposed on our Nation obligating Catholic institutions to provide employees with medical procedures and services we believe to be in defiance of the will of God.



In my view, those who voted for President Obama bear the responsibility for a step deeper in the culture of death. Under the cover of women’s issues, we now see an assault on religious freedom and personal conscience.

In our own state, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed the largest expansion of abortion rights in New York State history. The irony is that our leadership is proposing this at a time when increasingly more Americans oppose abortion and support greater restrictions upon abortions. New York State, which already holds the record for the most abortions in our country, is now expanding this culture of death. We may lose, but we will stand up for what we believe.

Some may think my tone a bit strident and even un-nuanced. Maybe the time has come for more direct conversation on these matters, if we hope to preserve what is left of our God-given and Constitutionally-protected rights.

Abraham Lincoln was a man who understood the intersection between politics and nobility. He never would have been able to pass the Thirteenth Amendment in 1863. But he started by freeing “slaves” in the Confederate States with his Emancipation Proclamation.

I would have hoped that the first African-American president of the United States would have stood on the side of freedom for all. Instead, he stands on the side of political expediency. Mr. Lincoln, with great difficulty, put out into the deep and paid with his life. Would that our political leaders today would have some of the same courage.

The Challenge of “Both-And” Policymaking

People For the American Way Foundation’s Twelve Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics is grounded in our commitment to religious liberty and church-state separation, and in the recognition that fundamental constitutional values sometimes come into creative tension.  Where to draw the lines in any particular situation can be a challenge, and even people who generally agree on constitutional principles may disagree about how they should apply on a given policy question. Nothing demonstrates this complexity more than the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure that American women have access to contraception and reproductive health services while addressing objections that such requirements would violate the conscience of some religious employers.

Religious Right groups and their allies at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have for months been portraying the Obama administration’s proposed rules requiring insurance coverage of contraception as totalitarian threats to religious liberty, even after the administration adjusted its initial proposal to address those concerns.  Some Religious Right leaders are sticking with their ludicrous “tyranny” message even after the Obama administration today released a further revision that broadens the number of religious groups that will be exempt from new requirements while still guaranteeing women access to contraception.

In describing the policy proposal, HHS Deputy Director of Policy and Regulation Chiquita Brooks-LaSure told reporters, “No nonprofit religious institution will be forced to pay for or provide contraceptive coverage, and churches and houses of worship are specifically exempt.” Under the plan, women who work for such organizations would have access to no-cost contraception coverage through other channels.

Here’s where it gets interesting: The new proposal won praise both from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Americaand from right-wing ideologue Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who called it “a sign of goodwill by the Obama administration toward the Catholic community.”

In contrast, the proposal was slammed by the far-right Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America – and by Catholics for Choice, which said, “While protecting contraceptive access under the ACA is a win for women, the administration’s caving in to lobbying from conservative religious pressure groups is a loss for everyone.” Catholics for Choice warned that a broadened exemption for religious groups “gives religious extremists carte blanche to trump the rights of others” and that women working at Catholic organizations “are wondering whether they’ll be able to get the same coverage as millions of other women, or if their healthcare just isn’t as important to the president as their bosses’ beliefs about sex and reproduction.”

James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, portrayed the approach as a win-win. “As Catholics United said from the very beginning, reasonable people knew it was right to be patient and hopeful that all sides could come together to solve this complex issue. The White House deserves praise in alleviating the Church’s concerns.”

Leading advocates for women’s heath praised the new approach.  Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood said the group would be taking a look at the details, but said “This policy makes it clear that your boss does not get to decide whether you can have birth control.” A statement from NARAL Pro-Choice America said the group“is optimistic that these new draft regulations will make near-universal contraceptive coverage a reality.”

Meanwhile, anti-choice advocates that have been pushing for rules that would exempt even individual business owners who have objections to providing contraceptive coverage for their employees complained that the new exemption would not extend to private businesses.

Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance said the new rules show Obama’s “intent to trample the religious liberties of Americans” and said, “When religious groups and individual Americans are forced to deny their deeply held religious convictions, it is not called “balance,” it’s called “tyranny.” The Family Research Council repeated Religious Right characterizations of the previous accommodation as an “accounting gimmick.”

People For the American Way believes that the government has a compelling interest in ensuring that women have access to family planning services. Indeed, Dr. Linda Rosentock, dean of the UCLA's school of public health and a member of the Institute of Medicine committee that was part of the review process on the HHS regulations, testified last year that the Centers for Disease Control has ranked family planning as one of the major public health achievements of the 20th Century.

People For the American Way is also deeply concerned about the efforts by  Religious Right groups and its conservative Catholic allies to re-define “religious liberty” in unprecedented ways that would allow groups to take taxpayer dollars without abiding by reasonable regulations such as anti-discrimination requirements – and to allow private employers and others to claim exemption from all kinds of laws based on “religious” or “moral grounds.”

In this case, we believe the Obama administration has acted in good faith to promote the nation’s public health interests while addressing concerns that those policies might burden religious liberty.  Our courts have long recognized that religious liberty, like the freedom of speech, is not absolute, and that policymakers must often balance competing interests. That is what the administration has done.

PFAW

Perkins Recycles Debunked Planned Parenthood Smear

Sometimes you really have to wonder whether anyone on the Religious Right has ever used YouTube before. Last month, conservative news outlets including Fox News and groups like Concerned Women for America jumped on a LifeNews post which alleged that Planned Parenthood was promoting ways to cover-up domestic abuse. They were upset that back in August, a Planned Parenthood-affiliated Facebook page posted a video by a British anti-domestic violence group entitled “How to look your best the morning after”:

Even the author of the original LifeNews article admits that the video, made by the organization Refuge, is a shrewd message against domestic abuse, as towards the end the woman is confronted by her abuser returning home and ends with:

65% of women who suffer domestic violence keep it hidden.
Don't cover it up.
Share this and help someone speak out.

Using the video to attack Planned Parenthood was a bridge too far for one anti-choice blogger, who wrote that “the video is actually a clever, if chilling, parody opposed to covering up domestic abuse.”

But right-wing activists intentionally and flagrantly misrepresented the video, claiming that it was actually a pro-abuse video, while others like Concerned Women for America insisted that Planned Parenthood came up with the video’s title, “How to look your best the morning after.”

Of course, anyone who has used YouTube before knows that the account which uploaded video, not a Facebook page which simply shares it, creates the video title.

That brings us to today’s radio alert from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who unbelievably and almost comically claimed that Planned Parenthood promoted domestic abuse and gave the video its title.

Perkins: Planned Parenthood’s reputation isn’t the only thing taking a beating, so are its teenage followers. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. The abortion industry can cover anything up and their latest video proves it. In the footage, Planned Parenthood coaches girls on looking good after they’ve been physically abused. “I’ve had a bit of a rough time,” says a girl with bruises, “but I’m going to be doing a talk today on how to cover-up.” She shows teenagers how to use makeup to hide the assault. “If you’ve got some bruising,” she says with a choking motion, “you can always pull your hair down to the side or use a scarf.” The tape is from the UK but Planned Parenthood calls it, “How to look your best the morning after.” And this is the kind of education taxpayers are spending millions on? When Planned Parenthood’s not promoting violence against babies, they’re condoning it among teenagers. So if anything should be sporting cuts, it’s Planned Parenthood’s budget.

Seeing that the FRC also opposes the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, we are not at all surprised that it is now grossly misrepresenting an anti-violence video to call for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.

Swanson: Obama's Reelection 'Solidified our Doom' and Empowered 'Softy-Wofty, Weeny Socialists'

On the latest episode of Generations Radio, Pastor Kevin Swanson recounted the Religious Right’s political drubbings last year, especially the failure to defeat President Obama. He claimed Obama’s re-election “solidified our doom” and will encourage the election of “a bunch of softy-wofty, weeny socialists for the years to come.” Swanson maintained that women put Obama over the top because they tend to have “more communist” views. Later his cohost, pastor Dave Buehner, agreed and said Obama “doesn’t have a mandate; he’s got a woman-date. The men didn’t vote for him, it was the women who voted for him.”

They further speculated that TIME had trouble deciding whether to name Obama or North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “Man of the Year” since they are “both committed to Marx.”

Swanson: It solidified our doom, it effectively said there is no way out of this thing at least for the time being unless we get back to the foundations, reconstruct the foundations, which is something we’ve been talking about for a long time. Unless we rebuild families, fatherhood, young men, unless we bring back manhood, a biblical manhood, we are going to be a bunch of softy-wofty, weeny socialists for the years to come. That’s what’s going to happen. It’s going to be the single women that run most of the households in America voting and they almost always vote more socialist, more government, more communist, because they find their security in the state and not in the social structure of that family. Dave, we’re headed in that election. I think the 2012 election really was a turning point for America.



Swanson: The man has tremendous influence. He has got a mandate; he’s got a lot of support—

Buehner: He doesn’t have a mandate; he’s got a woman-date. The men didn’t vote for him, it was the women who voted for him, which is why he’s their ‘Man of the Year.’

Swanson: He’s got a woman-date, big time. You know, the North Korean president got the most votes from the audience for ‘Man of the Year,’ he was a close second. If you had a choice between Barack Obama and the North Korean president, they’re both committed to Marx. They are, think about it. If you interviewed both of them and you said: what do you think about Marx and the redistribution of wealth? Remember what he said on that radio station in Chicago, Barack Obama some ten years ago, he said they should have had redistribution of the wealth in the Constitution. He is so committed to Marxism and so is the North Korean president, but it was a tossup for TIME Magazine.

After attacking Obama’s “woman-date,” they then went on to ridicule Sandra Fluke. Buehner later falsely claimed that the health care reform law included “free access” to abortifacients, and said Fluke didn’t win TIME’s honor because “there’s some question about how ladylike she might be.” Swanson wondered if Fluke is a woman at all.

Buehner: This is the year that we learned that it is a fundamental right for women to get free access and their abortifacients provided free. Sandra Fluke was there telling us how it’s unconscionable that women would have to pay.

Swanson: Time did not make her ‘Woman of the Year’ though; I’d like to point that out. I think that’s a positive.

Buehner: Well there’s some question about how ladylike she might be.

Swanson: So they were like, ‘Man of the Year,’ ‘Woman of the Year,’ we’re not exactly sure.

Buehner: Yeah, you know.

Swanson: I understand.

The Christian Right activists later went on to mock Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was recently hospitalized for a blood clot, with Buehner joking that her recent medical problems were a “dog ate her homework” excuse and that “her tummy’s upset.” Swanson expressed shock that Egypt elected a Muslim president and said that Clinton is elated over the election of a Muslim because “it involves killing Christians.” They agreed that Clinton “might even put on a burka” to put Christian-killing Muslims in power, which makes sense because that’s what any “softy-wofty” would do.

Swanson: The Egyptians placed a Muslim into the presidency, which does not bode well for freedom in America. Dave, I wonder what the Secretary of State of the United States thinks about the election in Egypt. I mean, they were pretty excited about the revolution.

Buehner: They were, the Arab Spring. And Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State was unavailable for comment. It turns out that she slipped on something and maybe banged her head—dog ate her homework. She’s not feeling well, her tummy’s upset and she’s not going to make a comment.

Swanson: It’s a sad, sad day in Egypt.

Buehner: The Muslim Brotherhood, not just a Muslim but a Muslim Brotherhood, we’re talking about the radical jihadists.

Swanson: So Egypt, out of the frying pan and into the fire for Egypt. I’m afraid that a lot of these secularist nations are going to flip-flop from secularism into hardcore Muslimism and that’s not going to be a very nice transition because the Muslims have never really been known to be much kinder than the secularists, socialists and communists that have ruled these nations.

Buehner: No, they tend to be a little on the violent edge.

Swanson: If you were Hillary Clinton and you had a choice between a Christian president and a Muslim president, which would you go for?

Buehner: If I was Hillary? Well Hillary would choose the Muslim.

Swanson: Oh yeah, of course. It involves killing Christians, I mean yeah.

Buehner: She might even put on a burka to get that done.

Swanson: Yeah.

Concerns that Citizens United May Impact Your Access to Birth Control

What does Citizens United have to do with women’s health care?  According to a decision last week from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, perhaps more than you may think.

Just a week after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Hobby Lobby’s petition to prevent enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage provision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals made a ruling at odds with that decision.  Last Friday the panel granted a motion for an injunction pending appeal to plaintiffs Cyril and Jane Korte who run Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, a construction company.  The Kortes had argued that the contraception mandate of the ACA violated their right to religious freedom. 

In other words, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided that – at least temporarily – the company does not have to comply with the Obama Administration’s rules that most employer-provided health care plans must cover birth control.

ThinkProgress’s Ian Millhiser points out that the Appeals Court cited Citizens United in their reasoning, a move that he finds “ominous.” Millhiser highlights a line from the decision – “That the Kortes operate their business in the corporate form is not dispositive of their claim. See generally Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm’n, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010)” – before arguing that:

As a matter of current law, this decision is wrong. As the Supreme Court explained in United States v. Lee, “[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.” Lee established — with no justice in dissent — that religious liberty does not allow an employer to “impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees,” such as by forcing employees to give up their own rights because of the employer’s objections to birth control.

Nevertheless, the Seventh Circuit’s citation to Citizens United is an ominous sign. Lee was decided at a time when the Court understood that corporations should not be allowed to buy and sell elections. That time has passed, and the precedents protecting against corporate election-buying were overruled in Citizens United. It is not difficult to imagine the same five justices who tossed out longstanding precedent in Citizens United doing the same in a case involving whether employers can impose their religious beliefs on their employees.


Circuit Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner also raised issues with the decision.  In her dissent, she addressed the corporation issue head-on.  She noted that:


...it is the corporation rather than the Kortes individually which will pay for the insurance coverage. The corporate form may not be dispositive of the claims raised in this litigation, but neither is it meaningless: it does separate the Kortes, in some real measure, from the actions of their company.


Similarly, our affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Paul Gordon noted last month in reference to the Hobby Lobby decision that the question of where to draw the line in terms of government regulation of religious institutions and individuals is a tricky one.  Still, he pointed out:


The requirement to provide certain health insurance for your employees – not for yourself, but for people you hire in a business you place in the public stream of commerce – seems a reasonable one.

 

PFAW

Janet Porter Takes Aim at Ohio Senate Leader in Last-Ditch Effort to Pass Heartbeat Bill

Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action returned to Ohio to try to enact the nation’s strictest anti-abortion law, the Heartbeat Bill, but it appears that she only managed to divide her fellow abortion rights opponents and anger Republican leaders. In fact, relations between her and the state’s GOP officials have gotten so bad that she is now calling for Republicans in the State Senate to vote out their own leader.

The Heartbeat Bill, which criminalizes abortion in the vast majority of cases, had passed the Ohio State House but was held up in the State Senate. Because the bill is undoubtedly unconstitutional, the state’s largest anti-choice group came out against it, causing local chapters to defect and join a new group Porter had set up to back the bill.

Porter announced endorsements from Republican presidential candidates; brought in Religious Right activists for prayer rallies; wrote an anti-choice version of “99 Red Balloons”; ran ads on TV and in the sky; sent out advertisements attacking “RINO” Republicans; organized prayer warriors and children with teddy bears; claimed that the bill’s passage will allow God to bless America; and had a fetus “testify” at a hearing. One supporter in the State House said the bill was needed so the U.S. can compete with all the smart kids in China – he was later arrested for drunk driving.

In September, Porter pointed to a “miraculous” breakthrough and said that the Senate would consider a new version of the legislation just before the election. But the vote never came and after Ohio went blue and a majority of voters identified themselves as pro-choice, the Republican head of the State Senate Tom Niehaus weighed putting the bill up to a vote until declaring it dead. Porter, in turn, demanded that a Republican senator buck the party leadership and force a vote:

Despite what you have heard about outgoing President Tom Niehaus refusing to honor his word and bring the Heartbeat Bill to the floor for a vote, the Decision of whether the Heartbeat Bill lives or dies is in the hands of the REPUBLICAN MAJORITY--not Tom Niehaus!

If just ONE SENATOR will circulate a discharge petition, and 16 Republican Senators, who ran as pro-lifers, will sign it--the Heartbeat bill will come to the floor for a vote BEFORE Dec. 31, 2012--otherwise it will die!

Today, however, that plan failed as well as a procedural move made it impossible to use a discharge petition, and Niehaus put the blame squarely on Porter for her “over the line” tactics:

Faith2Action, the lead group pushing for the heartbeat bill, has called for GOP senators to sign a discharge petition — a rarely used procedure in which, if a majority of a chamber’s members sign on, a bill can be forced out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. But moving the bill to the Rules Committee effectively blocks that effort because a bill must be in a committee for at least 30 days before a discharge petition can be used. The Senate will adjourn for the year before 30 days pass.

“This bill saw some of the most-intense lobbying efforts in recent memory. That’s fine,” Niehaus said. “But threatening, in my mind, goes over the line. For a small faction of the pro-life community to target the most pro-life group of senators in recent memory was, to me, outrageous.” Niehaus wouldn’t elaborate on specifics of the “threatening” lobbying tactics.

Porter, of course, now wants the GOP caucus to remove Niehaus as GOP leader so they can vote on her bill before it is too late!

ACT TODAY TO SAVE THE HEARTBEAT BILL

It was bad enough when outgoing Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus broke his promise to give us a floor vote after the November election. Then he put out a press release calling us "bullies" because we have phoned, emailed, and visited our Senators. Now he has pulled another vindictive move to halt the Heartbeat Bill! Niehaus moved the bill to a different committee, to prevent a “Discharge Petition” from being implemented. A Discharge Petition would have forced a floor vote before the bill dies on December 31.

But the other 22 Senate Republicans still have the power to force a floor vote before the Heartbeat Bill dies. They can remove Senator Niehaus from leadership, and install President-elect Keith Faber now (rather than waiting until January when Faber, a Heartbeat Bill supporter, is scheduled to become Senate President).

Assuming that effort fails, Porter and her allies will try to push the bill through the legislature next term:

The bill’s death likely would be only temporary. The House passed the bill this session, and Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, is returning as speaker. Niehaus is term-limited at the end of the year and will be replaced by Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, a strong backer of the bill.

Lori Viars, vice president of Warren County Right to Life who has also worked to pass the bill, took issue with Niehaus’ characterization of their lobbying tactics. “It’s pretty arrogant to call a group of pro-life women ‘bullies’ because we’re phoning, emailing, and visiting our senators. Don’t they work for us?”

Religious Right Groups Work to Defeat Treaty on Rights of People with Disabilities, Falsely Claim it Sanctions Abortion

Conservative organizations have come out strongly against the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities, with Rick Santorum leading the charge. The groups are upset about the treaty ensuring that people with disabilities have equal rights because they claim it is “pro-abortion.”

Article 25 of the Treaty reads in part: 

States Parties recognize that persons with disabilities have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the basis of disability. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure access for persons with disabilities to health services that are gender-sensitive, including health-related rehabilitation. In particular, States Parties shall:

(a) Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public health programmes;

Anti-choice activists are angry about the inclusion of the phrase “reproductive health” in the nondiscrimination clause, according to LifeNews:

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, has previously noted the pro-life concerns, saying abortion advocates put language in the treaty in Article 25 that requires signatories to ‘provide persons with disabilities… free or affordable health care including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based health programs.’” “Translation: the global community could force America to sanction sterilization or abortion for the disabled–at taxpayer expense” he said. “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tried to neutralize the threat during the mark-up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Unfortunately, his amendment (which would have stopped the treaty from forcing abortion policy on countries that sign) was thwarted by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) after a debate.”

Several pro-life groups are on record opposing the treaty, including Eagle Forum, Family Research Council Action, CitizenLink, Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel, and others.

In addition, the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) have also came out against ratification.

But Perkins’s claim that the treaty “could force America to sanction sterilization or abortion for the disabled-at taxpayer expense” is simply false.

The State Department makes clear that the treaty “does not include abortion” and the phrase “reproductive health” in Article 25 “does not create any abortion rights, and cannot be interpreted to constitute support, endorsement, or promotion of abortion.”

The Convention is firmly rooted in the principles of equality and non-discrimination. As the Chairperson and many other delegations, including the United States, have noted on countless occasions over the course of negotiations, the treaty reinforces existing rights and is aimed at assuring that persons with disabilities will be treated on an equal basis with others.

This approach was reflected in oral statements and in various places in the written travaux preparatoires, including in a footnote to the draft text of Article 25 that appeared in the report of the Seventh Ad Hoc Committee.

In this regard, the United States understands that the phrase "reproductive health" in Article 25(a) of the draft Convention does not include abortion, and its use in that Article does not create any abortion rights, and cannot be interpreted to constitute support, endorsement, or promotion of abortion. We stated this understanding at the time of adoption of the Convention in the Ad Hoc Committee, and note that no other delegation suggested a different understanding of this term.

Even the National Right to Life Committee reported after the text was adopted that no delegate interpreted “reproductive health” to mean abortion and that “delegates from pro-life nations ultimately accepted this language.” “The committee responsible for enforcing compliance to this treaty would be going way beyond their mandate if they were to interpret the term ‘reproductive health’ to include abortion,” the NRLC said:

The legally undefined and controversial term "reproductive health" remains in the document despite the fact that the term has never appeared in any other UN treaty. However, all parties maintained that the term does not include abortion and that its inclusion in this treaty cannot be interpreted to create any new rights such as a right to abortion.

The final version of Article 25 (a) on health states that nations signing and ratifying the treaty shall: "Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health. . . . ."

Delegates from pro-life nations ultimately accepted this language because they were assured and became confident that it does not include abortion or create any new human rights such as a right to abortion.

For example, during the debate the Treaty Chairman, Ambassador McKay of New Zealand, stated repeatedly that the use of the term "reproductive health" in this treaty does not create any new human rights such as abortion. He even added a non-binding footnote to the record of negotiations, not the treaty itself, which he claimed would preclude any such misinterpretation of the term.

Numerous delegates from nations throughout the world including the European Union agreed with Chairman McKay that the term "reproductive health" does not include abortion. No delegate from any nation stated that it does.

In light of all these statements and the language of the treaty, the committee responsible for enforcing compliance to this treaty would be going way beyond their mandate if they were to interpret the term "reproductive health" to include abortion. It is crucial that they do not because nations that sign and ratify a treaty are required to change their laws in order to comply with the treaty.

But for the Religious Right, even definitive evidence that the treaty’s language does not refer to abortion doesn’t change their mind that the Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities must be defeated.

Mat Staver Continues the Crusade Against Obamacare

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver recently appeared on Janet Parshall’s radio show to promote his claim that the health care reform law is unconstitutional and an immense “setback to religious liberty.” While representing Liberty University, Staver sued over the health care law’s individual mandate in 2010, but the Supreme Court ruled in June that the mandate was constitutional. Over the summer, Liberty asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its arguments against the employer mandate and the contraceptive coverage mandate, which it said were not addressed by the court’s ruling. The court agreed to the request and told the 4th Circuit to hear arguments on the two pieces.

While speaking to Parshall, Staver fueled the myth that Obamacare is “a frontal assault to religious freedom” and that employers and individuals are “being forced to fund abortion.” Staver drew no difference between abortion and contraceptives in his assertions, and echoed the misconceptions of many Religious Right groups and conservative politicians who argue that the mandate compels religious individuals pay for abortion coverage.

But no part of Obamacare actually coerces anyone to fund abortion coverage. Women who choose health plans that do cover abortion must pay a separate premium out of their own pockets. Because insurers must assess a $1 per month surcharge on all enrollees in the plan to take into account the cost savings of abortion, anti-choice activists are complaining that this constitutes taxpayer funding for abortion.

Although a conscience clause was added allowing churches who object to birth control to be exempt from the requirement, many religious leaders argue that this exemption is not wide enough.

Precedents have already been set that counter Staver’s claims, as several judges have ruled that Obamacare does not violate the religious freedom of employers that do not want to cover contraceptives. A pivotal Supreme Court opinion previously established that a law that applies uniformly to the faithful and the non-faithful alike does not violate the First Amendment. Though individuals are still free to exercise their religion by abstaining from using contraceptives, Staver contends that the law is “[telling] you what to believe [and] how to practice.”

Staver: This is something that’s either or. Either we follow our religious conviction that life is sacred and it begins in the womb, and disobey Obamacare and pay the penalties for it, or we obey Obamacare and disobey our religious convictions and conscious. There is no in between. It is a frontal assault to religious freedom unprecedented in its scope since the founding of its country. So this I think is a very strong argument as we go back to the high court, and in addition to the free exercise for Liberty University and other religious employers, we have the free exercise claim for all individuals. Because in addition to being forced to fund abortion from an employer’s perspective, individuals are also forced to have a fee assessed which goes to funding abortion.



Parshall: If they say, you know what, too bad government has the right here, religious liberty, that’s nice, not now, not here, what would be the impact of religious liberty, far beyond the boundaries of Liberty University’s campus, what would it mean for the church capital C universal as well?

Staver: Oh it would be huge in terms of its setback to religious liberty because this is a classic conflict. A lot of times you have laws that, you know maybe an irritant, you know for example you might want to use a library for a room that’s a common meeting and you might want to have prayers and somebody says no you can’t do that because its religious speech. Well sort of another free speech issue the question is, is this a free religion exercise? It may be, but you know the argument would be well, you can still practice your religion, we’re not telling you what to believe, what to practice, but this here tells you what to believe, it tells you how to practice, it is a core component of your belief. So, if we were to lose on this issue, wow, I mean the implications of that would be huge, it would mean that the government, for the first time in history, is able to pass a law that directly conflicts with a religious belief.

Robertson: Liberals 'Want Death'

On yesterday’s 700 Club, Pat Robertson accused liberals of building a “society of death” over their views on euthanasia and abortion rights. “Those on the left claim to be liberals but they want death,” he said, charging liberals with going “literally wild at demonstrations” and creating an “abortion distortion.” Of course, abortion rates are actually higher in countries where it is illegal, and many of the contraceptive policies backed by liberals and opposed by Robertson have greatly reduced the number of abortions. Last year, Robertson suggested that liberals want straight women to “abort their babies” in order to put lesbians “on a level playing field.”

Watch:

Swanson: Democrats Plan to Grow Government by Ensuring 'Everybody is Committing Homosexual Acts and They're High on Drugs'

Pastor Kevin Swanson of Generations Radio this week said that Democrats are deviously working to “strip back” government control over marijuana and homosexuality “in order to maximize the immorality of the people” and “increase the size of government.” The “Democratic vision in a nutshell,” according to Swanson, is “to make sure everybody is committing homosexual acts and they’re high on drugs, and then they vote for Democrats to increase the size of government and provide pretend security for the people high on drugs.”

Democrats in general—in general—are for anything that’s immoral and anything that involves more government. As it turns out occasionally you have to strip back a little more government control in order for people to become more immoral. You follow me there? I mean if you’re a Democrat, you’re going to have to strip back a little control of things like marijuana and homosexuality in order to maximize the immorality of the people. But in the process, what do you do with the size of government, Dave you’re a good Democrat. In the process what are you doing with the size of government? You’re growing and growing and growing and growing it. So the idea, friends, is to make sure everybody is committing homosexual acts and they’re high on drugs, and then they vote for Democrats to increase the size of government and provide pretend security for the people high on drugs. That’s the Democratic vision in a nutshell…somebody write that down I think that’s worth putting on a poster somewhere. That’s what Democrats do and they do it well.

Swanson continued his tirade by declaring that since Americans are “not voting for pro-life candidates,” they are “pro-abortion” and “just love to kill kids.” He further proclaimed that “what women really care about is the ability to kill their children.”

People are not voting for the pro-life candidates, in fact Dave I think this last election season was the most pro-abortion season I’ve ever seen…I saw a number, I heard a number of commercials that were talking about how wonderful it was for women to choose to abort or kill their children, this was something that was sold hook line and sinker in just about every other commercial that I heard relating to the race, the 2012 races. I think that’s destructive that Americans are pro-abortion, Americans like to kill their kids.

Ohio Heartbeat Bill Sponsor Now Working to Defund Planned Parenthood

According to exit polls, 56% of Ohio voters said that abortion should be legal in all or mostly all cases. But that hasn’t stopped the state’s GOP-controlled legislature from pushing the ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ which would effectively ban abortion in nearly all cases. The House has already approved the legislation but it has not yet received a vote in the Senate, and radical activist Janet Porter has been actively campaigning against Republicans who have not signed on to the bill. Porter’s main legislative ally and the bill’s chief sponsor in the house, Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, is now working to secure support in the Senate for the Heratbeat Bill along with a new proposal to defund Planned Parenthood, even though the healthcare organization doesn’t use taxpayer dollars for abortion services and the move may not be legal.

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

House Health and Aging Committee Chairman Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, scheduled a possible vote to recommend passage of House Bill 298 for Wednesday.

Backed by Ohio Right to Life and other anti-abortion advocates, the bill stalled last spring over concern that it also would divert funding from hospitals, which was not the intent of supporters. The legislation would create a priority system for awarding federal family-planning funds, putting Planned Parenthood at the bottom of the list and probably cutting off about $1.7 million it uses for birth control and preventive care.

The money does not fund abortions, but supporters argue that tax dollars should not go to any organization that performs abortions.

Meanwhile, abortion foes might be nearing a compromise on the so-called “heartbeat bill,” which would outlaw abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That’s usually about five to six weeks into pregnancy, when many women don’t yet realize they are pregnant.

Marjorie Dannenfelser says Obama is trying to 'Exploit Women' and do 'Exactly What the Early Suffragists Warned Against'

Marjorie Dannenfelser of the ironically named Susan B. Anthony List has dedicated her group to inserting their anti-choice agenda into the presidential and congressional races. But now as the Obama campaign is stressing the President’s pro-choice views while Mitt Romney and Republicans across the country run away from the abortion debate, Dannenfelser is singing a new tune, saying that voters don’t want to hear about abortion after all.

She spoke to Janet Mefferd yesterday to criticize Lena Denham’s web ad for the Obama campaign (where she made a joke similar to one told by Ronald Reagan) as a “very smart” campaign tactic that will backfire. Dannenfelser compared it to the Tom Wolfe novel “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” which she said is “all about the equalization of on-campus sex and how women now are the new predators and it is an unbelievable appeal to young women who are at that place and who may be confused but they want that.” “This whole ‘women’s vote’ thing is truly a way to exploit young women and any woman in childbearing years and we need to see it as that,” Dannenfelser lamented.

Mefferd chastised the Obama campaign for “treating women like they are idiots” or “brain-dead” while telling them “lies like that Planned Parenthood needs to be supported to help women’s health.” Dannenfelser even said that Obama’s outreach to women and support for reproductive rights are “exactly what the early suffragists warned against: the exploitation of women.”

Later, Dannenfelser argued that voters consistently back candidates who favor the criminalization of abortion. However, a recent CNN poll [PDF] show that just 15 percent believe it should be illegal in all cases, and a USA Today survey found that female voters who list abortion and birth control as among their top election priorities are disproportionately backing Obama. If Dannenfelser is so sure that voters are ready to abandon Obama over his support for reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood, then why is the Romney campaign now running ads in swing states moderating his position on abortion in order to appeal to pro-choice voters?

She goes on to charge that Obama “underestimates the courage and confidence and intellectual power and decision-making that women actually have” by trying to have them “be bought out with a packet of pills,” while Mefferd said Obama views women as “little sexual machines that need the government to take care of us.”

Dannenfelser: When they understand the difference in opinion they will always vote on our side. In fact every election that we have tracked since 2002 shows that when voters are—when the abortion issue is top-of-mind for them, when it is something very important for them, no matter how outspent we are they give the margin of victory to the pro-life candidate. This president is the main ally of Planned Parenthood, I mean you can’t find a better ally of Planned Parenthood than this president. They put in a billion dollars into this and the president of Planned Parenthood is on the stump in Ohio, Pennsylvania, every battleground state, they know what’s at stake, they understand that their funding is going. There is only one thing that they can’t lose at Planned Parenthood and that is the abortion business, if they lose that they’ll go under. They are not about women’s health, they know that when this is taken out of the calculation they will go under so when people understand that, they get it.



Dannenfelser: I think your point at the beginning is how much he underestimates the courage and confidence and intellectual power and decision-making that women actually have, that we could be bought out with a packet of pills, a packet of contraception, like ‘we’ll pay for your contraception, that’s the price for your vote.’ That’s actually what he’s doing right now.

Mefferd: Right as if all we are is little sexual machines that need the government to take care of us.

Staver: Planned Parenthood's 'Death Agenda' is Destroying America

On today's edition of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Mat Staver took issue with the idea that Planned Parenthood is a women's health organization, asserting that it is nothing of the sort. In fact, said Staver, Planned Parenthood "is not interested in the health and well-being of women" but is really only interested in "their death agenda" and in "damaging the very core and foundation of who we are as Americans and a people of faith and values."  Staver said that this nation needs to "erase this chapter of blood that has soaked America since 1973" and that begins by defunding Planned Parenthood while praying "that God will forgive this land": 

Wilson: Obama is Leading a 'War on Christian People'

Lawsuits challenging the mandate for contraception coverage have not fared well in the courts, but American Family Association general manager Buster Wilson today said that the provision is clearly unconstitutional and is proof of the Obama administration’s purported hostility towards Christians. “There’s no war on women, that’s a fantasy,” Wilson said. “The war is on Christian people.” He later warned that the government may soon “cause you to hire homosexuals” and eradicate religious freedom.

There’s no war on women, that’s a fantasy. The war is on Christian people. The war is on the First Amendment. What does the First Amendment say, let’s just go back to basics, what does the First Amendment say? The First Amendment says Congress shall impose no law that prohibits the free exercise of religion. What is this mandate out of the Obamacare law if it is not a congressional imposition on the exercise of religion?



If they win this argument then we will lose other religious liberties. Here’s the way the argument will go: we have proven through the courts and otherwise that businesses don’t have the freedom to practice the religious liberties of the First Amendment so we can cause businesses to do anything. Next will be to cause you to hire homosexuals or next will be to cause you to pay into something else you don’t agree to. I mean it will just be one thing after another. And for all the folks out there from Right Wing Watch and all their entities that want to mock us for this, you just wait, one day something is going to come that is going to infringe on some Constitutional liberty that you cherish and you’re going to start screaming bloody murder too.

'Religious Freedom' Rallies Barely Conceal Anti-Obama Activism

Opponents of contraception access this weekend held “religious freedom” demonstrations across the country to protest the Obama administration’s new rules ensuring contraception coverage in health insurance plans. In one of the rallies last month in Washington D.C. in front of the White House, speakers including Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition and Lila Rose of Live Action denounced the Obama administration for their purportedly “tyrannical” insurance mandate.

The keynote speakers at the White House rally was none other than Father Marcel Guarnizo, whose claim to fame is denying a lesbian parishioner communion at her mother’s funeral and refused to attend the burial ceremony. Fr. Guarnizo said that pro-choice and pro-gay equality politicians are “unfit to rule” and are “not worthy of a democratic vote.” He went on to maintain that American democracy is on the brink of collapse and told attendees to “vote this man out of office in November.”

He also had harsh words for Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who championed his state’s marriage equality law, claiming that they are more than unfaithful Catholic “lost sheep” but “wolves who are plotting and working specifically against the common good and the Church.” “Those people need to be castigated publicly by the shepherds of the church,” Guarnizo said.

Also appearing was American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, who warned that legal abortion and gay rights is provoking God’s “judgment and wrath” on America. 

Pastor Laurence White: Legal Abortion is the 'Final, Deadly Malignant Festering Core of Everything' Wrong With America

The guest today on "WallBuilders Live" was Pastor Laurence White, who was brought on to "discuss the sin of the silence of the German Christians during the Holocaust and the parallel to American Christians today" as he explained that it was the silence of the church during under the Nazis that allowed the Holocaust to take place, just as it is the silence of Christians today that is allowing abortion to remain legal in America:

The same thing is happening in America today, exactly the same thing. We've take a segment of the human race, unborn children, and we've said "you're not human, you're life unworthy of being lived, we can kill your for our personal convenience and nothing more." And think about it, we've been letting that happen for forty years, a million and a half babies a year ... four thousand a day, that's every day, as we carry on our business as usual. The Devil has allowed us to gradually get used to coexisting with abortion.

I think what has to happen is a bottom-up transformation of our culture, lead by the people of God. You know, abortion is just the epitome, the final, deadly malignant festering core of everything else that's happening in our culture, the sexual immorality, the perversion, the destruction of marriage, divorce, and homosexuality and all the rest of it. If sex is just recreational pastime, then abortion becomes virtually a practical necessity.

Harvey: Feminists and Democrats are 'Making a War on Women'

Expounding on her belief that feminism is a pagan philosophy that promotes witchcraft and is “destructive to the church,” Linda Harvey of Mission America told listeners yesterday that feminism is trying to “disguise” their “sexual permissiveness agenda” as “concern about harming women” and “human rights.” She argued that feminists and their allies in the Democratic Party “are the ones truly making a war on women” by opposing the criminalization of abortion. She added that “homosexuality, wasteful government spending, dependency on welfare, our weak national defense and many of the other items the Democratic Party proudly stands for” also harm women, and that “every liberal woman” is at war with God’s design.

Harvey: Anyone who is genuinely objective cannot miss the fact that life does indeed begin at conception and that true human equality should make us value all human life from that time forward. Those who don’t don’t really have a human rights agenda, they have a sexual permissiveness agenda, that is the actual priority of most feminists even as they try to disguise it as concern about harming women. It’s another lie. The Democrats are the ones truly making a war on women, right from targeting and killing babies in the womb, female and male, abortion hurts women. So by the way does homosexuality, wasteful government spending, dependency on welfare, our weak national defense and many of the other items the Democratic Party proudly stands for. Back when I was a feminist there was a war going on, but it was me, a war with myself and with how God created me, and that in my opinion is what is taking place in the hart, mind and soul of every liberal woman.

Barber: Personhood Amendments are Just Like Efforts to Free the Slaves

Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously struck down efforts to place a personhood amendment on the ballot that would declare embryos to be "persons" from the moment of conception, ruling that it was "clearly unconstitutional." That decision prompted Liberty Counsel to file a petition with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to hear the case because it "presents an historic opportunity for the Court to address the issue of a state’s right to amend its own constitution to acknowledge what science has long recognized."

Today, in discussing the legal efforts that Liberty Counsel is undertaking on behalf of this effort, Matt Barber explained that efforts to pass "personhood" amendments is just like effort to end slavery because "this merely does what we did in freeing the slaves; this frees these little people from the overhanging threat of abortion homicide": 

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/10/12

Gary Bauer Attacks Sandra Fluke over Shooting of Pakistani Education Activist

Fourteen year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban militant yesterday, targeting her because she is an outspoken advocate for the rights of women in education. Religious Right activist Gary Bauer, who has built his career attacking the rights of Muslim-Americans and women, is using the tragic incident to attack Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who was lambasted and denigrated by right-wing talk show hosts for supporting the inclusion of contraception coverage in insurance plans.

Bauer suggested in an email for the Campaign for Working Families that Fluke won’t condemn the attempted murder of the women’s rights activist (which she actually has done) and hoped that the shooting will make Fluke reconsider her women’s rights advocacy in the U.S. Bauer said he wonders “what Fluke thinks about Malala Yousafzai” and “predict[s] Sandra Fluke will not take time out from her crusade for free birth control to condemn radical Islam.” “Women all over the Islamic world face brutal persecution, but the American left hates us and hurls its bile at conservatives,” Bauer maintained.

For over a year, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, radical feminists and their media allies have promoted the idea that there is a conservative "war on women." We have seen poor "victims" like Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke whine about how expensive her birth control pills are and how mean Republicans don't want to pay for them.

I wonder what Fluke thinks about Malala Yousafzai. She is a 14 year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by an Islamic "warrior" who walked onto her school bus yesterday in the city of Mingora. The Taliban quickly claimed "credit" for the shooting.

Malala did not make a movie critical of Mohammed or try to convert to Christianity. She simply said publicly that girls should be able to go to school. For that she clings to life today in a Pakistani hospital.

I predict there will be no Islamic mobs in the streets protesting the distortions of their faith. I predict Sandra Fluke will not take time out from her crusade for free birth control to condemn radical Islam. I predict Planned Parenthood will continue its multi-million-dollar ad campaign accusing conservatives of wanting to take away its right to destroy innocent unborn children.

Women all over the Islamic world face brutal persecution, but the American left hates us and hurls its bile at conservatives.
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