Reproductive Health

Personhood USA: Charge Women Who Have Abortions With Murder

Personhood USA, the group that has been attempting to pass state-level fetal “personhood” measures across the country, is applauding the attempted murder prosecution of a Tennessee woman who tried to give herself an abortion with a coat hanger, lamenting that women who obtain safe and legal abortions don't face the same penalty.

The Tennessee woman, Anna Yocca, was charged with attempted first-degree murder when she attempted to abort at 24-week pregnancy with a coat hanger in her bathtub. She panicked, went to the hospital, and delivered a 1.5 pound baby. A police spokesman told the media that “the whole time [Yocca] was concerned for her health, her safety, and never gave any attention to the health and safety to the unborn child.”

Sadly, Yocca’s case is not unique. A woman in Indiana was similarly charged with allegedly attempting to self-induce an abortion earlier this year. In fact, stealth “personhood” measures — meant to lay the groundwork for criminalizing abortion by granting certain rights to fetuses — have been passed around the country. In Alabama, the state supreme court has used “chemical endangerment” laws to lay the legal groundwork for fetal personhood, leading to the prosecutions of nearly 500 women accused of endangering their fetuses.

In an email to Personhood USA supporters today, the group’s communications director Jennifer Mason applauded Yocca’s prosecution but lamented that Tennesee law protects women who "hire an abortionist to kill their babies."

“As a mom, it’s hard to imagine the mental state of a woman who would so viciously harm both herself and her child, whether it be at her own hands or at a government-funded facility like Planned Parenthood,” Mason wrote. “This is why we need Personhood!”

Have you heard about this? Murfreesboro, TN resident Anna Yocca has been indicted and arrested on first degree attempted murder charges following a months-long grand jury investigation, despite campaigns for impunity for pregnant women from anti-baby organizations such as National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

The Washington Post reports that Yocca attempted an abortion with a wire coat hanger when her unborn baby was 24 weeks old. Fearful for her own safety, she went to the hospital where her 1.5 pound baby boy was delivered. The newborn baby boy survived, but physicians say that the baby’s quality of life is forever damaged and he will need oxygen and medication throughout his life due to damage to his eyes, heart, and lungs from his mother’s coat hanger weapon. The Murfreesboro Post also reports that physicians state that other health issues will arise as he grows.

The laws in Tennessee are so blatantly biased in favor of abortion clinics, it's almost difficult to believe. Had Anna Yocca stabbed her baby multiple times just a few months later, an attempted murder indictment would have been expected. The small public outcry about this case from pro-abortion organizations is just a disturbing effort to dehumanize this little boy who survived an attempt on his life.

While Tennessee law does allow for attempted murder charges in cases such as Yocca’s, the law provides specific provisions for women to hire an abortionist to kill their babies at Planned Parenthood in Nashville and around the state.

As a mom, it’s hard to imagine the mental state of a woman who would so viciously harm both herself and her child, whether it be at her own hands or at a government-funded facility like Planned Parenthood. This is why we need Personhood! Of course this little baby's life is precious and should be protected and legally defended, as should every other baby!

Frank Pavone: Abortion Providers Are Probably 'Doing A Lot Of Other Evil Things As Well'

Something that’s important to understand about the anti-abortion movement’s ongoing efforts to discredit Planned Parenthood is that for many in the movement, the women’s health provider is already guilty of committing a crime by providing abortions. But since abortion is legal in the United States, Planned Parenthood’s adversaries have been trying desperately for years to find actual crimes that the group is guilty of in order to bring it down. This summer’s smear videos from the Center for Medical Progress grew out of that line of thinking.

Priests for Life’s Father Frank Pavone, who says he was “close to” the Center for Medical Progress officials who led the most recent attack on Planned Parenthood, made this point very clearly in a conference call for anti-abortion activists that he hosted last night along with the Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser. (GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina also spoke on the call.)

Pavone told the activists on the call that a key part of his strategy is to “expose the abortion industry” and “rip the veil off what’s going on behind the closed doors of the abortion clinics.”

“And when we look there,” he said, “we see the truth that I have often reiterated, that you cannot practice vice virtuously. If you have such a seared conscience that you’re killing babies, well, friends, you’re going to be doing a lot of other evil things as well: medical malpractice, sexual abuse of patients, violation of OSHA standards, insurance laws, money laundering, all kinds of fraud and, yes, even the sale of body parts. All of this and much more is going on in the abortion industry.”

In other words, if you are such a depraved person that you will provide abortions, then you are probably a sexual predator, fraudster, and any other sort of criminal as well and thus Planned Parenthood is probably selling fetal tissue for profit just because it is used to doing “evil” things and is just waiting to be exposed.

Pavone also boasted of his role in a previous, similar attack on Planned Parenthood orchestrated by Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, which we wrote about in a recent report.

Carly Fiorina Promises To Nominate Anti-Choice Supreme Court Justices

In a conference call with anti-abortion activists last night, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina promised that, if elected, she would “nominate pro-life justices” to the Supreme Court along with signing a budget defunding Planned Parenthood and pushing through a national 20-week abortion ban.

“Here’s what I will do and here’s what I want people to hold me accountable for,” she said on a conference call hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List's Marjorie Dannenfelser and Priests for Life's Frank Pavone. “If President Obama vetoes our attempts between now and the election — which, unfortunately, sadly, he may — I will deliver a budget that defunds Planned Parenthood. I will nominate pro-life justices. I will get the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protect Act passed.”

When she ran for Senate in California in 2010, Fiorina said that abortion rights would not be a litmus test for her votes on Supreme Court nominees.

Fiorina, who has come under fire for a series of falsehoods on the campaign trail, including repeatedly describing a video of Planned Parenthood that does not exist, also told participants that her main strategy for handling hostile questioning is to always “speak the truth.”

“You know, the truth shall set you free,” she said. “We all know this, we read it in the Bible. The truth shall set you free.”

“Don’t worry so much about finding exactly the right words, if that’s what you’re worried about,” she advised. “Worry about, concentrate on speaking the truth. Speak what you know to be the truth. that’s a powerful thing, it’s always a powerful thing, and that’s what I will keep doing. No one is going to frighten me into silence.”

Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, has made no secret of her admiration for Fiorina, telling call participants that Fiorina is a model candidate for her organization, which largely endorses female candidates opposed to abortion rights.

Alveda King Wants To 'Connect Some Dots' Between Abortion And Terrorism

In a blog post on Priests for Life’s website on Friday, the group’s director of African American outreach, Alveda King, insisted that there is a need to “connect some dots” between terrorism and legal abortion, which she called terrorism “in the womb.”

“Terrorism, be it in the womb, from distant shores, behind the domestic walls of our homes, or wherever it occurs, terrorism by any other name is still the same,” she wrote.

Writing that “Killing is fast becoming the choice many people are ‘choosing’ in order to fix their problems,” King asked, “Is there any wonder that mass killings are occurring on a regular, almost daily, basis?”

What we are missing here is the not so subtle connection to what on the surface seems to be random violent outbreaks in the atmosphere. Yet as Rev. Pavone points out, the problems with the Colorado Springs shooting is not the pro-lifers referring to abortion as murder but rather the abortion industry’s utter lack of respect for life and choosing its solution to solving someone’s problem by killing their child.

Although the Colorado Springs shooting was abortion related, we should consider that there is a common denominator; an utter lack of respect for life. Whether there are various underlying causes for the lack of disregard of the rights of others, consequent actions lead to outcomes such as these mass shootings, high abortion rates, high levels of incarceration, suicide and many other threats to the human family.

Terrorism, be it in the womb, from distant shores, behind the domestic walls of our homes, or wherever it occurs, terrorism by any other name is still the same.

Killing has been a part of humanity since Cain killed Abel. Throughout history humans have been killing for greed, convenience, emotional pain, and the like in order to acquire what others have; whether it be land, money, power, or [and we can fill in the blanks here].

Human life has long been devalued to the point that life has often become disposable as long as we can’t see the danger to our own. Herein lies the Catch 22: we disregard others to save ourselves – sadly not realizing that we are universally connected to our human family.

With the passage of time America has joined the rest of the world in rubber stamping the killing of our babies in the womb, as well as the sick, the elderly and in alarmingly increasing numbers, the poor.

With this acceptance of devaluation of humanity, the consciences of men, women and children have been numbed. The answer to one’s problem becomes the dehumanization and elimination of those who would interfere with what someone wants.

Is there any wonder that mass killings are occurring on a regular, almost daily, basis?

Let’s connect some dots.

Have an unplanned pregnancy? Illness? Getting too old? Other problems? Eliminate your problems with abortion or euthanasia.

Killing is fast becoming the choice many people are “choosing” in order to fix their problems. Killing of another or of self both devalue and destroy life.

We must wake up and recognize that the taking of any life, born, unborn, sick, handicapped, elderly, those of faith outside of ours — is wrong.

 

Ted Cruz: We Can 'Absolutely' Outlaw Abortion Without Overturning Roe

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said last month that Congress could “absolutely” criminalize all abortion by passing a law giving 14th Amendment protections to fetuses and zygotes, thus bypassing a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade.

This represents the Republican presidential candidate’s strongest endorsement yet of the radical anti-choice “personhood” strategy, which, based on a questionable interpretation of Roe, holds that Congress can simply outlaw abortion by classifying fertilized eggs as persons under the law. If successful, personhood would outlaw nearly all abortions and could even criminalize certain types of birth control.

Cruz made the comments in a November 25 interview with influential social conservative commentator Robert George as part of a series of candidate interviews that George is hosting on the the Catholic television network EWTN.

After outlining the personhood strategy, George asked Cruz, “Do you believe that unborn babies are persons within the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and, if so, will you call on Congress to use its authority under the 14th Amendment pursuant to Section Five, to protect the unborn? Or do you take the view, as some do, that we can’t do that until Roe v. Wade is overturned either by the court itself or by constitutional amendment? Where do you stand on that?”

“Listen, absolutely yes,” Cruz responded.

“I very much agree with the pope’s longstanding and prior popes’ before him longstanding call to protect every human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death,” he added.

“And we can do that by Congressional action without waiting for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade?” George asked.

“Absolutely yes, under the 14th Amendment,” Cruz responded.

Cruz has on two separate occassions promised personhood groups that he would support their strategy, but has previously been eclipsed on the issue by his presidential rival Mike Huckabee, who has vowed to impose personhood by executive fiat if he becomes president. Another GOP presidential candidate, Rand Paul, has sponsored a personhood bill in Congress.

Focus On The Family Scrubs Safety Information From Pamphlet On Abortion Medication

In the face of an outcry from anti-abortion activists, the conservative group Focus on the Family has scrubbed a pamphlet that it distributed at anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers of information on how to avoid medical complications when obtaining a medical abortion.

The pamphlet, written by a doctor who opposes abortion rights, included a note from the author urging women not to choose abortion because “an incredibly special and completely unique person is growing inside of every pregnant woman.” But what provoked the ire of anti-abortion activists was the fact that it included safety information for women who might choose to take the "abortion pill."

Although the pamphlet has been available since last year, it recently began making the rounds among anti-choice bloggers and activists, who were appalled that Focus would dare to instruct women on how to correctly take abortion medication in order to avoid injury. 

A dismayed J.D. Hall wrote on his Pulpit & Pen blog: “In no uncertain terms, the Focus on the Family literature gives advice on how to use the abortion pill safely.” He added: “Providing advice on how to safely and healthily receive an abortion, should that be the ‘option’ the woman chooses, is deplorable for a Christian publication.”

Jeremy Lundmark of the website Theology Mix was equally outraged: “If abortion is the taking of human life in the womb, and it is, then this booklet encouraged and aided women in murdering their children. In the process, it magnified the perpetrator over the victim. In what universe is it sensible to provide safety tips to help murderers murder?”

The anti-choice group Live Action also took issue with the pamphlet, asking, “Why does this sound more like a ‘how to get an abortion’ guide than pro-life educational material?”

In a statement in response to the criticism, Focus noted that the pamphlet was meant to be used at crisis pregnancy centers by counselors attempting to prevent women from choosing abortion, but assured its critics that it would be revising the pamphlet to make its opposition to abortion more “clear.”

Sure enough, the pamphlet now available on Focus on the Family’s website differs in some important ways from the version that upset the “pro-life” blogosphere, which can still be found through the Internet Archive.

The section of the pamphlet that most outraged “pro-life” activists was this selection of “safety tips” for women taking the abortion pill, which Focus has since removed. (Pulpit & Pen's Hall noted, however, that it was a “clever strategy” that the pamphlet brought up the threat of ectopic pregnancy in order to encourage women to seek ultrasounds.)

The pamphlet has also been revised to exaggerate the threat of medication abortion. The previous version included this list of possible side effects:

The new version paints a much more dire picture:

Also removed from the pamphlet is this explanation that eight women have died after taking the medication incorrectly, while it has been safe for those who have taken it correctly:

Focus also removed this checklist of “things to ask your doctor” (which already included problematic requirements like demanding that a doctor have unnecessary “admitting privileges”):

The old version of the pamphlet also included a relatively straightforward explanation of what an ectopic pregnancy is, complete with a graphic. All of this safety information has been jettisoned in favor of a barebones list of things that make “a medical abortion even less safe”:

AFA: Planned Parenthood Worse Than ISIS

Less than a week after a gunman killed three people in an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, the American Family Association declared on its Facebook page that Planned Parenthood is worse than the terrorist group ISIS because they “kill babies in far greater numbers” and “in just as barbaric ways”:

The AFA shared an article written by its “director of outreach and intercession,” Joseph Parker, who makes the comparison at greater length:

The immorality and barbarism of ISIS is almost daily in our faces. And we are both horrified and outraged…rightfully so. And yet...here in America we kill babies in far greater numbers than the victims of ISIS and in just as barbaric ways. The fear of ISIS has created a global refugee crisis. People are fleeing in huge numbers in countries where ISIS is known to be established. Yet the babies in the wombs of their mothers in our nation cannot run and they cannot hide. And we slaughter them by the thousands every day.

ISIS has a systematic method of financing their fear and killing operations all over the world. We here in the U.S. have Planned Parenthood, who have a very “efficient” baby killing operation that functions daily. And our government uses our tax money to help fund Planned Parenthood to the tune of between one and two million dollars every day. Planned Parenthood can insist they provide numerous services to women all they want but their main reason for existence is to kill babies, plain and simple.

ISIS beheads its enemies. What does Planned Parenthood do? It kill babies, sometimes by tearing them limb from limb. Sometimes they use a vacuum so strong that it tears the baby apart. Sometimes they poison and burn the babies in the womb. And they don’t stop there. They even sell the baby parts for profit! They sell whole babies, babies’ livers, hearts, lungs, etc. Even ISIS doesn’t do that! Planned Parenthood makes ISIS look like a bunch of amateurs! ISIS has killed their thousands and Planned Parenthood has killed tens of millions!

How can we condemn ISIS and not even defund Planned Parenthood? How can we demand the world rid itself of ISIS while paying Planned Parenthood to do the same? How is what ISIS is doing evil but what Planned Parenthood does, a service?

UPDATE: The AFA doubled down on Twitter:

Gun Activists Claim Obama Celebrated 'Holy Grail' Of Planned Parenthood Shooting

In an interview on Sunday with Mark Walters of Armed American Radio, the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb claimed that the deadly attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was “the Holy Grail of Obama’s political agenda.”

Walters, saying it didn’t matter where the shooting took place, told Gottlieb, “Make no mistake, they love that it was at a Planned Parenthood clinic.”

“This is the Holy Grail of Obama’s political agenda,” Gottlieb responded, “his love for Planned Parenthood and his hatred of guns.”

Walters continued that he “could almost hear the whoops and hoops and hollers” from the Obama administration after the shooting because “these people don’t care about the victims, they care about politicizing it.”

Anti-choice activist Troy Newman made a similar claim after the shooting, saying that it was “exactly what” Planned Parenthood had “been hoping for.”

Personhood USA Founder Equates 'Crazy, Violent' Abortion Providers With Planned Parenthood Attacker

Yesterday, Personhood USA cofounder Cal Zastrow condemned the murder of three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, but equated the gunman’s actions with those of abortion providers, saying that providers are also “crazy, violent people” who have gone “nutso” and started killing people.

Discussing the Colorado Springs attack with former Missouri state legislator Cynthia Davis on her “ Home Front” radio program Zastrow said:

Recently in Colorado Springs, a violent gunman went into the Planned Parenthood and he had a weapon, he had a gun, and he shot a bunch of people, wounded them, and then he killed three people, their beating hearts and measurable brainwaves were stopped.

On the same day in other Planned Parenthoods across the nation and world, thousands of crazy, violent people, they went off, they went nutso and they used suction machines, they used forceps, and they used poisonous drugs and they murdered thousands of little baby boys and girls and their measurable brainwaves and their beating hearts were stopped.

I condemn all those murders. I just say stop the murdering, stop the violence. Don’t shoot anybody, don’t stab them, don’t smack them, don’t slap them, and don’t suck their arms and legs off with abortion machines. I profess to be a follower of Christ, I profess to be a Christian, so I’m just saying, let’s stop all the violence.

In an email to supporters on the evening of the Colorado Springs attack, Personhood USA’s Jennifer Mason made a similar point, faulting the media for “failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day.”

In the interview with Davis, Zastrow recalled protesting in front of the Colorado Springs clinic when he was working with the Colorado-based Personhood USA to pass a fetal “personhood” amendment in the state, noting that Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson joined him in his efforts.

Zastrow blasted major anti-choice groups that reject the personhood strategy and have been pursuing an incremental strategy to restrict abortion rights, urging listeners to donate “not one more nickel, not one more penny to a pro-life group that’s not 100 percent on board with personhood.”

Instead, he said, the “pro-life” movement must realize that “Roe v. Wade is not law” and work to pass state personhood laws so that state governments will begin to “ignore Roe v. Wade” and “prosecute people for murder under the law” for conducting abortions.

Zastrow also criticized members of Congress for failing to impeach judges who rule in favor of abortion rights, saying that lawmakers are “not behaving as Christians” and are risking their own salvation.

“Not one congressman has done their duty, not one is doing their duty and introducing articles of impeachment against baby-murdering federal judges, not one,” he said.

“If there’s any congressmen listening to my voice right now,” he added, “I humbly invite you to repent of your sins and surrender your life to Jesus Christ and become a Christian and do your job as a congressman and introduce articles of impeachment now, today, against federal judges that are ruling in favor of child sacrifice.”

John Zmirak: 'If Terrorism And Violence Become An Issue In The Abortion Debate,' Pro-Choice Activists Will Be To Blame

Conservative radio host Trey Ware guest-hosted this week's "Hagee Hotline," where he interviewed Stream.org contributing senior editor John Zmirak for a discussion about the deadly shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility.

Zmirak dismissed the idea that the perpetrator of this attack was a Christian or an anti-abortion activist, insisting that the shooting was carried out by a mentally unstable person for unknown reasons. He backed-up this assertion by arguing that no true Christian would ever commit this sort of violence because doing so would be "an act of civil war" and "we're not ready to do that" ... though such a war may, in fact, be coming. 

"Not every evil can be fought by war," Zmirak said, "and shooting doctors when their activity is unfortunately legal would amount to an act of civil war. Christians would have to declare civil war in America and we're not ready to do that."

Insisting that there are legal and peaceful means for anti-choice activists to use in their effort to outlaw abortion, Zmirak compared such efforts to abolitionists who worked to end slavery. The fight over slavery, of course, eventually resulted in exactly the sort of civil war that Zmirak said anti-choice Christians would never support, so logically he insisted that if such a war does start, it will be entirely the fault of pro-choice activists.

"It was the slave-owners who started the Civil War," Zmirak stated, "and I think if terrorism and violence become an issue in the abortion debate, it will be the pro-choicers attacking pro-lifers and attacking churches."

Dave Daubenmire Blames Planned Parenthood For Clinic Attack: 'Terrorism In The Womb Leads to Terrorism In The World'

“Coach” Dave Daubenmire, a conservative activist and speaker, blamed last week’s mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on the women’s health care provider, insisting in a YouTube video he posted yesterday that Planned Parenthood clinics are “the ultimate terrorists” and “terrorism in the womb leads to terrorism in the world.”

“Folks, there’s terror every day inside those Planned Parenthood clinics,” Daubenmire said. “There was terrorism last week, there will be terrorism next week as long as we continue to allow this murder to take place inside those four walls. Terrorism in the womb leads to terrorism in the world.”

“Planned Parenthood: They’re the ultimate terrorists,” he concluded.

Gun Lobbyist: Gunman Attacked Planned Parenthood Because He Knew It Was Full Of Unarmed Liberals

Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, whose endorsement Sen. Ted Cruz boasted of in a September presidential debate, claimed yesterday that the gunman who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last week chose his target because he knew it was a “Democrat place” and his victims would be unarmed. The patients at the Planned Parenthood were likely unarmed liberals, Pratt said, because “conservatives typically don’t knock off their children.”

In an interview with Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman, the radical gun lobbyist agreed with Kaufman that the Colorado Springs attacker shouldn’t have been allowed to have a gun, a rather odd statement seeing that Pratt wants to abolish all background checks for gun buyers.

But, Pratt said, “bad guys have a way of getting guns” and the real “pity is that nobody in the danger zone was able to protect themselves and shoot back.”

Kaufman asked why that was, given Colorado Springs’ permissive gun laws.

“They can [carry] if they wish,” Pratt answered, “but apparently when you’re talking about, let’s face it, a Planned Parenthood clinic: liberal. Conservatives typically don’t knock off their children, they’re kind of looking forward to having them. So, Planned Parenthood, they give to Democrats, it’s a Democrat place. So that’s where this dirtbag decided to go.”

He added that the Planned Parenthood was “unofficially” a gun-free zone because “that’s the way liberals think.”

Pratt did not mention that one of the three people the Colorado Springs shooter killed was a well-armed (and reportedly conservative) police officer.

This is similar to Pratt’s response to previous mass shootings. When a man killed six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, Pratt alleged that the gunman “didn’t find any resistance” because his victims were Democrats. (In that incident, an armed person nearby almost shot the wrong person.) He similarly blamed this year’s shooting at a church in Charleston on church’s pastor's support for gun restrictions.

Cruz Laughs Off The 'Condom Police,' Ignores His Own Anti-Contraception Policies

At a campaign event in Iowa yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz responded to a question about contraception access by dismissing the threat of “condom police,” calling attacks on contraception “an utterly made-up, nonsense issue.”

“Now listen,” he told the audience. “I have been a conservative my entire life. I have never met anybody, any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives.”

It may be true that that Cruz has never met anyone who wants to ban condoms. But he deliberately misses the point.  

Only a few fringe activists are talking about banning all forms of birth control outright. But the larger conservative movement, with Cruz’s vocal support, has been diligently working to make it more difficult for women, especially low-income women, to access reliable and affordable contraception.

This is a result of the anti-abortion movement’s quiet shift back toward anti-contraception policies, including their plans to close down Planned Parenthood, enact sweeping restrictions on health insurance for contraception and, increasingly, pass “personhood” measures that, if successful, could ban certain forms of contraception.

The most recent legislative assault (and, as of last week, violent assault) on Planned Parenthood was prompted by a smear campaign conducted by activists who have long sought the organization’s destruction. This is not just an attack on abortion rights — these activists, and the politicians who support them, want to prevent the organization from conducting all of its health care activities, including providing women with affordable contraception. Cruz has made defunding Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of his campaign, calling the women’s health organization an “ongoing criminal enterprise.”

Cruz, who has taken on with enthusiasm the Right’s campaign to redefine “religious liberty,” has been a vocal proponent of efforts to allow employers to block their employees from receiving insurance coverage for contraception, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. He celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, which allowed private employers to refuse to provide health coverage for contraception. And he frequently brings up on the campaign trail the case currently before the Supreme Court in which a group of employers want to be able to deny their female employees access to contraception coverage through a separate entity. This would all be moot anyway if Cruz were to become president: He’s promised to “repeal every word of Obamacare.”

Along with working to make it more difficult for women to access reliable and affordable contraception, Cruz has flirted with the parts of the extremist personhood movement that could more accurately be described as the “condom police.”

Cruz has privately promised at least two anti-choice groups promoting fetal “personhood” laws that he would support their legislative efforts, which, if successful, could criminalize common forms of hormonal contraception. One group, Georgia Right to Life, said Cruz signed their pledge to give legal rights to embryos and another organization, National Pro-Life Alliance, announced that Cruz supports the radical Life at Conception Act. In addition, he has courted the support of activists who are vocally hostile to contraception, including, most recently, radical preacher Kevin Swanson.

It may be true that Cruz doesn’t know anybody who wants to outlaw condoms. But that’s not the threat that reproductive rights advocates are talking about, and he knows it.

Colorado Anti-Choice Groups: Why Isn't Media Covering 'Pro-Abortion Violence'?

After an anti-abortion terrorist killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday, reportedly declaring “no more baby parts,” anti-choice groups have been scrambling to condemn the crime and distance themselves from its perpetrator.

But some groups are being slightly less than unequivocal in their denunciation of the murders. In Colorado, which has been the testing ground for the anti-choice movement’s fetal “personhood” strategy, “personhood” groups lashed out at the media for paying too much attention to the murders at the clinic and not to what they see as the greater problems of legal abortion and what one group calls “pro-abortion violence.”

Jennifer Mason of the Colorado-based Personhood USA, which has been working to pass state-level personhood measures, wrote to her group’s supporters on Friday night that while Personhood USA “absolutely opposes all abortion-related violence,” the media is “failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day”:

Personhood USA absolutely opposes all abortion-related violence, against born and unborn people. That said, the media is failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business. Please join me in praying that the people inside, along with the babies in their mothers' wombs, are released safely.

Meanwhile, the Colorado-based American Right to Life and its affiliate Colorado Right to Life, which dramatically split with the National Right to Life Committee in 2007 because it disagreed with the national group’s incremental anti-choice strategy, complained that the media was not covering the even greater scourge of pro-choice terrorism:

Colorado RTL contrasts the eight people unjustly killed since 1993 by known anti-abortion vigilantes with the eighty women killed by pro-abortion violence for refusing to abort their own children. Those murdered moms are invisible to the media.

When a journalist advocates a "right" to dismember an unborn child (an act that would put an animal rights activist into a rage if done to a preborn cow), that kind of psychological dysfunction helps explain why the pro-killing media ignores those mothers who were brutally killed. And then there are the hundreds of women sexually assaulted by their own abortionists who are also ignored. But who cares: certainly no one in the media. The silence is for the greater good. No?

The group’s assertion that 80 women have been “killed by pro-abortion violence” comes from a list put together by anti-choice activist Mark Crutcher (a driving force behind the Center for Medical Progress’ “baby parts” videos), which lists women who have been killed in domestic violence episodes that included arguments about abortion.

Frank Pavone: Anti-Choice Activists Must 'Exploit The Stigma Of Abortion'

Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, explained a key part of his movement’s strategy for stopping abortion rights yesterday, telling a Catholic radio network that “pro-life” activists must resist Planned Parenthood’s efforts to “destigmatize abortion” by reinforcing anti-abortion stigma and lifting it “up high for people to see.”

“They survive, these Planned Parenthood efforts survive to the extent that abortion is destigmatized,” Pavone told Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection” program. “To the extent that you cannot get the stigma out of it, that you cannot get people to say they don’t regret it, that you cannot get people not to cringe when they hear the details of abortion, that is a plus for our side that we have to continue to exploit, in the best sense of the term. We exploit the stigma of abortion, we lift it up high for people to see, we reinforce it.”

He added that lifting up this stigma is important for stopping Planned Parenthood from “convincing medical students and doctors and nurses to take part in abortion” and thus causing a shortage of providers.

Austin Ruse: Phrase 'Comprehensive Sex Ed' Was 'Created In The Pits Of Hell'

Austin Ruse of C-FAM, a group that works to push social conservative policy at the UN, emailed supporters early this morning to boast that his group and its allies had successfully removed reproductive rights language from a UN resolution on youth yesterday, which he called “a breathtaking achievement given the fact that the radical left at the UN hungers and thirsts to enslave young people to the sexual revolution.”

Ruse also noted a debate that took place yesterday over the inclusion of comprehensive sex education in a resolution on the rights of children. “Comprehensive sexuality education,” Ruse contended, “is a phrase created in the pits of hell by wicked individuals who wanted to undermine family and ultimately to destroy any institution that stands between the family and the state." (Efforts to remove the sex-ed language failed.)

Maddow Calls Out Ted Cruz For Embracing Radical Anti-Choice Activist

Over the past few weeks, we have been covering the parade of increasingly extreme activists whom Sen. Ted Cruz is embracing as he seeks to shore up the hard-right vote in the Republican presidential primary.

There was the conference Cruz spoke at immediately after the summit’s organizer declared that the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death. There was the list of endorsements from faith leaders that his campaign released that included a pastor who has blamed Ebola on gay rights and another whose long history of right-wing activism includes protesting at gay couple’s weddings and a criminal conviction for stalking an abortion doctor. And then there was the joint press release that Cruz issued with Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, announcing the endorsement of the activist who has long inhabited the radical fringes of the anti-choice movement.

Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow looked into Newman’s history, citing our reporting on Newman and Operation Rescue, including his backing of capital punishment for abortion providers and tying abortion rights to natural disasters such as the current drought in California.

“This is one of those stories that I recognize the beltway media doesn’t sort of have its feelers out for,” Maddow said. “As Ted Cruz ascends in the polls and as his lift in the polls is driven basically entirely by very, very conservative Religious Right voters, this is part of understanding why and this is one of the things that he should explain to people who may have some justifiable concerns about who he’s building his campaign on.”

For more on Newman and his colleague Cheryl Sullenger, who as Maddow noted was convicted of conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in the 1980s, you can read our recent in-depth report on Operation Rescue.

HHS Challenger: Contraception Mandate Isn't Valid Because It Contradicts 'The Law Of God'

Alveda King, an official with Priests for Life, which is among the groups challenging the HHS contraception coverage mandate at the Supreme Court, declared today that the regulation the groups are challenging is not valid in the first place because it contradicts “the law of God.”

Priests for Life and its allies are challenging the mechanism allowing religiously affiliated nonprofits to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate by informing the government that they will not provide such coverage to their employees. In other words, they are not required to provide health coverage for contraceptives, but are still claiming that their religious liberties are being violated because they have to file paperwork informing the government that they are opting out of the requirement, which allows the government to arrange coverage through a different mechanism.

Even the requirement that groups with religious objections to birth control file a form that might lead to a woman getting health coverage for contraception, King writes in a press release today, is not a valid law because “[i]n order for the laws of a nation to be valid, they must at the very least harmonize with, and not contradict, the law of God,” and the HHS mandate does not meet this requirement.

Understanding that the U. S. Supreme Court speaks and rules from a position of common law — human law, and operating under a measure of authority to govern, in America theirs is the highest rule of law that humans can make. Yet the rule of the SCOTUS is not the final word.

In the end, natural law, God's law will always trump common law. Do not fear or be confused or deceived. Remain prayerful. Keep looking up. God will have the final word in this matter.

As to the decisions before us regarding the HHS Mandate, in contrast to God's law, the civil laws and common laws of nations are not written on anyone's conscience or mind.

They are not written in the physical creation. Nor are they appended to the Bible. The civil laws of nations are only written in their own law books.

Consequently, the validity and force of such laws are based solely on national authority. There is no other supporting evidence or "witness" to testify for the validity of specific civil laws.

Consequently, in order for the civil laws of any nation to be authoritative, they must at least be supported by the testimony of another source and that they are consistent with God's delegation of authority to civil governments.

This is more thoroughly explained in Romans 13:

"Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God..."

In order for the laws of a nation to be valid, they must at the very least harmonize with, and not contradict, the law of God.

Unfortunately, for women, the HHS Mandate does not conform to this formula which is why I stand with Priests for Life in the complaint against the HHS Mandate.

Supreme Court Takes Up Major Test Of Anti-Choice Movement's Strategy

The Supreme Court announced today that it will hear Whole Women’s Health v. Cole next term. The case, which deals with abortion restrictions that Texas passed in 2013, represents a major test of the anti-choice movement’s long-term strategy of cutting off abortion access through incremental legislation rather than directly challenging the right to abortion. This comes after the court’s announcement last week that it will hear another challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, testing how far the Religious Right can stretch the meaning of religious liberty in attempting to cut off access to reproductive rights.

In the Huffington Post today, People For the American Way’s Elliot Mincberg explains what’s at stake in the Texas case:

The Texas case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, concerns a law imposing restrictions on clinics so severe that they would reduce the number of clinics that perform abortions in the state from more than 40 a few years ago to just 10, including none at all in the 500 miles between San Antonio and the New Mexico border. The state has claimed that the limits, requiring extensive hospital-like equipment and doctors with hospital admitting privileges even for clinics that offer abortions only through oral medication, are important to protect women’s health. These claims are belied not only by the medical evidence, but also by Texas politicians’ statements, such as Governor Rick Perry’s vow to “pass laws to ensure” that abortions are “as rare as possible.”

That law clearly violates the 5-4 ruling of the Court in Casey, which upheld the basic right to choose of Roe v. Wade, and held that such laws must truly be important to protect women’s health and not impose an “undue burden” on that right. Will the Court uphold and correctly apply Casey and continue to protect reproductive rights? Given the stark divisions on the Court, the answer may well come down to the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the last member of the five-person Casey majority who is still on the Court today.

This case represents the culmination of a decades-long strategy by the anti-choice movement — most notably the legal group Americans United for Life, which helped draft the Texas bill — to restrict abortion access to the point where the right to abortion exists in theory but not in practice. If the Supreme Court agrees to further weaken the protections of Roe v. Wade, it could open the door for many more onerous restrictions on abortion providers and women seeking abortions.

Anti-Contraception Rhetoric At GOP's 'Freedom' Summit

This past weekend’s National Religious Liberty Conference in Iowa has been getting national news coverage for the completely unhinged anti-gay statements of its organizer, Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson, including his warning that God will judge America because Dumbledore from the “Harry Potter” series is a “homosexual” and his truly remarkable recommendation of what to do if your gay child invites you to their wedding.

These diatribes against homosexuality at the summit, which was attended by three Republican presidential candidates, went hand-in-hand with calls to roll back women’s rights to use contraceptives, with both birth control access and gay rights seen as threats to the family and liberty.

As we noted before the summit, a number of speakers had ties to the “biblical patriarchy” or Quiverfull movement, which rejects birth control as part of a vision in which Christian families return to traditional gender roles in order to bear and raise as many children as possible. Although the Quiverfull movement is often dismissed as a fringe ideology espoused by people like the Duggar family, some of its anti-contraception ideology has worked its way into more “mainstream” right-wing advocacy

Swanson said as much in his closing speech at the Iowa conference, claiming that while the Quiverfull movement has experienced more “persecution” than anyone in the history of America, its ideas are now taking hold in the wider Religious Right.

“It’s interesting, some of the greatest preachers in America are effectively saying contraception was a problem from the beginning,” he said, specifically citing Southern Baptist theologian Al Mohler and well-known pastor John MacArthur. “And they’re joining ranks with a fair number of those who used to be in the full quiver movement, who, by the way, have received so much persecution. I have never seen anybody receive such persecution, at least in this country, as the full quiver folks. And they didn’t always have their theology right, but now major theologians in America are saying, ‘I think we had a problem in these areas.’’

Conservatives are beginning to realize, Swanson said, that the wide availability and use of contraception is what led to marriage equality throughout the country.

“Why homosexual marriage?” he asked. “Well, 50 years of Playboy and Penthouse, pornography, illegitimate divorces and contraception.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Swanson seemed to equate hormonal contraceptives with abortion-causing drugs (a key part of the Right’s current anti-birth control strategy), claiming that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who secured a grant that led to the development of the birth control pill, was responsible for the “murder” of “billions of little babies thanks to the technology she developed in the 1960s.”

He seemed to make the same argument when he blasted the “tens of millions of sometimes Christian women” who use “abortifacients” that create a “hazardous condition” in “that birth canal up into that womb” — an apparent reference to hormonal birth control rather than to abortion-causing drugs.

“If they have created a hazardous condition, exactly what the lex talionis brings out,” he said, “then God most certainly knows that somehow a snake pit’s been put in that womb.”

This is in line with statements that Swanson has made in the past. In 2013, after filming an interview for an anti-contraception documentary — copies of which were distributed at last week's summit  Swanson claimed that women on the pill have turned their wombs into “graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

Extreme as he is, even Swanson isn’t on board with the full Quiverfull agenda, writing in a blog post last year that although he agrees with the principle of men being the head of the family, he wouldn’t go as far as stopping women from taking college classes, going on mission trips or holding elected office.

But the Quiverfull ideology’s rejection of birth control as a social ill and its conflation of birth control and abortion isn’t just taking hold among extreme activists like Swanson — it’s increasingly becoming the norm in the wider Religious Right.

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