Discussing the power of prayer with David Barton on his television program last night, Glenn Beck declared that the deceptive video campaign to smear Planned Parenthood as illegally "selling aborted baby parts" is "a blessing from God."
"I'm really being humbled here," Beck said. "I'm regretting that I haven't gotten down on my knees and thanked the Lord for the people that have brought us these Planned Parenthood videos. We, as a nation, should be giving God thanks ... That is a blessing from God and I haven't thanked him for that."
Later in the program, Beck choked up as he begged people to join him "come Hell or high water" at his rally in Birmingham, Alabama, on August 28.
"I want you to hear me clearly and carefully," he said. "I truly believe [that this] is a turning point, right now, in what we're dealing with. We have to pray to Almighty God, we have to thank Him for the things He has given us, we have to ask Him for our role in it and we have to beg Him for His mercy, that he will open up the way. We have to stand for life. All. Life. Matters. That we can all agree on."
GRTL’s pledge, which the group says Cruz signed, asks candidates to affirm that “a continuum of human life and personhood begins at the moment of fertilization” and promise to protect “the civil rights of the pre-born at an embryonic or fetal level.” In practice, personhood would not only criminalize all abortions, it could also endanger some common forms of birth control and put women who have suffered miscarriages at risk of prosecution.
When Cruz was running for Senate in 2012, he promised another personhood group that he would cosponsor the Life at Conception Act, a personhood bill that seeks to ban all abortions and even some types of birth control through legislation rather than a constitutional amendment. When Cruz’s presidential rival Rand Paul introduced the bill, however, Cruz never signed on as a cosponsor.
Here is a photo of Georgia Right to Life's Joshua Edmonds presenting Cruz with what appears to be GRTL's endorsement:
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber called for the creation of "sanctuary states" where Planned Parenthood facilities are defunded and shut down and abortion is simply outlawed by Republican governors and state legislatures.
Praising the right-wing smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, Staver reiterated his call for the creation of abortion-free zones as he urged Congress to defund the organization and for states to follow suit, because Planned Parenthood should not be receiving "any more for genocide."
"But beyond that, we need to stop abortion," Staver declared, urging governors to "just simply say, 'Enough is enough, we're not going to kill children in our state.'"
Saying that is it not enough to simply defund Planned Parenthood, which is "like funding the Holocaust," Staver advocated the creation of "sanctuary states" where abortion would be against the law.
"You've got these so-called sanctuary cities," he said, "setting these up for the protection of illegal aliens, we should set up a sanctuary location, a sanctuary city, but particularly a sanctuary state that says that children within our state, they're protected, we will not stand by and allow them to be slaughtered in the womb."
Barber eagerly agreed, suggesting that Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma and other "red states" should all "come together" and declares themselves to be "sanctuary states for the preborn."
But one of Huckabee’s fellow candidates made a very similar comment, which has received less attention because he did not explicitly acknowledge the personhood movement. Here’s what Marco Rubio said when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked about his support for abortion bans that have contained exceptions for survivors of rape and incest, a deal-breaker for personhood proponents:
Kelly: You don’t favor a rape and incest exception?
Rubio: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.
And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.
As Katie McDonough at Fusion pointed out, Rubio’s answer was a “roundabout” personhood argument.
By saying that the Constitution already entitles fertilized eggs and fetuses to “the protection of our laws” and that Congress merely needs to “pass a law” stating that “says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection,” Rubio seems to be arguing for a personhood bill such as that proposed by fellow GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul in the Senate. (Personhood proponents believe that there is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that allows a ban on all abortions and some common forms of birth control to be accomplished legislatively, rather than through a constitutional amendment.)
Even anti-choice activists are unclear about what Rubio meant in his answer to Kelly. The Christian Post thinks that Rubio was taking the same position on Personhood as Huckabee. Personhood USA, the group behind state-level personhood ballot measures, was more skeptical, writing that while Rubio expressed a “noble sentiment,” he must “repent” for supporting laws containing rape and incest exceptions and “will have to clarify” his position.
What is clear is that Rubio’s answer was calculated to appeal to radical anti-choice activists without being immediately off-putting to viewers who are terrified of fetal personhood laws. Beyond that, he should be asked to clarify what his position on personhood really is.
As we noted last week, Huckabee seems to have gotten behind the idea that fertilized eggs and fetuses can be granted equal protection and due process rights under the 14th and Fifth Amendments through simple legislation, rather than a constitutional amendment, a legal theory that is disputed by even some major anti-choice groups.
Although Huckabee remains vague on how he would go about granting constitutional rights to zygotes, he seems to have decided that talking about fetal personhood — an idea so unpopular that it has been repeatedly rejected by voters, even in the deep-red states of Mississippi and North Dakota — is his ticket to the GOP nomination.
I think it’s time for us to realize that this is not just about us creating a few little restrictions here and there, stopping funding for various organizations. That’s all good, and I’ve been a part of those efforts, signed every piece of legislation imaginable as a governor when I was in Arkansas, helped pass a human life amendment in Arkansas to our state constitution before I even got involved in politics. But I think now that we really need to focus on that this is about personhood, this is about, is that baby a human being? Because if it is, then, David, we have a constitutional responsibility under the Fifth Amendment for due process, we have a responsibility under the 14th Amendment for equal protection, to provide a protection and due process for that person.
So I think we need to ratchet up this discussion and make it not so much about whether we’re going to fund a particular Planned Parenthood organization — which certainly doesn’t need to be funded, they’re butchers, they should have not tax dollars whatsoever. But even if we eradicate Planned Parenthood, you still have 4,000 babies a day that are dying, so why don’t we take the issue where it really belongs, and that’s personhood.
And the one thing that I think separates me from the other candidates, all of whom are pro-life, or they say they are, is that I think it’s time to invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment and make this an issue of personhood and start protecting innocent life, that’s how we should be approaching this.
But Mike Huckabee took things to a new level when he calmly presented his plan to grant legal “personhood” to fertilized eggs and fetuses.
Some commentators have mistaken Huckabee’s comment as a call for a constitutional amendment to reverse Roe v. Wade. That’s not what he meant.
Instead, Huckabee was embracing a radical legal theory, disputed even in anti-choice circles, that holds that a constitutional amendment overturning Roe isn’t necessary to end legal abortion. This theory holds that the majority opinion in Roe contains a magic loophole that allows Congress to simply declare zygotes “persons” under the Fifth and 14th Amendments, which would then criminalize abortion nationwide in one fell swoop, no constitutional amendment needed. One of the most adamant proponents of this theory in Congress is Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate, Rand Paul.
Here was Huckabee’s answer to Chris Wallace’s question about his “strong positions on social issues,” including favoring “a constitutional amendment banning abortions, except for the life of the mother”:
Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That's a long and difficult process. I've actually taken the position that's bolder than that.
A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, as if that's a huge game changer. I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception.
The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.
It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick.
But if Huckabee’s dubious legal strategy were to work, the consequences would be enormous. Not only would granting “personhood” to fetuses ban abortion in all but the rarest case where a pregnant woman and a fetus are both in mortal danger, it would put women who suffer miscarriages at risk of prosecution and jail time. The ambiguous wording of such measures has led many to fear that they could also outlaw common forms of birth control.
By redefining what it means to be a person under the law, personhood measures could also have a broad legal impact on issues unrelated to reproductive rights, threatening to upend everything from inheritance law to census results . In 2014, the Colorado Bar Association opposed the state’s personhood ballot measure, warning that the vaguely worded measure would have “potentially serious, unintended and unknown consequences for Colorado lawyers. … From areas of Family Law to Probate Law to Real Estate Law, as well as the explicit effect on Criminal Law and Wrongful Death statutes, this Amendment could create uncertainty and endless litigation.”
Mike Huckabee’s support for the personhood movement is nothingnew. But in declaring his intention to give 14th Amendment rights to fertilized eggs in a nationally televised debate, he gave a fringe movement what may be its biggest stage yet.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, told the “Point of View” radio program yesterday that anti-choice activists must take advantage of a new series of videos smearing Planned Parenthood to “stop all abortion” and “shut this organization down whose hearts are so calloused over.” Planned Parenthood’s employees, she added, “need to be liberated from what they are doing in a very Christian way.”
“The promises of our Constitution, our founders, the promises that we make each other when we say our Pledge of Allegiance, they should take us to a place where we can say we are just better than this, we can stop this,” she said. “We can stop late-term abortion, we can stop all abortion, but we can at least stop late-term abortion that even makes this possible. And we can certainly shut this organization down whose hearts are so calloused over, they need, they need something other than what they are doing, they need to be liberated from what they are doing in a very Christian way. And it happens over and over again with Planned Parenthood clinicians. So we have a moment here to seize.”
In a sermon to his father John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church on Sunday, Matthew Hagee took on the recent set of videos falsely claiming that Planned Parenthood sells “baby parts” for profit and the controversy over the killing of a well-known lion in Zimbabwe, saying that the teaching of evolution in schools is to blame for both legal abortion and the uproar over Cecil the lion’s death.
“God help a country that is more concerned about a lion in Zimbabwe than we are about 55 million children that we’ve murdered in a senseless, senseless fashion,” Hagee declared.
“How did we do it?” he asked. “I’ll tell you how. We taught ourselves to do this. We went to classrooms where they didn’t tell us that we were made by God our Creator. They told us that we were the highest form of a scientific process called evolution. ‘There’s just one little chromosome between us and Cecil the lion.’ Thank God for that chromosome, because it gave me a finger and I can use it to pull the trigger!”
“We didn’t teach people that you were a human being fearfully and wonderfully made as the handiwork of God Almighty,” he lamented. “We just said that you were a bunch of cells that got mashed together and you’re here by accident. Evolution is a lie from the pit of Hell itself, and it has cost us 55 million Americans.”
American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer warned yesterday that God will most likely judge America for legal abortion, leading to “a complete cultural and societal collapse.”
“I would have to say, I think, given what I’m seeing in these videos and how that just brings into plain relief the moral collapse of this nation for decades now, I just don’t see how we escape God’s judgment for what we are doing with abortion. I just don’t see how that’s possible,” he said, referring to the recent series of videos smearing Planned Parenthood.
“I fear that we have passed the point of no return and we are going to wind up with a complete cultural and societal collapse,” he warned.
On his American Family Radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer revisited the topic of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, which he blamedat the time on the end of government-sponsored prayer in schools.
Why, he asked yesterday, didn’t God intervene to stop the killing of 20 children at the Sandy Hook school? “Well,” he explained, “Isaiah has an answer. It’s not that he can’t. It’s because our sins as a nation have driven God from us.”
Fischer read a passage from the Book of Isaiah in which the prophet warns that “our iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden His face from you so that he does not hear, your hands are defiled with blood.”
“So as we lift our hands in prayer as a nation, what He sees is the blood on our hands of the 57 million unborn babies whose lives have been taken through abortion,” Fischer explained. “So He can’t hear our prayers because the blood of the unborn cries out to Him and He can’t hear our prayers over the pleas of the blood of the unborn.”
“So if we’re once again going to have God hear our plans, we have got to clean up our act, and that’s got to start with abortion,” he said.
Fischer then repeated the comment he made shortly after the 2012 shooting: “We have spent the last 60 years in our culture telling God to get lost, and we wonder why He’s not around when we need him? God’s a gentleman, he will not go where he’s not wanted.”
In an interview with The Dove TV on Friday, anti-gay activist Scott Lively insisted that Christians are being denied their First Amendment rights because of gay rights, while simultaneously asserting that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom applies only to Christians.
In fact, Lively explained, it is because the United States has grown to accept “religious pluralism” that God is now punishing us with abortion rights and LGBT equality.
“Well, I don’t actually believe in ‘religious freedom,’ the way that the term is used,” Lively explained. “I know that when you use it and when most people use it, you’re talking about Christianity. We’re not talking about freedom for Islam and freedom for Buddhism and Hinduism as if they’re equal with God.
“The number-one Commandment is ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ And when we forget that and we start accepting this concept of religious pluralism and we say that Jesus Christ is really no higher an authority in America than Buddha or Mohammed or even Satan, that’s when we have really dropped the ball and we have brought disfavor from God on us.”
Legal abortion (or, as he put it, the “pro-abort juggernaut of death”) and gay rights, he insisted, could have been stopped if America had earned “the favor of God.”
“If even one man, just one man, had the favor of God,” he said, “with the flimsiest of plans, he could have stopped that, he could have stopped the gay agenda in very short order.”
He went on to mourn for the soldiers in the Revolutionary War who “died with the cry ‘no king but Jesus’ on their lips” and for “all the patriots since them who have died on the battlefield believing that American values meant godliness and morality, not sexual perversion and killing.”
Lively then, with great self-awareness, lamented that the First Amendment is “being chipped away very rapidly” leading to the “persecution” of people like himself.
Later in the interview, Lively claimed that thanks to abortion rights and LGBT equality, “we really are now under occupation.. by cultural Marxists” just as France was occupied by the Nazis in World War II.
The “cultural Marxists,” he said, have now ensured that everyone in America is “forced to participate in gay culture,” and are working toward the next step, which is “punishment of all dissenters.”
“The folks that are pushing this, they want to come after every Christian,” he warned, “they hate Christianity, they want to punish, they are going to aggressively pursue every person.”
But he had some good news: “I’m more blessed than I’ve ever been, and yet I’m being persecuted more than anybody else in America.”
“I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told the crowd, “and this is a dangerous place for America to be.”
He told them that getting America right with God should be the country’s first policy priority.
“Yes, we need to address the economic concerns of the people of our country, and we must,” he said. “And yes, we must address the national security threats to our country. We must. But if that’s all we do, and we do not come back to the understanding that the only explanation for this great republic of ours is the intervention of God’s providence, then we will never see this nation rise to its greatness again.”
He added that Americans must recognize that the founding fathers “clearly understood that there was a God to whom we will ultimately answer, and our laws need to reflect His.”
Later in the speech, Huckabee threw in his own brand of populism, saying that hard-working Americans recognize that God will judge America for legal abortion unless the entire nation repents.
“I’m convinced that there is a great need in this country for us to address the folks that do lift the heavy things every day,” he said, “who do sweat through their socks every day, who go to church each week, who do not buy in on the nonsense that we can kill 60 million more babies over the next 42 years and that God won’t richly judge us for it. I’m convinced this country can get back on its feet, but it can’t do that until it first gets back on its knees and repents.”
Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson was also scheduled to speak at the event, but sent an apologetic video message instead.
Just today, People For the American Way releaseda report about the latest attacks on Planned Parenthood, which noted that contraception access isn’t collateral damage in the Right’s attacks on abortion rights, but instead is an intended target.
What better way to illustrate this than a graphic that Priests for Life spokesman and Fox News contributor Alveda King shared in a press release today about the latest anti-Planned-Parenthood video.
Priests for Life, which has claimed partial credit for the latest Planned Parenthood smear, explains that the “3 headed monster” of “sexual perversion” (including “homosexuality” and “fornication”), “abortion and unnatural contraception,” and anti-miscegenation laws (which haven’t existed in the U.S. for nearly 50 years) are preventing Americans from fulfilling God’s commandment that they “be fruitful and multiply”:
As she frequently mentions, Alveda King is a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a family connection that she attempts to hold up to lend a patina of moral authority to her work. (Never mind that King was a supporter of government-funded family planning programs who once accepted an award from Planned Parenthood.) That may explain why the younger King stretches to equate homosexuality and contraception with racism as heads of the demon-beast that will destroy America.
As the Senate prepares to vote this afternoon on a bill to strip federal funds from Planned Parenthood, People For the American Way has released a new report detailing the activists behind the latest round of attacks on the women’s health organization, their ideology and ultimate goals.
A group called the Center for Medical Progress has promised to release a dozen videos that it claims show that Planned Parenthood is “selling baby parts” for profit. That claim is easily debunked, but as PFAW details, the specific accusations are only part of the point:
The latest Planned Parenthood smear falls in a long line of attacks on the organization that have failed at proving any wrongdoing but succeeded at reinforcing long-held myths about the organization within the anti-choice movement. Previous attacks by activists related to the latest series of videos have made flimsy attempts to “prove” that Planned Parenthood targets people of color and harbors sex traffickers. Similarly, the latest attack hopes to reinforce the longstanding anti-choice myth that Planned Parenthood is a massive “industry” that preys on women for profit.
None of these specific claims have held up to the smallest amount of scrutiny, but that was never the point.
Instead, the Center for Medical Progress’ campaign is part of a long-running effort to undermine access to reproductive health care — including contraception, reproductive health screenings, sex education and legal abortion — by providing cover to legislators who want to dismantle women’s access to reproductive care.
The report also details the anti-choice activists behind the Center for Medical Progress, including Live Action’s Lila Rose, who has called for abortions to be performed “in the public square” and Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who once publicly celebrated the death of an abortion provider. These activists, PFAW notes, want not only to criminalize abortion in the United States but to undermine access to contraception. In doing so, they are willing to cut off basic medical care for hundreds of thousands of women.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver joined VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program on Thursday to discuss his work urging government officials to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality.
Staver urged governors and other elected officials to “stand up and resist” the Supreme Court’s ruling, praising officials in Alabama and Texas who are pushing back against it.
Such officials, he said, could create “sanctuary cities” free from gay marriage and abortion rights, just as some cities have become sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.
“You know what, if some cities can create sanctuary cities for illegal aliens, why can’t a city or a state create a sanctuary city or state to protect the preborn?” he asked.
“And to protect marriage,” VCY’s Jim Schneider chimed in.
“…and to protect marriage, absolutely.”
Staver is representing one Kentucky County clerk, Kim Davis, who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, which he said she can’t do because she would be giving those couples a “license” to “engage in a sinful activity with a sinful relationship.”
“And understand what their dilemma is,” he said. “They provide a license to do something. They provide a license that gives you the legal authority to drive a car. They provide a license that gives you a legal authority to operate a business. So they’re providing a license that gives you a legal authority to do what? To engage in a sinful activity with a sinful relationship, a same-sex so-called marriage.”
Claiming that the Supreme Court’s decision put people like Davis in the “firing line,” he said that she was simply unwilling to “authorize someone to do something that itself is sinful, that is repugnant to her and the scriptures and to natural millennia of human history, natural law.”
American Family Association official Sandy Rios claimed on her radio program yesterday that women who have had an abortion end up either “brokenhearted” and suffering “tremendous guilt” or get “hard as nails” and become “mean and evil and angry.”
Rios, who made the comments while promoting rallies protesting Planned Parenthood, concluded that this is because women who have had an abortion have “violated the very core of who they are as women, and that is mothers, mothers who give life.”
John Zmirak, a conservative activist and a senior editor of James Robison’s The Stream website, said yesterday that as a group of anti-choice activists continues to put out new videos smearing Planned Parenthood, “I think they’re going to need to put police in front of Planned Parenthood clinics to keep them safe and intact because the public outrage will just be so great.”
In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway, Zmirak praised the “pro-life journalistic heroes” at the Center for Medical Progress for their strategy of slowly releasing videos that they falsely claim show that Planned Parenthood is selling “baby parts” for profit.
“I’ve got to think that what’s coming next is even more damning,” he said. “If that continues, I think they’re going to need to put police in front of Planned Parenthood clinics to keep them safe and intact because the public outrage will just be so great.”
The prediction that Planned Parenthood clinics will need “police” to keep them “safe” is not an idle threat coming from a movement whose extreme fringes have a long history of violence. In fact, one of the activists behind the Center for Medical Progress, Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, has a disturbing history of ties to activists who have perpetrated violence against abortion providers.
In a separate interview last week with Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman, Zmirak compared the anti-Planned Parenthood “investigators” to people who go “undercover to infiltrate Al Qaeda” or the mob.
“We know people who go undercover in the drug trade, and we send people undercover to infiltrate Al Qaeda,” he said. “I knew someone who did that and it changes you. I can’t imagine what it must be life to spend three years among these people, having to deceive them — you know, it’s your duty, they don’t have the right to the truth because they’re engaged in a criminal enterprise.”
“It’s like infiltrating the mafia,” he continued. “It really is an instance of organized crime. We should start thinking about Planned Parenthood as human organ traffickers, just like the Russian mob.”