Fighting the Right

Alex Jones Ties 'Bitch' Hillary Clinton And 'Race War' Obama To Virginia Shooting

Right-wing pundit Alex Jones is not happy about Hillary Clinton’s call to combat gun violence following the fatal shooting of a Virginia journalist and cameraman during a live interview, calling her a “bitch” on his “InfoWars” program yesterday.

After repeatedly calling Clinton a “witch,” he finally broke down: “Hey Hillary, you got bodyguards. Are their guns bad too? Why can’t I have a gun to protect myself, you bitch?”

Jones also claimed that the shooter was inspired by the Obama administration, which he said has been “pushing race war and now blaming the Second Amendment.”

Glenn Beck's Simple Solution For Defeating ISIS: Destroy Them With Fuel-Air Bombs

On his television program last night, Glenn Beck again spelled out his simple solution for defeating ISIS once and for all by just dropping a fuel-air bomb on them.

As Beck sees it, completely destroying ISIS simply requires a willingness to brutally wipe them out and then just go home, but America won't do that "because we are trapped in a politically correct box."

"You go in there and you blitzkrieg, you wipe it out," Beck said ,"and you say, 'Never again, you don't do that ever again, don't touch us, we activate this and it is Hell on earth.' And then you come home; you don't rebuild anybody, you don't do any of that. You wait and wait and wait and wait until you have no other options and then you hit them hard."

Claiming that the U.S. is currently hitting ISIS "with flowers and cupcakes," Beck declared that we need to just start dropping fuel-air bombs on them, incinerating them with fire while sucking all of the oxygen out of the area.

"That's what has to happen to win a war," he said. "You suck the air out the room, you make your opponent gasp. We're not prepared to do that, so you cannot fight this war until your prepared to be brutal in killing people. Period."

Anti-Gay Kentucky Clerk Defies Court For Third Time, Appeals To SCOTUS

A Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in June lost an appeal of her case in the Sixth Circuit yesterday. The federal appeals court held that the clerk, Kim Davis, cannot cite her personal religious views as a reason to stop a government office from performing its duties.

Earlier today, Davis’ office once again defied the court by denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple trying to receive a license for a third time.

Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel head who is representing Davis and encouraging other officials to commit anti-gay civil disobedience, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he will now take Davis’ case to the Supreme Court:

"It is disappointing, certainly for our client, because the ramifications of the ruling is that there are no religious freedom rights for individuals if you can say a case is just against the office. The problem with that is, individuals who hold public office don't forfeit their constitutional rights," said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, the religious advocacy group representing Davis.

Davis will appeal one more rung up the ladder, to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who can intervene in 6th Circuit cases, Staver said.

While Staver claims that the clerk’s “constitutional rights” are being violated when she is required to perform her job duties, the appeals court points out that this is not a case of individual free speech: “[W]here a public employee’s speech is made pursuant to his duties, ‘the relevant speaker [is] the government entity, not the individual.’”

As the County Clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, Davis’s official duties include the issuance of marriage licenses. In response to the Supreme Court’s holding in Obergefell v. Hodges, (2015), that a state is not permitted “to bar same -sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex,” Davis unilaterally decided that her office would no longer issue any marriage licenses.



The request for a stay pending appeal relates solely to an injunction against Davis in her official capacity. The injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk. In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal. (emphasis added)

The Abortion Protester's Guidebook For Invading Patients' Privacy

A ProPublica investigation published in the Washington Post today looks at the sophisticated data collection methods used by abortion-clinic protesters to gather information about abortion providers, which has occasionally led to the identities of abortion patients being publicly exposed against their will.

“In recent years, abortion opponents have become experts at accessing public records such as recordings of 911 calls, autopsy reports, and documents from state health departments and medical boards, then publishing the information on their Web sites,” writes ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein. “Some activists have dug through clinics’ trash to find privacy violations by abortion providers — such as patient records tossed in dumpsters — and used them to file complaints with regulators.”

Aggressive data collection about abortion providers and patients, often by the same people serving as “sidewalk counselors” for anti-abortion groups, has become a hallmark of the anti-choice “rescue” movement since the advent of laws preventing activists from literally blocking the doors to clinics. The de facto leader of this movement is Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who has been in the news recently as the patron of a series of “sting” videos smearing Planned Parenthood.

Ornstein writes that these activists “appear to be drawing from an unofficial playbook: Some wait outside clinics, tracking or taking photos of patients’ and staffers’ license plates and ambulances, if called.”

A version of that “informal playbook” was put into writing last year by Newman and his Operation Rescue colleague Cheryl Sullenger in their book “Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time,” published by the far-right outlet WorldNetDaily.

In it, Newman and Sullenger (who says she has embraced nonviolence after serving time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s) outline for anti-choice activists how they can collect information on abortion providers, make it public, and use it to try to drive providers out of business and convince legislators to try to do the same.

Newman and Sullenger review various tactics for anti-choice activists looking to gather information on abortion providers, including public records requests, sting operations like the one behind the recent Planned Parenthood videos, and collecting information on vendors who work with abortion providers in order to harass them into ending their association.

“Make a record of all the vendors you can, and photograph their vehicles, especially if they bear the company logos,” Sullenger and Newman counsel, adding that protesters should “keep a camera and a notepad” with them at all times.

Newman and Sullenger tell protesters to aggressively take photographs or video whenever they witness a patient being transferred to a hospital as a result of complications.

They proudly tell how once while standing outside the Wichita clinic of George Tiller — who was later murdered by an anti-abortion extremist — they saw Tiller escort a woman who had suffered a complication to the emergency room. The anti-abortion activists took pictures of the woman, which they then printed on postcards that they mailed to the neighbors of employees of Tiller’s clinic:

We enlarged the pictures of Tiller wheeling the injured woman into the emergency room, plastered them on the sides of our Truth Truck, and parked it out in front of his clinic driveway gate, where it aided in turning many women away from having abortions out of concern that they might be next. We put the photos on postcards and sent them to every legislator, asking for laws to protect women, which helped push forward pro-life legislation. We sent the images to the neighbors of abortion clinic workers, asking them to pray for their neighbor to leave the abortion industry, which prompted several workers to quit their jobs at Tiller’s clinic.

“Photos that show the victim on a gurney being taken from the abortion clinic are useful and dramatic,” the activists write in a list of tips for sidewalk counselors. “Submit a FOIA request for the 911 audio file and CAD transcript of the call as soon as possible,” they add.

“Don’t be worried about compromising a patient’s privacy when taking photos, because faces can be blurred using editing software before they are published,” they advise.

Newman and Sullenger tell of how, in an effort to find the identity of a new doctor Tiller had hired, they pieced together the pieces of a private medical form discarded by a patient:

A woman had tossed torn-up pieces of paper out her window before driving away from the abortion clinic. The sidewalk counselor had retrieved them and gave them to us. We pieced them together and discovered the initials S.R. on a line that required a physician’s signature.

Although Newman and Sullenger never advocate deliberately exposing the identities of abortion patients, that is certainly not the case for providers, whose names, address and photographs they catalogue on their website AbortionDocs.com. In their book, they urge activists to dig up whatever dirt they can on providers, even when it’s completely irrelevant to their medical practice.

They tell, for instance, of finding a “ridiculous” photo of an abortion clinic administrator on social media that showed the “bleached blonde” with her “dark roots embarrassingly showing,” which they made a point of using “repeatedly” on their website:

Search social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Sometimes very interesting insight can be garnered from their social network profiles, including photos of the abortionists doing crazy things. For example, the administrator of an abortion chain in Texas left her social profile public, and we found a ridiculous photo of the bleached blonde — dark roots embarrassingly showing — making a silly face while peering through a curtain of plastic grass. That picture made her look like anything but the serious medical professional she purported herself to be. We have used the photo repeatedly on our own website.

Newman and Sullenger also provide guidance for “stings” such as that conducted by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, for whom Newman seems to have served as a mentor and funder. Starting the chapter of their book with a quote from Sun Tzu, “All warfare is based on deception,” they offer a biblical justification for using false identities to investigate a “godless enemy”:

Some have no problem whatsoever stretching the truth to a godless enemy who is bent on destroying innocent lives — especially if it can be used to save babies. One need only look at the story of Rahab in the Bible for an example of a woman who used misdirection to save the lives of the Jewish spies and was honored by God for it (See Joshua 2).

Groups like Operation Rescue serve as an important part of the anti-choice movement’s effort to chip away at abortion access by regulating providers out of existence. While large, politically influential groups like Americans United for Life advocate for laws that place unnecessary regulatory constraints on abortion providers, groups like Operation Rescue look for any small violation that they can use to attack the clinic.

Although activists often say they are seeking to find gross mismanagement and abuses like those at Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia, Newman and Sullenger tell activists that no violation is too small to be used against a clinic. They urge protesters to look for minor violations of zoning codes, like insufficient parking or improper signage. If you look hard enough, they say, you’ll eventually find something:

In all our combined decades of experience, we have yet to find an abortion business that abides by all applicable laws. That means every abortion clinic is legally vulnerable and subject to closure. Our job is to find out what the abortionists are doing wrong and exploit their weaknesses.

They urge activists to simultaneously encourage their elected officials to “whittle away” at abortion access by implementing “regulations and laws that essentially make it impossible for abortion mills to operate”:

Some pro-life groups believe that an all-or-nothing approach is the way to go. They won’t support any legislation — and in some cases will block it — if it doesn’t ban abortions outright. We feel that there is plenty we can do right now to promote pro-life legislation that will save lives now while we continue to work toward full abolition. For instance, we can whittle away at the industry by supporting regulations and laws that essentially make it impossible for abortion mills to operate due to their proclivity to function well below accepted medical standards.

Fischer: Pornography, Adultery And Ashley Madison Ought To Be Illegal

Bryan Fischer reacted to the latest sordid revelations regarding Josh Duggar on his radio program today by calling for pornography and adultery to be outlawed and for the website Ashley Madison to be shut down.

"I believe that pornography could be, and ought to be, illegal," Fischer said. "It ought to be against the law. The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, it does not protect the freedom or the right to take your clothes off and have sex in front of a camera ... And this Ashley Madison website, which is designed to promote adulterous liaisons, I think that is a website that by its very nature ought to be illegal."

Absurdly comparing adultery to shoplifting, Fischer declared that adultery "ought to be crime in all of society," which would result in websites like Ashley Madison being shut down by the government.

'This Is The Beginning Of Sorrows': Glenn Beck Warns Shooting Of Journalists Shows We’ve Reached The End Times

Back in 2013, Glenn Beck declared on his radio show that if it ever got to the point where he started reading Scripture on the air, you could be sure that it was a sign that we are rapidly approaching the End Times. That was two years ago and since we don't seem to have quite reached the End of Days yet, Beck returned to reading from Scripture on his program today in the wake of the shooting of a television reporter and cameraman live on air, warning once again that our time is up.

The shooting prompted Beck to deliver a long sermon on the Book of Jeremiah, revealing that God has told him that He is giving this nation "one final warning."

"I think God is giving me one final warning," Beck said. "He's telling us, 'You got one more chance, this is it.' I'm telling you this is it ... This is God saying, 'Last chance.'"

"I told these guys fifteen years ago, you ever start to hear me reading right from the Scriptures, you know we're at the end," Beck continued. "I'm reading today right from the Scriptures ... I'm telling you, as we watch things like a shooting on television and a shooting in the street, this is the beginning of sorrows. This is the beginning!"

Ann Coulter: 'President Trump' Proof That 'God Hasn't Given Up On America Yet'

While introducing Donald Trump at his rally in Dubuque, Iowa, last night, Ann Coulter said she has “felt like she’s dreaming” ever “since Donald Trump announced that he’s running for president” because now the media is covering her criticisms of U.S. immigration policy.

Coulter, who once gushed about serving as Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security, has boasted that the GOP frontrunner read her latest anti-immigrant book, praising his plan to deport every single undocumented immigrant and undermine the 14th Amendment as “the greatest political document since the Magna Carta.”

“I love the idea of the ‘Great Wall of Trump,’” she said. “I want to have a two-drink minimum, make it a big worldwide tourist attraction and every day live drone shows when anyone tries to cross the border.”

She said that after nearly giving up hope for America after President Obama’s re-election, she now knows that all is not lost.

Coulter offered a biblical analogy to explain Trump’s rise: “Now I think it’s like Joseph in the Bible. He had to be sold into slavery, imprisoned, betrayed so that eventually he could save the Jews. Maybe Mitt Romney had to lose and maybe we had to give Republicans one more chance in 2014 and maybe Mitch McConnell and John Boehner had to betray us once again to pave the way for President Donald Trump. God hasn’t given up on America yet.”

Kentucky Clerk: It's My Job To Tell Gays They're Going To Hell

As we reported, local Kentucky official Casey Davis said in a radio interview earlier this week that he will defy a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even “if it takes my life.”

The Casey County clerk also told West Virginia radio host Tom Roten on Monday that he believes that, as a Christian, he should be exempt from performing such job duties because his religion requires him to not only oppose same-sex marriage but also to tell gay people that they are going to Hell unless they repent and get washed in “the blood of Jesus Christ.”

“When you stand for what’s right and when you tell someone of the danger that they are in, and I think that when a person lives a lifestyle of sin whether it is homosexuality or drunkenness or drug addiction or adultery or thievery or any kind of sin that you continue in or live in, you are endangering yourself of spending eternity in Hell,” Davis said. “So in my view of what the Bible says, when you’re truly loving someone, you stand and you lovingly tell them, ‘This is not the way to Heaven, this is not the way of right.’”

Davis continued to claim that he is the victim of religious persecution: “I think that this is a war on Christianity, I think same-sex marriage just simply brought it to the surface, but it is a war on Christianity.”

Insisting that he should be allowed to defy the law because divine laws “supersede” American law, Davis said that “God’s placed me here so that I can tell people, ‘Hey there is a higher power that we need to answer to, and it’s not people who wear black robes, it’s the one that wears the white robe.’”

Kentucky Clerk Says He May Die Fighting Gay Marriage

A small group of county clerks in Kentucky have said that they will defy the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. One of them, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, recently lost her case in federal court and is likely to lose on appeal.

On Monday, Casey County Clerk Casey Davis (no relation) appeared on Huntington, West Virginia’s “The Tom Roten Morning Show” to discuss how he similarly plans to defy the courts if ordered to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples … even to the point of death.

Davis railed against Gov. Steve Beshear for complying with the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, insisting that the governor should flout the Obergefell decision: “I think that’s a travesty to think that just because he don’t see it this way or his opinion is to let same-sex marriage go and it’s all right that us as Christians, we as Christians just don’t have rights anymore? That’s wrong sir. That’s not right.”

“It’s a war on Christianity,” he said. “There is a travesty taking place with that Supreme Court ruling was completely unconstitutional, completely unconstitutional. They have no right to tell us, the state of Kentucky, that our law that was voted with what was 70 percent of the people that it was wrong, they had no right.”

An emotional Davis went on to claim that he may lose his life in defiance of marriage equality: “Our law says ‘one man and one woman’ and that is what I held my hand up and took an oath to and that is what I expected. If it takes it, I will go to jail over — if it takes my life, I will die for because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have, I owe that to them today, and you do, we all do. They fought and died so we could have this freedom and I’m going to fight and die for my kids and your kids can keep it.”

Demanding that Beshear call a special session of the legislature to give him and other clerks a reprieve from doing their job duties, Davis said that the governor should “sit down with a man and a woman who sent their child off to war alive, hugged their neck, told them they loved them and brought them back in a pine box and get them to tell me what the price of freedom is.”

Davis said that the same-sex marriage isn’t real marriage because it violates the Bible: “Where is Adam and Eve’s marriage license recorded at and who did they go get them issued by? I’ll tell you, God issued them. God ordained it. Whether you believe in God or not, the Bible is where marriage came from and it is where it will continue to come from regardless of what man says that it is. It will never be anything but between one man and one woman in the eyes of God, that’s what marriage is and someone else may label it as something else but it can never be anything except between one man and one woman.”

Liberty Law School Dean: Government Doesn't Have Authority To Impose Unbiblical Laws

Recently, Rena Lindevaldsen, Liberty University Law School's interim dean, delivered an address to students on the question "Do Government Officials Have Authority to Impose Their Morals on Others?"

Lindevaldsen's answer was a resounding "yes," provided that the morals being imposed are Christian ones. But if the morals being imposed are not Christian ones, then the answer is obviously "no."

As she explained, "civil government only has the authority that God has established" and so "civil government, if it's acting rightfully within its authority, should be acting consistent with Scripture."

"Government's only just authority [is] derived from God and it's purpose is to protect those inalienable rights that we have been given, not to infringe them as we're seeing take place a lot in society today," Lindevaldsen said. "Whether it's zoning or taxes or marriage or abortion, in those issues, government doesn't have authority to say that these things are appropriate because they're contrary to Scripture."

Alveda King: Planned Parenthood Is Feeding America A Poop Brownie With Arsenic-Laced Sweet Tea

Alveda King, director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life, joined End Times conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles on his “TruNews” program yesterday to discuss efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of a series of smear videos by an anti-abortion group.

Wiles told King that while GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has said he supports maintaining federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services, “To me, the issue isn’t whether funding should be cut off, the issue is the arrest and imprisonment of Planned Parenthood officials. These people need to be in prison.”

King agreed that “legal penalties must be enforced” and “funding does need to be cut off” from the group, and blasted people who say that “Planned Parenthood still does some good” through women’s health services such as STI testing and providing affordable contraception.

Talking about Planned Parenthood’s wide-ranging women’s health services, she said, is like offering a guest to your home a brownie and sweet tea, but lacing the brownie with dog poop and the sweet tea with arsenic.

“Well that’s like you come over to my house — I live in the South — with some sweet tea, a nice brownie with a rich frosting on it,” she explained. “Now, I may lace the sweat tea with arsenic, you’ll never know because the sugar’s so sweet it will take over the bitterness until you fall and you die. … That nice little cupcake with the frosting on it, I took a secret ingredient out of the back yard where the dogs run around in the field, I took a little spoon of that but there was some little worm eggs in there, but later you wonder why you’re sick and dying.”

“So Planned Parenthood may be giving some services that appear to be good,” she concluded, “but at the end of the day, they’re doling out death.”

Fischer: When Deporting Repeat Border Crossers, Make Them 'Migrate Clear Across The Country' Just To Get Back Home

On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer took a call from a listener who had a rather unique suggestion of what to do with people who illegally cross into America repeatedly: place them on military transport planes and then dump them out in the middle of nowhere.

"Mike from Virginia" told Fischer that repeat offenders "should be loaded on to C130s and para-dropped into Tierra del Fuego, and Nigeria, and North Vietnam" and Fischer thought that was a pretty good idea, though he did not necessarily support going to such extreme measures.

"What I would be in favor of," Fischer said, "is when we deport them, let's deport them as far away from the American border as we can. Return them to their home country, but as far away from the American border as is possible. If you take them across the border and deport them, they're just going to be right back. They may be right back on the same day, so there has to be some distance that you create and then people begin to understand, look, I'm going to have a find a way to migrate clear across the country to get back to my home, let alone make another stab at reentering the United States":

Pastor Ties Market Turmoil To Gay Rights And Legal Abortion

End Times preacher Carl Gallups spoke to WorldNetDaily yesterday about Pat Robertson’s claim that this week’s stock market turmoil represented God’s judgment on America.

Gallups agreed with Robertson and warned that even greater forms of judgment are in store for the U.S. because of the country’s policies on abortion and homosexuality.

“How can we exterminate 55 million of our most precious national treasures and resources, our own children, and not expect God’s hand of judgment to eventually fall — and fall hard?” he asked WND. “How can we arrogantly usher in the Sodom and Gomorrah spirit of degradation and abomination; and then celebrate it, embrace it, glorify it, and codify it – while somehow expecting the author of life and marriage to remain silent?”

Pastor Carl Gallups, a former law-enforcement officer, talk-radio host and author of the upcoming book “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble,” believes hard times and even persecution are in store for American Christians. He thinks economic difficulties may only be the beginning.

“I am listening, along with the rest of America, to the various financial pundits insisting that what we are watching with the recent market percentage collapse is a ‘market correction’ or a ‘typical market drop’ for this time of year,” said Gallups.

“Those definitions may indeed prove to be true, in this particular case, as the next few weeks and months go by. But, I do know this – even if this particular financial disaster passes and/or corrects, America has a day of reckoning coming. And when it arrives, it will make what is happening now look like child’s play.”

When asked what he meant by that analysis, Gallups responded: “There is no way that we can teach our children – for several generations – that we originated from an accidental, random, cosmic explosion and that there is no need for God – and that the Bible is a simple collection of fairy tales and myths, without the Lord having His say in the matter. We are already paying the ‘reap what you sow’ curse, as we can see with the moral rot in our country. But there is worse yet to come if we don’t repent.”

Gallups continued: “How can we exterminate 55 million of our most precious national treasures and resources, our own children, and not expect God’s hand of judgment to eventually fall – and fall hard? How can we arrogantly usher in the Sodom and Gomorrah spirit of degradation and abomination; and then celebrate it, embrace it, glorify it, and codify it – while somehow expecting the author of life and marriage to remain silent?”



“I am not a ‘doomsday’ announcer by nature. But, I see the prophetic times in which we are living. I see the way we are turning from God and literally running in the other direction away from Him. Israel did the same thing and they eventually paid with their national sovereignty and centuries of horrific captivity in the hands of pagan nations. And it wasn’t as if God did not warn them of the judgment that would befall them if they did not repent. It seems to many biblical scholars as though we are running in the same path of that certain judgment.”

Chipping Away at Choice - 2015 Update: Growing Threats to Women’s Health Care Access and Autonomy

History: Women and ‘Undue Burdens’

Quiet Threats to Choice:
TRAP Laws: The Trojan Horse of the Anti-Choice Movement
Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Mandatory Waiting Periods
Genetic Anomaly, Race- or Sex-Selective Abortion Bans
Interference with Medical Providers: Legislators as OB/GYNs
Outdated Constraints on Early-term Abortions
Mandatory Counseling Laws
Mandatory Ultrasound Laws
20-Week Abortion Bans

Defunding Women's Health Care Providers
Personhood and Heartbeat Laws

In 2013, our Chipping Away at Choice report outlined five growing threats to reproductive health care access: targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws, crisis pregnancy centers, mandatory waiting periods, race- and sex-selective abortion restrictions, and interference with medical providers. These restrictions, often presented as commonsense measures to protect women’s health, are, in actuality, part of a concerted effort by the anti-choice movement to quietly chip away at reproductive health access and undermine the foundation of long-standing rights.

Sadly, these damaging, incremental tactics have become even more widespread since our last report, driven by conservative gains in the 2014 elections and the continued state-level advocacy of anti-choice groups including Americans United for Life and the National Right to Life Committee. States have enacted a staggering 282 new abortion restrictions since 2010, according to statistics compiled by the Guttmacher Institute. Fifty-one of those new restrictions were enacted in the first half of 2015 alone.
Americans United for Life’s (AUL) general counsel reportedly once compared his group’s approach to ending legal abortion to carving a ham: “Each slice makes it smaller and smaller until it is no more.”

This strategy of abolishing legal abortion in incremental steps faces a critical legal test as the Supreme Court decides whether to consider an appeal of a lower court decision upholding sweeping restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas. If the law is allowed to stand, all but a few of the state’s abortion providers could be forced to close, and the anti-choice movement’s “chipping away at choice” strategy would achieve one of its biggest victories yet.

The quieter, incremental tactics of anti-choice activists create barriers to abortion access in an attempt to force more women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Such burdens, such as high costs exacerbated by mandatory waiting periods and the need to travel long distances to reach increasingly scarce providers, disproportionately impact low-income women. In this way, it is often the women whose financial stability and future success hinges on abortion access that are the very women who are denied reproductive care.
In this updated report, we examine recent developments in these incremental anti-choice efforts and explore an additional incremental threat to abortion access and reproductive care: 20-week abortion bans.

We also look at the influence of a segment of the anti-choice movement that rejects these incremental strategies and instead advocates for more openly radical policies meant to present a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. The “personhood” movement seeks to grant full legal rights to human embryos from the moment of fertilization. Heartbeat bills, such as a North Dakota measure that was struck down by a federal court in 2015, seek to ban abortions after the point at which a heartbeat can be detected by ultrasound, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. These measures often receive more public attention than their more incremental counterparts, despite the fact that both strategies have the same radical end goal: to end legal abortion in America.

More than half of U.S. women of reproductive age now live in states that Guttmacher labels “hostile” or “extremely hostile” to abortion rights, compared to fewer than one-third of women in 2000. While radical, head-on attacks on abortion rights capture the public’s attention, conservative legislators and anti-choice groups continue to work tirelessly to quietly whittle away at women’s access to safe and legal abortion.

 

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History: Women and  ‘Undue Burdens’

Prior to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established women’s constitutional right to abortion,  illegal abortions were common, leading to thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths each year, with low-income women suffering disproportionately from the health consequences. Data from the World Health Organization illustrates that this trend still exists in nations that restrict abortion access today, with 47,000 deaths each year associated with unsafe abortions.

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court guaranteed the right to an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. While prohibiting government interference with a woman’s right to an elective abortion in the first trimester, the Court allowed states, starting in the second trimester, to regulate abortion only in “ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.” In 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court narrowly rejected an attempt to overturn Roe, but gave states greater leeway to regulate the procedure. As summarized by the American Prospect, Casey “made viability [of the fetus] the point at which the states could prohibit abortion, and it allowed restrictions on abortion rights as long as they didn't place an undue burden on the mother."

Although the anti-choice movement was disappointed that the Court failed to overturn Roe, it saw an opportunity in Casey, embarking on a decades-long campaign to weaken the “undue burden” standard and undermine Roe’s protections. While parts of the anti-choice movement continued to loudly campaign for a total and immediate prohibition on legal abortion, the most influential anti-choice have groups embraced a quieter, more incremental strategy in pursuit of the same goal.

Far from being an organic effort by state legislators to make abortion safe for women, these laws are driven by large, well-funded anti-choice groups including Americans United for Life and the National Right to Life Committee, which provide model bills for legislators and make no secret about their ultimate goal of ending legal abortion.

In the following section, we outline seven quiet threats to choice, and the resulting burdens that they create.

Quiet Threats to Choice

TRAP Laws: The Trojan Horse of the Anti-Choice Movement

Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws, one of the most common methods used by state legislatures to restrict reproductive health care access, subject clinics and doctors to burdensome and unnecessary restrictions in an attempt to force clinics to close.
Sold as regulations necessary to protect women’s health, TRAP laws often evade scrutiny and are frequently passed without significant opposition. Legislators sell these laws by giving them   names such as Arkansas’ “Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act” (based, it seems, on an Americans United for Life model bill of the same name), and claiming that they are necessary for women’s safety. However, far from protecting health and safety, TRAP laws cut off women’s access not only to abortion services, but to contraceptives, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other vital health care services. These regulations have gone so far as to regulate the size of a janitor’s closet and the height of the grass outside the clinic.

According to Guttmacher, 24 states currently “have laws or policies that regulate abortion providers and go beyond what is necessary to ensure patient safety.” In 17 of these states, the same regulations apply to clinics that only offer medication abortions.

Some TRAP laws take the form of building regulations that require clinics to perform costly and unnecessary renovations. Currently, 22 states impose “onerous licensing standards” on abortion clinics, including 11 states that specify the size of procedure rooms, 11 states that specify corridor width, and 11 states that require abortion facilities to be within a certain distance from a hospital. A Texas TRAP law, passed in 2013 and currently working its way through judicial appeals, would require abortion providers to adhere to the same standards as surgical clinics, as well as requiring providers to have unnecessary hospital admitting privileges, threatening to close all but a handful of clinics in the state.

First-trimester abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with less than 0.05 percent resulting in complications that might need hospital care. Less than 0.3 percent of all abortion patients in the United States experience a complication that requires hospitalization. The proven safety of abortion procedures delegitimizes requirements that force abortion facilities to meet the burdensome and costly standards of ambulatory surgical clinics.

Another type of TRAP law, a variety of which is currently on the books in 13 states, requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This requirement is often impossible to meet, especially for abortion clinics that rely on out-of-state doctors for abortion services. Admitting privilege laws, like building regulations, are billed as necessary to protect women’s health. However, abortion patients who suffer complications already can be, and are, admitted to hospitals even when providers do not have admitting privileges.  

In 2014, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an admitting privileges law, knowing that five of the six abortion providers in the state would be unable to meet the law’s stringent requirements. The administrator of a clinic in Shreveport testified that if the law is enforced, her clinic will be forced to close, despite the fact that both of its doctors have agreements with local hospitals to take patients in emergencies. A similar law signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2013 has forced five abortion providers in the state to close. Admitting privilege requirements have been struck down by courts in Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Alabama. In August 2014, a federal judge issued an injunction to block Louisiana’s admitting privileges law from taking effect.

Because TRAP laws are often embedded within complicated legislation and involve seemingly reasonable or innocuous regulation, they can fail to attract attention from the public. This allows legislators to pass these harmful laws without meaningful opposition or debate. In addition to casting TRAP laws as beneficial for women’s health, anti-choice lawmakers have employed a deceptive strategy of loading TRAP legislation with more controversial provisions. The contested portions of the bill are later dropped, so that conservative lawmakers can make a show of compromising, even while they achieve their ultimate goal of passing TRAP laws. For example, in January 2013, Indiana legislators introduced a bill  that would have required two transvaginal ultrasounds before a woman could be given RU-486 for a medical abortion, and included various TRAP provisions.  In response to considerable public protest, the ultrasound provisions were later dropped. However, the TRAP provisions passed.  In this way, legislators use extreme and controversial anti-choice measures as a Trojan horse for insidious laws that chip away at a woman’s right to choose.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are so-called “abortion alternative” sites run by private organizations  that claim to provide support, information, and medical care to pregnant women. CPCs use misleading tactics to draw women in, advertising themselves as legitimate health centers, purposely distorting the truth to take advantage of vulnerable women. In reality, CPCs do not present women with a full range of reproductive health options; instead, they often use false information about abortion to pressure women into continuing unwanted pregnancies.

 

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CPCs, which now far outnumber abortion providers, receive significant government funding but are subject to minimal oversight.
Between 1996 and 2009, CPCs received some of the $1.5 billion in federal funding allocated to abstinence-only education. Despite President Obama’s effort to cut off funding for abstinence-only programs, Congress continues to allocate funds to them, including $75 million in a spending bill passed in 2015.

According to a Cosmopolitan investigation, in addition to this federal funding, “[a]t least 11 states now directly fund pregnancy centers.” In June 2015, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio signed a state budget that imposed new TRAP restrictions on abortion providers and allocated $500,000 for crisis pregnancy centers, while Greg Abbott of Texas signed a state budget allocating more than $9 million for alternatives-to-abortion services, double the previous level of funding. In addition, in 15 of the 28 states that now offer “Choose Life” license plates, a portion of the proceeds are donated to anti-choice organizations or CPCs.

In 2011, South Dakota became the first state to require women to visit one of two state-approved crisis pregnancy centers before obtaining an abortion. The law is currently on hold as it works its way through the courts.

The roughly 3,500 CPCs in the United States are largely run by three organizations that have close ties with anti-choice, Religious Right political organizations. The Religious Right behemoth Focus on the Family, for instance, has dispensed hundreds of grants for ultrasound machines for CPCs, claiming in 2012 to have saved “more than 120,000 precious lives” in the process. CPCs have long been an arm of the Religious Right; the first CPC was established in Hawaii by Robert Pearson, who said of his work, “Obviously, we’re fighting Satan. A killer, who in this case is the girl who wants to kill her baby, has no right to information that will help her kill her baby.” Pearson went on to create an international network of CPCs and to train the people running them how to mislead women seeking abortion providers. 

After an undercover investigation into CPCs in 2011, NARAL reported that “one Jewish researcher who posed as a pregnant woman was told at five centers she wouldn’t go to heaven unless she converted to Christianity. One volunteer challenged the woman to become a ‘born-again virgin.’”

CPCs use a wide array of tactics to lure in pregnant women, including free medical procedures, promises of unprejudiced support, and disguising themselves as actual medical facilities.

Once women seeking honest information about their choices enter CPCs, they are often inundated with a number of common lies meant to convince them to forgo an abortion. An undercover investigation of Virginia CPCs by NARAL found CPCs trying to scare women out of abortions by falsely claiming that abortion can cause breast cancer, infertility, psychological damage including “post-abortion syndrome,” and even death.

Mandatory Waiting Periods

Mandatory waiting periods require a woman to wait for a certain amount of time between consulting with a physician and having an abortion. Currently, 28 states require a woman to endure a mandatory waiting period, usually 24 hours, between receiving state-regulated counseling and the actual abortion procedure. In 13 of those states, a woman must receive in-person counseling before the waiting period begins, requiring two separate trips to the abortion provider. Three states – Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah – require a 72-hour waiting period; in South Dakota, weekends and holidays cannot count toward the mandatory three-day wait. Oklahoma’s law requiring a 72-hour waiting period will go into effect in November 2015.

The multiple trips required by mandatory waiting periods can greatly increase the total cost of obtaining an abortion. Currently, nearly 90 percent of all U.S. counties lack an abortion provider, meaning many patients must travel hundreds of miles to reach the nearest clinic, an increased cost that disproportionally impacts low-income and rural women. Other hidden costs of mandatory waiting periods include the need to take unpaid time off from work, make childcare arrangements, and pay for lodging. According to a 2008 Guttmacher analysis, 42 percent of women obtaining abortions were living below the federal poverty level; 69 percent were living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Because many women seeking abortions struggle to afford the cost, they must work to save money while the pregnancy progresses. Rather than changing women’s minds about abortion, waiting periods can simply hike up the costs. A study of Mississippi abortion levels before and after the implementation of a mandatory waiting period found that the law increased the number of Mississippi residents traveling out of state for abortions and drove more women to seek later-term abortions.

These paternalistic laws assume that women do not carefully consider their options before choosing abortion. In fact, evidence shows just the opposite.  Studies show that waiting periods have an adverse emotional impact on women  and do not change their minds about abortion. The primary impact – and intent – of waiting periods is to make it more difficult for women to obtain the care they need and want, and to which they are legally entitled. A three-year research project that studied the impact of Texas’s 2011 restrictive reproductive health laws found a 24-hour waiting period negatively affected the emotional well-being of one-third of the respondents and caused them to pay an average of $146 in additional costs. 

Proponents of these laws claim they ensure that patients have time to receive counseling and consider all their options before choosing to have an abortion. This argument is simply a guise to hide the law’s true purpose of hindering women, especially low-income women, from accessing reproductive care.

 

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Genetic Anomaly, Race- or Sex-Selective Abortion Bans

Conservative lawmakers are increasingly turning to seemingly innocuous bans on race- and sex-selective abortion in the effort to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care. Evidence suggests that the actual incidence of race- and sex-selective abortions in the U.S. is miniscule.  In practice, these laws are nearly impossible to enforce and do nothing to combat actual discrimination. Instead, they perpetuate discrimination against targeted groups and serve as one more barrier to access.

In 2011, Arizona became the first state to ban race- and sex-selective abortions, making it a felony to perform or pay for an abortion sought due to the race or sex of the fetus. To date, seven states ban sex-selective abortions at some point in the pregnancy. A federal sex-selective abortion ban – the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) – has also been proposed, but failed to pass in the House in 2012. A version of the bill in the Senate currently has 13 cosponsors, but has yet to be brought to a vote.

Advocates are concerned that these bans, rather than preventing discrimination, will subject African-American and Asian-American women to discrimination and false assumptions about their motivations for seeking abortions.  Higher rates of abortion among African-American women have led conservatives to claim that race-selective abortion is a widespread problem and even to allege that abortion rights advocates are perpetrating “genocide” against African-Americans. Likewise, advocates of sex-selective abortion bans have insinuated, without evidence, that they are needed to prevent Asian-American women from terminating pregnancies due to male preference. These claims are not only false, they are insulting to women making private, personal choices about abortion.

Some legislatures are now also attempting to restrict or ban abortion in cases of genetic anomaly, even in cases when a fetus has a genetic condition that is incompatible with life outside the womb. North Dakota, which passed its restriction in 2013, is currently the only state that bans abortions in cases of genetic anomaly.

Interference with Medical Providers: Legislators as OB/GYNs

Some of the most insidious laws seeking to limit women’s access to reproductive care create barriers between women and their doctors by mandating that doctors provide medically inaccurate information or perform medically unnecessary procedures.

Restrictive laws do not protect women or lower rates of abortion; instead, they worsen the burden on women and may set back the trend toward early abortion. Such laws also waste medical resources by mandating unnecessary treatment and interfere with physician judgment. Instead of a decision made by a woman, in consultation with a medical professional and considering her health and circumstances, the government tells doctors what they must do, regardless of patient needs or medical necessity.

Outdated Constraints on Early-term Abortions

While in the first nine weeks of her pregnancy, a woman can choose to have a medication abortion rather than surgical abortion. In a medication abortion, the pregnancy is terminated by orally ingesting an FDA-approved medication consisting of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol (sold under the brand name Mifeprex). Medication abortion is a safe medical procedure – safe enough that the medication can be taken in the comfort of a woman’s home – and by 2011 accounted for 36 percent of abortions before nine weeks of pregnancy

The World Health Organization has long recommended that nurse-midwives, nurse-practitioners, and physician assistants be permitted to prescribe Mifeprex. However, outdated FDA guidelines state that only a licensed physician may prescribe Mifeprex, and the FDA-approved protocol calls for women taking the drug to make three separate visits to a doctor. On the first visit, the patient is counseled and given a dose of Mifeprex.  Two days later, she returns for a second dose.  Two weeks after that, she has a follow-up visit.

But subsequent research and substantial “off label” usage have shown that cumbersome requirements are severely outdated and place an unnecessary burden on women seeking safe and affordable care. As early as 2001, the year after the FDA approved Mifeprex, an estimated 83 percent of providers were not using the FDA guidelines for medical abortion.  However, several states still require doctors to comply with some or all of these outdated guidelines, which places an unnecessary burden on women, as a way to further restrict abortion access.

Four states require mifepristone to be provided in accordance with the outdated FDA protocol rather than in accordance with the simpler evidence-based protocol that has been proven to be equally safe and effective  (the laws of two additional states, Arizona and Oklahoma, have been blocked by courts). The FDA recommends women take 600 mg of mifepristone, a level based on outdated research that is three times the necessary dosage of 200 mg currently prescribed by doctors. Such outdated and cumbersome requirements therefore not only place an unnecessary burden on women and abortion providers, but also pose potential health risks to women who must now take three times the necessary dosage, regardless of how that might impact their well-being. The FDA protocol also calls for the drug to be used only in the first seven weeks of pregnancy; it has since been found to be safe through the ninth week of pregnancy.

While federal appeals courts have upheld FDA compliance laws in Texas and Ohio, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Arizona’s law, writing that “Arizona has presented no evidence whatsoever that the law furthers any interest in women’s health” and that it served simply to “ban medication abortions outright” for “a significant number of women.” In August 2015, an Oklahoma judge struck down that state’s law limiting off-label use of Mifeprex and similar drugs, noting that the law did not apply to other medications.

Thirty-eight states unnecessarily require clinicians who perform medication abortion procedures to be licensed physicians, and 18 states require that the clinician providing a medication abortion be physically present during the procedure. This requirement eliminates the option for providers to use telemedicine to prescribe medication for abortion remotely, which would increase accessibility and decrease cost.

Due in part to the introduction of Mifeprex in 2000, one-third of abortions occur at six weeks of pregnancy or earlier and 89 percent occur within the first 12 weeks. Laws that place unnecessary and even harmful restrictions on early-term abortion have one goal: to reduce the number of abortions provided by increasing costs and decreasing accessibility.

Mandatory Counseling Laws

Mandatory counseling laws are another tactic used by anti-choice legislators to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Such laws threaten a patient’s health by requiring the provision of misinformation and preventing doctors from addressing a patient’s needs on an individual basis. Currently, 35 states require that a woman receive counseling before obtaining an abortion, and 27 states detail the information with which a woman must be provided.

Of the 35 states that require some form of counseling, 28 require women to wait at least 24 hours between the counseling and the abortion procedure. Of these 28 states, 13 require this counseling be provided in person before the waiting period begins, thus necessitating two separate trips to the clinic. These laws therefore exacerbate the barriers that states have already put in place for women seeking abortions: a 2013 analysis of 2008 data found that “women who lived in a state with a 24-hour waiting period were more than twice as likely to travel greater distances as women in states with no waiting period requirement regardless of whether there was a two-visit requirement.”

Many of these states additionally require abortion providers to give a woman false or misleading information or speeches aimed at dissuading her from an abortion.

Mandatory counseling laws too often resort to scare tactics by requiring abortion providers to give women false information about abortion risks. According to Guttmacher, of the 24 states that mandate information about abortion risks, four states include inaccurate material on the potential effect of abortion on future fertility; “five of the seven states that include information on breast cancer inaccurately assert a link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer”; and “seven of the 22 states that include information on possible psychological responses to abortion stress negative emotional responses.”

Twelve states require women to be told about the ability of a fetus to feel pain (which, as discussed below, is not supported by medical evidence) and five states require that the woman be told that personhood begins at conception.

An emerging tactic involves requiring providers to tell patients that it is possible to reverse a medication abortion partway through the procedure. Arizona and Arkansas enacted such laws, based on model legislation from Americans United for Life, within a week of each other in 2015; Arizona’s law is on hold while litigation is pending.

The idea of “abortion reversal” is based on the work of one physician, Dr. George Delgado, a frequent speaker at anti-abortion conferences, who claims to have reversed abortions by injecting supplemental progesterone between the two doses of mifepristone. But Delgado’s work is disputed by the mainstream medical community. The chairwoman of the Arizona section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told the New York Times that there is “no data behind it, absolutely no science to show that this is an effective method.” The “reversal” procedure could in fact be dangerous for women, with risks of “cardiovascular side effects, glucose tolerance issues [and] problems with depression in people who already had it.”

Anti-choice legislators who mandate the provision of biased and erroneous information under the guise of informed consent and empowerment corrupt the doctor-patient relationship, with potentially dangerous consequences to women’s health. Women seeking abortions who look to their doctors for comprehensive and accurate information are instead met with politically motivated scripts written by legislators devoted to obstructing their constitutional right to choice.

 

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Mandatory Ultrasound Laws

Mandatory ultrasound laws are another way in which legislators interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Such laws require abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking a first-trimester abortion, even though such a procedure is generally not medically necessary. Anti-choice activists claim that these laws help women to understand their decisions by giving them the benefit of more information.  However, by mandating unnecessary medical procedures, these laws burden women, make abortion more costly and time consuming, waste medical resources, and interfere with a doctor’s discretion.

One physician at a Texas clinic, forced to describe a fetus with a severe molecular flaw, told his patient, “I’m so sorry that I have to do this – but if I don’t, I can lose my license.” After reading state-mandated literature on the risks of abortion, the physician informed the woman that “the legal side” of her abortion care would be over only when she returned to the clinic after a mandatory 24-hour waiting period: “Then [after the waiting period] we’ll care for you and give you the information you need in the way we think is right.”

Of the 24 states that have laws relating to the provision of ultrasounds before abortions, 13 mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion. Three of those states require the provider to show and describe the ultrasound image to the patient, and 10 require providers to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law one of the most invasive mandatory ultrasound laws in the nation, requiring women seeking an abortion to first obtain a medically unnecessary ultrasound and providers to show and describe the image. Pro-choice activists have raised the concern that for most early-term pregnancies, only a transvaginal ultrasound would legally satisfy the required fetal anatomy a doctor must describe under the law. Walker infamously defended the law by saying that ultrasounds are just a “lovely thing” and a “cool thing out there.”

In June 2015, the Supreme Court declined to review a lower court decision striking down a North Carolina law that would have required doctors to perform and narrate an ultrasound on a woman before she could have an abortion. The law would have forced doctors to place the ultrasound image in front of a woman’s face and describe fetal development in full detail before providing an abortion. There was not even an exception in the law for rape and incest victims or for women seeking the procedure because of a fetal anomaly.

In addition to being a further paternalistic effort to convince women to forgo an abortion, ultrasound requirements are yet another tactic to drive up the cost of the procedure, as these required ultrasounds can cost anywhere between $200 and $1,200.

While proponents of mandatory ultrasound bills hope that they will convince women to opt out of the procedure they have already chosen to obtain, evidence shows that these laws have no such effect. A 2014 analysis of 15,575 medical records published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 98.4 percent of women who chose to view an ultrasound still terminated their pregnancies.

In passing these laws, legislators betray a fundamental misunderstanding about the reasons women choose to terminate their pregnancies. In reality, women primarily have abortions due to external circumstances (three-quarters of patients cited existing family obligations and financial constraints, and 61 percent already had children. ) Mandatory ultrasound policies are a coercive effort at emotional manipulation that has no place in the law and whose only result is to harm women.

20-Week Abortion Bans

Twenty-week abortion bans, or “fetal pain” laws, which restrict abortion based on the spurious claim that the fetus can feel pain 20 weeks after fertilization, have been enacted in 11 states.

A federal 20-week abortion ban is now being considered in the Senate after passing the House in May 2015. The bill, known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” would include exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother. However, the bill would also require women who became pregnant due to rape to receive counseling at least 48 hours before having an abortion – a de facto waiting period – and in cases of rape involving minors, abortion providers would be required to alert the authorities.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was the most recent governor to sign a 20-week abortion ban into law. Wisconsin’s law, which contains no exceptions for rape or incest survivors, subjects noncomplying abortion providers to a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three and a half years in prison.

The argument that a fetus can feel pain 20 weeks after fertilization – at about 22 weeks of gestation, the more commonly used measurement for the length of a pregnancy, which is dated to the last menstrual cycle – is refuted by the mainstream medical community. But these laws have a more insidious goal.

These laws are referred to as “20-week” bans although in more commonly used medical terms, they ban abortion at 22 weeks of pregnancy, or about two weeks before a fetus becomes viable outside the womb. Because these laws measure the length of a pregnancy from fertilization, rather than the more commonly used gestational age (an easier date to pinpoint), they understate how closely they approach the fetal viability standard set by the Supreme Court.

The author of a Missouri 20-week viability-testing law that came close to toppling Roe in 1989 told Mother Jones this year that the 20-week mark “was chosen to push the envelope on when the state's interest in protecting the life of the unborn could take place. It was chosen because it was earlier than the earliest limits of viability at the time, but not so early that the unborn child could never be viable."
Only about one percent of abortions take place after 20 weeks of pregnancy; these include some heartbreaking cases of women discovering that their children will not live outside the womb.

With so-called “fetal pain” bills, anti-choice legislators are attempting to chip away at abortion access and build public support for their cause while simultaneously hoping to prompt a case that would allow the Supreme Court to further weaken or overturn Roe. These are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by anti-choice legislators to restrict a woman’s access to safe reproductive care in the hope of soon outlawing abortion all together. 

Conclusion

Both camps of the anti-choice movement – those who support explicitly radical measures and those who favor quieter, smaller scale tactics – share the same goal: to completely criminalize abortion. They merely differ in how to accomplish this.

Short of a complete reversal of Roe, anti-choice activists and lawmakers recognize that quieter, incremental measures are their best hope for eliminating reproductive choice. By manipulating and disguising their goals for different audiences, anti-choice legislators are able to pass radical restrictions on access to reproductive health care without widespread public knowledge or opposition.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court granted a request from Texas abortion providers to put a hold on a lower court ruling that would have forced nearly all of the state’s abortion clinics to shut down. That lower court ruling upheld a set of TRAP laws signed into law in Texas in 2013 that caused more than a 75 percent reduction in abortion facilities in a two-year period in the name of “women’s health.” If the Supreme Court takes up the case, it will present the greatest legal test yet to the anti-choice movement’s “chipping away” strategy. The survival of Roe as a strong protector of women’s reproductive rights is in the balance.  

Defunding Women’s Health Care Providers

Anti-choice legislators are increasingly using the abortion issue to attack other women’s health services, especially those provided by Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood receives federal funding for health services such as contraception, cancer screenings and STI testing, no federal funding is used for abortion services, in compliance with the Hyde Amendment.

In a continuing smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion propagandists at the Center for Medical Progress have created misleadingly edited videos that falsely claim to show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal body parts. The manipulated footage, which is part of a long history of videos doctored to support an anti-choice agenda, has reignited a disinformation campaign against the women’s health care provider in Congress, where Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is currently spearheading a campaign to end all funding to it. Anti-choice groups have organized rallies across the country demanding that states pull funding from the organization, and Sen. Ted Cruz is working with a well-funded Christian nationalist pastors’ network to do the same. Although at least 11 states have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood’s practices, every investigation concluded as of the writing of this report has cleared the organization of wrongdoing.

The Center for Medical Progress’ campaign, nevertheless, has reignited the anti-choice movement’s long-term goal to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood’s services to low-income women, with the ultimate goal of collapsing the organization. Because the federal government and many states bar the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, pulling taxpayer money from Planned Parenthood in effect hampers the ability of the organization to provide affordable preventative care to low-income women.

Seven states currently bar family planning funds from going to organizations that provide abortion services, laws that proponents often boast are aimed directly at Planned Parenthood. Since the latest wave of attacks on Planned Parenthood began, five states have attempted to prevent Medicaid funds from going to Planned Parenthood clinics, which the federal government has warned is in some cases a violation of federal law.

Planned Parenthood’s critics argue that if the organization’s funding is cut, other health care providers will be able to fill the void that is left. The experience of states that have successfully defunded Planned Parenthood, however, suggests otherwise. When Texas ended its Planned Parenthood funding, nearly 200,000 women — disproportionately women with low incomes and living in rural areas —were put at risk of losing critical preventative care. In a survey of pregnant women one year after the budget cuts, nearly half of the women surveyed reported being unable to access birth control they wanted to use in the three months before they became pregnant due to the cost of care and the closure of nearby clinics. A nationwide defunding of Planned Parenthood would be catastrophic, resulting in higher numbers of unintended pregnancies and, consequently, higher costs for the government to bear due to increased health costs for low-income women on government assistance programs.

Anti-choice activists and House Republicans are also targeting the Title X family planning program, a federal grant program that provides affordable contraceptives and other preventative health services to the low income and uninsured. In a move that would eradicate coverage for 4.6 million Americans, the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee released a 2016 budget proposal that zeros out funding to the Title X program as well as cutting funding to sex education programs for teenagers by 81 percent.

 

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Personhood and Heartbeat Bills

While the largest and best-funded anti-choice groups have embraced a strategic, incremental approach to ending legal abortion, a vocal and increasingly influential segment of the anti-choice movement is calling for more immediate and extreme measures. Blatantly unconstitutional head-on attacks against Roe – including “personhood“ and “heartbeat” measures – are frequently blocked by voters, legislatures, and the courts. However, these attacks are increasingly becoming part of the national debate, as evidenced by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s impassioned defense of “personhood” measures in a nationally televised GOP presidential debate in August 2015.

Although many incrementalist activists fear that such measures will upset their carefully laid plans to chip away at abortion access and undermine Roe in the courts, their efforts are also aided by extreme policy proposals that can serve as cover for quieter efforts to chip away at choice.  

Personhood Laws

The “personhood” movement defines life as beginning at conception. Therefore, personhood measures seek to change the legal definition of a “person” to include a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus with the intent of outlawing all abortion as well as some common contraceptive methods that proponents argue prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. The movement, which enjoys support from prominent figures such as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, opposes any abortion restriction containing exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or health of the pregnant woman.

This supposed “pro-life” agenda would therefore prevent doctors from providing appropriate care to women, even when their lives are in danger. Under personhood laws, doctors could face restrictions on their ability to treat life-threatening conditions such as ectopic and molar pregnancies that necessitate early termination. They also threaten to place women who have suffered miscarriages at risk of criminal prosecution.

State-level personhood amendments have faced considerable backlash when they are put before voters. Colorado voters have rejected personhood at the polls three times; the solidly conservative Mississippi soundly rejected personhood in 2011, as did North Dakota in 2014. But personhood continues to have strong defenders at the state and national level. In the last Congress, Sen. Rand Paul, a GOP presidential candidate, gained 21 cosponsors for his personhood bill in the U.S. Senate; a companion bill in the House had 132 cosponsors.

Incrementalist anti-choice groups fear that the personhood movement’s direct attacks on Roe could backfire, through both negative public opinion and adverse court rulings. But it is important to remember that both sides of the movement share the same goal: outlawing abortion at all stages.

While prominent anti-choice groups such as the Heritage Foundation and AUL have tried to avoid publicly aligning themselves with the personhood movement, these groups have also quietly adopted the personhood movement’s goal for U.S. policy to recognize life as beginning at fertilization. During the debate surrounding the 2014 Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, leading anti-choice organizations endorsed the view that emergency contraceptives and IUDs constitute abortion. This radical agenda, which was furthered by the Hobby Lobby majority’s decision to exempt certain for-profit employers from offering contraceptive coverage under the ACA, would have debilitating and far-reaching consequences for the millions of women who use birth control.

If anti-abortion groups were to succeed in pushing state or federal legislators to define certain contraceptive methods as abortifacients, the effects for women would be burdensome and costly. A woman seeking such emergency contraception such as Plan B in Mississippi, for instance, notes Joerg Dreweke in the Guttmacher Policy Review, “would need to make an initial trip to the provider to first undergo mandatory in-person counseling, as well as a mandatory ultrasound exam. She would then have to wait a minimum of 24 hours before making the second trip to obtain the emergency contraceptives.” This would be the case even though Plan B’s effectiveness decreases over the 72-hour span during which it can be used to prevent a pregnancy.

Heartbeat Laws

Heartbeat bills seek to ban abortion after the point at which a fetal heartbeat can be detected by an ultrasound. A heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy – before some women may even be aware that they are pregnant – but can only be detected using a transvaginal ultrasound.  Under a heartbeat law, a woman seeking an early-term abortion may have to submit to this unnecessary and invasive procedure to find out if she can legally terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

Banning abortion after six weeks, before which many women don’t even know they are pregnant, places an arbitrary limit on a woman’s right to choose and is clearly unconstitutional, setting up a direct challenge to Roe.

To date, North Dakota and Arkansas are the only two states to have enacted heartbeat laws, although similar laws are being considered by several other states. North Dakota’s heartbeat law was struck down by a federal appeals court in July 2015. A federal judge struck down Arkansas’s law in May 2014.

Cruz, Carson And Jindal Pledge To End The 'Promotion' Of Gay Marriage In Public Schools

GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Bobby Jindal have joined Rick Santorum in signing the National Organization for Marriage’s presidential candidate pledge.

As we’ve reported, NOM’s pledge goes well beyond just banning same-sex marriage nationwide through a constitutional amendment. It also requires the candidate to vow to “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities” and direct the Justice Department to investigate the supposed harassment of gay marriage opponents.

Curiously, Carson told Rebecca Berg of RealClearPolitics that he is not in favor of a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, even though that is the very first clause in the NOM pledge that he has apparently signed.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today identified four Republican presidential candidates they have dubbed "Marriage Champions" for having pledged to the American people that they will take several specific actions as president to restore marriage to the law and protect people of faith from discrimination because of their support for traditional marriage. NOM said that Sen. Ted, Cruz, Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Dr. Ben Carson have emerged as the top candidates for marriage supporters.



1. Support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

2. Work to overturn the US Supreme Court's Obergefell decision that illegitimately imposed same-sex 'marriage' on every state in the nation, including nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

3. Conduct a review of actions taken by the Obama Administration that have undermined marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

4. Support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.

5. Direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

"NOM has invited every candidate for president to sign our pledge, and we encourage those who have not yet signed to do so as soon as possible," Brown said. "We will not support a candidate for president who has not pledged to the American people to take specific actions in support of restoring marriage to our law and protecting people from government discrimination over their beliefs that marriage is the union of one man and one woman."

Brown said that several candidates have issued strong statements in support of marriage but have decided not to sign any pledges as a candidate. Governor Mike Huckabee covered marriage in his own pledge to the American people and Gov. Scott Walker has promised to support a constitutional amendment restoring true marriage.

Rick Wiles Links Abortion Rights To Wildfires

On the Friday edition of his “Trunews” radio program, End Times preacher Rick Wiles said that the governor of Washington state could end the severe wildfires in the Pacific Northwest if he simply brought the state back into God’s good graces by banning abortion.

After quoting Gov. Jay Inslee’s remarks on the wildfires, Wiles urged the governor to “repent of your sins on behalf of the entire state” and “stop killing the babies in your abortion clinics.”

RNC Rep: If Gays Are Born That Way, Why Do They 'Recruit' Kindergartners?

Iowa Religious Right activist and state RNC committeewoman Tamara Scott invited Summit Ministries founder David Noebel onto her “Truth for Our Time” radio program last week, where the two discussed how, in Noebel’s words, teaching tolerance for LGBT people in schools amounts to “child molestation" and the LGBT rights movement wants to "destroy Christianity."

Scott shared a number of thoughts of her own on the issue, telling Noebel she would “confront hypocrisy” on the left even though she risked a “social jihad” in response to her comments.

Making clear for “all those haters out there” that she was just “asking the question,” Scott asked listeners to ponder this during a commercial break: “If homosexuality is something to be celebrated by the left, by Hollywood, then why does it need all of these protections? And if it needs these protections, then why do we promote it as an everyday lifestyle and a regular choice for our youth?”

After the break, she rephrased the question: “If homosexuality is truly just something that happens, then why, one, do we have to recruit it in our kindergarten through college-level educational system and, if it’s just an everyday thing, why does it need all these special protections in the civil rights?”

Scott also complained to Noebel that “it’s the left and the progressives who are always throwing the cards, whether it’s the black card, the sex card, the female card, the war on women,” saying that liberals are hypocritical to want gender equality when they are also fighting for transgender rights.

“They want 50 percent male and female [in the House and Senate] by the year 2020,” she said. “Well, my thought is, how can you do that? You don’t even want to call somebody a sex, that's a changeable thing every day.”

Noebel: Teaching Gay Tolerance In Schools Is 'Child Molestation'

Iowa Religious Right activist and state Republican Party committeewoman Tamara Scott invited Summit Ministries founder David Noebel onto her “Truth for Our Time” radio program last week, where the two agreed that the ultimate goal of the “homosexual revolution” is to “destroy Christianity.”

Gay marriage, Noebel warned, is going to “affect everything,” pointing out that even before the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, children in public schools were learning about the existence of gay people, which he said amounts to “child molestation.”

“They were already down in kindergarten, first, second and third grades teaching the younger innocents,” he said, “And you talk about child molestation. This, to me, was child molestation. When you start teaching first-, second- and third-graders about the glories and wonders of the homosexual lifestyle, you know you’ve got a problem.”

Lamenting that “the Obama administration put a flaming homosexual in charge of a good portion of our public education,” he warned that “this is very serious stuff.”

“The game plan is to destroy Christianity,” he concluded, to Scott’s agreement. “That’s the game plan. Because they contend that Christianity has been very tough on the homosexuals for 2,000 years and now it’s time to get back at the whole thing and show them who’s really boss. So we’re in a very explosive cultural revolution.”

He added that he wasn’t sure if Western civilization could “survive another generation.”

Fischer: Illegal Immigration Undermines America's Core Mission To Spread The Gospel Of Jesus

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer declared that God created the United States for the purpose of spreading the Gospel of Christ throughout the world and therefore illegal immigration must be stopped because it is causing division within the nation and sucking up valuable resources that could otherwise be used for spreading the Gospel.

"Our purpose as a nation," he said, "is to advance and expand the Kingdom of God. That is the calling that is on the United States ... And we have, up to this point in history, we have abundantly fulfilled that mission. The United States has invested more financial resources and sent more personnel carrying the message of the Gospel to more darkened corners of the world than any other place on the planet. And that is our calling and that is what illegal immigration is threatening."

"One of the things we need in order to carry out the Great Commission is a sense of national unity," Fischer continued. "We are one people with a common purpose, that has to do with the things of God, with expanding the reach of God, expanding the impact that God's kingdom and the Gospel has on the world. Well, you can't do that if you're fractured, if you're divided over race, if you're divided because you have people living illegally who don't even belong here, have no intention of assimilating, no intention of entering into that larger purpose for your nation. They're not going to be an asset to that; they're going to be a detraction to that. They're going to diminish the capacity of the country to do that."

5 Times Pat Robertson Blamed Tragedies On Legal Abortion, Gays And Peace Deals

Pat Robertson’s claim that yesterday’s dive in the stock-market was just a foretaste of God’s judgment for federal funding of Planned Parenthood and the legalization of abortion was nothing new for the televangelist, who has made a career out of explaining such things as how a lack of prayer was to blame for a spate of tornadoes in 2012 and why a Pennsylvania town could face divine wrath for teaching the theory of evolution in schools.

The “700 Club” host has alleged that natural disasters and even terrorist attacks occur because God will no longer protect a country from harm or will actively seek to destroy it when it legalizes abortion, approves gay rights or, in Haiti’s case, makes a deal with the Devil.

Here are the five worst times Robertson claimed a disaster was punishment from God:

1) Liberals Caused The September 11 Attacks

Just two days after the September 11 attacks, Robertson invited Religious Right leader Jerry Falwell onto his program to discuss the attacks, which Falwell promptly blamed on “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America.” These groups, Falwell claimed, caused God “to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.”

“I totally concur,” Robertson responded:

2) Legal Abortion Caused Hurricane Katrina

Days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Robertson explained that God was no longer protecting the U.S. from danger because of the legalization of abortion. “Have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster?” he asked.

“We’re going to have to pay a price one of these days for what we’re doing,” he said years later regarding legal abortion. “Let’s hope that … the tide will begin to turn and we can avert the wrath of the Lord, but it will come upon this nation unless we do something.”

3) Colonial-Era Devil Pact Caused Haitian Earthquake

One day after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti took hundreds of thousands of lives, Robertson concluded that the devastating quake was divine retribution for Haitians’ ancestors having “swore a pact to the Devil” when they were rebelling against French colonial rule.

4 ) Gay People Are Inviting A Meteor

Back in 1998, Robertson was furious about a “Gay Day” taking place at Disney World and delivered a warning to Orlando that the festival would “bring terrorist bombs, it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”

While Orlando is still standing, Robertson has continued to warn that gay rights in the U.S. will bring about divine wrath so severe that “when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible.”

“Sodomy. In all history, as far as I can tell, any nation that embraces this so-called lifestyle, and that legalizes it, celebrates it, protects it, is on the ash-can of history,” he declared.

5) Mideast Peace Talks Cause Storms In America

Robertson has credited efforts to create a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians with everything from ice storms in Oklahoma to the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport getting “wiped out” by a storm and Ariel Sharon’s debilitating stroke and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

“Every time the United States gets involved in some kind of a pressure on Israel to split their land there’s some natural disaster that happens here in America,” Robertson has said, most recently warning Secretary of State John Kerry that he is “asking for the wrath of Almighty God to fall on this nation” for his treatment of Israel

“I think this is headed for disaster for the United States,” he said. “We should do everything we can to restrain our leaders from this course of folly and it is a course of folly and it will result in terrible suffering for people in the United States.”

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