What Mike Huckabee Means By Giving 14th Amendment Rights To Fetuses

Last night’s Republican presidential debate on Fox News featured plenty of disturbing rhetoric about women, from the ridiculous (Donald Trump’s weird ad hominem attack on Rosie O’Donnell) to the infuriating (Marco Rubio speaking out against rape and incest exceptions) to the terrifying (Scott Walker clarifying that he does not support allowing abortions that would save the lives of pregnant women).

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.

As we detailed in our recent report on the personhood movement, this plan is not popular with many of the major anti-choice groups, which have been pursuing a strategy of slowly chipping away at abortion access and the legal protections in Roe, and who argue that a federal personhood bill would backfire bigtime.

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.

And the consequences could extend far beyond reproductive rights, as we wrote in our recent report:

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 nothing new. 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.

Anti-Gay Lawmakers Caught In Affair, Bizarre Cover-up

The Detroit News published audio recordings today that expose an effort by two married Michigan Republican lawmakers to try to suppress news of their affair with each other. As part of the cover-up, state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, among the most vocal opponents of gay rights and defenders of "traditional marriage" in the state legislature, planned to start a rumor that Courser was actually having an affair with a man.

"Courser, a Lapeer Republican, said on one recording the email was designed to create 'a complete smear campaign' of exaggerated, false claims about him and Gamrat so a public revelation about the legislators’ relationship would seem 'mild by comparison,'" Chad Livengood reported. "Interviews with former House employees and the recordings show freshman lawmakers Courser and Gamrat, R-Plainwell, used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship."

Fearing that news of the affair would come out, Courser demanded that an aide send out a mass email to state Republicans claiming that Courser, had "male on male paid sex behind a prominent Lansing night club," describing him as a "bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant" and a "Godless Addicted Monster." Courser, explained to the aide, who refused to send the email, that it was part of a "controlled burn" strategy.

As Livengood pointed out, Courser and Gamrat “are socially conservative legislators who often invoke their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage," and are closely aligned with the Tea Party.

Gamrat and Courser made waves earlier this year when they tried to circumvent the Supreme Court's marriage decision by introducing a bill declaring that only members of the clergy could perform marriages in Michigan. Gamrat denounced the marriage ruling as a "sad day in our nation" and blasted the court for trying to "redefine for our entire nation, marriage, the bedrock of families and society since the beginning of time." She also warned that people who "do not embrace the homosexual lifestyle will need protections" to fend off impending persecution. 

Courser has similarly alleged that LGBT rights advocates are trying to do away with freedom, maintaining that "this decision by the Supreme Court was and is an absolute tragedy for our nation and its future." He responded to the Supreme Court  ruling by announcing that we "are living in the last days" and that it "was a crushing day for those who believe in traditional marriage and traditional morality."

Days before the decision, Courser told his supporters: "I will say that I grieve for our nation as we take one step after another to deny the diety of God and who He is. As we step further and further away from Him and His Holy word we lose His protection for ourselves, our families, our communities, our states and of course our Nation!" 

Last December, we reported on Courser's efforts to block an LGBT nondiscrimination measure, accusing its supporters of "promoting evil" and attempting to "destroy freedoms of religion and speech for our children and their children" and "institutionalize discrimination against Christians and other faiths."

He also said that gay marriage is leading to the End Times and "persecution":

It is a decision that will embolden and expand the tyrannical hammer of the secular progressive left....

This decision will be a toe hold and from this decision we will see many more decisions that curtail our first amendment rights of free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and of course freedom of conscience. This decision will unleash the power and scope of government to further society by its power of persuasion and its hammer of threat of governmental persecution. Every regulatory apparatus of government will be focused henceforth on indoctrinating children and the greater society that same sex marriage is moral and every bit accepted, preferred to traditional marriage. Anyone who disagrees with this new paradigm will be vilified as a homophobic bigot. Some of these activists are the most intolerant viscous hate mongers who will demonize anyone who opposes their tyrannical agenda. It works and virtually none are left in elected leadership who will now stand and oppose them publicly as they destroy our rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

If we do not act now we will see public officials, pastors, and private citizens alike being limited in what they can say or do. The effects of this decision, many unforeseen, on our nation and the world will echo through the end of time. It will destroy and tear down families and with it our social fabric of our society.

We are indeed living in the last days....

May God discipline and correct the hearts of our countrymen and in so doing may He once again bless the United States of America!

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/6/15

  • Simon Maloy @ Salon: Rand’s cockamamie conspiracy theory: With top allies under indictment, Rand thinks DOJ is out to get him.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 8/6/15

  • Todd Starnes wants Donald Trump to lead the GOP because “conservatives want a pit bull in the White House - not one of those metrosexual purse dogs.”
  • Speaking of Trump, it turns out his daughter is not a fan of his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
  • Troy Newman is furious with Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards for bringing up his extremist rhetoric.
  • Lastly, here is the most shameless and disingenuous thing you will read today.

Jim Bakker: God Will Take Vengeance On Earth For Abortion Rights

Last month, End Times preachers Jim Bakker and John Kilpatrick got together to discuss the “direct link between sin and the land, the earth.”

Bakker warned that the legalization of abortion will cause “the worst shaking man has ever known and I believe it is all going to start this year.” He said that the recent appearance of blood moons tipped him off that the great “shaking” is imminent.

“God put up the biggest billboards, they’re bigger than the earth, did you know that?” he said. “The sun and, I don’t know, the moon, a little bit smaller maybe, big billboards, they’re God’s billboards.”

Later in the program, Kilpatrick said that “God hears the blood of those babies” being aborted.

“Whenever the doctors abort a baby and that blood is being flushed down that commode, God hears the voice of that baby going down that commode saying, ‘Help! Forgive, Lord! Help! Forgive them! Forgive my mother!’” he said.

Todd Starnes: It’s The Liberal Media's Fault That Everyone Thinks Donald Trump Is Bombastic

American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer invited Fox News commentator Todd Starnes onto his radio program this afternoon to discuss tonight’s Republican presidential primary debate, and of course the conversation turned first to Donald Trump.

Reading from a Politico article that reported that Jeb Bush called Trump an “asshole” and a “clown” after Trump retweeted a racist comment about Bush’s wife, Fischer asked, “Which Donald Trump are we going to see? Are we going to see Mr. Green Jeans or are we going to see a guy with his hair on fire?”

Starnes replied that this was the wrong question to be asking because Trump’s “bombastic” appearance is all a set-up by the liberal media.

“I’m wondering if perhaps the political chattering class is trying to goad Donald Trump into some sort of a fight with Jeb Bush during the debate,” he said. “Because Mr. Trump, leading up to tonight’s debate, has been talking about how he’s going to, he’s not going to be a bombastic individual, he’s going to have a pleasant conversation.”

“And you know, Bryan, when you really step back and look at Donald Trump and look at him as a businessman, I suspect that we’ve all bought in to this caricature that the media is creating, the mainstream media is creating, that this is how Donald Trump acts all the time. So I would not be surprised to see him even-keeled and steady-as-she-goes tonight.”

Fischer agreed that “this has the potential to be one of the most boring debates on record.”

Dannenfelser: Shutting Down Planned Parenthood Will 'Liberate' Its 'Calloused' Employees

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.”

Right Wing Touts New Poll Pitting Religious Liberty Against LGBT Equality

Conservative media and Religious Right leaders and activists are touting a new poll that supposedly shows Americans “overwhelmingly” side with “religious liberty” over gay rights. The new poll, conducted by Fox News contributor Patrick Caddell, adopts right-wing framing that pits religious freedom and LGBT equality in conflict with each other. Even in that context, a majority agrees that both religious liberties and the rights of gays and lesbians are important, and that “there can be a common sense solution that both protects religious freedom and protects gay and lesbian couples from discrimination.”

Of course, religious liberty and LGBT equality can happily coexist, despite claims to the contrary from the Right, but anti-equality advocates touting the Caddell poll suggest that the “common sense solution” is a “truce” that would allow business owners to discriminate against gay people based on their religious beliefs. Anti-gay extremist Peter LaBarbera is arguing that the poll shows that people see a war on Christians coming out of the “homosexual activist movement” and he is urging Americans to push for repeal of existing “sexual orientation laws and gender identity laws.”

The Caddell poll, an online survey of 800 voters, asserts that more than two-thirds of Americans – 68% -- believe the government should not be able “to require by law a private citizen to provide a service or provide their private property for an event that is contrary to their religious beliefs.” More specifically, the poll claims that 82 percent of Americans supports the right of a photographer with religious objections to same-sex couples getting married to refuse to photograph a gay couple’s wedding.

Conservatives are complaining that the Caddell poll is being “ignored by the establishment media.” But there are some good reasons for that.

First, Caddell’s numbers are far out of line with other surveys that show Americans are uncomfortable with the can of worms that would be opened by allowing business owners to cite religion as a reason to opt out of laws that apply to everyone else.  In an article in the Atlantic in June, Robert Jones of Public Religion Research Institute writes:

By a margin of nearly two to one, Americans oppose allowing a small business owner to refuse products or services to gay and lesbian people, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs (60 percent oppose, 34 percent favor). Most religious groups oppose these exemptions; white evangelical Protestants are the only religious group with majority support for these exemptions, and even among this group, support is only a bare majority (51 percent).

PRRI has also reported that white evangelical Protestants were the only religious group that gives majority support – and then only 51 percent – to so called “religious freedom” laws designed to protect business owners and others who do not want to serve LGBT people or couples.

By contrast, 59% of white mainline Protestants, 63% of non-white Protestants, and 64% of Catholics oppose allowing small business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian people on religious grounds, as do nearly three-quarters (73%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll published in March of last year found that “nearly seven in 10 respondents say business should not be allowed to refuse service to gays,” even if that refusal if based on the owner’s religious beliefs.” And an earlier poll, a 2013 survey by Human Rights Campaign and Third Way, reported that when asked specifically about wedding-related services being provided by small businesses, “64% of voters were still opposed to new laws that would allow small businesses to deny wedding-related services based on their religious beliefs, compared to 31% in favor.”

Other polls show more of a split among Americans on the issue, but they too are far from the results Caddell reports. A Pew Research Center survey from last year found Americans about equally divided about whether businesses that provide wedding services should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds or whether they should be required to provide services. And an Associated Press-GfK poll from earlier this year found that while a slim majority of Americans said wedding-related businesses should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples, only 40 percent said businesses in general should be allowed to. 

Another reason journalists might view the poll with skepticism may be Caddell himself. Caddell is a Fox News regular who is useful to right-wingers by virtue of the fact that he describes himself as a Democratic strategist who helped get Jimmy Carter elected. But he has long since acted as an advocate for the Right by trashing the Democratic Party as the “tool” of special interests and saying “the left doesn’t care about ordinary people.”

Last year, on Sean Hannity’s show, Caddell denounced President Barack Obama as “a raging narcissist who has no grip on reality” and accused Republicans of not opposing him strongly enough. Caddell reportedly helped identify people to appear in an anti-Obama “documentary” distributed by the right-wing group Citizens United.

New York Magazine recently reported that Caddell has been speaking to Donald Trump “almost every day” about his campaign

FRC Spox: Parents Must Stop Kids From Seeing TV Shows Featuring Trans People

The far-right outlet WorldNetDaily is outraged that “three new cable television shows portraying transgenders in a positive light debuted this summer,” and its reporter Greg Corombos asked the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg yesterday what parents should do about it.

“This is another good argument for parents to be very active in using the filtering systems on their TV and on their cable systems and so forth to perhaps block some of these shows, block some of these networks so that their children can’t just stumble across them while they’re surfing through the cable channels,” Sprigg said.

He told parents to explain to their kids that transgender people need “to find psychological counseling” and that “we shouldn’t be affirming them in this confusion.”

Sprigg warned that trans rights, gay rights and feminism amount to “an assault on the sexes,” adding that transgender people are typically “unconvincing and disturbing in appearance.”

Ann Coulter: A 'Trump-Romney' Ticket Would Stop 'Foreigners' From Outvoting 'White Americans'

Ann Coulter joined Religious Right pundit Eric Metaxas on his radio program yesterday to discuss her animosity towards immigrants and excitement over Donald Trump’s candidacy, telling Metaxas that America’s current problems stem from the fact that “Americans are being outvoted now” by “millions of foreigners.”

She explained that Americans are “being outvoted by the millions upon millions of foreigners Democrats have brought in to block vote for the Democrats.” Democrats, she said, knew that they could not “get white Americans to vote for them,” so they instead declared, “Okay, screw it Americans! You won’t vote for us. We tried this the easy way, but we’re bringing in ringers.”

Coulter went on to claim that American immigrants are responsible for the rise of ISIS, because without them, “Obama never would have been elected,” and we would never have had the “humiliating withdrawal from Iraq after we had won the war and established a democracy.”

She added that immigration is also to blame for the Affordable Care Act because Al Franken was elected to the Senate from Minnesota in 2008 on the votes of “100,000 Somalis.

Who does Coulter think could solve this problem in the White House? “I’m thinking Trump – Romney. That’s my ticket right now,” she said.

Responding to Metaxas’ claim that Trump would be too prideful to take the VP slot, Coulter argued, “I don’t think it’s because of pride; I think he’s a busy man.”

“The fact that he’s running for office reminds me of Romney this way,” she continued. “Most of these people who run for president have no other option, or they’re running for president so they can get a radio show or a gig on Fox. When someone is willing to give up a really nice life and making a lot of money and being very successful to run for president, I have a lot more respect for those people and they tend to be better presidents.”

When Metaxas said he and his wife could see Trump “killing” the job of being mayor of New York, Coulter corrected: “First he’ll be president, and when he retires he can come back to New York and be mayor.”

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