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Lindsey Graham Tells Anti-Choice Activists: Need To Find 'Way Out Of This Definitional Problem With Rape'

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chief Senate sponsor of the GOP’s effort to undermine Roe by banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, spoke this morning to the Family Research Council’s “ProLifeCon,” about the House GOP’s decision to cancel a vote on its version of the bill that had been planned for today. The House leadership pulled the plug on the vote in response to protests from some Republican women who objected to a provision that exempted rape survivors from the ban only if they report the rape to police. Some anti-choice groups have objected to including a rape exception in the bill at all, a last-minute addition after the bill’s previous House sponsor, Trent Franks, implied that women who are raped rarely get pregnant.

Graham acknowledged that opponents of rape exceptions are being “intellectually consistent and honest about ‘the baby is the baby’” but argued that banning rape survivors from accessing abortion is a political impossibility: “Some of us who have these exceptions do so in a democratic society believing that there are some places we will not go.”

“I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape,” he told the audience, saying that his plan was to hold a Senate vote on a Democratic bill aimed at pushing back on state-level abortion clinic “TRAP” laws in order to show that it’s Democrats who are “extreme” on abortion rights.

“The rape exception will be part of the bill…We just need to find a way definitionally to not get us in a spot where we’re debating about what a legitimate rape is, that’s not the cause that we’re in,” he said.

This post has been updated with additional details of Graham's speech. 

Minnesota Congressman Invites Right-Wing Leader To Visit Minneapolis's Non-Existent No-Go Zones

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is pretty sure that several neighborhoods in Minneapolis, along with the entire city of Dearborn, Michigan, have become “no-go zones” where Sharia law has effectively replaced the authority of the U.S. government:

Well, now Perkins has an opportunity to see the (non-existent) no-go zones for himself.

In reaction to Perkins’ remarks, which were first reported by Right Wing Watch, Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, has invited Perkins to tour Minneapolis and meet with the Muslim residents of the city, reassuring him that the city is “completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities.” Ellison posted a copy of his invitation to Perkins on Twitter yesterday:

Dear Mr. Perkins:

I am writing regarding your recent comments about my hometown. As you know, I represent the 5th district, of Minnesota which includes most of Minneapolis. You recently said that you believe parts of our city are so called “no-go zones” where state and federal laws are subordinate to Sharia Law. Having lived in Minneapolis for over two decades, I can assure you this is not true. But I would like you to come see firsthand that Minneapolis is an inclusive and thriving city completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities. The Muslim Americans in Minneapolis help make our vibrant and diverse place to live.

If you accept my invitation it may represent an important step toward interfaith understanding. I would be glad to organize meetings with local and federal enforcement as well as community leaders.

Anti-Choice Activists Furious About GOP's Reversal On 20-Week Abortion Ban

Yesterday, Republican leaders in the House decided to pull a plan to vote on a national ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy after Republican women balked at a provision that would have exempted rape survivors only if they reported their assault to the police. The vote had been planned to coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the anti-choice March for Life on the National Mall.

Anti-choice activists are, predictably, furious. After all, many saw the rape and incest exception as an unacceptable compromise in the first place. The bill, originally proposed by Rep. Trent Franks last year, included only an exception for abortions that could save the life of the pregnant woman. After Franks claimed in a hearing that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” GOP leaders quietly added a rape exception to the bill and picked a Republican woman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, to handle the vote on the House floor.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa told the National Journal yesterday that he would fix the problem by eliminating the rape exception entirely: "I would not make exceptions for rape and incest, and then the reporting requirement would not be necessary.”

After House leaders decided to pull the bill yesterday, prominent anti-choice blogger Jill Stanek and the group Students for Life announced that they were putting together a last-minute protest at the offices of two Republican women, Reps. Renee Ellmers and Jackie Walorski, who reportedly led the fight against the rape reporting provision:

Conservative pundit Erik Erickson, in a late-night blog post, attacked Ellmers for her “two-faced ploy” and shot off a series of tweets giving her the “abortion Barbie” label he had previously bestowed on Wendy Davis:

 

Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, responded with a press release saying he was “disgusted” by the House leadership’s “act of moral cowardice” and urged his supporters to call their members of Congress to protest the “breach of trust.”

“I am disgusted by this act of moral cowardice. If the House Republicans cannot pass something as basic as restricting the abortion of five-month, pain-capable unborn children, what can they get done?

“The Republicans in Congress should come and explain this atrocity to the hundreds of thousands of people gathering here in the nation’s capital to march for life. The congressional Republicans seem to think that pro-lifers will be satisfied with Ronald Reagan rhetoric and Nancy Pelosi results. They are quite wrong.”

House Republicans are now scheduled to vote on a bill Thursday that would prohibit federal funding for abortions. This scheduled vote coincides with the annual March for Life event, held in Washington, D.C., on or around the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in the case Roe v. Wade.

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat seemed to capture the feelings of many abortion rights opponents:

 

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/21/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 1/21/15

  • Glenn Beck and crew spent last night's State of the Union Address providing sarcastic commentary so that viewers "got to hear just how awful it was in real-time, as it happened." 
  • If we were petty right-wing pundits, we'd ask how Ted Cruz can ever expect to run this nation effectively as president when he can't even manage to post a simple State of the Union response? 
  • Phyllis Schlafly calls upon Congress to "enact laws denying funding and withholding jurisdiction from enforcement of any redefinition of marriage by the federal judiciary."
  • The American Family Association has now launced a companion organization to its OneMillionMoms called, appropriately enough, OneMillionDads.
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal has invited the nation's 49 other governors to join him at this weekend's prayer event.
  • Finally, Gary Cass warns that the "Spiritual State of the Nation" is dire: "A small but militant minority is hell bent on destroying all vestiges of our Christian heritage. Marxist / Secularists have prosecuted their 100 year Cultural Jihad to infiltrate the media, education and politics, especially the courts, and impose their secular fundamentalism. The election and re-election of Barack Obama is sobering proof of their formidable influence."

Sandy Rios: Obama Used Islamic Subliminal Messages In The State Of The Union

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios enjoys promoting bizarre conspiracy theories to imply that President Obama is a secret Muslim, and today she even managed to find proof of Obama’s hidden faith in his State of the Union address.

On Rios’ radio program this morning, a listener called in to complain that Obama said he met the country’s “newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and New London,” which the listener claimed was a lie because “Fort Collins is the Air Force Academy, not Colorado Springs.”

Actually, the caller is incorrect, as the Air Force Academy is indeed located just outside of Colorado Springs.

Rios didn’t pick up on the caller’s mistake, but she did use the opportunity to claim that Obama was spreading Muslim messages in his speech when he used the word “pillar” to describe the foundations of American leadership in the world: “The other thing he said that I caught, he has done this before, you know there are five pillars of Islam, and he used the term ‘pillars’ again in his speech last night.”

“It is just really interesting, language can actually give us some insight, choices of words,” she said.

Clearly, President Bush must also be an Islamist.

Religious Right Activist Admits That Marriage Equality Bans Are Like Anti-Miscegenation Laws

Brian Camenker of the anti-LGBT group MassResistance spoke to the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios this week about how same-sex marriage has wreaked havoc on Massachusetts since it became legal in 2004, declaring that ten years of marriage equality has been “terrible” for the Bay State.

“It is very, very scary. It has permeated the public school system, it has permeated the public health system, the legal system,” he said. “It has basically overwhelmed everything. It’s been a nightmare. It’s been very bad.”

Camenker’s remarks didn’t come as much of a surprise given that he once told The Daily Show that marriage equality would somehow contribute to homelessness, higher crime rates, and poorer air quality.

What did come as a surprise was Camenker conceding the point that bans on same-sex marriage are similar to laws banning interracial marriage ... and he did so by defending the constitutionality of anti-miscegenation laws!

On the face of it, the Fourteenth Amendment says that everybody will be treated equally, that the law will treat everyone equally. Well, the law treats everyone equally; everyone can only marry someone of the opposite sex. That’s it. There is no Fourteenth Amendment problem unless you stretch it to such ridiculous lengths and twist it around to claim there is. But yes, every person can only marry someone of the opposite sex. Now someone may say that it was the same issue with the miscegenation laws. And that’s true. The miscegenation laws were not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment because they applied to everybody. As an aside, I was living in the South at the time when the miscegenation laws were struck down and the interesting thing about that was, nobody paid any attention to it, nobody cared, it was like page 25 in the newspaper, there weren’t these signature drives or meetings and gatherings. Nobody really cared at all. Here it is a much different thing because it really is a moral issue.

The Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia struck down anti-miscegenation laws on the basis that they violated the Fourteenth Amendment. It was indeed a “moral issue” at the time, as many religious conservatives frequently alleged that interracial marriages were contrary to biblical teachings and natural law.

Some Americans, disproportionately white, still oppose interracial relationships today.

Equally preposterous is Camenker’s claim that “nobody cared” about the Loving decision. Many states have attempted to keep their anti-miscegenation laws on the books, and interracial couples have faced a long history of violence and discrimination.

At least Camenker, unlike other Religious Right activists, is being consistent in his opposition to the reasoning behind the Loving ruling and court decisions in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Beck Stands By The Muslim 'No-Go Zone' Myth, Insists They Are Just Like Indian Reservations

As Miranda explained yesterday, right-wing anti-Islam activists have been spreading a myth for years that radical Muslims have taken over entire parts of European cities and neighborhoods and turned them into "no-go zones," which are controlled by Sharia law and are off-limits to police officers and non-Muslim citizens

This claim is nonsense and is based entirely upon a deliberate misrepresentation of a "sensitive urban area" designation made by the French government, targeting certain areas for urban renewal. This myth is so obviously false, in fact, that even the conservative commentators at Fox News were forced to apologize for spreading it.

Glenn Beck, of course, is totally outraged that anti-Islam activist Steve Emerson apologized for the inaccurate claim he made on Fox that the British city of Birmingham is a "totally Muslim" no-go zone, fuming on his radio program today that Emerson is an "American hero" who deserves to be remembered in history but is instead being targeted for destruction over some piddling "political nitpicking."

Beck brought Emerson onto his program this morning in an effort to salvage the Fox commentator's reputation and sought to do so by insisting that the "sensitive urban areas" are actually the "no-go zones" that Emerson said they were.

"What this is is areas that the police avoid if they can," Beck said. "They try to stay out because it's a sensitive area ... It's almost like an Indian reservation to where the government goes into Indian reservations if there's a murder or something like that, the government will go into it. But generally speaking, they police themselves. Same kind of thing":

Rep. David Schweikert: Pro-Choice Advocates In It For The Money

Rep. David Schweikert stopped by “Washington Watch” yesterday to promote the congressional GOP’s 20-week abortion ban legislation, and told host Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council that abortion rights supporters are primarily motivated by greed, money and power.

“So many bad decisions are based upon who makes money on it, who has their vanity flattered, who feels to gain more power,” the Arizona Republican said. “This is one of those debates where I believe there’s people on the other side of the issue that are there solely because that’s how they raise money and that shows you just sort of, I think, a sickness in American politics that it was about the gaining of power, not about doing what was right.” 

Schweikert also pushed the inaccurate claim [PDF] that new technology has pushed fetal viability beyond 20 weeks after fertilization: “If the benchmark changes as technology changes, then the pro-abortion industry has become completely utilitarian and not embracing the most basic concept, the dear Lord has put us here for a reason and to take life, innocent life, imagine how we will be judged.”

Mike Huckabee: Beyoncé Backlash Proves I'm Right!

Mike Huckabee, after publishing a book in which he compares Beyoncé to a prostitute, is now trying to take advantage of the backlash to his comments by portraying himself as the latest right-wing martyr to politically correct persecution.

Huckabee told Newsmax TV host Steve Malzberg yesterday that his critics, such as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, are all taking his comments out of context and have proved his point that “Bubbleville” — Huckabee’s term for New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. — speaks down to “Bubbaville,” or real America.

“The backlash that I have had from what is less than a page of a 242-page book, which is a fleeting reference to Beyoncé, to me validates the very message of the book that there is this disconnect between the cultures of ‘Bubbleville’ and ‘Bubbaville,’” he said.

Huckabee said Stewart “missed” the point of his book “because like so many other people in the media it was as if they read the headlines that other reporters have made but they didn’t really read the chapter and they didn’t understand the context, the chapter was ‘The Culture of Crude.’”