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Cruz Forced To Defend Contraception Comments In Catholic Media

At a campaign event in Iowa in December, Sen. Ted Cruz laughed off the idea that Republicans were threatening access to birth control, saying, “I have never met anybody, any conservative, who wants to ban contraceptives. As I noted, Heidi and I, we have two little girls. I’m very glad we don’t have 17.”

As we noted at the time, Cruz’s comments were disingenuous. But it turns out that they were also not well received by some in one group that Cruz has been trying to court: conservative Catholics.

When Cruz gave an interview last week to the Catholic news network EWTN, host Raymond Arroyo played back the birth control comments, telling Cruz that “a lot of our viewers sent me emails” about the comments and that “some larger families took offense at that statement, they say it’s less than pro-life.”

Cruz scrambled to defend himself, saying that it was “a little snippet that’s taken out of context” and that he was pushing back against a Democratic “political attack that was deliberately deceptive.”

“I am unequivically pro-life, I believe that every life is a precious gift from God that needs to be protected from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death,” he said. “But the Democrats didn’t raise that battle on the issue of life; instead they did it on contraceptives, and it was deliberately deceptive, they were trying to scare young women into thinking some politician is going to come take their birth control away from them.”

“And the point I was making through humor – and humor is often a very effective way to communicate – is that nobody was talking about banning birth control for anyone,” he said.

He then pivoted to the Little Sisters of the Poor case, in which a number of religious nonprofits are claiming that having to fill out a form exempting themselves from a contraceptive insurance coverage mandate violates their religious beliefs because they’re making it possible for employees to get contraceptive coverage elsewhere.

The issue of contraception has sometimes been a sticking point in the anti-abortion alliance between Catholics and evangelicals. In the early days of the anti-abortion movement, some Catholic leaders of the movement presented the issues of abortion and contraception as two sides of the same coin. Conservative evangelicals, who came late to the anti-abortion movement, generally have more permissive doctrines involving birth control. Yet the two groups have united in recent years in fighting contraception access on “religious liberty” grounds, exemplified by the alliance of Catholic and evangelical leaders who drafted the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, which called for broad exemptions from and civil disobedience against civil laws on LGBT rights and reproductive freedom.

Liberty Counsel Growing Increasingly Desperate In Its Effort To Smear Planned Parenthood

Last week, Miranda noted that Liberty Counsel is representing Sandra Merritt after she and her Center for Medical Progress colleague David Daleiden were indicted by a grand jury in Texas over their failed efforts to expose Planned Parenthood for supposedly illegally selling fetal tissue for profit. 

Liberty Counsel seems to have decided to defend Merritt by attacking Lauren Reeder, one of the 300 attorneys in the Harris County District Attorney's Office who had nothing to do with the investigation of Merritt and Daleiden, because she serves on the board of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate. But since Liberty Counsel cannot attack Reeder on the merits, given that she disclosed her relationship with Planned Parenthood and had nothing to do with the DA's investigation, the right-wing legal organization has decided to attack her instead for having once worn "hot pants and a very revealing tank top" to a Planned Parenthood fundraising event.

Reeder attended the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's "Party Like A Rock Star" event dressed as a dancer from Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video and on Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast today, Mat Staver and Matt Barber attacked her for wearing "what looks like a bra but it's actually a very low-cut tank-top and also, hot pants, very short shorts."

Even more upsetting to Staver was the fact that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's director of development, Ed Benyon, attended the event in make-up and a shirt covered in blood.

Benyon was clearly dressed as Alice Cooper, which was somehow scandalous to Staver.

"He's got a white, like almost a lab coat," Staver said, "and on the left shoulder, all covering the entire shoulder and the left part of his chest, dripping down the left side of that shirt is what appears to be blood."

Barber, of course, was equally scandalized.

"I guess they think that is funny, somehow?" he sneered. "That's cute? To wear this lab coat with blood dripping down it? I don't know if they're mocking pro-lifers, but it does underscore just how they devalue human life here, that they were even jokingly mock themselves for what they do."

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/5/16

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/5/16

  • Franklin Graham is predicatbly unimpressed by President Obama's visit to a mosque because "Islam cannot save anyone from Hell or open the gates of Heaven."
  • Anti-choice activists are threatening to file ethics charges against the DA who indicted David Daleiden if she doesn’t drop the charges.
  • Some typically reasonable analysis from Pamela Geller: "It is no surprise that close to 70% of the Muslims surveyed will register Democrat, as the Democratic Party is the party of treason."
  • Todd Starnes says the "establishment" hates Ted Cruz because he’s "been a man of his word."
  • Jake MacAulay warns that if you vote for a candidate who won’t follow "God’s law," "you will stand before God and be judged for your failure to obey Him."
  • Bryan Fischer likes Ted Cruz because he will "provide statesmanlike leadership for spiritual renewal" if elected president.
  • Finally, FRC prays that conservative Christians will swing the election: "If the hostility toward Christians and the loss of religious liberty we have seen during the past eight years continues, we will see wholesale persecution of Christians in America in the not-too-distant future. If the church does not take a stand in an important election such as we now face, will it stand when jobs and careers are on the line because of the deeply held beliefs of its members? Will it stand when obedience to Christ requires disobedience to civil and other authorities who are commanding obedience to immoral policies, ordinances and laws? May this loss of religious liberty and the hostility toward Christians motivate each of us to pray and act in 2016 as never before!" 

Paranoia-Rama: Bernie's Prison Camps, Bachmann's Nightmare And Obama's 'Jihad'

Following a much needed mental health break, Paranoia-Rama is back! However, there may not be much time left for us since, as Michele Bachmann explained this week, the Battle of Armageddon is imminent.

'Revolution Is Coming': Glenn Beck Warns That Journalists Will Soon Be Murdered In The Streets

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck blamed Democrats for starting a "revolution" by supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement only to watch it spin so out of control that soon we'll be seeing journalists dragged into the streets and killed.

"You know that Hillary Clinton spoke highly of Occupy Wall Street," Beck said, "Barack Obama spoke highly of Occupy Wall Street. They all did. Those people were revolutionaries. We warned you at the time, you can't play with matches! And so, these same people who were encouraging the revolution are now looking and saying, 'Wait a minute, it's slipped through our fingers.'"

Warning that "those people who pour the gasoline" in fomenting revolution, thinking that they can control it, inevitably wind up becoming its victims, all Beck can say now is "I told you so."

"You people in the press had better pay attention," he stated, "because a revolution is coming and people are going to be so angry at what's going on and so angry at the press that they will pull you out of your seats in your own studios and kill you in the streets. We are getting very close to that."

Anti-Abortion Groups Argue That Restrictive Texas Law 'Prevents Discrimination' Against Women

In an amicus brief filed at the Supreme Court yesterday, the anti-abortion-rights groups Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America argue that a restrictive Texas law that threatens to shut almost all of the state’s abortion clinics is actually meant to prevent discrimination against women seeking abortions.

In the brief, written by former Family Research Council official Ken Klukowski on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union, the groups argue that HB2, the Texas law being considered in the case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in fact “prevents discrimination” against women seeking abortions by “ensuring that women seeking an abortion receive medical care that is equal in quality to the medical care provided to men”:

By ensuring that women seeking an abortion receive medical care that is equal in quality to the medical care provided to men, HB2 prevents discrimination against those women. To the extent challengers to HB2 might suggest HB2 is a form of sex discrimination, it is actually a statute that prevents discrimination. As such, invalidating HB2 would carry the opposite consequence of effectuating discrimination against women.

HB2’s ASC [ambulatory surgical center] provision commands that “the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards . . . for ambulatory surgical centers.” … Only women are patients at abortion facilities, but ASCs treat both women and men. This provision thus ensures that the women at one facility are entitled to the same quality of care that men at the other facility receive.

The groups conclude that “invalidating HB2 would subject women to second-class medical treatment, thus effectuating discrimination against women seeking an abortion.”

As we’ve noted, HB2 is one of a spate of state laws that have been passed in recent years by anti-choice lawmakers seeking to cut off access to abortion under the guise of protecting women’s health.

Among other restrictions, the Texas law requires that facilities providing abortions meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) even, as Think Progress has noted, at facilities that provide only medication abortion and don’t perform surgeries. The Guttmacher Institute explains that ambulatory surgical centers are subject to more restrictive regulations because they generally perform riskier and more invasive procedures than surgical abortion.

Anti-Abortion Group Furious At Christie & Bush Campaigns For Mentioning Rape Exceptions

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-choice campaign group the Susan B. Anthony List, sent a letter yesterday to all of the remaining Republican presidential candidates, except for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, warning them against criticizing Cruz and Rubio for their extreme, no-exceptions stances on abortion rights.

Although Dannenfelser didn’t name names, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who endorsed Jeb Bush after dropping out of the presidential race himself, and Gov. Chris Christie both attacked Cruz and Rubio over their opposition to rape exceptions in separate Morning Joe interviews this week.

Graham said on the program that although he’s “pro-life,” he thinks Ted Cruz’s stance on exceptions would be “a hard sell with young women.”

"I may be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, but I think it’s going to be very hard to grow the party among women if you’re gonna tell young women, ‘If you get raped, you’re gotta carry the child of the rapist,’” he said. “Most pro-life people don't go there.”

Christie, meanwhile, said that Rubio’s no-exceptions policy is “the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about.”

The spat gets to the heart of the anti-choice movement’s long-running debate about whether to tolerate the inclusion of certain exceptions in legislation aimed at curtailing abortion rights in an attempt to broaden their appeal and give political cover to vulnerable lawmakers.

Dannenfelser has called rape exceptions “abominable,” “regrettable” and “intellectually dishonest,” but has made it clear that her group will back bills that include exceptions if they deem it necessary for those bills to pass. Graham takes a similarly pragmatic approach to the issue, pleading after a 20-week abortion ban he sponsored got caught up in a debate about the wording of its rape exception that the movement needed to “find a way out of this definitional problem with rape.”

But what Dannefelser seems to be most upset about is the fact that Christie and Graham talked about rape at all, which she says plays right into “Planned Parenthood’s talking points.” Indeed, after Republican Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock made disastrous comments about pregnancy from rape in 2012, Dannenfelser held trainings for Republicans to teach them how to avoid the subject.

In her letter to the candidates, Dannefelser notes that her organization, along with Rubio and Cruz, have supported legislation that includes exceptions, but purely as a political compromise. Attacking those candidates for their no-exceptions ideology, she says, is “incredibly damaging to the prolife movement at a point in which momentum is on our side.”

“Let me be clear: An attack on this aspect of these candidates’ pro-life positions is an attack on the pro-life movement as a whole,” she warned.

Dear Candidates:

On behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List and our 465,000 members across the country, I am writing to you today to urge a swift and decisive end to the attacks other candidates and their surrogates are making concerning the courageous pro-life positions of Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. These attacks ill-serve a party that has pledged, in one form or another, since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 “to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children.”

While Senators Cruz and Rubio have supported SBA List-backed legislation that includes certain exceptions, they personally believe – as do we – that unborn children conceived in even the most difficult circumstances deserve the same legal protections that every other unborn child deserves. They know that you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy.

Let me be clear: An attack on this aspect of these candidates’ pro-life positions is an attack on the pro-life movement as a whole.

These tactical broadsides for perceived short-term advantage are incredibly damaging to the prolife movement at a point in which momentum is on our side. Our movement has worked diligently, especially in the wake of the 2012 elections, to put pro-life candidates on offense and pro-abortion candidates on defense.

As a movement, we have put forward legislative proposals that not only save lives, but also have the strong backing of the American public, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would protect babies after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy. During the 2014 election cycle this legislation dramatized the extreme position of abortion advocates, and it will have the same effect once again this cycle – largely thanks to the public support it enjoys from every single one of you.

To conclude, I urge you and your campaigns to reject Planned Parenthood’s talking points and instead keep the pro-life movement on offense by focusing on exposing the extreme position held by the other side: Abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth, for any reason, paid for by the taxpayer. This is the winning message that will result in a pro-life president who will sign into law life-saving protections for the most vulnerable in our society.

Kenneth Copeland Declares That Ted Cruz Has Been 'Called And Anointed' By God To Be The Next President

Earlier this year, Ted Cruz's father and primary presidential campaign surrogate, Rafael, spoke at televangelist Kenneth Copeland's church in Texas, where the controversial prosperity gospel preacher declared that Ted Cruz has been anointed by God to be the next president.

Copeland, who believes that he can destroy the Ebola virus by speaking in tongues, introduced the elder Cruz by asserting that "I believe, with all my heart, that his son is called and anointed to be the next president of the United States."

After Cruz spoke for an hour, delivering his standard presentation urging Christians to vote in order to beat back secularism and take control of this nation, Copeland asked him to recount how the Holy Spirit had descended upon a Cruz family prayer session and convinced Ted to seek the presidency, which Rafael took as a sign that "God has raised him up for such a time as this."

Then, several church elders gathered around Cruz in order to lay hands upon him and pray while Eagle Mountain International Church senior pastor George Pearsons proclaimed that "we are in the midst right now of the new birth of this nation."

"There's a new birth, right now, for America," Pearsons declared, "and it's taking place right before our eyes. And we will not set apart our responsibility and our duty to do what God has called us to do; we say, 'Yes, Lord, Yes, we will do exactly what You have called us to do' and we receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of the Spirit over Washington, D.C. We see Congress praying, we see them seeking God, we see prayer coming back into our schools, we see the Bible coming back into our schools, we see abortion being turned around, we see this nation being completely restored, completely delivered, for it is a time the new birth of our nation and we're seeing it right before our eyes, now, in Jesus' name."

Alex Jones: Bernie Sanders Supporters Like Nazis Clamoring For Adolf Hitler

Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones, broadcasting from a dim, bunker-like studio yesterday, pleaded with Bernie Sanders supporters to abandon their candidate, telling them that Sanders is aiding a scheme devised by “European royalty” to “scapegoat the free market as the problem and to sell communism and socialism and wealth-redistribution as a solution.”

As Jones puts it, the super-super-rich intend to use socialism to seize the wealth of the regular rich, thus consolidating their power.

Jones later added that Sanders fans are like the Germans who supported Adolf Hitler: “This is the most ganged-mentality, dumbed-down, it’s like, ‘We want to elect Hitler, he says he’ll invade France and give us free stuff.’”

The InfoWars broadcaster previously said that Sanders wants to throw people him into forced labor camps.