Planned Parenthood

Ted Cruz Hailed Activist Who Wants Abortion Providers Executed Eight Days Before Planned Parenthood Shooting

Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, has long been known as one of the most radical anti-choice activists in the country, saying that a just government would execute abortion providers and organizing efforts to harass abortion providers and their patients.

But Ted Cruz apparently saw his extremism as a boon, releasing a statement on November 19th touting Newman’s endorsement of his presidential campaign and declaring that America needs more “leaders like Troy Newman.”

In his statement, Cruz made clear that he was touting Newman’s endorsement because of the activist’s role in creating the hoax videos smearing Planned Parenthood for selling “baby parts” for profits. Following the shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, the shooter reportedly told authorities “no more baby parts” after he was apprehended.

Newman has not only opined on the governments duty of “executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people,” but once even claimed that the murderer of an abortion doctor and his bodyguard was a “political prisoner” and victim of “judicial tyranny,” since he was deprived of his “right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.”

Newman coauthored his book calling for the execution of abortion providers and the statement defending the anti-abortion terrorist with his Operation Rescue colleague Cheryl Sullenger, who served “time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s” but who has since renounced violence.

Newman denounced the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, but his extremist rhetoric towards abortion providers speaks for itself. For example, “Newman has claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and AIDS were both warnings from God about legal abortion in America and attributed a drought in California to the state’s liberal abortion laws, insisting that ‘weather patterns’ and economic instability are connected to legal abortion.”

Another activist whose endorsement Cruz’s campaign recently touted, Flip Benham, was convicted of stalking an abortion provider “after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician’s name and photo on it.”

As Rachel Maddow explained in a recent program, Cruz must explain why he would hail an activist like Newman, a point that speaks volumes following last week’s Planned Parenthood attack.

Army Of God Activist Hails Planned Parenthood Shooting: 'They Reap What They Sow'

An activist associated with the militant anti-abortion group Army of God, which has been linked to several terrorist attacks on abortion providers, has posted a brief statement on his website declaring that Planned Parenthood got what it deserved with last week’s shooting at a Colorado Springs clinic that left three dead:

Planned Parenthood Colorado Springs

Robert Lewis Dear aside, Planned Parenthood murders helpless preborn children. These murderous pigs at Planned Parenthood are babykillers and they reap what they sow. In this case, Planned Parenthood selling of aborted baby parts came back to bite them.

Anyone who supports abortion has the blood of babies on their hands.

Virginia-based anti-abortion activist Donald Spitz, who runs the “Army of God” website, similarly stated after Dr. George Tiller was murdered that the he “reaped what he sowed” and hosts a page celebrating those who have been convicted of murdering and attempting to murder abortion doctors. Spitz also promotes the 1993 “Defensive Action Statement,” signed by 34 anti-choice activists including Hill, which says that those who kill abortion providers “ought to be acquitted of the charges” against them because people should take “all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force.”

MSNBC’s Irin Carmon spoke with Spitz, who told her that anti-choice groups that condemned the Colorado Springs shooting are “hypocritical” and “into political correctness way too far.” Spitz said that he was not against the shooter’s actions and will be “reaching out to him.”

“There are no innocent people in Planned Parenthood,” he said. “They’re in there for a reason.”

One notorious anti-abortion activist, who has long been an open supporter of violence against abortion providers, broke with the movement in offering direct support to Dear.

Donald Spitz, who runs the Army of God website and is based in Virginia, said of his fellow anti-abortion activists’ condemnations of violence, “They say that all the time. I think they’re hypocritical.”

While many groups insist violence against abortion providers is counterproductive to their cause, Spitz suggested such rhetoric is disingenuous. Referring to Scott Roeder, who murdered abortion provider George Tiller and who Spitz calls a friend, Spitz said, “How could that be counterproductive when he stopped them from providing abortions? They’ve lost their mind. They’re into political correctness way too far.”

As for Spitz’s own reaction, “I think Planned Parenthood is an evil organization, so I didn’t lose any sleep when I heard about it,” Spitz said. “They sell baby parts, and they reap what they sow, and now they’re complaining about it.”

He added, “There are no innocent people in Planned Parenthood. They’re in there for a reason.”

Spitz said he wrote to Dear on Monday to offer his support.

“I told him, I was reaching out to him, it appears that everybody is against him. I’m not against him,” he said.

Spitz was given pause, though, by the fact that the three killed on Friday weren’t involved in providing abortion. “It’s one thing to kill an abortionist who’s killing babies,” Spitz said. “What he did, I don’t know.”

Fischer: Planned Parenthood Shooter May Have Been 'Tanked Up On Pot'

On his radio program today, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer floated his own theory as to why Robert Lewis Dear killed three people and injured nine more during a shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado last week: Maybe he was "just tanked up on pot."

Insisting that there is no reliable evidence as to what motivated Dear to carry out the attack, Fischer suggested that perhaps the legality of marijuana in the state played a role because "we do know that since he moved to Colorado, [Dear] was a pot-smoking nutcase."

Fischer said that "we have seen one story after another" of people "getting doped up or tanked up or high on pot and going off a doing brutal things," especially after ingesting marijuana edibles. So obviously "there is no question that the kind of pot that is available in Colorado today can drive you into psychotic episodes," he stated.

"I'm going to be interested to see what he had in his system," Fischer said, "and if maybe this was a guy that was just tanked up on pot."

Mike Huckabee: Planned Parenthood Are Murderers Too!

In his condemnation of the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Spring, Mike Huckabee suggested that while the attacker was wrong for killing people, Planned Parenthood does the same thing:

Mike Huckabee condemned the attack as a "despicable act of murder" and said "what he did is domestic terrorism," but then equated the killings to the abortions Planned Parenthood provides.

"There's no excuse for killing other people, whether it's happening inside the Planned Parent headquarters, inside their clinics, where many millions of babies die, or whether it's people attacking Planned Parenthood," Huckabee said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Huckabee’s comments reflects the mood of several anti-choice groups that have used the shooting, which left three people dead, as a way to attack Planned Parenthood and demand that the media cover “pro-abortion violence.”

The Republican presidential candidate has previously likened Planned Parenthood to ISIS terrorists and suggested that the creators of the hoax videos targeting Planned Parenthood should receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, all the while pledging to ban abortion through an executive decree that will effectively treat abortion as the legal equivalent of murder.

He once hailed a group that claims Planned Parenthood is waging genocide against black people and said in a speech following a visit to a concentration camp that legal abortion in America is no different than the Holocaust orchestrated by Nazi Germany, if not worse.

Ben Carson: 'Both Sides' To Blame For Abortion Rhetoric

Ben Carson pushed back yesterday on claims that anti-abortion rhetoric may have played a role in the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, insisting in an interview with Martha Raddatz that “there’s a lot of extremism coming from all areas” and divisive rhetoric “comes from both sides.” “There is no saint here in this equation,” he said.

Ben Carson on Planned Parenthood Shooting... by tommyxtopher

While it is typical for a politician to suggest that “both sides” are to blame for toxic rhetoric and political dysfunction, Carson may want to look back on his own record of statements about Planned Parenthood.

Carson cited a discredited right-wing smear to claim that Planned Parenthood was created “to eliminate black people.”

He also claimed that conservatives need “to help women understand that they are being manipulated” by Planned Parenthood, arguing that the organization must be defunded.

Carson, who once claimed that Obamacare “is slavery in a way,” similarly stated at an anti-chioce fundraiser that abortion providers are no different than slave-owners:

The former neurosurgeon noted that he change his mind about abortion after realizing it was like “slavery.”

“I was thinking about slavery and I was thinking about the abolitionists, and I said, what if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery but anybody else can do whatever they want’?” Carson declared. “Where would we be today?”

“Slavery is a moral issue and so is abortion,” he insisted. “It’s a moral issue that we’re dealing with.”

He made the same case in an NBC interview: “During slavery — and I know that's one of those words you're not supposed to say, but I'm saying it — during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose to do. And what if the abolitionists had said: 'You know, I don't believe in slavery. I think it's wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do'? Where would we be?”

But remember, both sides are extreme!

Ted Cruz's 'Transgendered Leftist' Claim About Planned Parenthood Shooter Emerged From Far-Right Web

When asked yesterday about reports that the shooter who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs said “no more baby parts” to law enforcement officers, Ted Cruz said that he read reports that the shooter was actually “a transgendered leftist activist,” while graciously adding that he wouldn’t blame the “rhetoric of the left” for the attack.

Unsurprisingly, according to a campaign spokesman, Cruz found his information about the shooter’s political and gender identity on a right-wing blog.

Far-right outlets such as The Gateway Pundit, Young Conservatives and WorldNetDaily have been implying that what appears to be a typo on the attacker’s voter registration form may mean that he in fact identified as a woman. Cruz’s campaign spokesman cited a blog post on The Right Scoop by a blogger named “soopermexican,” titled “WAS THE COLORADO SHOOTER A TRANSGENDER PERSON?!?!”

American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer also suggested that a webpage typo was proof that “low info media narrative collapses”:

None of these posts, however, suggested that the shooter was a “leftist,” which seems to be a unique Cruz creation. Family members and friends described the shooter as a conservative who abhorred President Obama.

Cruz seems to be doing whatever it takes to make sure people don’t see an attack on Planned Parenthood, one of several attacks that occurred this year, as an attack on Planned Parenthood.

Mike Huckabee Inadvertently Praises Fetal Tissue Research At GOP Debate

At last night’s Republican presidential debate, Mike Huckabee offered a convenient solution to all of America’s health care concerns: Rather than focus on improving access to health care, why not just cure all the diseases that make people sick?

“We don't have a health care crisis in America, we have a health crisis,” he said. “And until we deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio — when I was a little kid, we eradicated it. You know how much money we spent on polio last year in America? We didn't spend any. We’ve saved billions of dollars.”

Huckabee conveniently failed to mention that we wouldn’t have the polio vaccine — among others — without fetal tissue research, a practice he wants to ban and has roundly criticized in the wake of deceptive sting videos targeting Planned Parenthood.

“One of the earliest advances with fetal tissue was to use fetal kidney cells to create the first poliovirus vaccines, which are now estimated to save 550,000 lives worldwide every year,” CNN reported. “In the early days of making the vaccine, researchers infected fetal kidney cells in Petri dishes to produce a large amount of virus that they could then harvest, purify and use to vaccinate people. (The virus evolves to become less deadly when it infects cells out of the body, and thus could safely be given to people to prime their immune system for the real thing.) Today manufacturers of the polio vaccine use other types of human cells, which weren’t available in the mid-1900s. They also use monkey cells, which they originally avoided for fear that making the vaccine in animal cells could put people at risk of diseases from other species. Many of our other common vaccines, such as chicken pox, rubella and shingles, have been produced in tissue derived from fetuses, particularly two electively terminated pregnancies from the 1960s.”

Seeing that Huckabee has floated the idea of using the National Guard to raid abortion clinics and promised to outlaw abortion by executive fiat, he should probably give a close look into the development of the polio vaccine.

Bobby Jindal Wants The EPA To Go After Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared on “Washington Watch” to blast a federal court decision blocking his effort to defund Planned Parenthood in the state.

“They sued us, the Obama administration sued us in federal court, he can’t watch the video but he has time to send his attorneys to Baton Rouge,” he told the program’s host, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They can send the entire Department of Justice, we won’t be intimidated from defending innocent human life.” (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not the Department of Justice, sued Louisiana in the case.)

He later claimed that if all the Republican governors in the country followed his lead, they could succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood. “They can’t come after every governor,” he said. “We have 31 Republican governors. If just the Republican governors would all do this, they can’t come after us all. Let’s fight for our rights. The left fights, they force socialism down our throats, why won’t we fight for pro-life, for conservative principles?”

Jindal then voiced a litany of falsehoods, suggesting that Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer dollars in its fetal tissue donation programs (it doesn’t) and claiming that its two Louisiana clinics offer abortion services (they don’t).

He said that if he gets elected president, he would direct the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to target Planned Parenthood.

Ted Cruz Once Again Twists The Facts About Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Planned Parenthood released a statement saying that of its three clinics that currently participate in fetal tissue research programs, the two clinics that accept reimbursements for expenses related to the donation of such tissue will cover their own costs from now on. Federal law already permits reimbursements to cover donation expenses and no investigation has ever found Planned Parenthood to be in violation of that law.

However, Sen. Ted Cruz has taken Planned Parenthood's statement as an admission of guilt that it was breaking the law, which shows that he either doesn't know the law or is willfully misrepresenting it to voters.

The Texas Republican told Newsmax host Ed Berliner yesterday that he is "glad that they've announced to stop committing federal felonies," insisting that Planned Parenthood was "caught on film repeatedly violating federal law, essentially admitting to a pattern of felonies." He then repeated his pledge to immediately launch a Justice Department investigation into the organization once elected president.

Ted Cruz Demands Portrait Gallery Remove Bust Of Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger

Just weeks after praising Planned Parenthood supporter Rosa Parks, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has sent a letter [PDF] to the National Portrait Gallery demanding that the Smithsonian museum remove a bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger from its “Struggle for Justice” exhibit, which features well-known leaders of social movements.

Cruz, in a letter drafted with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and joined by two dozen House Republicans, tells the gallery’s director that the presence of the bust “is an affront both to basic human decency and the very meaning of justice.” After citing the discredited claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit, the group then badly twists a Sanger quote, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

In Sanger’s letter, which you can find here, she was saying that she wanted black leaders to join her effort to promote birth control access because she was afraid that opponents would disseminate such unfounded rumors, which is ironically exactly what Cruz and Gohmert did with their letter.

While Sanger was a believer in eugenics, so were many leaders of her time, including Winston Churchill. Ironically, Cruz consistently says on the stump that one of his first acts as president would be putting a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office. (The Obama administration’s decision not to hold onto a Churchill bust that the British government had temporarily loaned to George W. Bush has become a frequent point of attack from the Right, despite the fact that there is another Churchill bust still in the White House residence.)

Nevertheless, Cruz and Gohmert go on to say that Sanger’s “racist views have had a very real and devastating impact on the widespread destruction of unborn human life — especially in minority communities.”

The signers include anti-choice stalwarts Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who is slated to chair a House special committee targeting Planned Parenthood.

The letter appears to be part of a larger campaign launched by extremist pastor E.W. Jackson to remove the bust from the gallery. Jackson said that Sanger’s presence in the gallery would dishonor civil rights leaders like Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. However, like Parks, King was a supporter of Planned Parenthood and praised Margaret Sanger for her “courage and vision.”

There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist - a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning. Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her. Negroes have no mere academic nor ordinary interest in family planning. They have a special and urgent concern.

Recently the subject of Negro family life has received extensive attention. Unfortunately, studies have overemphasized the problem of the Negro male ego and almost entirely ignored the most serious element - Negro migration. During the past half century Negroes have migrated on a massive scale, transplanting millions from rural communities to crammed urban ghettoes. In their migration, as with all migrants, they carried with them the folkways of the countryside into an inhospitable city slum. The size of family that may have been appropriate and tolerable on a manually cultivated farm was carried over to the jammed streets of the ghetto. In all respects Negroes were atomized, neglected and discriminated against. Yet, the worst omission was the absence of institutions to acclimate them to their new environment. Margaret Sanger, who offered an important institutional remedy, was unfortunately ignored by social and political leaders in this period. In consequence, Negro folkways in family size persisted. The problem was compounded when unrestrained exploitation and discrimination accented the bewilderment of the newcomer, and high rates of illegitimacy and fragile family relationships resulted.

Rick Wiles Thought Hurricane Joaquin Would Hit New York As A Sign Of God's Wrath

Add Rick Wiles to the list of Religious Right activists who blew their prophecies about Hurricane Joaquin.

“Trunews” host Rick Wiles spoke with fellow Religious Right pundit Bradlee Dean last Thursday about the GOP’s attempt to deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood, with Wiles suggesting that the failure to defund the women’s health organization would cause God to punish America by directing Hurricane Joaquin towards New York.

“Congress will refuse to defund Planned Parenthood but God will defund the United States,” Wiles said. “Get ready, the big attitude adjustment is coming. And if you still have money invested in stocks, I think you’re down to a few days to get it out. There’s a potential Category 4 hurricane moving towards New York City, Joaquin, ‘God will judge.’”

“There’s a hurricane moving through the Atlantic today, Joaquin,” he said later in the interview. “Joaquin means, ‘God will judge.’ It appears that it’s going to be a Category 4, perhaps by the time this radio program is heard tonight across America it will be a Category 4, it’s headed towards somewhere between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Is anybody other than me putting this together that there is a hurricane named ‘God will judge’ headed towards New York City?”

Wiles and Dean also used the interview to criticize Planned Parenthood over false claims that the group sells fetal tissue for profit, with Wiles declaring that Planned Parenthood officials “should be in handcuffs right now” and “making license plates in a prison.”

“There ought to be state police raids in every state,” he said. “They’re killing babies, they’re chopping babies up. This is worse than the Nazis did in Germany.”

Dean said that his friend Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue who helped launch the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the discredited sting videos, “actually produced those films.”

“I talked to Troy just a couple of weeks ago,” he added, “and to show you the totalitarian, authoritarian government in which we are dealing with which is un-American today, in the people’s White House, people need to understand that Loretta Lynch just brought forth a lawsuit against Troy Newman and those that actually produced the video of Planned Parenthood self-incriminating themselves concerning their crimes against the innocent in the womb.”

While we are unaware of any Justice Department action taken against Troy Newman and the CMP, Dean said that the failure to defund Planned Parenthood means that “judgment is on its way.”

Marco Rubio's Planned Parenthood Whopper Places Him In Far-Right Fringe

There have been several layers of lies that have grown out of the smear campaign that anti-choice groups are currently waging against Planned Parenthood.

The first is the baseless allegation found in the heavily edited tapes that activists calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress have been slowly releasing: That Planned Parenthood violated federal laws by profiting from its voluntary fetal tissue donation program. (Or, in CMP’s words, is “selling aborted baby parts for profit.”)

Those allegations do not hold water. CMP’s videos edited out many instances of Planned Parenthood employees making clear that the organization does not profit from fetal tissue donated to medical research. Several states launched investigations into Planned Parenthood after the videos were released, and every investigation to conclude so far has found no wrongdoing.

The next layer of lie is the claim that Planned Parenthood participates in fetal tissue research in order to turn a profit. This claim, rooted in the anti-choice movement’s years-long campaign to frame abortion providers as a money-hungry “industry” is completely absurd, especially given that just two of the organization’s 59 affiliates and just one percent of its clinics offer patients the opportunity to donate fetal tissue to research.

But the third lie, the truly astounding whopper, is that Planned Parenthood only offers abortions in order to sell fetal tissue for profit. Although this is the thought process that the Center for Medical Progress seems to hope that people will follow, only the farthest-right of the anti-choice fringe has put it into so many words.

Alveda King of Priests for Life alleged that Planned Parenthood makes “a lot of money” by using birth control to give women breast cancer and coercing women to have abortions so they can sell the fetal tissue. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made a similar claim when he suggested that Planned Parenthood opposes the 20-week abortion ban that was blocked in the Senate today because they can profit more off of fetuses in later stages of development: “This suggests why they may have been opposed to bans such as this, these five-month bans, because the longer the pregnancy goes, the more valuable the parts.”

But yesterday, Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida and supposedly “establishment” presidential candidate, gave this completely absurd idea a new platform when he claimed on an Iowa TV news program that women are pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit”:

Yes, not only does Rubio think that women who choose to terminate pregancies are “pushed into” it, but that the providers who are supposedly doing the pushing are doing it solely to protect a nonexistant fetal-tissue racket.

That’s something that we expect to hear from the farthest fringes of the anti-choice movement, not from a presidential candidate.

Mike Huckabee's Plan To Defund Planned Parenthood Would Send US Economy Into Tailspin

On Friday, Mike Huckabee repeated his claim that Congress should end federal funding to Planned Parenthood by linking it to a future measure to raise the debt ceiling, floating the catastrophic idea in an interview with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson.

Huckabee said that Republicans in Congress should tie Planned Parenthood funding “to the debt ceiling rather than to the budget, because we can continue to function even if we don’t keep moving the debt ceiling.”

He told Republicans to stop “surrendering” to President Obama and instead adopt his plan as a way to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood while also curbing the national debt.

Of course, Huckabee’s plan would also have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.

As the Wall Street Journal reported back in 2013, when Republicans nearly refused to raise the debt ceiling, that such a move would have severe reverberations around the world:

Even a temporary failure of the U.S. government to pay its bills would have a “catastrophic” impact on the U.S. and global economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.

U.S. officials warn that the government could run out of cash to pay its social security and military obligations by the middle of next month if lawmakers fail to reach a deal to raise the amount of money the country can borrow, called the debt ceiling.

Even if it was temporary, the IMF estimates that such a shock could shave around a half-percentage point off growth around the world at a fragile stage in the global recovery.

The U.S. treasury had a similar assessment at the time:

And if Congress does not raise the debt limit, raising the possibility of default if the government is unable to meet its bond obligations, Treasury said the results could be worse than the 2008 “Great Recession.”

“In the event that a debt limit impasse were to lead to a default, it could have a catastrophic effect on not just financial markets but also on job creation, consumer spending and economic growth—with many private-sector analysts believing that it would lead to events of the magnitude of late 2008 or worse, and the result then was a recession more severe than any seen since the Great Depression,” the report states.

Politifact points out that “raising the debt ceiling allows the United States government to borrow funds that cover the obligations the government has already incurred” and does not “prompt any new spending.”

Either Huckabee doesn’t understand how the debt ceiling works, or he knows the devastating consequences of such a maneuver but thinks it is worth it just to defund Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood Vote Shows The GOP Can't Sidestep It's 'Definitional Problem With Rape'

The House today approved a bill that would block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood for one year, unless the organization certifies that it will no longer perform abortions, something that it does not currently use federal funds for.

The vote, driven by a smear campaign from anti-choice extremists, was divided mostly along party lines, with the notable exception of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who voted “present.” In a video statement, King explained that he didn’t think the House bill went far enough in attacking the “diabolical” Planned Parenthood, taking particular issue with the fact that the bill would allow Planned Parenthood to continue offering abortions for women who have survived rape or incest:

Leading anti-choice groups have been trying desperately to stop anti-abortion lawmakers from talking about abortion rights for rape survivors after disastrous comments by Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock helped to sink their respective 2012 Senate bids.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, one of the most influential leaders in the anti-choice movement, held trainings to teach Republican politicians how to change the subject when rape comes up. Dannenfelser has been very clear that she opposes rape exceptions in abortion bans, which she has called “abominable,” “regrettable” and “ intellectually dishonest,” but will urge lawmakers to support a bill that has to contain such exceptions for political reasons.

But hard as Dannenfelser and her allies might try to get anti-choice lawmakers to shut up about rape, they face an uphill battle. Although most anti-choice activists oppose rape exceptions, a vocal portion of the movement believes that lawmakers should automatically reject any bill that includes such exceptions.

A 20-week abortion ban that passed in the House earlier this year and will be coming up for a vote in the Senate next week has been mired for years in anti-choice infighting about rape exceptions. Before a version of the bill came up for a House vote in 2013, Republican leaders scrambled at the last minute to add a rape exception to neutralize controversial comments made by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks.

In January of this year, the House was planning to vote on the bill to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but scrapped the plan after a coalition led by female Republican lawmakers objected to a provision that would have required rape survivors to report the crime to law enforcement. An exasperated Sen. Lindsey Graham told anti-choice activists the next morning, “I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape.”

After extensive negotiations, the House finally settled on a bill that includes an exception for rape survivors if they first undergo a 48-hour waiting period.

But, as Steve King’s “present” vote shows, as long as they’re spending time attacking abortion rights, the GOP is going to be stuck with what Graham called “this definitional problem with rape.”

Tony Perkins: 'I Fear For The Country And What May Occur' If Congress Doesn't Defund Planned Parenthood

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins appeared on Glenn Beck's television show last night to promote his new book, "No Fear," and both men warned that God's judgment will rain down upon this nation if Congress fails to defund Planned Parenthood.

"I fear God much more than I fear man," Beck said. "I believe that the Lord has made it so clear on Planned Parenthood, couldn't be more clear on Iran, more clear on 'black lives matter' versus 'all lives matter.' I fear that we are at Jeremiah."

Perkins agreed, saying that God always "presents the evidence before He passes judgment" and that the Planned Parenthood smear videos are God's evidence of America's wickedness.

"This is why it is so important what Congress is doing," Perkins said. "I've had this discussion with congressional leaders, this is our moment, our opportunity. If we say this is just another political deal and we're going to back down, I fear for the country and what may occur."

Inside The Right-Wing Plan To 'Take Out Planned Parenthood'

While some Republican politicians contend that the most recent round of attacks on Planned Parenthood is aimed only at its donation of fetal tissue for medical research, a practice that became the focus of sting videos that misleadingly suggest that the organization is profiting off the donations, Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins told conservative activists last week that the real goal is to “take out Planned Parenthood.”

In a speech to Eagle Council 2015, the annual conference held by Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, Hawkins depicted Planned Parenthood as a money-obsessed and racist business that “promotes and covers up” statutory rape and aids sex traffickers. Hawkins claimed that Planned Parenthood only supports sexual education and birth control in order to convince young women to have premarital sex, causing them to go to Planned Parenthood to spend money on STD tests and treatment and, eventually, abortions.

“She’s going to start this cycle of bad decisions,” she said. “They made money off of her every step away. Everything was about that bottom line.”

Hawkins described in detail the anti-choice movement’s strategy to rebrand itself as a pro-women, social justice cause while also attempting to “rebrand Planned Parenthood” as the “abortion Goliath” that “preys upon women.”

“When this generation was coming to age and decided, ‘How can we make a difference? How can we make our Phyllis Schlafly mark on the pro-life movement?’ We set our sights on one target, and that’s Planned Parenthood, because they are the Goliath,” she said. While Planned Parenthood is the Goliath, Hawkins said, David Daleiden, the activist behind the sting videos, is fittingly named “David” — “I think the Holy Spirit had something to do when his mother named him.”

Why focus on Planned Parenthood? As Hawkins admits, it is because of Planned Parenthood’s popularity: “While we’ve been educating a movement since 2008 on Planned Parenthood, we’ve been losing in the court of public opinion. Every poll we’ve taken always shows that Planned Parenthood enjoys a positive view in people’s minds, because it’s Planned Parenthood.”

Hawkins said that anti-choice activists plan to run online ads targeting “Democratic-leaning,” “mushy middle” women voters, whom she characterized as the “Grey’s Anatomy binge-watchers and West Wing-watchers.”

Appropriating some of the themes used by the Occupy Wall Street movement, Hawkins urged the Eagle Forum activists to pressure Congress to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, saying that the move would give them an opportunity to rebrand Planned Parenthood as the “Walmart of abortion” and the true foe of the “99 percent.”

She also revealed that her group’s new ads will look like government-sponsored PSAs telling pregnant women that if they go to Planned Parenthood, they will probably end up getting an abortion.

Will you or will you not vote for a CR, continuing resolution, that funds Planned Parenthood? Yes or no? A non-commitment is allowing this to happen, that’s a pro-abortion vote in my record. You need to scare the bejeezus out of these people because they don’t want to do it, they don’t want to do it. House Republican leadership and Senate Republican leadership does not want to touch Planned Parenthood because they didn’t listen to their Bible stories very well. We need you to make those calls. We need to be talking about the presidency. There’s a little bit of an election coming up in a year and it is very, very important that we elect a pro-life president, not only so we defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider and vendor, but that we get a pro-life president who will appoint pro-life judges, this next president could literally determine if we overturn Roe v. Wade in our lifetime or not. I’m a very impatient person, I have other career goals, I don’t want to be doing this the rest of my life. I want to end abortion as quickly as possible and to do that we’ve got to take out Planned Parenthood.

The next thing we have to do is we need to rebrand Planned Parenthood. In our communities we need to promote organizations like Thrive, like other pregnancy resource centers that are literally taking money, client money, out of their hands. We need to talk about Planned Parenthood, we need to make people aware of what Planned Parenthood is doing. Students for Life has a tour coming up in October and November, ‘The Planned Parenthood Project.’ We don’t say abortion is bad because people already know abortion is bad, what we show young people is that Planned Parenthood makes money off them and that they’re using them. A very popular line we found with young people is, “Planned Parenthood is the Walmart of the abortion industry.” I love Walmart, trust me, I spent like $500 there last night, however, it’s a very “99%” approach to the issue, that they’re the big, bad dog and they are using you.

The next thing we have to do is we’re going to need to go on the airwaves and right now, Students for Life, I’ve got two commercials that we are getting ready to launch and we are putting out there to national organizations, saying, “please fund these commercials.” Because the commercials aren’t about us, they’re not about the pro-life movement, they are targeted to “mushy middle” women, 18- to 44-year-old women who are targeted by the Democrats every single election with a scary “war on women” rhetoric. The ads are light, they’re airy, they’re beautiful, they kind of look like a government PSA, that’s how I made them look. And it says, ‘Hey, you’re pregnant! Yay! Did you know that 94 percent of women who go to the Planned Parenthood get an abortion? However, you can visit a federally-funded health clinic that will serve all of your and your child’s needs for free.’ Then it links to It looks a little bit like a PSA. We are running it through the lawyers to make sure I don’t get sued for impersonation by the government. But we are going to be running these ads because we are going to make the point that we don’t need Planned Parenthood any longer. We don’t need Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the opposite of empowerment, Planned Parenthood is the opposite of empowerment for women. They do the exact opposite and we simply don’t need them.

Mike Huckabee: 'Great Idea' To Give Medal Of Freedom To Anti-Planned Parenthood Hoaxers

Mike Huckabee recently chatted with a number of conservative activists, including slavery apologist and anti-gay extremist Douglas Wilson, in a Google hangout, where he addressed the deceptively edited videos targeting Planned Parenthood and discussed plan to outlaw abortion through executive fiat.

When Wilson proposed that Huckabee give David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the sting videos, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Huckabee called it “a great idea,” praising Daleiden as “a Wilberforce for our time,” a reference to British abolitionist William Wilberforce.

Beyond just “defunding one abortion organization,” Huckabee vowed to “be the president that would invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendments to declare that it is imperative that we afford unborn children their constitutional rights of the Fifth and 14th Amendment.” He said that this presidential declaration would bequeath personhood rights “at the moment of conception,” saying that he is tired of conservatives having to “play the defensive role for 42 years when all along we had the Fifth and 14th Amendments.”

No, Community Health Centers Aren't Going To Replace Planned Parenthood

Conservative activists who are pushing for the state and federal defunding of Planned Parenthood’s health services to low-income women frequently claim that community health care clinics can easily pick up the slack if Planned Parenthood’s services are no longer available to millions of women.

A map of community clinics compiled by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Susan B. Anthony List has been making the rounds in conservative social media and has been shared by groups who claim that these health centers’ ubiquity makes Planned Parenthood unnecessary.

A story in the New York Times today highlights just one example of why that is very wrong. Louisiana, the Times’ Jackie Calmes reports, is facing a crisis of sexually transmitted diseases and the state’s two Planned Parenthood clinics, neither of which performs abortions, have been at the forefront of fighting it, including conducting nearly 20,000 STI tests last year.

Dr. Stephanie Taylor, who runs a private health center in New Orleans, told Calmes, “You can’t just cut Planned Parenthood off one day and expect everyone across the city to absorb the patients.”

The author of a recent study of community health services told the Times that it is “absurd” to claim that Planned Parenthood’s services could be easily replaced:

“Somebody says, ‘Oh, we’ll just move $500 million over.’ First of all, most of that is Medicaid, so you can’t just move it over,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services, which recently released results of a three-year study of community health services and family planning nationwide.

She called it “an absurd claim” that other health providers could replace Planned Parenthood, especially in the South and the Midwest. With the Affordable Care Act, Ms. Rosenbaum said, health centers “have been just overwhelmed with patients because of the expansion of insurance coverage.”

That experience was borne out in Texas after it cut off funds for Planned Parenthood, when rather than transferring to another provider, tens of thousands of women simply slipped through the cracks. Jill Filopovic summarized Texas’ experience:

We know what happens when you defund Planned Parenthood, because we've seen it in Texas. The result? More than half of women now experience at least one barrier to reproductive health care in that state. Some 30,000 Texas women vanished from the ranks of those receiving government-funded family planning services. Planned Parenthood clinics shuttered, and the largest drops in the number of Texas women receiving state family planning services occurred in the same places where those clinics closed down. Health care providers in the state made 63,581 fewer claims for birth control than they did when Planned Parenthood was a provider receiving state funds. Without access to contraception and with limited access to safe abortion, some of the state's poorest women are even turning to illegal and unsafe abortion methods when they get pregnant.

In other words, cutting funding from Planned Parenthood doesn't mean that women will simply go to other clinics. It means tens of thousands will lose their health care provider.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine acknowledged this problem before a Senate vote on Planned Parenthood funding in July (Collins ended up voting to advance a defunding bill, claiming that her vote was merely a procedural move):

“The problem is, in my state and many others, Planned Parenthood is the primary provider of women's health services in certain parts of my state, and as I understand the amendment, and again I'm still reviewing it, it immediately defunds Planned Parenthood,” Collins said. “So I don't know how you would ensure that all of the patients of Planned Parenthood could be absorbed by alternative care providers.”

As Peter has noted, Planned Parenthood critics also sometimes claim that so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which are meant to steer women away from abortion, could pick up some of Planned Parenthood’s work. What they usually don’t say is that such centers often refuse to supply contraception.

‘Replacing’ Planned Parenthood – Minus Birth Control

Republican legislators and governors have dramatically restricted women’s access to abortion in recent years. Those successes have emboldened the anti-choice movement to pursue ever-more extreme goals, which is why we now see Republican presidential candidates vowing to grant full constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, and pledging to use the power of the White House to legally ban abortion in all circumstancesincluding rape, incest, or to save a woman’s life. The Religious Right’s relentless campaign to destroy Planned Parenthood is part of this broader effort to eliminate women’s access to abortion altogether — and the push to control and restrict women’s sexual autonomy and health care extends even further, to undermining access to birth control.

The current campaign against Planned Parenthood relies not only on the deceptively edited videos purporting to show wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood staff, but also on the dubious claim that women’s access to health care will not suffer because women can get health care at other clinics. In this mix are not only federally funded community health clinics, but also religiously affiliated networks of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) and medical clinics whose business model is to intercept women seeking information about abortion and provide them with misleading or one-sided information intended to talk them out of it. Many of those clinics, purporting to “replace” the care that women receive from Planned Parenthood, do not provide contraception.

Earlier this month, the conservative National Catholic Register asked, “Can National Pro-Life Health Centers Become the Cure for Planned Parenthood?” It was a reprise of an article from last year in which anti-choice activist Abby Johnson explained that upgrading crisis pregnancy centers into medical clinics was a strategic way to hurt Planned Parenthood by taking away some of the business it does in providing testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings. Asked whether she thinks “these modern pro-life centers” could threaten Planned Parenthood, she responded, “Yes, absolutely. I think they are the No. 1 threat to Planned Parenthood.”

In July, the right-wing National Review published a collection of responses it received when it “asked some distinguished experts what would become of women’s health in a post-Planned Parenthood era.”

One of National Review’s respondents was Erika Bachiochi, an anti-choice attorney who edited a book that defends Catholic teaching on sex and marriage, including the church’s opposition to contraception.  Among the groups that Bachiochi says are “working heroically to replace Planned Parenthood” are Obria Medical Clinics and the Guiding Star project.

Obria Medical Clinics offer what the National Catholic Register calls “comprehensive medical care,” but that depends on your definition of “comprehensive.” The article states, “The affiliate agreement stipulates no contraception or abortion referral or things of that nature will be allowed.”

But Obria’s website is far from clear on this point, offering women who come to the site a section entitled “Contraception: A Variety of Choices.”

Before taking any contraceptive, it is important to understand how contraception works and what it could mean to your health to practice various forms of birth control. Understanding the different types of birth control options that are available is critical in making the best decision for you. It’s also valuable to understand how your body works and to track your monthly cycles. At Obria, our medical professionals are happy to go over information about available contraception methods with you and help you feel empowered.

Knowing that Obria does not provide or refer women for contraception makes this language seem a thin cover for anti-contraception propaganda CPCs have been known to provide.

The Obria Foundation seeks to transform CPCs into “life-affirming medical clinics” and hopes to expand from its base in Orange County, California into a statewide, then national network. Its website says it also teaches abstinence education. Obria lists the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as one of its partner organizations; it is also partnering with churches in Orange County, Florida, to raise funds and steer teenagers away from abortion providers by presenting them “with a Christ-centered perspective.” Obria founder Kathleen Eaton Bravo received a Distinguished Leader Award from the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List this year.

Another group praised by Bachiochi that is hoping to build a national network to “replace” Planned Parenthood is Guiding Star. Guiding Star describes itself as “a group of people who uphold Natural Law through the promotion of New Feminism.”

Guiding Star’s website explains that “New Feminism” discards the bad idea of “old feminism” that men and women are “interchangeable”— and replaces it by “viewing femininity through a lens of hope and joy.” They are working to establish “a nationwide family of Guiding Star Centers” that they say will “provide support for natural means of family planning, fertility care, childbirth, breastfeeding, and family life.” One thing Guiding Star clinics will not do is provide women with contraception, because Guiding Star believes that contraception and abortion “interrupt natural, healthy, biological processes and are not in the best interest of women and their families.”

Obria and Guiding Star are joining existing networks of crisis pregnancy clinics (CPCs) with similar outlooks on contraception. In last year’s National Catholic Register story, Johnson cited both Heartbeat International and Care Net as having models for centers who want to upgrade their medical services in order to pull patients away from Planned Parenthood.

Heartbeat International has a video online specifically saying that if Planned Parenthood is defunded, women can get care through “life-affirming” centers and clinics. The group, which says it has “supported, strengthened and started” 1,800 “pregnancy help organizations” globally), describes itself as broadly Christian: “All Heartbeat International policies and materials are consistent with Biblical principles and with orthodox Christian (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) ethical principles and teaching on the dignity of the human person and sanctity of human life.” But Heartbeat International’s position on contraception goes well beyond opposition to methods that it believes act as abortifacients, and therefore well beyond the understanding of many Protestant and Orthodox churches, not to mention most American Catholics:

“Heartbeat International does not promote birth control (devices or medications) for family planning, population control, or health issues, including disease prevention.”

Among the standards that clinics are required to adhere to in order to join the 1,100+ affiliates of the evangelical Care Net is this one:

“The pregnancy center does not recommend, provide, or refer single women for contraceptives. (Married women seeking contraceptive information should be urged to seek counsel, along with their husbands, from their pastor and/or physician.)”

That makes it clear that one goal of those creating and funding these clinics is restricting women’s sexual autonomy. As this month’s National Catholic Register story notes, “Obria and Guiding Star’s providers do not prescribe or refer for contraception; both abide fully by Catholic teaching on sexual ethics and fertility.” Adds Abby Johnson, a board member of the Guiding Star Project, “One of the really important things about pro-life medical centers is they can help women change their behavior.”


Trent Franks: Defund Planned Parenthood Or America Will Collapse

Rep. Trent Franks appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch” to discuss the GOP’s campaign to defund Planned Parenthood, telling host Tony Perkins that the debate represents a fight for the very survival of America.

Claiming that Americans have become “desensitized” to the “horror from Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry” to “a degree that I think threatens the survival or the necessity of the survival of America,” the Arizona Republican said Congress must defund Planned Parenthood in order to “honor the founding fathers’ dream.”

Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said he agreed with the congressman, saying that the Planned Parenthood fight has come at a pivotal moment in history as the discredited smear videos have exposed “the evil and immorality of the abortion industry.”

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