National Right to Life Committee

National Right to Life Committee

512 10th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
www.nrlc.org

President: Wanda Franz
Date of founding: 1973
Finances: $12.4 million (1998 revenue)

Personhood USA Joins Battle Over Anti-Choice Leadership In Georgia

The radical anti-choice group Personhood USA has waded into the very public battle over the anti-choice movement’s strategy that is playing out in Georgia.

Over the weekend, a long-running feud among abortion-rights opponents broke into a full civil war when the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest anti-choice group, cut its ties with Georgia Right to Life because of the Georgia group’s hardline, no-compromise strategy.

While all the major anti-choice groups share the same goal – criminalizing all abortions under nearly all circumstances – they differ in how to go about reaching that goal in a post-Roe v. Wade world. This came to a boil last year, when the House voted on a bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. At the last minute, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor added rape and incest exemptions to the bill after the legislation’s chief sponsor, Trent Franks, stoked controversy when he said “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” The addition of rape and incest exceptions then caused the anti-choice movement to split.

National Right to Life supported the revised bill and included the vote on its congressional scorecard. But Georgia Right to Life, then the state affiliate of NRLC, opposed the revised bill because of its rape and incest exceptions and urged House members to “vote against this shameful legislation.” Two Georgia Republicans, including Rep. Paul Broun, who is now running for Senate, crossed party lines to vote against the bill, siding with Georgia Right to Life.

One of the loudest critics of Georgia Right to Life’s insubordination was Georgia-based conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who called the group the “Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement.” A few weeks ago, a new group with Erickson on its board sprung up with the goal of replacing Georgia Right to Life as the official state affiliate of NRLC. And this weekend, they succeeded, as NRLC cut ties with Georgia Right to Life and took on Erickson’s group, Georgia Life Alliance, in its place.

NRLC’s decision has served to further split the anti-choice movement. Yesterday, Personhood USA – the group behind radical “personhood” laws – waded into the fight, with its president Keith Mason issuing an open letter to NRLC saying that he was “shocked” by the group’s decision and giving it an ultimatum: “We can have no conflict between us unless it is you who abandon our common aim to protect every human being's right to life. Only then will we part ways.”

National Right to Life,

What does it mean to be pro-life? Is it about protecting every innocent human being or about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard? I was shocked when I read your decision to revoke affiliation with Georgia Right to Life.

….

It's time to decide what our standard is as a movement. If being pro-life is about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard and voting the party line, like Eric Cantor, then we will continue to enable political opportunists who have no interest in ending abortion. If it is about protecting the lives and inherent dignity of every unborn child -- Personhood -- then we will praise statesmen who adhere to that standard rather than reprimanding them. That was the standard set by the GOP platform and the legislative agenda endorsed in President Ronald Reagan's Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation.

We are not enemies, but friends. We ought not be enemies, for we are allied in the same great struggle for human dignity. We seek unity with you toward that end. It is in your hands to decide which standard to follow. We can have no conflict between us unless it is you who abandon our common aim to protect every human being's right to life. Only then will we part ways. I ask you to reconsider your commitment to our movement's singular purpose and beg you to rededicate yourselves to protecting and defending Personhood for all, no matter the cost.

UPDATE (4/1/14): The personhood group American Right to Life, which makes no secret of its disdain for NRLC, has also  come out to defend Georgia Right to Life, writing in a press release that NRLC have "lost the vision for victory" and "ruined the term" "pro-life."

New Erick Erickson-Backed Group Ousts Hardline Anti-Choice Org In Georgia

Last week, we wrote about the infighting among anti-choice groups – between those that will settle for nothing short of banning abortion with no exceptions and those that are willing to take a more incremental approach to the same goal – that’s bubbling to the surface in contentious GOP Senate primaries in Kentucky and Georgia.

Georgia’s feud is particularly dramatic: Georgia Right to Life, the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, broke with the national group last year when it opposed a federal 20-week abortion ban that the national group supported, refusing to endorse the legislation because it included exceptions for rape and incest.

Republican congressman and Senate candidate Paul Broun sided with the state group and voted against the ban because of the rape and incest exceptions; his fellow representatives Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey, who are also running for the Senate seat, sided with the national group and voted for the ban. Former Susan G. Komen executive Karen Handel, another leading Senate contender, also supports rape exceptions to abortion bans.

Georgia Right to Life’s open split with National Right to Life over the 20-week abortion ban drew the ire of Macon-based conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who called the hardline Georgia group “the Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement” and declared, “we need a new pro-life group in Georgia.”

Enter Georgia Life Alliance, a brand new anti-choice group that mysteriously sprung up a few weeks ago with the goal of taking Georgia Right to Life’s spot as the state affiliate of National Right to Life. Erickson quickly acknowledged that he was involved in the new organization and would be on its board.

And this weekend, Erickson completed his coup, as National Right to Life announced that it was ending its relationship with Georgia Right to Life and taking on Georgia Life Alliance as its new affiliate. In a press release, the national organization blamed the split on Georgia Right to Life's insubordination and defended its legislative strategy, claiming it “has helped save millions of lives.”

In short, by its own actions, Georgia Right to Life ruptured its relationship with National Right to Life.

National Right to Life and its affiliates seek to restore legal protection for all unborn children from the moment of their conception. Until the Supreme Court allows broad protections for unborn children, we work to protect as many children as possible by passing the strongest possible laws at the state and federal level. That legislative strategy has helped save millions of lives – and continues to save lives today.

Georgia Right to Life then lashed out in return, calling the national group’s decision a “tragedy”:

“It’s a tragedy that a pioneering, highly successful pro-life organization is considered unworthy to remain affiliated with National Right to Life (NRLC),” Becker said. “It’s especially hard to understand, since GRTL has accomplished so much.”

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Daniel Malloy caught up with Broun, who chided National Right to Life and said he wished everyone in the anti-choice movement would just get along:

“I’m saddened that those of us that believe in life are fighting amongst ourselves. We ought to be fighting to protect the lives of unborn children instead of quibbling about differences of opinion of strategy. I’m honored that Georgia Right to Life has endorsed my candidacy for U.S. Senate. …

“I know that Georgia Right to Life has been at the forefront in the state of Georgia fighting for life. What National Right to Life did is I think unfortunate for the people who have been involved with Georgia Right to Life for a long period of time.”

Anti-Choice Infighting Disrupts Georgia, Colorado Senate Races

In an echo of the electoral battle between Tea Party groups and the establishment GOP, Senate candidates in Colorado and Georgia are being caught up in a long-simmering conflict between purists and pragmatists in the anti-choice movement.

Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado attracted national attention yesterday when he announced that he was reversing his previous support for radical and wildly unpopular anti-choice “personhood” laws. Personhood USA, the primary group pushing such laws, promptly responded with a press release declaring that "Cory Gardner has betrayed the Republican Party, his pro-life voters, and most importantly, unborn babies in Colorado” and (hilariously) insisting that Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election because he didn’t get behind personhood.

Now, the anti-choice site Life News is citing the Susan B. Anthony List's endorsement of Gardner in his previous congressional race to attack Personhood USA, accusing them of trying to sabotage the race. Reporter Steven Erkelt writes:

Unlike Harry Reid and his friends who control the Senate, Cory Gardner will give the pro-life movement another vote and the potential to actually pass legislation that will stop abortions and abortion funding. At a critical time when the rest of the pro-life movement is working in unison to win control of the Senate and stop abortion, Personhood USA should stop misleading pro-lifers about our pro-life candidates.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, anti-choice groups are also engaged in a public spat on strategy, linked to a contentious Republican Senate primary.

A brand new group called Georgia Life Alliance is reportedly challenging Georgia Right to Life, a prominent state anti-choice lobbying group that subscribes to the “all-or-nothing” strategy, for its spot representing Georgia within National Right to Life.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway writes that the public feud between the Georgia groups “has everything to do with the U.S. Senate race,” in which anti-choice absolutist Rep. Paul Broun is vying with Karen Handel, an anti-choice crusader who nevertheless supports legal exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of a pregnant woman – and has been endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List .

There’s an assumption in these quarters that this has everything to do with the U.S. Senate race. U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, is prominently featured on the current GRTL website, praised for his endorsement of the organization’s aggressive approach – which some critics have described as all-or-nothing.

Likewise, the group’s antipathy toward former secretary of state Karen Handel dates to the 2010 race for governor and beyond.

The major point of contention: The National Right to Life organization allows for exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape and incest. GRTL does not, and has insisted that no politician who endorses those exceptions can be considered pro-life.

Last June, Broun voted against a “fetal pain” abortion bill backed by House Republicans that would ban abortions after a fetus is 20 weeks old. He and Georgia Right to Life blanched when House Republican leaders inserted exceptions for rape and incest.

The vote last year on the national 20-week abortion ban pitted National Right to Life, which supported the ban even though it contained rape and incest exceptions, against Georgia Right to Life, which sided with Broun in saying it didn’t go far enough, and subsequently endorsed him for Senate.

Two other Georgia representatives in the race, Rep. Phil Gingrey and Rep. Jack Kingston, sided with the national group voted for the bill with the rape and incest exceptions, with Kingston saying, “As we live in this post Roe v. Wade world, the reality is that we have to play chess, not checkers."

In response to Georgia Right for Life’s breaking of ranks on the 20-week bill, RedState blogger Erick Erickson called for the formation of a rival Georgia group, a wish that has apparently come true this week.

UPDATE (3/27/14): Surprise, surprise: It turns out that Erickson was involved in the creation of Georgia Life Alliance, and will be on its board

CORRECTION: This post has been updated to clarify that Life News was citing Susan B. Anthony List's endorsement of Cory Gardner in a previous race.

Dumped By National Anti-Choice Group Over Marriage Stand, Cleveland Right to Life Pushes Back

On Monday, Brian wrote about an interesting schism emerging within one of the nation’s largest anti-choice groups, National Right to Life.

When Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced earlier this year that, inspired by his openly gay son, he had switched his position to support marriage equality, the National Right to Life’s Cleveland affiliate announced that it would no longer support Portman. In response, National Right to Life cut ties with the Cleveland group, citing its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position” over “a non-right-to-life issue.”

Although National Right to Life’s letter [PDF] was sent in July, it hit the news this week when Cleveland Right to Life decided to fight back, releasing the letter to the media,  alleging “coordination” between Sen. Portman’s office and the national group and asking, “How can you be for the child if you are not for the family?”

Yesterday, Cleveland Right to Life President Molly Smith took the group’s case to the Steve Deace show, where she speculated that National Right to Life dropped her chapter because they are “terrified about Sen. Portman’s position and the fact that they might lose his support on his pro-life stance.”

Smith told Deace that she had met with Portman and that “he assures us he’s never going to abandon the pro-life cause when it comes to abortion and the issues we’ve just spoken about.”

“But when it comes to gay marriage, he’s 100 percent behind his son,” she said. “That’s not pro-life!”

Deace was skeptical that Portman would hold onto his opposition to abortion rights.  “Does that mean that if he has a daughter that has an abortion, he changes his mind on that too, Molly?” he asked. Smith responded, “Absolutely.”

Smith concluded her interview with an odd caveat: “Even as I say all of this, Steve, I feel so terrible, because this is a very private matter for Sen. Portman’s family.”

NRLC Punishes Chapter Over Gay Marriage Stance

The National Right to Life Committee has cut ties with its Cleveland chapter after the local group announced that it would oppose Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s re-election because of his support for marriage equality.

NRLC president Carol Tobias told [PDF] the Cleveland Right to Life that its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position” over “a non-right-to-life issue” has “violated National Right to Life policy, causing the chapter to disaffiliate itself from the NRLC.”

“We respectfully insist that you remove from your website the claim that you are affiliated with NRLC,” Tobias writes.

The Cleveland group blamed the disaffiliation on “coordination” between the national group and Sen. Portman’s office and reiterated that “any politician, including Portman, who supports the break-up of the American family and supports the denial of a mother and father for children has forfeited the right of support and endorsement of the prolife movement.”

Seeing that Portman became persona non grata among Religious Right organizations after he endorsed marriage equality, NRLC’s decision to stick by him is likely to provoke the ire of other anti-choice groups that are more vocal opponents of same-sex marriage.

AUL Report Highlights Rift in Anti-Choice Movement

The anti-choice movement has for several years been experiencing a quiet rift over extreme state-level measures would ban all abortions – and in some cases, in vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control – in a head-on challenge to Roe v. Wade. As Personhood USA and Janet Porter gain more and more success in pushing “personhood” and “heartbeat” bills at the state level, national pro-life groups who oppose the laws for strategic reasons find themselves in a bind.

In March, when North Dakota passed a “heartbeat” bill which would ban nearly all abortions in the state and strike directly at Roe v. Wade, it also passed two narrower measures banning abortion based on genetic abnormalities or the sex of the fetus. The national anti-choice group Concerned Women for America praised heartbeat the bill,  while Americans United For Life issued press releases that ignored the bill and praised the narrower measures. National Right to Life went even further, actively speaking out against the North Dakota bill and similar “heartbeat” measures in other states.

In an article for the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly this week, Americans United For Life’s senior counsel, William Saunders, lays out his fears of what would happen if the Supreme Court were given the opportunity to reconsider Roe v. Wade. While he praises the “admirable and inspiring” efforts behind the trio of new abortion restrictions in North Dakota, Saunders warns that a direct challenge to Roe will give the Supreme Court a chance to rewrite their 1973 decision on more solid “equal protection” footing.

Instead, he argues, anti-choice activists should target incremental measures at wearing away the opposition of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to uphold the so-called “partial birth” abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart. “Can the statute be fashioned so as to make it as easy as possible for him (and the others) to go the one step (or two or ten) further than Gonzales in restricting abortion?,” he asks.

Taken together, these three laws provide significant food for thought.

While the persistent efforts of pro-life Americans at the state level are admirable and inspiring and must be encouraged, how does one evaluate the wisdom of any particular proposed (or enacted) law? First, I suggest, one must recognize the legal realities—what kinds of statutes will the courts certainly overturn? Of course, this is not to say that the courts should govern this matter. In fact, the usurpation of the political process by courts is, in my view, unconstitutional itself and should be resisted. However, if we know a law will be overturned by a court, we should consider the risk of such a decision. At least one significant risk is that the Supreme Court, in overturning a law, will entrench “abortion rights” more firmly in constitutional jurisprudence, perhaps under an “equal-protection”-based right, as Justice Ginsburg and three colleagues wanted to do in the Gonzales dissent.

Sad as it is to consider, Gonzales was decided by only one vote, that of Justice Anthony Kennedy. The opinion he wrote for the majority, while speaking of the right of the legislature to choose among divided experts in fashioning law and while recognizing that abortion harms at least some women, did no more than uphold the outlawing of one abortion procedure when others were available. Is such a person likely to uphold a ban on all abortions at any point in pregnancy? If so, what rationale for doing so (what basis) is likely to appeal to him? Can the statute be fashioned so as to make it as easy as possible for him (and the others) to go the one step (or two or ten) further than Gonzales in restricting abortion? Might a statute with a ban (or limit) early in pregnancy lead him to “protect” the “abortion right” and vote with Ginsburg and her colleagues in favor of a firm affirmation of a “constitutional” right to abortion? Is it better to move the ball gently, seeking to build momentum for the ultimate reversal of Roe/Doe, or to force the issue with a broad and early ban? While reasonable people can differ on the answers to these questions, the consequences of a possible forty more years of unlimited abortion due to another Casey-like decision by the Supreme Court counsels for very careful consideration of what prudence requires.

Todd Akin, Darling of the Religious Right, Wins Senate Primary

Missouri congressman Todd Akin eked out a win last night over  two rivals in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, adding to a list of Religious Right backed candidates winning competitive primaries, including Richard Mourdock of Indiana and Ted Cruz of Texas. Akin is more than just a dogmatic conservative-- he's a darling of the Religious Right, earning perfect 100% ratings from the Family Research Council, National Right to Life and Concerned Women for America . Akin has also worked Religious Right with activists Tony Perkins, Janet Porter, Rick Scarborough, Tom DeLay and David Barton, who even recorded an ad on his behalf.

Akin gained notoriety after he told Perkins on his radio show that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God,” a remark he refused to apologize for.

The congressman is also a virulent opponent of LGBT rights, pushing a ban on same-sex unions of any form in the military and as Think Progress noted, has co-sponsored nearly every piece of anti-gay legislation in the current House session. He thinks that “the liberal agenda has infiltrated our military” due to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and tried to overturn Washington, D.C.’s marriage equality law.

He took to the House Floor in 2006 with a warning that “anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived.”

In a documentary for Truth in Action Ministries, he claimed that the left “will snuff out the light of freedom” by “rewriting the history of America,” and warned that the health care reform law is “an unbiblical threat” that violated the Ten Commandments. Akin even believes that Medicare is unconstitutional, wants to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy and the Environmental Protect Agency, wants to impeach judges for “making decisions not based on the U.S. Constitution,” and likens student loan reform to “stage three cancer.”

Akin said that Thanksgiving should be remembered as a day to renounce “unbiblical” socialism and that the U.S. should use the Pilgrim society as a model because the Pilgrims used the Bible as a “blueprint” for economic, education and government policies.

He consistently pushes anti-choice legislation and even said that legal abortion is the reason for illegal immigration: “If you think about it we’ve aborted however many – 40 million – Americans through abortion. If those Americans had not been aborted, we might have more laborers here. Consequently, America is not reproducing itself in terms of our own internal repopulation of having a bunch of kids.”

Akin thanked God and Mike Huckabee for his primary success in his victory statement:

First, I want to give thanks to God our Creator who has blessed this campaign, heard your prayers, and answered them with victory. Through the months, we have seen frequent instances of His blessing and are reminded that with Him all things are possible!

I also wanted to thank Governor Mike Huckabee, who was with us from the start, stayed by our side, lifted us up in prayer, and tonight celebrates with us in victory. Governor Huckabee – I thank you, my family thanks you, and our volunteers thank you for your dedication to our campaign and devotion to saving the America we love.

From the depths of my heart I want to thank every single volunteer who served in our campaign and brought our winning message to the people of Missouri. Tonight one campaign ends…tomorrow another begins.

Anti-Choice Groups Get Behind Romney to Stop Obama's 'Radical Pro-Abortion Agenda'

Today, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Mitt Romney, who last week met with NRLC executive director Darla St. Martin along with other conservative activists including Jay Sekulow, Ed Meese and David Keene. In a press release, NRLC said it is time “for time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney.”

Determined to secure a pro-life victory in the November election, which will decide the fate of unborn children for decades to come, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, today endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States.

“On pro-life issues, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama provide a stark contrast. As the country's most pro-abortion president, Barack Obama has pursued a radical pro-abortion agenda,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “It is now time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney. For the sake of unborn children, the disabled, and the elderly, we must win.”



“We are extremely gratified that every candidate who has run for the Republican nomination for president took a pro-life position and kept the life issues at the forefront of the race,” Tobias added. “We look forward to Mitt Romney's election as our next pro-life president on November 6th.”

Concerned Women for America CEO and past Santorum supporter Penny Young Nance appeared on a Romney campaign conference call today, and Marjorie Dannenfelser’s Susan B. Anthony List also decided to back Romney, who refused to sign the group’s candidate pledge.

Dannenfelser was a major Santorum booster, and in February told Janet Mefferd that Romney’s erratic anti-choice record is “devastating.” Referring to a Slate article chronicling Romney’s multiple inconsistencies, Dannenfelser said that she remains unconvinced that Romney is a genuine opponent of abortion rights, “I really don’t know”:

But now says that she is “proud to endorse Governor Romney”:

“Now is the time to unite behind Governor Romney in order to defeat the most ideologically pro-abortion president in our nation’s history,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. “The SBA List is proud to endorse Governor Romney and plans to spend $10 to $12 million in senate and presidential battleground states mobilizing pro-life voters to ensure victory.”

“Women deserve a president who truly respects our views on an issue so central to womanhood,” continued Dannenfelser. “A President Romney will be that man. If there was murkiness during the last election over Barack Obama's extreme abortion position, absolute clarity exists now – and his abortion position is rejected by women young and old.”

"The difference between Governor Romney and President Obama couldn’t be clearer, which is why our Board of Directors voted unanimously to get behind him," said Jane Abraham, Chairman of the SBA List Board of Directors. “It is the responsibility of all pro-life voters to now unite behind Governor Romney. Together we can put a pro-life leader in the White House.”

Religious Right Groups Enraged after Senate Rejects the Blunt Amendment

Yesterday the US Senate voted 51-48 to kill the Blunt Amendment to the transportation bill that would have given employers the right to deny insurance coverage for any treatment that they objected to for any reason, representing a major setback for Religious Right groups who urged passage of the extreme amendment.

Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink called the vote an affront to the First Amendment, although it is hard to see how anyone’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is being violated:

“Today the government, this time via Congress, again told Americans they must ‘conform or pay a price’ when it comes to their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion,” he said. “Americans are speaking out because they understand that they should not be forced to fight to protect what the Constitution already grants them under the First Amendment.”

National Right to Life Committee claimed that the mandate was part of an “abortion-expansionist agenda, even though neither abortions nor abortifacients are included in the new rule:

The Obama Administration has issued an initial mandate that requires nearly all employers to purchase plans that cover all FDA-approved methods of birth control. NRLC has pointed out that the same authority could be employed by the Administration in the future to order virtually all health plans to cover all abortions. The focus now shifts to the House, where the same legislation, introduced as H.R. 1179 by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Ne.), currently has 220 cosponsors (more than half of all House members). In addition, numerous lawsuits have been filed by religiously affiliated employers, challenging the Obama mandate as a violation of constitutional rights and of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"National Right to Life will continue to challenge the Obama Administration's abortion-expansionist agenda on Capitol Hill, and we will encourage millions of like-minded Americans to remember this issue when they cast their ballots in November," said Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president.

Eagle Forum president Phyllis Schlafly said that contraceptives “are not really medical care”:

"The contraceptive mandate is an introduction to the real ObamaCare, whereby a handful of leftists in D.C. impose the views of their big-money donors on more than 300 million Americans," said Schlafly. "If the Obama Administration's contraceptive mandate remains intact, then liberals will continue to demand that Americans pay for objectionable items and services that are not really medical care."

Tony Perkins of FRCAction warned that the Constitution has been “sacrificed”:

"Today, 51 senators, led by Sen. Harry Reid, sacrificed the Constitutional right of religious liberty on the altar of the Obama administration's radical big-government agenda. They turned a deaf ear to the very real religious and moral objections of millions of Americans and the First Amendment rights of all.

Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance maintained that the mandate was part of a growing “oppressive federal bureaucracy”:

"America's women refuse to accept this unconstitutional government order," said Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America. The Obama Administration's HHS Mandate demolishes our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion and conscience rights."

"Churches, religious organizations, and people of faith and conscience must have the right to choose their own health care and make their own moral decisions without having to submit to the one size fits all policies of President Obama and Secretary Sebelius' oppressive federal bureaucracy," Nance said.

Leading Republicans Embrace Personhood Amendment and “Christian Exodus,” Separatist Advocate

Last week Right Wing Watch reported on the success of anti-choice activists to place a “Personhood Amendment” on Mississippi’s 2011 ballot to coincide with the gubernatorial election. The radical group Personhood USA hopes to use the so-called “Personhood Amendments” to criminalize abortion, common forms of birth control, stem cell research, and even in-vitro fertilization, by giving legal rights to fetuses and embryos.

Major anti-choice organizations including the National Right to Life Committee have generally shied away from “Personhood Amendments” due to the extreme nature of the measure and the fringe Personhood USA. Colorado voters rejected three different Amendments from Personhood Colorado by wide margins, with the 2010 measure failing with less than 30% of the vote.

Activists in Mississippi, however, have made great headway in receiving support from the Religious Right and the GOP. Leading Religious Right groups and Republican politicians, including the American Family Association (AFA), Liberty Counsel, and Congressman-Elect Alan Nunnelee, have backed Personhood Mississippi’s efforts. Mississippi’s Republican Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Phil Bryant has embraced the Personhood Initiative as well. Bryant, when announcing his bid for governor on the AFA’s radio program, claimed that “one of my goals in public life is to end abortion in Mississippi, so we’re going to work really hard on that.” A vocal and ardent supporter of the “Personhood Amendment,” Bryant called the initiative “another way of trying to stop abortion in Mississippi and simply allow once and for all the opportunity for the people to say we want to do that and we feel so strongly about it that we want to add it to our Constitution.”

Today, Personhood Mississippi (the state affiliate of Personhood USA) will be hosting a rally in Jackson to celebrate the measure’s inclusion on the 2011 ballot, and Bryant is scheduled to speak at the event.

But who is behind Personhood Mississippi and the Personhood Amendment’s sponsor?

The head of Personhood Mississippi is right wing activist Les Riley, a featured blogger of the group Christian Exodus, which has “goal of forming an independent Christian nation that will survive after the decline and fall of the financially and morally bankrupt American empire.”

Christian Exodus had attempted to move thousands of supporters to South Carolina in order to “form a biblically inspired government and secede from the United States,” and also has close ties to the separatist and Neo-Confederate League of the South. Christian Exodus also is encouraging adherents to move to Panama and Idaho in order to build theocratic settlements.

Lt. Governor Bryant said he wanted to “personally thank Les Riley” for his work, and Les Riley told AFA Radio that Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment is “the biggest news in the pro-life movement in twenty years” because it will not only eradicate reproductive rights in Mississippi but also set up a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

As the “Personhood Amendment” movement finds more allies and greater support in the Religious Right and Republican Party, its extremist leaders and radical beliefs have not changed.

Anti-Choice Crowd Celebrates as GOP Picks Joe Pitts, Presses for New Restrictions on Abortion

When Michigan Republican Fred Upton was tarred as a “moderate” during his campaign to lead the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, leading anti-choice groups including the National Right to Life Committee and the Susan B. Anthony List suggested back in November that they could support Upton if he picks Joe Pitts to chair the Health Subcommittee. Pitts, the co-author of the restrictive Stupak-Pitts amendment during the health care reform debate, is one of the most fervently anti-choice members of Congress. Now, Upton won his campaign to lead the committee and selected Pitts to chair the Health Subcommittee which not only deals with health care legislation but also sets policy with regards to abortion rights and reproductive health.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser called Pitts’s appointment “a major pro-life victory,” and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told LifeNews that Pitts is committed to passing anti-choice legislation to stop the purported taxpayer funding of abortion.

While the nonpartisan PolitiFact already determined that rightwing claims of taxpayer funding for abortion are false and simply untrue, the facts didn’t stop groups like SBA List, CitizenLink (formerly Focus on the Family Action), and the Family Research Council from spreading the badly misleading claim.

The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” better known as “Stupak on steroids” would impel private insurers to drop abortion coverage by taking away the insurance plans’ tax deductions, make the Hyde Amendment permanent, and prevent “any government department from funding any program that touches on abortion in any way, however notional.” There is already a drive by Mike Pence and Michele Bachmann to pass the "Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act," which would de-fund reproductive healthcare organizations which provide abortions, like Planned Parenthood, even though such financing does not go to abortion coverage.

During an interview with CNSNews, Bachmann was asked “What should Republicans do to advance protections for the lives of those unborn babies who are being slaughtered in this country?” Bachmann repeats the two baseless and fallacious claims that women in Pennsylvania received taxpayer funding for abortions and that “for the first time in American history under Obamacare, socialized medicine, under President Obama, we have federal funding of abortion.” She also calls for the reinstatement of the global gag rule, which cuts off US funding to international family planning services.

Watch:

Meet Congressman-Elect Raul Labrador: Bryan Fischer’s Favorite Tea Partier

Following Tuesday's election, RWW will bring you our list of the "The Ten Scariest Republicans Heading to Congress." Our second candidate profile is on a hero to Idaho's Religious Right and Tea Party movements, Raul Labrador:

In the Republican primary to see who would face off against Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, Raul Labrador ran to the right of his very conservative opponent who was endorsed by Sarah Palin and the NRCC. Labrador rallied support from Religious Right and Tea Party groups in order to upset Republican Vaughn Ward, whose campaign imploded, and he went on to defeat Rep. Minnick.

Labrador made his right-wing views clear when he announced his campaign in an email “to a former Idaho blogger known for his extreme conservative views.” He supports withdrawing the US from the United Nations, returning to the Gold Standard, and eliminating the Department of Education. Labrador even wants to repeal the 17th Amendment and end the right of voters to elect their Senators, bizarrely saying that it is “the constitutional position to take” and the only way to make sure “that US Senators are actually beholden to the people.”

In the State House, Labrador said he will work “tirelessly to defund and repeal Obamacare” and spearheaded the passage of a bill which compels the Attorney General to challenge the health care reform law in federal court and bars the government from mandating coverage. When speaking to radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Labrador maintained that the law was “historic, but remember, Benedict Arnold was also historic, he betrayed our nation. And I think the Democratic Party betrayed our nation yesterday as well.”

An anti-government zealot, he backed bills which seek to reaffirm Idaho’s sovereignty from the federal government, to limit “Congress’ power under the commerce clause,” and to stop the federal government from enforcing gun laws.

He won support from the Religious Right community and the American Family Association’s director of public policy and talk show host Bryan Fischer, who compared gays to terrorists and believes that Muslims should be prohibited from building mosques in the US, called Labrador his “good friend” and the two hosted Tea Party rallies together. Labrador voted to make the federal government “provide for the presence of God in the public domain,” supports the ban on openly gay and lesbian soldiers from serving in the military, and opposes same-sex marriage rights.

The Family Research Council Action PAC ran radio ads endorsing Labrador, who supported him as a result of his 100% anti-choice record: he voted to allow medical professionals to refuse contraceptives, voted in favor of increasing burdens on women seeking to terminate their pregnancy, and lauds his opposition to abortion in all cases. Penny Nance of the far-right Concerned Women for America showered praise on Labrador, the National Right to Life Committee extolled his “exemplary pro-life record,” and he was a principal legislative ally of Idaho Chooses Life.

A proponent of corporate interests, Labrador wants to scrap the progressive income tax in favor of a national sales tax, supports the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, and signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. Even though he opposes the Stimulus, as a State Representative he repeatedly voted in favor of spending federal money provided by the Stimulus. On immigration, Arizona’s notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed Labrador, who has said that illegal immigrants are “going to have to self-deport.”

Raul Labrador’s fanatical mission to rewrite the Constitution and dismantle the federal government has generated massive support from the Tea Party, and Religious Right figures like Bryan Fischer and Peggy Nance have given Labrador their blessing as a result of his rigid anti-choice and anti-equality views. As a result of the election, Labrador is set to bring his extremist views and rightwing platform from the Idaho State House to the US Congress.

 

 

 

Religious Right Working to Limit Reproductive Choice At Home and Abroad

It is important to remind ourselves occasionally that right-wing anti-choice groups don't just want to control the rights of women in America, they want to control the rights of women everywhere.

Case in point: Pat Robertson's ACLJ has been deeply involved and spent tens of thousands of dollars in trying to keep abortion out of the constitution being drafted in Kenya ... and now it looks like dozens of other Religious Right leaders are backing the effort:

With just two weeks to go until Kenyans vote on a new Constitution, World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs announced the conclusion of a successful petition drive "In Support Of The 'No' Campaign -- Kenyans Opposed To The Pro-Abortion Constitution."

In less than a week, the Congress gathered signatures from more than 170 pro-life and pro-family leaders in 21 countries. Signers include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Former Boston Mayor and Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn and Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay ...

Organizations whose leaders are represented include:

-- Priests for Life
-- Tradition, Family and Property
-- Concerned Women for America
-- Alliance Defense Fund
-- Human Life International
-- Liberty Counsel
-- Americans United for Life
-- National Right to Life Committee
-- LifeSiteNews.com
-- Eagle Forum
-- Vision America Action
-- Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
-- The Beverly LaHaye Institute
-- Focus on The Family
-- Family Talk [w/James Dobson]
-- Traditional Values Coalition

While the Religious Right is working to outlaw abortion overseas, they are also working to limit access to legal abortions here in the US in increasingly imaginative ways, which is why the ACLJ is representing a Texas bus driver who lost his job after refusing to take a passenger to a Planned Parenthood facility because it performed abortions:

[Edwin] Graning had asked his wife to call the facility; she heard a recording directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications. "I said, dear God in heaven, this woman's gonna have an abortion," he said.

Graning said that no protocol for orders to drive people to abortion clinics had ever been discussed. "I'm a Christian ... I love the Lord and I'm not going to be a part of something like this," said Graning, a former pastor. He pointed out that the woman quickly received a ride from another bus.

When he told his supervisor that he would not make the drive, Graning says the supervisor replied, "Then you are resigning." He objected, but was later directed to bring his vehicle and belongings back to CARTS, and received a letter of termination on grounds of insubordination.

Graning, 63, who celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary last month, is a father of two and grandfather of three.

He is being represented by lawyers from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

Do Religious Right Leaders Even Try To Hide Their Hypocrisy?

Sometimes I wonder if Religious Right leaders have no memory of things they have said and done in the past or just think that nobody else does.

Take, for instance, this recent speech by Richard Land:

Still, Land landed many of his barbs at Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He recalled a moment in the 1990s at a church in Lebanon, Ken., in which he called two deacons who supported Clinton hookers.

“’You’re just prostitutes for sale to the highest bidder,’” Land said he told the deacons. “I’m not for sale. If I’ve got to choose between my pocketbook and unborn babies, I’m going to choose unborn babies every time.”

Does Land not recall the last Republican primary where he was showering Fred Thompson with praise at every opportunity? This Fred Thompson:

During his eight years in the Senate, Thompson consistently voted against abortion rights, but anti-abortion activists say his public record on the subject is not unblemished.

A longtime advocate for states' rights, Thompson has said the federal government should not have a role in the process.

During a televised 1994 Senate debate, a clip of which is available on YouTube, Thompson said, "Should the government come in and criminalize let's say a young girl and her parents and her doctor? ... I think not."

More recently, Thompson has been forced to answer questions about his career as a lawyer/lobbyist, when the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association hired him in 1991 to lobby the administration of President George H.W. Bush on behalf of abortion rights.

When the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Thompson, the group was widely accused to selling out ... but apparently Land has conveniently forgotten all about this little episode

Following Defeat, Religious Right Mobilizes For A Filibuster

Earlier today I had a post pulling together right-wing reaction to the defeat of Sen. Ben Nelson's anti-choice amendment to the healthcare reform legislation and it seems as if they are not about to take the defeat lying down, and so they are mobilizing to get Senators to filibuster the bill

"[T]his is a long way from over," the National Right to Life Committee said in a statement, noting that the bill again must pass the House, where there are a bloc of pro-life Democrats.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said he found Tuesday's Senate vote both "discouraging and encouraging."

"It's discouraging that the Senate as a whole could not comprehend the need to respect the will of 70 percent of the American people that public funds should not pay for or subsidize the killing of our nation's unborn citizens," Land told Baptist Press. "It was encouraging in that the motion to table got 54 votes, well short of the 60 needed to stop a filibuster. As long as there are sufficient pro-life senators such as Sen. Nelson who are willing to filibuster any health legislation that does not contain these restrictions on abortion, it will be difficult to break the filibuster and pass the entire bill.

"In that case," Land added, "then pro-choice supporters will have to decide between their pro-choice convictions and their desire for a vastly increased government role in health care."

Other groups, including the Family Research Council, Democrats for Life, Concerned Women for America and Americans United for Life, also said they would support a filibuster.

"We now have no choice but to work vigorously to defeat this bill," Americans United for Life said.

...

Pro-life groups are trying to pressure those and other Democratic senators to support a filibuster if pro-life language isn't added. The Family Research Council says it is calling every household in Arkansas, South Dakota and Louisiana -- all conservative states with Democratic senators -- to conduct a survey on such topics as abortion funding, rationing, higher taxes and the public option. It is also calling pro-life households in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Participants who answer a particular way will be given information on contacting their senators, an FRC release stated. Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Jim Webb (Va.) and Mark Warner (Va.) all sided with pro-choicers in voting to table the Nelson amendment.

"We're doing everything in our power to make sure that the constituents of those senators know that those senators are voting to expand abortion in this country," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Will this become the new Religious Right cause célèbre?  We'll have to wait and see.
  • The full text of the frantic Operation Rescue fund-raising letter warning that they are about to go out of business.
  • Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee wants to know when "will media expose duplicitous tone of the president?"
  • Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute warns that bullying and harassment prevention programs are "one of the central ways to get pro-homosexual information and resources into public schools."
  • Pastor Phil Magnan of Biblical Family Advocates: "I have come to realize that the reason why the homosexual and the abortion movements remain strong; is that the church of Jesus Christ has lost most of its true saltiness, its desire to suffer loss for Christ and its reverence for the Word. We have lost that weeping, passionate cry of the soul to abide in Christ daily and reach out to those headed for hell. We have instead embraced a weak, lazy view of our faith and our Lord."

"They Won't Pay for My Surgery, But We're Forced to Pay for Abortions"

Last night, in conjunction with its healthcare webcast, the Family Research Council  announced the release of this new ad in which a couple complains that the man cannot get the life-saving surgery he needs while taxpayer dollars are being used for abortion:

Tonight, during a live webcast joined by more than 49,000 viewers, Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins unveiled a new TV ad which will initially run in five key states including Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, and Nebraska. The hard hitting ad lays out two key threats should President Obama's plan become reality - rationing and taxpayer funded abortions. Patients, particularly the elderly, will face denial of vital treatments while at the same time be forced to pay for abortions.

The ad urges viewers to tell Congress to oppose the government takeover of health care. The ad also urges opposition to a health care plan that will deny care to 'our greatest generation' and deny life to 'our future generation.'

FRC Action President Tony Perkins had this to say:

"In a world of health care rationing, the elderly, the handicapped and the frail are the most likely to lose their lives because care was delayed or denied. Under the government-run plans in England and Canada, the countries' sick and elderly aren't getting the care they need. As a result, their system isn't improving lives but prematurely taking them. Here in the United States, President Obama's rationing would mean that you and I could be denied basic care while our tax dollars are used to underwrite a mother choosing to end the life of her unborn child.

"On the other key life-and-death decisions there is an active commitment on the part of Senate Democratic Leadership to allow the rationing of health care. This is what the White House and Congress mean when they say they will cut costs. It means cutting off your access to health care services by creating the legal authority to do so, while stopping any provision becoming law that would prevent rationing.

"FRC Action will continue to work to mobilize a coalition in opposition to the health care plan in its current form which will force taxpayers to fund abortions, violate the conscience rights of medical workers, and impose a massive tax and debt burden on American families."

Earlier in the day, Tony Perkins joined Reps. Joe Pitts, Mike Pence, Chris Smith, Jeff Fortenberry, Trent Franks, Doug Lamborn, as well as Harry Jackson, Wendy Wright, and Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee for a press conference "to discuss how President Obama's health care takeover plan contains hidden abortion mandates."

We were on hand as well and have put together this highlights reel featuring Franks calling abortion the greatest genocide in human history and asserting that this nation's abortion policies came out of slavery, a point that was echoed by Harry Jackson, while Tony Perkins decried healthcare reform as a "bailout" of Planned Parenthood and Wendy Wright asserted that women would be forced by government bureaucrats into having abortions:

Gingrich Seeks to Bridge The Divide

Dan Gilgoff reports that Newt Gingrich is unveiling a new effort, called Renewing American Leadership, designed to bring together both the economic and social conservative wings of the Republican Party’s base under a common banner:

Gingrich will be working with David Barton, with whom he has struck up a strong relationship in recent years, as well as working to convince fiscal conservatives to start making nice with their socially conservative allies in order to take advantage of their shared ideology and values:

At a time when many religious conservatives say the Republican Party is ignoring their issues and taking their support for granted, former House speaker and GOP idea man Newt Gingrich is turning his attention to the concerns of conservative Christians like never before.

Gingrich has launched an organization devoted to bringing conservative evangelicals and Catholics into the political process and to strengthening the frayed alliance between economic and religious conservatives. Called Renewing American Leadership, the group is led by Gingrich's longtime communications director and includes some of the country's top conservative Christian activists on its board.

This spring, Gingrich will speak to a handful of large gatherings for politically conservative clergy that have been organized by David Barton, an influential evangelical activist who spearheaded the Republican National Committee's rigorous outreach to pastors in 2004.

Just this week, Gingrich's new group partnered with the American Family Association—the conservative evangelical organization headed by Don Wildmon—to encourage churches and religious groups to participate in no-more-taxes rallies across the country on April 15. Rick Tyler, who served as Gingrich's spokesman before becoming founding director of Renewing American Leadership, says that on the first day of the largely Web-based organizing effort, 5,000 people signed up to attend the rallies.

The antitax rallies illustrate the new group's quest to unite religious and fiscal conservatives, two flanks of the Republican base that have squabbled with one another since Election Day. "There's too much finger-pointing between economic conservatives who say we're losing ground because of social conservatives and social conservatives who say the opposite," says Barton, who sits on Renewing American Leadership's board. "Instead of having a circular firing squad, we need to start identifying real allies and the real opponents."

To accomplish the goal, Renewing American Leadership has prepared a PowerPoint presentation it plans to show conservative economic groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Tax Reform, laying out the case for taking religious conservatives more seriously. The PowerPoint slides list Republican senators and congressman with the highest ratings from the National Right to Life Committee and juxtapose them with ratings for the same elected officials from Americans for Tax Reform. The conclusion: politicians with the strongest socially conservative records also have the strongest antitax records.

"Secular conservatives often operate from a perspective that says, 'Why should I care about evangelical voters?' " says Tyler. "And I show them why: because when you turn out evangelical voters who support socially conservative candidates, you also get conservative economic policies."

As we pointed, these two groups share much of the same agenda but often have different priorities and it looks like Gingrich is trying to get them to come together for their mutual benefit.  

Of course, the success of this effort depends largely on the GOP’s ability to field candidates who appeal to both groups.  The problem with Rudy Giuliani, for instance, was that while fiscal conservatives might have been willing to consider supporting him, social conservatives most certainly were not. Conversely, while the social conservatives had much to admire about Mike Huckabee, the economic conservatives did not. In the end, the GOP ended up with John McCain, whom neither side particularly liked.

The key to success of this project is to get economic and social conservatives to work together to find candidates that both side can support. And that seems to be what Gingrich is focusing on by getting the fiscally conservative groups to realize that they have an ally in the Religious Right and that by finding candidates that appeal to them they not only guarantee the Right’s substantial political support, but will end with candidates that will push both the social and fiscal conservatives’ agendas.

This is a politically smart undertaking but it might take someone with more credibility than Gingrich to make it work, considering that just last year he was saying that the reason the GOP keeps losing elections is because it keep playing to its base and, in the process, "drives away the non-base." On top of that, many right-wing leaders voiced concerns about Gingrich's past when he was contemplating his own run. Gingrich has since confessed his failings to James Dobson and is currently mulling over the prospect of making a run for the White House in 2012, so perhaps this effort should be seen primarily as a means for Gingrich to rally both the economic and social conservatives behind his own potential campaign.

What To Do When God’s Candidate Loses?

Once upon a time, Janet Folger declared that the only hope Christians had of not being rounded up and sent off to prison was to support Mike Huckabee.  It was that sort of passion that landed her a position as co-chair of Mike Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition, whom she had anointed the “David among Jesse’s sons” after the Values Voter Debate she organized back in 2007.

In essence, God had chosen Huckabee and it was Folger’s job to make it clear that those with firm Christian principles must refuse to support anyone else:

There are sheep, and there are shepherds. Sheep follow the pundits, the polls, political expediency and promised perks. Shepherds follow principle. Gov. Mike Huckabee is such a man. So are those who stand on principle with him.

So wedded to Huckabee was Folger that she even started a front-group that ran ads against both Mitt Romney and John McCain:

Senator John McCain favors forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, which the National Right to Life Committee says: "requires killing human embryos."

McCain violated our Free Speech rights with the notorious McCain-Feingold Act, and personally sued Wisconsin Right to Life for communicating with their members prior to an election.

John McCain is one of only seven Republican senators who voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment supported by President Bush.

John McCain:  Against protecting life.  Against protecting free speech.  Against protecting marriage.

But that was then.  Once God’s candidate failed to secure the nomination, Folger changed her tune, declaring it imperative that those with firm Christian principles now support John McCain. 

Folger was blasted by Gordon Klingenschmitt for selling-out in the pages of WorldNetDaily, but that obviously didn’t silence her, as she has returned to the pages of WND - this time to blast WND founder Joseph Farah for his own staunch refusal to support McCain, beseeching him to put aside his own principles for the greater good:

Here's the bottom line: If McCain is elected, we WILL get the judges we need to bring this slaughter to an end. All of our efforts and all of our labors that have taken us this far will have been worth it. If Obama is elected, we will not only see the court stacked against us with life-long appointments, we will lose every single advance we have ever made in every state, city and county.

You want to protest? Get a sign and march. We're out of time. Besides that, I'm sick of marching – I want to win: I want to restore protection to children in my lifetime.

I've given my life to the pro-life movement, and I don't have another life to give it. Neither do the 50 million children whose lives were stolen from them. If we don't take what may be our last chance, I don't believe we're going to see another one. If we choose protest over influence, Obama will not only make sure that another 50 million children lose their lives, but he'll make sure we won't recognize what's left of our nation when he's through with it.

I urge you to choose life, that we and our children may live. That choice is John McCain. Any other choice will be lethal … literally.

In the course of six months, Folger has gone from a militantly principled Huckabee activist who was convinced that he was God’s chosen candidate to a vocal supporter of John McCain, whom she was recently proclaiming was against protecting life, free speech, and marriage and therefore utterly unacceptable.

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National Right to Life Committee Top Posts

512 10th St. NW Washington, DC 20004 www.nrlc.org President: Wanda Franz Date of founding: 1973 Finances: $12.4 million (1998 revenue) MORE >

National Right to Life Committee Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Tuesday 04/01/2014, 11:11am
The radical anti-choice group Personhood USA has waded into the very public battle over the anti-choice movement’s strategy that is playing out in Georgia. Over the weekend, a long-running feud among abortion-rights opponents broke into a full civil war when the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest anti-choice group, cut its ties with Georgia Right to Life because of the Georgia group’s hardline, no-compromise strategy. While all the major anti-choice groups share the same goal – criminalizing all abortions under nearly all circumstances –... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 03/31/2014, 11:03am
Last week, we wrote about the infighting among anti-choice groups – between those that will settle for nothing short of banning abortion with no exceptions and those that are willing to take a more incremental approach to the same goal – that’s bubbling to the surface in contentious GOP Senate primaries in Kentucky and Georgia. Georgia’s feud is particularly dramatic: Georgia Right to Life, the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, broke with the national group last year when it opposed a federal 20-week abortion ban that the national group supported... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 03/25/2014, 2:31pm
In an echo of the electoral battle between Tea Party groups and the establishment GOP, Senate candidates in Colorado and Georgia are being caught up in a long-simmering conflict between purists and pragmatists in the anti-choice movement. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado attracted national attention yesterday when he announced that he was reversing his previous support for radical and wildly unpopular anti-choice “personhood” laws. Personhood USA, the primary group pushing such laws, promptly responded with a press release declaring that "Cory Gardner has betrayed the... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 08/08/2013, 3:02pm
On Monday, Brian wrote about an interesting schism emerging within one of the nation’s largest anti-choice groups, National Right to Life. When Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced earlier this year that, inspired by his openly gay son, he had switched his position to support marriage equality, the National Right to Life’s Cleveland affiliate announced that it would no longer support Portman. In response, National Right to Life cut ties with the Cleveland group, citing its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/05/2013, 5:05pm
The National Right to Life Committee has cut ties with its Cleveland chapter after the local group announced that it would oppose Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s re-election because of his support for marriage equality. NRLC president Carol Tobias told [PDF] the Cleveland Right to Life that its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position” over “a non-right-to-life issue” has “violated National Right to Life policy, causing the chapter to disaffiliate itself from the NRLC.” “We... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 05/15/2013, 4:49pm
The anti-choice movement has for several years been experiencing a quiet rift over extreme state-level measures would ban all abortions – and in some cases, in vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control – in a head-on challenge to Roe v. Wade. As Personhood USA and Janet Porter gain more and more success in pushing “personhood” and “heartbeat” bills at the state level, national pro-life groups who oppose the laws for strategic reasons find themselves in a bind. In March, when North Dakota passed a “heartbeat” bill which would ban... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/08/2012, 11:35am
Missouri congressman Todd Akin eked out a win last night over  two rivals in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, adding to a list of Religious Right backed candidates winning competitive primaries, including Richard Mourdock of Indiana and Ted Cruz of Texas. Akin is more than just a dogmatic conservative-- he's a darling of the Religious Right, earning perfect 100% ratings from the Family Research Council, National Right to Life and Concerned Women for America . Akin has also worked Religious Right with activists Tony Perkins, Janet Porter, Rick Scarborough, Tom DeLay and... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 04/12/2012, 1:30pm
Today, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Mitt Romney, who last week met with NRLC executive director Darla St. Martin along with other conservative activists including Jay Sekulow, Ed Meese and David Keene. In a press release, NRLC said it is time “for time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney.” Determined to secure a pro-life victory in the November election, which will decide the fate of unborn children for decades to come, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local... MORE >