Marilyn Musgrave

The Anti-Abortion 'Seneca Falls'

Last weekend, about 500 anti-abortion activists — nearly all of whom were women — gathered in Dallas for what was billed as the first-ever “Pro-Life Women’s Conference.”

The event’s organizer, Abby Johnson, said that she wanted to “reclaim the narrative” of the movement, putting women at its front and including “many different groups of people,” including nonbelievers and LGBT people. She repeatedly said that the movement needs to “embrace the f-word”: feminism.

“This is our Seneca Falls, baby!” she said.

Johnson recalled speaking at a recent March For Life alongside a long line of men. “We know that the pro-life movement is led and has been led by women,” she said. “But for many years, women have sort of been leading from behind. And we haven’t done a very good job with our optics, right? So there’s photos and in the photos, it’s dudes.”

The conference came immediately before the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ attempt to limit abortion rights by regulating clinics out of existence, an effort that had been dubiously promoted as an effort to protect women’s health. The mainstream anti-abortion movement in recent years has been trying to claim that their main focus is on “protecting” women and to portray abortion as an unsafe and damaging procedure promoted by nefarious, profit-hungry organizations.

But Johnson’s conference aimed for something more: crafting a narrative that presented opposition to abortion rights as an explicitly feminist movement, one that could attract more than what she called “the traditional Christian pro-lifer.”

While Johnson said she wanted to create a unified “pro-life” message, the conflicts within the movement — and the challenge of expanding its reach — were evident even that weekend in Dallas.

Finding Common Ground With Pro-Choicers?

Several speakers at the conference — all of the speakers were women — urged the anti-abortion movement to take on issues with which they might find common ground with pro-choice feminists , including family leave policies, poverty alleviation and access to child care.

Serrin Foster, the head of Feminists for Life, said, “There are three key reasons for the feminization of poverty: Lack of education, lack of workplace accommodation and paternal support. Do that, three-fourths of the reasons that women have an abortion are over.”

She accused the abortion rights movement of giving up on these issues, saying that “by accepting pregnancy discrimination in the school and in the workplace, by accepting … the lack of support for pregnant women and parents, especially the poor, [Sarah] Weddington [the attorney who argued Roe v. Wade] and the Supreme Court betrayed women and the greatest experiment on women and children began: abortion.”

Similarly, Leah Jacobson, the president of the Guiding Star network of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, talked about the need “to look at how women’s bodies function and make sure that our employers take this into account,” including by pushing for maternity and paternity leave laws, flexible work schedules for parents, and subsidized or on-site workplace child care.

Jacobson coupled this call with a heavy dose of maternalism, alluding to the transgender bathroom debate and saying that women must live out their “motherly calling”: “Men are wonderful but women are the heart of society. We love, we connect, we empathize, we are relational. Men are very good at seeing the large picture sometimes but they don’t see the littlest of all. We need to humanize the culture as women. And so it’s so important as women we live our motherly calling even if it’s not as a physical mother.”

While issues such as expanding family leave requirements and access to child care could be an area of consensus for self-identified pro-life and pro-choice feminists — whatever their reasons for supporting them — there seemed to be little enthusiasm at the conference for working with pro-choicers on these causes.

When Johnson asked who “the abortion movement” was united behind, an audience member yelled out, “the devil!” (The answer was Planned Parenthood.)

Similarly, when Johnson read a polite form letter that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had sent in response to a request to speak at the conference — Johnson had invited all three remaining presidential candidates, but Clinton was the only one to respond — it was met with howls of laughter and derision.

While Clinton has the clearly better record on policies supporting mothers — policies that speakers like Foster and Jacobson said help dissuade women from choosing abortion — the only positive references to presidential candidates at the event were allusions to Donald Trump’s promises to pick Supreme Court justices who would roll back Roe v. Wade. Anti-choice leaders as a whole have rallied behind Trump, who besides vowing to “cherish” women and appoint anti-choice judges, has not offered any serious plans for improving the lot of women in the workforce or helping women out of poverty.

The “pro-woman” talking points, ultimately, were largely meant to further one principal policy goal: recriminalizing abortion.

Many speakers hailed the slew of abortion restrictions that have been passed in the states in recent years, while noting that they don’t go far enough.

Karen Garnett, the director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of Dallas, moderated a panel on anti-abortion politics, telling the audience, “We cannot get pro-life laws passed unless we have pro-life legislators sitting in the state houses to pass those laws and in Washington, D.C. And it’s been good that we’ve been able to get that much done. But have we ended abortion yet? No. Have we fulfilled our call yet — no — to end this? It matters — look at this, where we are, where we sit together today with this Supreme Court decision coming down tomorrow — it matters who is sitting in the Oval Office in terms of the appointments of the Supreme Court justices.”

Star Parker, a frequent speaker at Religious Right events, kept her standard pitch to conservative audiences, blaming government “safety nets” for people getting “lost” and implying that churches rather than the government should be in charge of poverty alleviation: “Maybe God was right that you’re supposed to take care of the poor, not throw them off to some government bureaucrat.”

Ending Roe, Eliminating Planned Parenthood

While some speakers made nods to policies such as paid family leave and efforts to support pregnant women on college campuses, the real political enthusiasm at the event was behind shutting down abortion clinics, defunding Planned Parenthood and eventually eliminating Roe v. Wade.

“Roe v. Wade started here in Dallas, Texas,” Johnson said, “and I believe we can end it here.”

Marilyn Musgrave, a former Republican congresswoman who is now the vice president of governmental affairs at the Susan B. Anthony List, gave a speech in which she praised the House committee investigating Planned Parenthood for “kicking down the gates of hell.” She commended Texas’ restrictive legislation that was before the Supreme Court, saying that it was “going to save thousands of lives” and praying “that those abortion clinics will close down that do not meet those standards.”

During the politics panel, Texas activist Carolyn Cline held up a brick that she said was “the last brick in the lot” of an abortion clinic that had been closed by the Texas law, another acknowledgment that the law’s goal was to close clinics rather than improve safety. The law, said the Family Research Council’s Arina Grossu, was another sign that the anti-abortion movement “is winning.”

Throughout the event, Planned Parenthood was portrayed as a remorseless villain. Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who now runs a group that tries to get abortion clinic employees to quit their jobs, showed a video she had recently found from her time at the group guiding counsellors on how to speak to women who are considering abortion, which she said showed “coercion” on the part of the group.

Parker went so far as to pin America’s economic troubles on Planned Parenthood’s continued existence: “Is it any wonder things are so dark in our country? Is it any wonder our economy is still sputtering? I don’t think that God is ready to bless America right now.”

Erin Brownback, a communications consultant who has worked with a number of prominent anti-choice politicians, had a similar warning about legal abortion in the U.S., saying, “Societies throughout history that allow a culture of death are destroyed. That is historically true, you can look back at the gladiators and different groups that have not protected life and those cultures have all died.”

While the criticism of Planned Parenthood centered on its role as a legal abortion provider, there was an undercurrent at the conference about resistance to hormonal contraception, including a workshop on Natural Family Planning. American Life League, a Catholic anti-abortion group, distributed a pamphlet arguing that the birth control pill “may cause an abortion.”

One interesting trend among the women anti-abortion activists was a willingness to talk forthrightly about their opposition to rape exceptions in abortion laws, something that Musgrave’s group has trained male politicians to avoid addressing. (This was in part thanks to the prodding of Rebecca Kiessling, a “conceived in rape” activist who asked as many speakers as she could about exceptions.) Some speakers approached the subject by portraying abortion in such cases not as violence against the “unborn” but as additional violence against the woman.

Musgrave, in response to a question by Kiessling, boasted of her group’s efforts to unseat Rep. Renee Ellmers, an anti-abortion Republican who derailed a vote on a 20-week abortion ban because she was worried that its rape exception was too restrictive. SBA List opposed Ellmers, she said, “because you know what, if we had let that action go unchallenged, we would have dumbed down ‘pro-life’ to where it didn’t mean anything.”

LGBT And Secular Outreach

Johnson made a deliberate effort to expand the reach of her conference beyond what she called “the traditional Christian pro-lifer.”

The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) set up a table. One piece of literature the group distributed explained that the line of Supreme Court cases establishing a “right to privacy” that encompasses both reproductive rights and the rights of gays and lesbians is irrelevant because LGBT rights would have succeeded anyway without the courts. “Abortion rights will fail because, unlike gay rights, they are not the result of a democratic process but rather a brand new ‘constitutional right’ created by a court impatient with democratic changes,” it said, seemingly dismissing the importance of major court victories that furthered LGBT equality. The group shared its table with the Pro-Life Humanists, who distribute anti-abortion literature at atheist events.

Kelsey Hazzard, the head of Secular Pro-Life, gave a workshop on “reaching non-Christian, LGBT, and other minority audiences with the pro-life message.” Aimee Murphy, the director of Life Matters Journal, gave a workshop faulting both political parties for what she said was an inconsistent ethic of human rights when it comes to abortion, capital punishment, torture and war, echoing the message of some early liberal Catholic anti-abortion activists. Kristen Day, the head of Democrats for Life, spoke and sponsored a booth.

A panel of mostly young women discussing activism strategies lamented that the anti-abortion movement had alienated LGBT people and others. Kristen Hatten, the vice president of the group New Wave Feminists, said that her gay friends “don’t really feel welcome in the movement. I would love to see that change, and not just for homosexual people, but transgender people and just everybody, everybody of all colors and creeds.”

Yet some of that alienation could be seen at the conference itself. Parker railed against the “war on marriage” and the “elimination of all gender binary.” She lamented that a “war on religion” had removed “any reference to God” from schools and that Americans were sending their kids “to these cesspools we call schools and they learn secular humanism.” She urged young, anti-abortion women to become lawyers “so they can make you a judge and you can get on these courts” and reject laws that are “unlawful in God’s eyes.”

The Family Research Council, one of the most stridently anti-LGBT advocacy groups in the country, sponsored a booth.

In some cases, the embrace of LGBT and secular allies didn’t seem all that sincere. Brownback, the conservative messaging consultant, said at a breakout session how delighted she had been to talk to the representatives of LGBT and secular groups at the conference. Just weeks before, Brownback had written on Twitter that while she loves her gay friends she thinks “they are hurting themselves and society” and opined that it’s “sad to see a feminized man.”

While the event seemed to be mostly comprised of Christians, and was heavily sprinkled with references to the Bible, Johnson seemed to catch on at the end as she noted before a closing prayer that not everyone in the room would choose to participate.

Despite the presence of Democrats for Life and other nontraditional allies, there was not much suggestion of moving beyond the movement’s current alliance with fiscally conservative Republicans who resist expanding the social safety net but are on board with punitive abortion restrictions. Many speakers steered away from explicitly political topics, speaking instead about building a “culture of life” in which women choose not to terminate pregnancies. But politically, there was little question that this self-proclaimed “feminist” movement would continue to ally itself with the party of Donald Trump.

Victims And Heroes

Brownback, a former Alliance Defending Freedom employee who said that she had worked with congressional Republicans on messaging around their efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and with the Texas attorney general, who brought the recent Supreme Court case, gave a crowded workshop on “Successful Pro-Life Messaging.”

She gave tips for how to connect with people on all sides of the issue. She recommended warming to pro-choicers by telling them “I hear you,” “that must be really hard” and, creatively, “you’re so pretty.” With people in the middle concerned with cases like rape and saving a woman’s life, she recommended not engaging on those issues but instead telling them that if they’re anti-abortion in 99 percent of cases, they’re anti-abortion.

Critically, she urged anti-abortion advocates to tell stories that “create the perception of a victim, a villain and a hero.”

In those stories, she said, the woman obtaining an abortion is the victim and the provider is the villain (with supporting villain roles sometimes played by overbearing boyfriends pressuring women to get abortions). “Anyone coercing women into having an abortion is in the role of the villain,” she said. “And keep in mind that a lot of times the people coercing women into having abortions are the ones who stand to financially profit from it. So that’s why we’ve talked about Planned Parenthood and we’ve talked about abortion businesses, because they are trained to sell abortions.”

“And who is the hero?” she asked. “You are the hero, your supporters are the heroes. You’re saying, here’s a victim that you have saved from this or someone that you could have saved. You are the hero, you are in that position.”

She said that she tries to bolster this image of anti-abortion heroes by taking “pictures of very attractive, beautiful, youthful people” at events and posting “a ton of them” on social media.

Brownback’s template story of the woman as a victim and the abortion provider as a villain looms large in the messaging of the anti-abortion movement. Yet not everyone at the conference was on board with characterization. Murphy said she was sick of anti-abortion literature that portrayed women as “a damsel in distress,” saying, “Let’s give them information that’s going to empower them and not play into this whole victim mindset.” Destiny De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists said, “When you make someone the hero of their own story, I think that’s very important, and I think the pro-life movement has missed an opportunity because, unfortunately, we tend to put women in the victim role a lot.”

Pro-Akin Bus Tour to Feature Advocate of Violent Insurrection

The Family Research Council is organizing another Religious Right bus tour to bolster Todd Akin’s campaign for Missouri against Sen. Claire McCaskill. The “Repeal and Replace McCaskill Tour” will feature prominent conservative figures like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins and Phyllis Schlafly and lesser-known activists like Stephen Broden.

The Faith, Family, Freedom Fund, a super PAC associated with Family Research Council Action, is bringing a statewide bus tour through Missouri, October 28th - November 2nd, with one clear message: Senator Claire McCaskill’s policies are harmful to Missouri families .

Come help us cheer on the Repeal & Replace McCaskill tour as the bus stops near you! We must fight to bring the truth to the people of Missouri!

The Fund is joined in this effort by other prominent leaders and groups such as Phyllis Schlafly, Governor Mike Huckabee, Ken Blackwell, Tony Perkins, Pastor Stephen Broden, The Honorable Marilyn Musgrave, Susan B. Anthony List, Eagle Forum PAC and several more.

Broden is a failed Republican candidate for Congress who garnered national attention when he floated violent insurrection against the Obama administration.

While Akin seeks to distance himself from his past support for militia groups and radical anti-abortion rights groups and their leaders, the inclusion of Broden on the bus tour only highlights Akin’s close relationship with the most extreme elements of the far-right.

Religious Right Leaders Pray for 'Healing for Those who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction'

A number of prominent women leaders of the Religious Right have come together for the American Prayer Initiative, which is “designed to help draw ‘we the people’ of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded.’ The group includes the National Day of Prayer’s Shirley Dobson and Vonette Bright, talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel’s Anita Staver, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, activist Rebecca Hagelin and Susan Allen, wife of Virginia’s George Allen. The group offers members a specific prayer for every day of each month until Election Day, including prayers condemning homosexuality and the separation of church and state.

One message asks participants to pray for God’s “healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction” and to “replace unnatural affections”:

We pray for healing and restoration of true manhood and womanhood in America. We ask for Your wisdom and protection against attempts to re-define our very identity as men and women.

We pray for Your design for abundant and fulfilled manhood, womanhood and marriage to gain preeminence in America.

We pray for a full restoration of the image and definition of manhood and womanhood in America.

We petition You, God for Your healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. May they come to know Your power, Your mercy and Your love as You replace unnatural affections with ones You Yourself designed.

Another is a prayer to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage:

We pray that the union of one man and one woman will be embraced by all societies as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.

We ask that the power of Your hand intervene to transform and heal the hearts of those who would attempt to re-define marriage.

The group also sends a message criticizing the influence of judges and proponents of the separation of church and state:

We ask for leaders, a judicial system and judges who adhere to the original intent of our founding documents and their many connections to Biblical principles.

We pray for a true understanding of justice according to Your Word We pray for Your protection from attempts to redefine justice for political gain.

We ask You to convict, transform and protect those who are out of Your will. We ask You to encourage, strengthen and protect those who honor and follow You.

We ask You for judges who will follow constitutional principles rather than ruling according to pre-chosen outcomes or relying on international law.

We pray that courts will recognize parents’ fundamental rights to the care, custody and control of their children.

We ask for Your guidance for accurate rulings over first amendment issues, and an awareness in our country that the words, “separation of church and state” are found nowhere in any one of our founding documents. We ask for a reversal of rulings which have inaccurately established “separation” as a Constitutional principle.

There is even a prayer against a media looking “to bring our country down by bringing our culture down”:

We ask you, Lord, to open greater and greater opportunities for Your Gospel to flow freely across our airwaves.

We ask, Lord, for You to grant Americans the wisdom to discern truth from deception.

We pray for those in the entertainment industry that they may better serve the families of our country by creating programs and movies that are uplifting in nature and extol positive virtues.

We especially pray Your blessings upon those in media, entertainment, the arts and journalism who are driven by loyalty to You. We ask for favor and acceptance for their work.

We ask You to raise up, equip, and abundantly provide for Your true disciples in the media, the arts, entertainment and journalism.

We pray for honesty in journalism.

We pray for those who would intend to bring our country down by bringing our culture down.

We ask you to foil the plans of those who would bring others down in any form.

We ask for Your transforming power in the lives of those who would divide, deceive and destroy.

"Votes Have Consequences" Announces Its Targets

Several months back, former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave teamed up with the Susan B. Anthony List for an effort called "Votes Have Consequences" that is going to seek to knock off candidate that do not share their anti-choice views:

We're going into districts where individuals are vulnerable and we're just going to make sure people know how these individuals have voted and what their record is."

We're going to be assertive. We're going to be aggressive and this is a new day in politics for the pro-life movement.

Today, the group announced its list of targets:

The Votes Have Consequences project will target the constituencies of the following legislators: Michael Bennett (CO-Senate), Blanche Lincoln (AR-Senate), Harry Reid (NV-Senate), Alan Grayson (FL-08), Debbie Halvorson (IL-11), Frank Kratovil (MD-01), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Walt Minnick (ID-01), Glenn Nye (VA-02), Tom Perriello (VA-05), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), and Harry Teague (NM-02).

“We're going to be assertive, strategic and focused in our efforts to elevate the cause of Life at the grassroots level, where it matters,” said former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, Project Director for Votes Have Consequences. “It is vital that Americans make their voices heard. Without action, taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for abortion on-demand in the largest expansion of government-backed abortion since Roe v. Wade. The stakes are high. That is why it’s so important for pro-life advocates to go on the offensive.”

With a budget of $2 million, Votes Have Consequences will educate voters in targeted districts through television, radio, telephone townhall meetings, local grassroots activity, automated phone calls, online advocacy campaigns and earned media coverage in both traditional and new media outlets.

Susan B. Anthony List: What's In a Name?

After losing her re-election bid last November, right-wing former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave quickly teamed up with the Susan B. Anthony List to launch a new anti-choice project called "Votes Have Consequences" that vowed to target pro-choice politicians for defeat:

Former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave will lead a new antiabortion initiative dubbed “Votes Have Consequences” that will target members of Congress in the 2010 election cycle who support abortion rights.

In a case of supreme irony, Musgrave intends to rip a page from the hardball playbook used by the Defenders of Wildlife. The environmental group was credited with helping to defeat the three-term Republican congresswoman with intense local organizing and a $1.6 million barrage of TV attack ads — a strategy that was roundly criticized by Republicans.

Musgrave and her new boss, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told the Coloradoan they would mimic the same scorched-earth tactics:

“We need to know that the person that we defeat has a scalp that we can hold up high and say their pro-abortion leadership is why they lost,” Dannenfelser said.

But Musgrave's ties to the Susan B. Anthony List continues to deepen, as she has now donated $50,000 to a new effort to get young-people involved in the anti-choice movement called the Young Leaders Board ... or maybe its the Youth Leaders Board, they don't seem to be sure:

Today the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund (501(c)(3)) launched its first project, the Young Leaders Board, a new outreach effort to engage young people in the pro-life movement. Former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) donated $50,000 from her congressional campaign committee, Musgrave for Congress, to launch the board. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will serve as the Board's Honorary Chairwoman.

I am so pleased to support the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund's youth outreach efforts by supporting the new Youth Leaders Board," said Marilyn Musgrave, Director of Regional Outreach for the Susan B. Anthony List. "As technology advances and sonograms continue to offer compelling visual evidence of the humanity of unborn children, we're finding that the younger generation is more pro-life. I'm confident the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund will effectively marshal the energy and enthusiasm found among young pro-lifers to be a voice for women and the unborn for years to come."

The Youth Leaders Board will be comprised of young pro-life women leaders from across the country. The Board's early focus will be youth leadership training, with a special emphasis on communications, in order to train effective pro-life spokeswomen. The Board will also permanently integrate a youth perspective into existing Susan B. Anthony new media outreach efforts, like Lia's Challenge, the organization's recent YouTube youth video contest.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will serve as Honorary Chairwoman of the Youth Leaders Board.

"One of my priorities in Congress is to encourage women to get involved," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). "Through the use of new media and other communications tools, I look forward to helping the SBA List's Young Leaders Board reach out to young, pro-life women."

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers is a member of the House Pro-Life Women's Caucus. She serves as Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the fourth-highest ranking Republican and the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House of Representatives. She also works to recruit women candidates for Congress through the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave joined the Susan B. Anthony List (501(c)(4)) in March as Director of Regional Outreach to run the organization's new pro-life voter education effort, Votes Have Consequences.

Once they get this figured out, we hope they let us know because it'll be a lot easier for us to track this effort if we know which of these two names they actually plan on using.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • AU notes the irony of Pat Robertson blaming the economic crisis on greed considering his own questionable business dealings.
  • Think Progress reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has again refused to reject the idea that his state might secede from the US.
  • Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars reports that former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave is not done embarrassing herself or her party.
  • Speaking of C&L, The American Prospect reviews David Neiwert's new book.
  • Steve Benen says that if we are judging Nancy Pelosi by her enemies, then she must be doing a good job.
  • Pam notes that Chuck Colson is getting a little hysterical about marriage equality.
  • Finally, John Aravosis notes that Bill O'Reilly seems to have changed his tune rather dramatically regarding marriage equality since 2002.

The Return of Marilyn Musgrave

After getting tossed out of office last November, Marilyn Musgrave disappeared from the scene, refusing to congratulate her opponent or even concede defeat and instead went AWOL.

But she has now resurfaced, having hooked-up with the Susan B. Anthony List as the face of their new effort that intends to target members of Congress who do not share the group’s anti-choice agenda.

David Brody has the scoop along with an interview with Musgrave in which she proclaims it “a new day in politics for the pro-life movement”:

The new project is called “Votes Have Consequences” and the group has brought former U.S. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave on board as the project’s Director and to raise money for it.

"Votes do have consequence and this project is going to make sure we are not always on the defensive. We're going into districts where individuals are vulnerable and we're just going to make sure people know how these individuals have voted and what their record is."

"We're going to be assertive. We're going to be aggressive and this is a new day in politics for the pro-life movement."

The Susan B. Anthony List will be targeting certain members of Congress who are out of step with their district on the life issue. No specific Congressmen have been identified yet but the group plans to launch an aggressive TV, Radio and print campaign against them very soon. They don’t want to wait until 2010. They believe the issue needs to be addressed right away because pro-life groups have all too often taken a back seat approach to getting involved early in congressional races.

Interestingly, the same election that bounced Musgrave from her Colorado seat also saw the state’s anti-choice “personhood” initiative get absolutely trounced at the polls as well.  In fact, during the last election, there were three anti-choice initiatives on the ballots in various states and each one went down in defeat by substantial margins.

But apparently that isn’t stopping Musgrave and the Susan B. Anthony list from seeking to make this losing issue the centerpiece of its election strategy.

Musgrave Finally Surfaces

Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, who lost her re-election bid nearly a month ago, has yet to call her opponent or even officially concede the race and has, since Election Day, steadfastly refused to talk to the media. But it looks like someone was able to convince her to channel her bitterness and anger into helping mobilize voters to support Sen. Saxby Chambliss in his run-off election in Georgia yesterday:

In her first public comments on her re-election loss - made in a mass phone call to Georgia voters - Rep. Marilyn Musgrave blamed her defeat on "leftist special interests" that "smothered the truth with vicious attacks and lies."

Musgrave's remarks came in a so-called "robo-call" that went out to 275,000 Georgia voters Monday and Tuesday on behalf of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican who was forced into a runoff with Democratic challenger Jim Martin. The election was Tuesday and Chambliss won.

"Hello, I'm Marilyn Musgrave. Until last month I was the congresswoman from Colorado," Musgrave said in the call, which was paid for by the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, a political committee that supports anti-abortion candidates.

"Leftist special interests from around the country poured money into my district to defeat me. They overwhelmed us with money. And they smothered the truth with vicious attacks and lies.

"We are seeing the same pattern in Georgia. Pro-abortion radicals and liberal activists won't stop until they have a chokehold on our government. You can stop them with your vote. It's too late to change the results in Colorado, but on Tuesday you can cast your vote for Saxby Chambliss.”

Musgrave hadn’t spoken publicly since shortly after vote totals started coming in the evening of Nov. 4. The three-term Republican incumbent was crushed by Democratic challenger Betsy Markey, 56 percent to 44 percent.

The incumbent never conceded defeat or called Markey to congratulate her. Musgrave hasn’t given an interview since the election.

The robo-call was made on behalf of “Team Sarah,” which was created by the Susan B. Anthony List to build “a coalition of women dedicated to advancing the values that Sarah Palin represents in the political process” … Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said she contacted Musgrave on Monday about recording a robo-call for the Georgia race and Musgrave agreed.

“She truly is one of the best people I know, and a lot of money can go a long way toward painting a completely different picture, you know, kind of painting a straw woman, so to speak,” Dannenfelser said in a phone interview.

Dannenfelser said Musgrave recorded the call for Chambliss because “she wanted to do something instructive and help somebody else.”

You can hear her robo-call here.

The Right Saves One of Two

A few weeks ago, the Right swung into action to try and save a couple of their imperiled "shining stars" in Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. 

The Family Research Council lit into the National Republican Campaign Committee for pulling its advertising from their races, as did David Barton who then took it upon himself to raise money for Musgrave himself. 

As it turned out, Bachmann barely managed to hang onto her seat, but Musgrave did not:

Betsy Markey won a sweeping victory over incumbent Rep. Marilyn Musgrave on Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat in two generations to represent Northern Colorado in Congress.

So at least the Right can take solace in knowing that they manged to keep at least one of their shining stars in office, while we can take solace in the fact that there will be one less right-wing anti-gay zealot on the Hill. 

Speaking of which, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern also managed to hang onto her seat:

FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT NO. 84

SALLY KERN REP 7,230 57.95%
RON MARLETT DEM 5,247 42.05%

Seriously, how big of an anti-gay bigot do you have to be for it to actually cost you your seat in Oklahoma? Apparently, an even bigger one than Kern which, I dare say, is nearly impossible.  

Bachmann and Musgrave: The Right’s “Shining Stars”

In the last several days, we’ve seen a variety of Religious Right leaders blast the National Republican Campaign Committee for pulling its advertising from the re-election campaigns of both Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (CO), with David Barton trying to save Musgrave himself and the Family Research Council threatening the NRCC that it will cut off its own efforts to raise money on their behalf. 

Why is the Right so upset about this decision? Because, as FRC explains, when the NRCC abandons the Right’s “shining stars on the Hill,” they are abandoning the Right:

David Nammo is executive director of FRC Action PAC. He says whether it was going to give Bachmann and Musgrave money or stop running ads for them, the NRCC sent the wrong message to social conservatives by announcing it was pulling support for the two conservative lawmakers.

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)"What conservatives hear when they hear that is, 'Wow, the Republican Party isn't going to back people who are strong on our issues on the Hill.' And it's also going to frustrate and even confuse the people who want to support these two congresswomen," Nammo laments.

"We want people to get out and to vote for these two congresswomen," the conservative activist continues. "They are shining stars on the Hill. They stand for social conservative issues."

David Barton Tries to Rescue Musgrave

Last week we noted that the Right was none-too-pleased that the National Republican Campaign Committee had pulled its advertising from the re-election campaigns of both Rep. Michelle Bachmann (MN) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (CO) and that the Family Research Council had threatened that they would shut down their own efforts to raise money for NRCC if they didn’t change course.  

Well, it looks like some Religious Right leaders aren’t waiting around for the NRCC to change its mind and have decided to raise money for them themselves, which is why David Barton is sending out emails begging donors to support Musgrave because they can’t afford to lose “her voice for our values in Congress”

I want to bring a special need to your attention. We are 10 days out from one of the most critical elections in our nation's history. While great attention has been focused on the Presidential race, numerous pro-family Congressmen are also currently running who desperately need your help!

One of these pro-family champions is Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave. She is an asset to the pro-family movementand has been instrumental in helping secure many pro-faith and pro-family victories, including being the original sponsor of the Federal Marriage AmendmentBut she needs your help today!!!

She is in a tight race against a pro-choice, pro-homosexual liberal and is under vicious attack from the secular left. She is the top target of the pro-homosexual movement because of her firm stance on protecting traditional marriage at the federal level.

In the past two elections, Tim Gill, a homosexual activist billionaire, has personally funneled several million dollars through numerous organizations to defeat Marilyn. He recently stated that one of his greatest frustrations in life has been his inability to remove her from office, so in this election he has pulled out all stops and is pouring even more into the race against her. The homosexual movement has made it their goal to take out the most visible leader in the pro-marriage movement. Current polling shows that they are very close in their goal of removing her.

She needs your help today, whether it's $5-$10 or whether it's the maximum of $2300 per person; you can make a difference! Marilyn has stood strong for all of us, and now we need to stand strong for her! We don't want to lose her voice for our values in Congress. 

Also, if you have some time available and can travel to her campaign office in Greeley, CO, or to the Victory Centers in Greeley and Ft. Collins, please volunteer to make phone calls or block walk and encourage people to early vote. By Election Day, over 85% of the district will have already voted - so she needs your help TODAY!

...

I have known Marilyn for years and have worked closely with her on a number of faith and family issues in Congress. I personally and heartily endorse her candidacy and ask you to consider making a contribution to her campaign -- either with time or money. (Each individual may contribute up to $2,300, but contributions of any size will be very helpful.) Any contribution you make will definitely be investing money in the future of a healthy America.

Please help make a difference in this race, for she is running for all of us!

God bless!

David Barton

FRC Comes to Bachmann's Defense

When Rep. Michele Bachmann basically accused every Democratic member of Congress of being un-American last week, it unleashed a wave of financial support for her opponent and scared off the National Republican Campaign Committee, which pulled its advertising on her behalf ... and the Family Research Council is not happy about it and threatening to shut down their own efforts to raise money for the NRCC: 

The Family Research Council's (FRC) political arm ripped Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) Thursday for withdrawing ad spending on behalf of two endangered Republican candidates.

FRC President Tony Perkins said in a letter to Cole, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), that the committee "is abandoning social conservative candidates" by pulling ads from the reelection races of Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) and Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.).

...

Perkins, an influential conservative leader, said in his letter that he believes Cole, whose committee has been hemorrhaging money in an uphill battle against Democratic congressional candidates, "made a grave error in judgment" by pulling ads from Musgrave's and Bachmann's districts.

"The left is attacking both of these outstanding women because they are true conservatives," Perkins said. "They vote pro-life and pro-family."

Perkins wrote that both candidates are in "winnable districts," and that "pulling funds from their campaigns sends the wrong message to their supporters and gives their opponents a chance to produce headlines that the NRCC has undermined these campaigns."

"This is no time to cut and run from a fight," Perkins wrote.

He added that he will "urge supporters" of the FRC to stop contributing to the NRCC "until it starts supporting and fighting for conservative candidates in close races."

Religious Right Claims Hate-Crimes Law an Attack on Christianity

With the reintroduction of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the House and the prospect that it may pass in a Democratic Congress, religious-right groups are waging a sizeable campaign to portray the bill as part of a mythical persecution of Christians. Although hate-crimes laws expand penalties for violent crimes causing bodily injury or death (as well as attempts through firearms and explosives), the Religious Right is labeling them “thought crimes” laws the “only effect” of which “is to gag people of faith.” Although federal law has punished hate crimes based on race for more than a decade, the Religious Right is incensed at the prospect of using the law to protect gays as well.

This reaction follows a pattern of asserting that gay rights – or a so-called “homosexual agenda” – will lead to the “repression” of religion in America, an anti-gay marketing effort typified by last year’s “Values Voter Summit” in Washington, where speakers from Mitt Romney to Tony Perkins claimed that, in the words of Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund, “The homosexual agenda and [freedom of] religion are on a collision course.” “They know they must silence the church,” warned Perkins. At that time, the issue was same-sex marriage; the co-sponsor of the federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), said that “"If we have gay marriage, our religious liberties are gone!”

Values Voter Summit: Anti-Gay Activists Warn of Repression of Religion

On the first day of the Values Voter Summit, speakers discussed embryonic stem-cell research (Sen. Brownback: "If you research and you kill a human at that stage [embryo], that human doesn't have a rest of a life"), abortion (Bishop Wellington Boone: African Americans are an "endangered species" because of "black genocide" through abortion), and the war on terror (James Dobson, ever conscious of upcoming elections: "I really see that as a family issue"). But by far the greatest emphasis was placed on the supposed dangers of the "homosexual agenda."

While some speakers, such as Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia), asserted that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is a "foundational value" upon which America is built, and others proclaimed the unfitness of gays to be parents (Jennifer Giroux of Citizens for Community Values: "The ultimate child abuse is placing a child in a gay home"), many speakers pushed the notion of a "homosexual agenda" to the limit. Dobson asserted that the goal of advocates of same-sex marriage is to simply "bring down marriage." (Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that the divorce of the Goodridges, named in the Massachusetts case that established marriage equality in the state, proves that point. "That tells you the commitment to the institution of marriage," he said.) Princeton Professor Robert George, architect of the "Princeton Principles" against gay marriage, warned that the "forces arrayed against the conjugal conception of marriage are very powerful ... And they will strike hard."

And, beginning with Romney, speakers warned that equality for gays will lead to "repression" of Christians. "The homosexual agenda and [freedom of] religion are on a collision course," said Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund, as Perkins added that "They know they must silence the church."

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado), sponsor of the federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, said that "If we have gay marriage, our religious liberties are gone!" And Maggie Gallagher, noting the analogy between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement, said that "They're going to have to start enforcing" some kind of "repression," just as there is "a broad array of ways in which the law penalizes, marginalizes, and punishes racial bigots."

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Marilyn Musgrave Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Thursday 06/30/2016, 10:00am
Last weekend, about 500 anti-abortion activists — nearly all of whom were women — gathered in Dallas for what was billed as the first-ever “Pro-Life Women’s Conference.” The event’s organizer, Abby Johnson, said that she wanted to “reclaim the narrative” of the movement, putting women at its front and including “many different groups of people,” including nonbelievers and LGBT people. She repeatedly said that the movement needs to “embrace the f-word”: feminism. “This is our Seneca Falls, baby!” she said.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 10/30/2012, 11:30am
The Family Research Council is organizing another Religious Right bus tour to bolster Todd Akin’s campaign for Missouri against Sen. Claire McCaskill. The “Repeal and Replace McCaskill Tour” will feature prominent conservative figures like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins and Phyllis Schlafly and lesser-known activists like Stephen Broden. The Faith, Family, Freedom Fund, a super PAC associated with Family Research Council Action, is bringing a statewide bus tour through Missouri, October 28th - November 2nd, with one clear message: Senator Claire McCaskill’s... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 07/30/2012, 11:30am
A number of prominent women leaders of the Religious Right have come together for the American Prayer Initiative, which is “designed to help draw ‘we the people’ of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded.’ The group includes the National Day of Prayer’s Shirley Dobson and Vonette Bright, talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel’s Anita Staver, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, activist Rebecca Hagelin and Susan Allen, wife of Virginia’s George Allen. The group offers... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 09/02/2009, 12:31pm
Several months back, former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave teamed up with the Susan B. Anthony List for an effort called "Votes Have Consequences" that is going to seek to knock off candidate that do not share their anti-choice views: We're going into districts where individuals are vulnerable and we're just going to make sure people know how these individuals have voted and what their record is." We're going to be assertive. We're going to be aggressive and this is a new day in politics for the pro-life movement. Today, the group announced its list of targets: The Votes Have... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/04/2009, 1:53pm
After losing her re-election bid last November, right-wing former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave quickly teamed up with the Susan B. Anthony List to launch a new anti-choice project called "Votes Have Consequences" that vowed to target pro-choice politicians for defeat:Former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave will lead a new antiabortion initiative dubbed “Votes Have Consequences” that will target members of Congress in the 2010 election cycle who support abortion rights.In a case of supreme irony, Musgrave intends to rip a page from the hardball playbook used by the Defenders of... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 05/15/2009, 5:42pm
AU notes the irony of Pat Robertson blaming the economic crisis on greed considering his own questionable business dealings.Think Progress reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has again refused to reject the idea that his state might secede from the US.Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars reports that former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave is not done embarrassing herself or her party.Speaking of C&L, The American Prospect reviews David Neiwert's new book.Steve Benen says that if we are judging Nancy Pelosi by her enemies, then she must be doing a good job.Pam notes that Chuck Colson is getting a little... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 03/11/2009, 2:51pm
After getting tossed out of office last November, Marilyn Musgrave disappeared from the scene, refusing to congratulate her opponent or even concede defeat and instead went AWOL. But she has now resurfaced, having hooked-up with the Susan B. Anthony List as the face of their new effort that intends to target members of Congress who do not share the group’s anti-choice agenda. David Brody has the scoop along with an interview with Musgrave in which she proclaims it “a new day in politics for the pro-life movement”: The new project is called “Votes Have... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 12/03/2008, 11:52am
Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, who lost her re-election bid nearly a month ago, has yet to call her opponent or even officially concede the race and has, since Election Day, steadfastly refused to talk to the media. But it looks like someone was able to convince her to channel her bitterness and anger into helping mobilize voters to support Sen. Saxby Chambliss in his run-off election in Georgia yesterday: In her first public comments on her re-election loss - made in a mass phone call to Georgia voters - Rep. Marilyn Musgrave blamed her defeat on "leftist special interests... MORE >