Months after South Dakota Voters Reject Abortion Ban, Legislators Try Again

“We have heard what the voters of South Dakota said,” claims sponsor. Also: Utah considers ban.

2008: Scarborough Dubious of Romney 'Conversion'

On abortion, stem cells. Meanwhile: Long-shot Hunter signs Norquist’s no-tax pledge.

North Dakota House Bans Abortion

Less than three months after ban passed in SD was rejected by voters, this measure would go into effect if Supreme Court overturns Roe.

Club for Growth Does Not Heart Huckabee

As more Republican politicians announce their presidential aspirations and seek to curry favor with the party’s right wing, the Right continues to question their credentials. This week, The Weekly Standard carries more accusations that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at one time took a moderate position on abortion and gay rights. (Romney is still working on his right-wing bona fides: He’s hired long-time religious-right attorney James Bopp.)  And when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced on Sunday that he was forming an exploratory committee, anti-tax group Club for Growth was ready on Monday with a report questioning Huckabee’s commitment to “limited-government, pro-growth, free-enterprise policies.”

Huckabee is no stranger to the Religious Right. He’s a prominent advocate of teaching creationism in public schools, and along with fellow candidates Romney, Sam Brownback, and Newt Gingrich, Huckabee spoke at the Family Research Council’s “Values Voter Summit” last September, exhorting the crowd to be more positive but failing to set much of an example, saying of same-sex marriage, “Until Moses comes down from Brokeback Mountain with two stone tablets saying we've changed the rules, let's keep it like it is!”

The Club for Growth, an anti-government political action group dominated by Wall Street investors and executives, was the top-spending independent PAC in 2006, but spent most of its money attacking Republicans from the Right, attempting to purge the GOP of supposedly “liberal” politicians. While its efforts made it a number of enemies among other Republicans, the group’s willingness to spend millions to topple incumbents in vicious primary battles may have succeeded in establishing the Club as a feared and influential player on the Right. The group’s eager attack on Huckabee – who, the Club acknowledges, signed on to many of its pet projects, such as cutting the Arkansas’s capital gains tax – is likely to dog the former governor up through the primary, and it may cause some right-wing activists, already inundated with candidates competing for their favor, to look elsewhere.

Brownback, Like Romney, Defends Right-Wing Credentials

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Republican candidates for president, have both been hard at work courting the Right Wing – from Romney speaking at “Liberty Sunday” to Brownback suiting up for the mythical “War on Christmas” to both signing Grover Norquist’s no-taxes pledge within a day of each other – and filling up their dance cards with endorsements from the Religious Right. Romney, though considered a more viable candidate, has been at a disadvantage in accruing right-wing points following revelations of his past support for gay rights.

Now, Brownback himself is questioning Romney’s right-wing credentials, reports CBN News:

“I think you have to look at where he stood on the issues and what he said publicly,"  Brownback said. “At times he's said different things on these issues. I think that's all going to come out during a long campaign."

Brownback wouldn’t flatly say if Romney is a reliable conservative. He said, “We'll see and that will be for him to discuss. I do think when we get out on the campaign trail and when the campaign really gets fully engaged, there's going to be a lot of discussion about where do people actually stand on the issues and where have they been and where are they now and how reliable are they to stay that way."

At the same time, CBN posted an article alluding to a similar problem haunting Brownback – his alleged pro-choice position at the start of his political career.

Presidential candidate Sam Brownback told CBN News that he's always been pro-life despite his decision to stay away from the pro-life label at the beginning of his race for Congress in 1994.

"I was in the same position in 1994 as I am today as far as being pro-life," said Brownback. "I didn't articulate then. I thought - and this is just getting into politics - that I would be better off saying the specific areas of the issue rather than 'Are you pro-life or pro-choice?'"

In particular, Brownback’s campaign said he had no recollection of telling Tim Golba, then president of Kansas for Life, that his position on abortion was “more in line with” that of pro-choice Sen. Nancy Kassebaum. The campaign has sent out a letter to supporters asking for job references: “Can I please ask those that are capable and willing to send me a testimonial quote highlighting Senator Brownback's work on pro-life issues?”

Both of these stories were reported by Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. Robertson expressed enthusiasm early for Brownback, a point noted by conservative columnist George Will, reporter Jeff Sharlet, and others. Now, Robertson might be backing down a little bit, according to Sharlet.

In Kansas, Anti-Abortion Activists Push Prosecution of Doctor

Had been at issue in former AG Kline’s defeat. Activists cite Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly.

Long-Shot Brownback at Home in Anti-Abortion Protest

Campaigning for president as “the full-scale conservative,” Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) has won the hearts of many right-wing activists for joining in the calls warning of a so-called “War on Christmas” and blocking a judicial nominee who once attended a lesbian commitment ceremony, but his candidacy has so far failed to establish viability. “Brownback has to prove he can win,” as Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention put it. Still, the senator is steadily expanding his base, as he demonstrated during Monday’s anti-abortion protests in Washington.

Brownback wrote an op-ed in support of the protests in The Washington Times, and he spoke at several events during the day, culminating in a “Brownback for President” reception. Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reports:

The Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life gave the opening prayer: "We pray today particularly for a man whom we love and whom we admire, whom we look to and have looked to for leadership and have not been disappointed. We pray today for Senator Brownback and his family."

Two hundred march participants chanted: "Brownback! Brownback!"

Brownback at Blogs4LifeBrownback also spoke at the Family Research Council’s Blogs4Life conference (covered by ProLifeBlogs, Townhall, and Human Events), where he predicted that “Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned” within a few years, as Milbank reported.

He announced his introduction of the "Unborn Pain Awareness Act" and vowed to protect all "children of a living God." Asking why disabled Americans are protected but not fetuses with abnormalities, he demanded: "What's the difference -- location?" For emphasis, he introduced a 4-year-old girl with Down syndrome. He urged the listeners to speak to abortion-rights supporters with "truth encased in love."

This is not the first time Brownback has used children as stage props. This past summer, the senator argued against embryonic stem-cell research by bringing out a 7-year-old girl, who had drawn a picture of herself as an embryo saying, “Are you going to kill me?” This particular rhetorical technique was previously used by former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), who brought a 4-year-old to the Senate chamber while arguing for the “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.” ““What they wanted to do was kill this baby by stabbing her in the base of the skull and suctioning her brains out,” said Santorum, pointing to the girl in the audience.

Santorum’s extreme politics endeared him to the Right – not too long ago, he was the one frequently mentioned as a potential presidential candidate – but it cost him his Senate seat in November’s election. Brownback is hoping to find a growing Right Wing in Iowa that could give him the edge in the GOP caucus, but first he has to appeal to more moderate Republican voters, and convince them that he won’t meet Santorum’s fate. Otherwise, the difference will be location – the chasm between warm reception at a far-Right blog panel and disappointment at a real-life voting booth.

(Photo from ProLifeBlogs.com.)

Anti-Abortion Protest in Washington

Local minister “asked what would have happened had Martin Luther King been aborted, then described the process in detail.”

Focus on the Family Looks to States for Anti-Abortion Legislation

Such as bans triggered on overturn of Roe.

Low Turnout for Anti-Abortion Rally in Kansas

Militant Operation Rescue drew thousands in 1991. This year, joined by Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition and Cass of Center for Reclaiming America for Christ.

Georgia Lawmaker Introduces Abortion Ban

Bill text: “life begins at the moment of conception.”

Anti-Abortion Activist Fired from Kansas 'Special Prosecutor' Position

By new attorney general; was hired two weeks ago by ousted AG Kline in effort to keep clinic records search alive.

Keith Ellison and the Right's Version of Religious Liberty

On the web site of the American Center for Law and Justice, the Pat Robertson-founded legal group where Jay Sekulow serves as chief counsel, Sekulow describes himself as a “nationally recognized and respected defender of religious freedom.” On last night’s “Hannity & Colmes” on Fox News, Sekulow perhaps elaborated on what he means by “religious freedom” when he said that a freshman Muslim lawmaker “should have just abstained from” using the Koran in a ceremonial photo op following his official swearing in as a member of Congress. Sekulow, although aware of the constitutional prohibition of religious tests for office, insisted that such a use of the Koran represented a "danger" to the country and its "Judeo-Christian tradition."

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) has been a target of some on the Right since an article by radio talker Dennis Prager wrote that he “should not be allowed” to be photographed with the Koran, calling the use of the Bible “essential to the continuity of a civilization.” Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Virginia) pushed the “controversy” into the headlines when he wrote a letter to his constituents warning that, “if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.” Goode later invoked the terrorists attacks of September 11 as justification for his concerns about immigrants.

Apart from Goode’s tirade against immigrants, Sekulow is the most prominent figure to embrace this attack on religious liberty. Sekulow has made a name for himself as a right-wing superlawyer, defending violent anti-abortion activists before the Supreme Court and advising the president on judicial nominees, all while pulling down an impressive salary.

While Sekulow was clearly aware of the ban on religious tests – he told Sean Hannity that Ellison didn’t have to actually hold the Bible – he insisted that Ellison’s use of the Koran (the copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson, architect of religious liberty) represented a “danger” to the country.

Get the Flash Player to see this video clip.

Jay Sekulow on Hannity and Colmes, 1/8/07

Low Bandwidth

TIME: Right Wing Unhappy with Prospective 2008 Candidates

As Huckabee, Gingrich, others put fingers to wind. Meanwhile: Brownback to announce on eve of anti-abortion march; Romney’s faith eyed.

Romney and Brownback Compete for Right-Wing Pole Position in 2008

As contenders for the Republican nomination for president jostle for the Right’s favor, much of the focus has been on social wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage. The Religious Right has signaled that it will not be easy to please, and the candidates have responded by working overtime to prove their bona fides.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has carefully courted religious-right leaders and whose speech against same-sex marriage at FRC’s “Liberty Sunday” event was interpreted as a pitch for the evangelical vote, fell afoul of the Right when statements he made in 1994 were revisited that seemed to reveal a more liberal stance on abortion and gays. His attempts to explain his apparent shift and to recover his position have interfered with his efforts to “occupy the conservative ground” early.

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback has also been angling for that same ground, by positioning himself as the defender of Christmas, by emphasizing support for faith-based programs, and by keeping the right-wing assault on the judiciary alive in the Senate. He has been seen in Iowa recently, hoping for a state-level Religious Right with increased influence. (He’s already picked up the endorsement of the president of Iowa Right to Life.) Brownback told the National Catholic Reporter, “I’ll be the only person at the core of the campaign who will be pushing for the reform of the family and restoration of the culture and human dignity at all phases of life.”

ATR's PledgeBut lest the economic Right feel left out, both Romney and Brownback, a day apart, just signed the “Taxpayer’s Protection Pledge” put out by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. Norquist, a leading organizer of the right-wing coalition in Washington, has famously described his goal as “to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

Anti-Abortion Activist Attacks Pelosi for Catholic Faith

Incoming House speaker’s attendance at mass an “atrocity,” says American Life League’s Judie Brown. Christian Defense Coalition protests.

A Right-Wing Hero in the Making

Robert Dierker has been a judge on Missouri’s 22nd Circuit for twenty years and, having just been re-elected, apparently decided the time was right to publicly profit from his position by writing a book trumpeting his right-wing ideology:

A book by a veteran St. Louis judge, due out this week, is causing a stir in political and legal circles for its sentiments on "femifascists" and "illiberal liberals."

And some say it could cost him his job.

The first chapter of "The Tyranny of Tolerance: A Sitting Judge Breaks the Code of Silence to Expose the Liberal Judicial Assault," has circulated for weeks via e-mail and been widely read in legal circles, lawyers and judges told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The chapter, which frequently uses the term "femifascists" and is titled "The Cloud Cuckooland of Radical Feminism," prompted a complaint with the state body that can reprimand or remove judges.

The Associated Press offered a few excerpts from Dierker’s book:

_ "Just as we saw with the femifascists, illiberal liberals don't want equality; they want to make some people more equal than others. And they've made it happen through their dominance of the courts over the past seventy-five years. Liberals have converted the courts from the 'least dangerous' branch of government envisioned by the Founding Fathers to the most dangerous." (From a chapter titled "Making Some Americans More Equal Than Others," about the 14th Amendment and equal protection under the law)

_ "This is liberal law in a nutshell. History and tradition count for nothing; the language of the Constitution itself counts for little; the only criterion is whether a ruling will advance the liberal agenda." (From the chapter "Ozzie and Harriet Are Dead," about abortion and the attack on the traditional family.)

_ " ... The Constitution died on April 18, 1990, as a direct result of the liberal pursuit of racial 'equality.'" (From the chapter "Taxation for Tolerance," about school desegregation and desegregation rulings that allow judges to impose taxes.)

Press coverage notes that “other judges and lawyers have said Dierker may have violated a state rule against a judge using his or her position for personal profit” but Dierker is defending his book, saying he broke no rules and that his open disdain for feminists and liberals in no way makes him unfit for the bench: 

Dierker said he is always fair in the courtroom. "Conservative judges are much more likely to know where their biases are and how to draw the line," he said.

Dierker writes that the views in the book are "personal, and should not be construed as any indication of how I would rule on any case coming before me. No public resources were used in the preparation of this work. The use of my title is strictly for identification."

Considering that the Right loves nothing more than complaining and picking fights over the issue of judges, Dierker can probably take solace in the fact that if he is in some way reprimanded or punished for his book, he will always be able to translate his newfound notoriety into speaking engagements at the next “Confronting the Judicial War on Faith Conference” or “Values Voters Summit.”

American Values's Allott Attacks Dems 'Double Standard' on Treatment of Animals, 'Unborn'

Analyst for Gary Bauer’s group claims “Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act” is “not an anti-abortion bill.”

Study Casts Doubt on Assumptions behind Abstinence-Only Education

Responding to a large-scale study from the Guttmacher Institute showing that the vast majority of Americans do engage in premarital sex – “which calls into question the federal government's funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12- to 29-year-olds,” as the study’s author said – Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Wade Horn defended abstinence-only programs, claiming that by withholding comprehensive education on safer sex, the programs “help young people delay the onset of sexual activity” and thus reduce the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

So-Called War on Christmas: Anti-Abortion Group Complains about TV Parody of Christmas Carol

Charlie Sheen song an “affront to all of Christendom,” asserts Life Decisions International. How about that right-wing carol parody?
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Abortion Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Friday 08/13/2010, 11:09am
I can always tell when election season is approaching because the Family Research Council releases a series of web ads featuring a very serious Tony Perkins explaining why it is imperative for Christians to vote. And FRC has now released its latest batch, which I will sum up for you so that you don't have to waste your time watching them: Thomas Jefferson thought life was important, which means you should vote against abortion: You've never heard of John Witherspoon, but he'd want you to vote only for Christians: I've taken a knee outside the Washington Monument to tell you... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/12/2010, 5:30pm
Liberty Counsel is not happy with Judge Walker's decision not to permanently stay his Prop 8 ruling. Neither is FRC or Tony Perkins. Meanwhile, Harry Jackson and CBN complain about the original ruling as well. I guess we'll be hearing a lot from "Susan" in the coming months as Focus on the Family highlights how its Super Bowl ad convinced her not to have an abortion. Chuck Colson, Timothy George, and Robert George were guests on Hugh Hewitt yesterday. Finally, kudos to Donald Crosby of God's Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ in Macon, Georgia for... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 08/12/2010, 2:48pm
Sometimes all you can do it point and laugh: Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch and Judicial Watch, has announced new legal actions in the Elena Kagan scandal. "Prior to confirmation, Freedom Watch and Declaration Alliance filed a complaint before the Supreme Court, to have Elena Kagan disbarred for falsifying a report as Associate Counsel in the Clinton White House that resulted in the inhumane killing of very late term unborn infants. Her conspiracy to defraud the Supreme Court, in order to defy the expressed will of the American people banning partial birth abortion, made our... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/10/2010, 11:33am
Last year, Rep. Trent Franks spoke at the How To Take Back America Conference where he called President Obama an "enemy of humanity": What he meant, Franks' spokesperson later insisted, was that Obama was an enemy of "unborn humanity," due to his views on abortion. So I looked forward to hearing Franks' clarification of his latest statement that Obama is one of the most dangerous enemies facing America today:  From Elena Kagan's nomination and subsequent confirmation to the Supreme Court, to the recent passage healthcare reforms, a sitting congressman says... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/09/2010, 5:34pm
Pat Robertson should be called to testify at Charles Taylor's war crimes trial. Speaking of Robertson, Carlos Campo, the new president of Robertson's Regent University, supports immigration reform. Liberty University School of Law has received full accreditation from the American Bar Association. Peter LaBarbera declares his recent "truth academy" to have been a monumental success. Don Feder knows who to blame for Elena Kagan's confirmation:  stupid voters. The Tea Party might have a lot of perceived clout, but it doesn't have much money.... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/09/2010, 11:08am
Last week we noted Randall Terry was going after other pro-life groups for their failure to mobilize activists to stop Elena Kagan, accusing them of being frauds and charlatans who collect donations to fight abortion and then do nothing. Over the weekend, Terry penned another scathing attack, this one directed at Steven Ertelt and his LifeNews.com for claiming that there was a "silver lining" in Kagan's confirmation. Needless to say, Terry does not agree: This is one long lie. I repeat, it is a lie, designed to get you and I to fall in line, and get behind the Neville Chamberlains... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 08/06/2010, 5:52pm
PFAW Statement: GOP Obstruction Against Judges Reaches New Low. Justin Elliott @ Salon: Why did no one object to the "Pentagon mosque"? Ben Armbruster @ Think Progress: Angle opposes civil rights protections for gays, wants clergy to endorse candidates from the pulpit. Zachary Roth @ Daily Beast: NAACP-Bashing Tea Partier Returns. Joe Sudbay @ Americablog: McCain's tantrum on the Senate floor over DADT and hate crimes. Alan Colmes: Anti-Abortion Group’s Prayers Have Been Answered Now That Abortion Doctor Has Leukemia. Jonathan... MORE