choice

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 4/12/11

Michele Bachmann

Iowa: Slams marriage equality in speech to The Family Leader (Politico, 4/11).

Religious Right: Wins straw poll at Liberty University's The Awakening 2011 (Freedom Federation, 4/11). 

Budget: Refuses to endorse budget compromise (NPR, 4/11). 

Haley Barbour

Background: Experience as a lobbyist may make problems for campaign (AP, 4/12).

New Hampshire: Traveling to Republican events in New Hampshire this week (Boston Globe, 4/11).

Herman Cain

South Carolina: Talks about the "ultimate destruction of the IRS" at Furman University (CSBT, 4/9). 

Background: Discusses the role faith plays in his presidential ambitions (Christian Post, 4/8). 

Newt Gingrich

Georgia: Slated to address Georgia GOP convention (The State Column, 4/11).

Religious Right: Speaks to conservative leaders at Liberty University (Lynchburg News & Advance, 4/8). 

Minnesota: To deliver keynote address to anti-gay Minnesota group along with Bachmann (RWW, 4/11). 

Mike Huckabee

Reproductive Rights: Endorses Janet Porter's "Hearbeat Bill" (RWW, 4/11). 

Religious Right: Faces increasing scrutiny over ties to pseudo-historian David Barton (RWW, 4/7).

Jon Huntsman

Utah: Receives support of just fourteen percent of Republicans in home state of Utah (AP, 4/10). 

South Carolina: Selected to deliver commencement address to University of South Carolina (The Hill, 4/8). 

Sarah Palin

Birther: Lauds Donald Trump's "investigation" of Obama's birth certificate (Mediaite, 4/9). 

Poll: Popularity continues to plunge, even among Republicans (WaPo, 4/8). 

Tim Pawlenty

Campaign: Picks former head of the Republican Governors Association as campaign manager (Star Tribune, 4/11). 

Iowa: Campaign aide arrested for breaking into home while drunk (Des Moines Register, 4/8). 

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Marks fifth anniversary of Massachusetts health care reform law (RCP, 4/12). 

2012: Makes video announcement of exploratory committee (LA Times, 4/11). 

Rick Santorum

New Hampshire: Commits to June 7 presidential debate in New Hampshire (The Hill, 4/11). 

South Carolina: Wins straw poll in GOP-heavy Greenville County (Greenville Online, 4/10). 

Health Care: Says health care reform makes one "less than what God created you to be" (RWW, 4/8). 

Donald Trump

Religious Right: Speaks about faith to David Brody of CBN News (CBN News, 4/11). 

Media: Lashes out at Vanity Fair and the New York Times (Vanity Fair, 4/11).

Mike Huckabee Endorses Janet Porter's Radical Anti-Choice Bill

Janet Porter continues to nab more endorsements for her extreme “Heartbeat bill,” the Ohio legislation which would criminalize most abortions, as she announced at The Awakening that Mike Huckabee has endorsed her bill. Porter, who brought in two fetuses to testify on behalf of the bill in the State House, was able to get the legislation out of committee by just one vote after Ohio Right to Life Society criticized the bill as plainly unconstitutional. Along with Huckabee, Porter said that Republican Rep. Steve Chabot and potential Senate candidates Josh Mandel and Ken Blackwell also back her bill. Huckabee’s endorsement of Porter’s legislation shouldn’t come as a surprise, the former Arkansas governor said that he would base a potential presidential campaign on his opposition to abortion-rights and that he answer’s to two Janet’s, his wife and Janet Porter.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • I honestly cannot believe that NOM is actually quoting Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall.
  • Speaker John Boehner and the GOP will probably cave on defunding Planned Parenthood ... but apparently he is still an anti-choice hero.
  • Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership is starting its own prayer alert network.
  • FRC thinks its work was so vital to one anti-health care reform lawsuit that it is getting involved in another.
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer says there are too many questions about repealing DADT that are being left unanswered: "And what about families who rely on on DoD schools for their children’s education? If LGBT personnel teach and pro-gay indoctrination is allowed in military-run classrooms, does the DoD have any way of determining how many families will choose not to re-enlist because of this? If pro-marriage service-members want educational alternatives because of LGBT curricula in DoD classrooms, will alternatives be provided, or will they be forced to suffer the brainwashing of their children as long as they serve?"

The Next Logical Step: Using White Sheets To Defund Planned Parenthood

Looks like other ant-choice activists are taking a page out of the Randall Terry playbook by seeking to upgrade the shock value of their efforts to get Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, which is why Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition and Johnny Hunter of the Life Education and Resource Networks [LEARN] will be demonstrating in front of Speaker John Boehner's office displaying white sheets in an effort to link Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan:

Leaders to display "white sheets" to draw attention to the fact that Planned Parenthood Founder, Margaret Sanger, supported the Ku Klux Klan and their racist agenda and even spoke at a Klan rally.

White sheets are a longtime symbol of the KKK.

Clergy to say not one penny of public money should be given to an organization founded by a racist and Klan supporter.

Demonstration and News Conference Details --

When: Thursday, April 7, at 11:00 A.M.

Where: In front of Speaker Boehner's office in the Longworth House office Building. The location is the public sidewalk on the corner of Independence and New Jersey Ave. SE Washington, D.C.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states;

"We are displaying these 'white sheets' to expose the reality that the Founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a racist who supported the agenda of the Ku Klux Klan and even participated in their events.

"We are calling upon the members of Congress, who have given billions of public money to Planned Parenthood over the years, to defund this organization whose roots are racist, bigoted and extremist.

"Our tax dollars should be given to groups that have embraced human rights, equality and justice for all, not to organizations founded by racists who embraced the agenda and philosophy of the KKK.

"Does America really want to fund the largest abortion provider in the world whose founder supported the Klan and racism?"

Dr. Johnny Hunter, National Director of LEARN one of the largest African-American pro-life organizations in America, comments;

"If Congress is going to continue funding Planned Parenthood, they may as well just give it to the KKK. Planned Parenthood's main service to the black community is abortion.

"Like drug pushers who make a profit pushing drugs in a community, Planned Parenthood is an abortion pusher who makes a profit pushing abortion in a community. By aborting black babies, Planned Parenthood has killed more blacks than either the drug pushers or the KKK.

Are they going to be wearing these white sheets, or simply displaying them?  Because if they are actually going to wear them, then this might be worth checking out.

Anti-Choice Activist Likens American Cancer Society To Nazi Scientists

Religious Right activists have frequently found themselves at odds with the prominent health organization the American Cancer Society, attacking the group over its support for stem-cell research, the approval of an HPV vaccine, and for an anti-smoking program by an Iowa Planned Parenthood clinic. Josh Braham, the director of Right to Life Central California and the host of Life Report, has taken this antipathy to a new level, calling for a boycott of American Cancer Society activities because of the group’s support for stem cell research. Writing for the anti-choice website LifeNews, Brahm calls for a boycott of the Relay for Life and claims that supporting the group is no different than aiding Nazi scientists:

A friend of mine and strong pro-life advocate, Clinton, found himself in an awkward situation last week. His Christian band had agreed to play at a Relay For Life not knowing that some of the money goes to HESCR. While meeting with Clinton, this question came up: “which is worse, giving up a ministry opportunity where Christian music could be heard by non-believers, or supporting something contrary to one’s beliefs?”

I responded by offering this analogy:

Imagine you’re in a German Christian band in 1941. You’ve happily agreed to play at a rally in support of research and treatments for hypothermia. It sounds like an important cause, raising money to treat a condition that plagues many people around the world every year. However, a few days before the event you learn that a portion of the money raised at the rally will be sent to support the research of Dr. Rascher at the Dachau concentration camp. Dr. Rascher conducted human experiments on Jews, for the purpose of creating treatments for hypothermia, an issue Nazi soldiers were struggling with on the Eastern front. One study forced subjects to endure a tank of ice water for up to five hours. Another study placed prisoners naked in the open air for several hours with temperatures as low as 21°F. Approximately 100 people are reported to have died as a result of these experiments. Would you still play at the rally?



If human embryos are just as human as you or me, than the Dachau analogy is a fair one, except that embryos don’t feel pain when they’re experimented on or killed. This doesn’t affect the moral equation much though, as what Dr. Rascher did would have still been considered a heinous human rights violation even if he anesthetized the Jews before using them for unethical experiments.

Unruh Unleashes Variety of Falsehoods In Attempt to Defend South Dakota's Anti-Choice Law

Last week, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed legislation forcing any woman seeking an abortion to wait three days and undergo counseling at an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center."

South Dakota activists Allen Unruh and his wife Leslee have long been involved in seeking out outlaw abortion and Alan Colmes recently brought Allen Unruh onto his radio program to explain the need for this law.

It did not go well

Unruh kept insisting that 60% of all women who get an abortion are "coerced" into doing so and whenever Colmes pointed out that that was a false statistic, Unruh was reduced to citing a woman who was reportedly forced at gunpoint to get an abortion.  Colmes kept trying to point out that coercing women to do anything at gunpoint was already illegal, so a mandatory three-day waiting period and counseling was just an attempt to further restrict a woman's right to choose. 

Eventually, Unruh started claiming that Planned Parenthood routinely "coerced" woman into getting abortions, that their facilities had no trained medical personnel on staff, and did not conduct any sort of exam of patients seeking abortions  ... but then a registered nurse who worked at Planned Parenthood called in and told Unruh that he had no idea what he was talking about:

Alabama Weighs Extreme "Personhood" Laws

As neighboring Mississippi is set to vote on a “personhood” amendment in November, Alabama may have its own personhood debate as a “personhood” amendment and statute have been introduced in the state legislature. Republican legislators in the Alabama legislature have introduced “personhood” laws as both statutes and amendments to the state constitution. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans, and the Senate statutory bill already has the support of a majority of state senators.

Personhood laws grant constitutional rights to zygotes and fetuses, and ban abortion without exception, certain forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization, and the treatment of pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies. The radical anti-choice group Personhood USA along with the Foundation for Moral Law, led by former Alabama state Supreme Court justice and likely presidential candidate Roy Moore, are the main forces behind the state’s personhood legislation. Ben DuPré, the point person for the state’s personhood campaign, is a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent University and Regent University School of Law and a former clerk for Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice and Moore, and is now an attorney for the Foundation for Moral Law and the head of Personhood Alabama. DuPré likened legal abortion to the dehumanization of black people in America:

The Foundation for Moral Law and Personhood Alabama have announced personhood bills and amendments in the House and the Senate, backed by a large number of supporters.

SB301 is a clear recognition of the personhood rights of all human beings, regardless of their age, size, or location. SB 301 states “The term ‘persons’ as used in the Code of Alabama 1975, shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof.”

SB 301 is a statutory change to the Alabama Code, and is sponsored by a staggering 19 of 35 Alabama Senators.



Yesterday HB 405 and HB 409 were filed in the House by Representative John Merrill,a Personhood Statute and Personhood Amendment, respectively. The Personhood Statute and Amendment were backed by 31 co-sponsors.

“It is my belief that this bill will clearly affirm that, under law, an individual becomes a person upon fertilization,” stated Representative Merrill.



DuPré added, “America used to define the meaning of ‘person’ along racial lines; now we draw the line at the womb. Personhood legislation finally gives equal protection of the laws to the unborn as well as the born, and from the first moment of human life.”

Religious Right Favorite Trent Franks Poised To Run For Senate

Arizona Congressman Trent Franks is preparing a campaign for US Senate following the retirement of Jon Kyl. According to Politico, Franks intends to “campaign to the right” of already-announced Republican Congressman Jeff Flake in the primary. Running to the right of Flake or almost any other Republican shouldn’t be difficult for Franks, who was tied for first as the most conservative member of the House.

Franks is a frequent critic of President Obama, even going so far as to call him an “enemy of humanity” at a right-wing conference, and later claimed unconvincingly that he simply meant he was an “enemy of unborn humanity.” He even wanted to impeach Obama over his decision not to defend unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act and warned that Obama has an “ideological commitment” to “weaken America.” Most recently, Franks joined Rick Santorum to claim that Obama and his allies were deliberately trying to destroy America. Such rancid statements shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Franks has floated Birther conspiracy theories and said Obama consistently “acts un-American.”

Expect the Religious Right to rally behind Franks against the more libertarian Flake. Franks is a noted proponent of the charge that abortion providers are leading a genocide against African Americans, and said that African Americans were better off under slavery than in America with reproductive freedom. He even introduced legislation barring “race-based” abortion along with leading anti-choice figures, believing his bill will “blow a fatal hole in Roe v. Wade,” and also screened the discredited documentary Maafa 21, which argues that Planned Parenthood wants to exterminate African Americans, in Congress. Moreover, Franks participated in Lou Engle’s militantly anti-choice and anti-gay The Call rallies, and worked with Dominionist groups.

The possibility of a Franks candidacy has already forced Flake to abandon his previously pro-reform position on immigration to compete with Franks, who is an anti-immigrant hardliner. Politico reports that Franks is poised to announce following a fundraiser with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Michele Bachmann:

Currently in his fifth term, Franks has solidified himself as the most conservative member of Arizona's delegation and indicated in early March he felt like he had a "responsibility to give the people a chance to choose between my perspective and Mr. Flake's."

Franks' Senate announcement will come after a $250 morning fundraiser hosted by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arizona insiders warn that Flake's flip on immigration gives Franks's candidacy immediate room to grow in a state still consumed by border violence and crime by undocumented workers. The key question is whether Flake will be able to replicate Sen. John McCain's conversion on the white hot issue.

"If it's a two-person fight, I believe Trent wins. Flake's flip on immigration kills him. He cannot effectively do a McCain and rebrand himself. McCain spent millions against a weaker opponent to rebrand himself. Flake will not have that luxury," according to one GOP operative currently unaffiliated with either campaign.

Arizona Bans "Race-Based" Abortion In Attempt To Bolster "Abortion As Black Genocide" Myth

In early February Right Wing Watch reported on a bill in Arizona that would make it a felony for women from having abortions if the decision to terminate the pregnancy was based on race or sex. Yesterday, Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill into law, allowing the biological father or the woman’s parents to sue abortion providers for damages if the doctor knowingly conducting the procedure on race or sex grounds:

Arizona is the first state in the nation to make sex- or race-selection abortions a crime.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed into law House Bill 2443, which makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion based on the sex or race of the fetus.



Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said the only proof Montenegro offered was a magazine article on such practices in China and India.

The law allows the father of an aborted fetus - or, if the mother is a minor, the mother's parents - to take legal action against the doctor or other health-care provider who performed the abortion. If convicted of the felony, physicians would face up to seven years in jail and the loss of their medical license.

The law is a result of a right-wing campaign to smear abortion providers, notably Planned Parenthood, for allegedly targeting women of color in order to commit “genocide” against the African American community. Anti-choice groups have launched billboard campaigns using images of black children and President Obama, publicized the discredited “documentary” Maafa 21, and organized “Freedom Rides” against abortion-rights.

Susan Cohen of the Guttmacher Institute explains how activists who want to take away women’s reproductive rights are twisting the facts about abortion in minority communities. As Cohen explains, African American women’s disproportionate lack of access to contraception and healthcare has led not only to higher rates of unintended pregnancies but also to higher rates of sexually transmitted infections:

These activists are exploiting and distorting the facts to serve their antiabortion agenda. They ignore the fundamental reason women have abortions and the underlying problem of racial and ethnic disparities across an array of health indicators. The truth is that behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy. This applies to all women—black, white, Hispanic, Asian and Native American alike. Not surprisingly, the variation in abortion rates across racial and ethnic groups relates directly to the variation in the unintended pregnancy rates across those same groups.

Black women are not alone in having disproportionately high unintended pregnancy and abortion rates. The abortion rate among Hispanic women, for example, although not as high as the rate among black women, is double the rate among whites. Hispanics also have a higher level of unintended pregnancy than white women. Black women's unintended pregnancy rates are the highest of all. These higher unintended pregnancy rates reflect the particular difficulties that many women in minority communities face in accessing high-quality contraceptive services and in using their chosen method of birth control consistently and effectively over long periods of time. Moreover, these realities must be seen in a larger context in which significant racial and ethnic disparities persist for a wide range of health outcomes, from diabetes to heart disease to breast and cervical cancer to sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.

Flashback: Abby Johnson’s Suspicious "Conversion" To The Anti-Choice Movement

As part of their campaign to defund Planned Parenthood, the Susan B. Anthony List is running television advertisements featuring Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood staffer now with Lila Rose’s LiveAction group. As RWW previously reported, Johnson baselessly asserted that Planned Parenthood has abortion “quotas” and requires their staff to “coerce” women and minors into having abortions:

In addition, the Texas Monthly poked numerous holes in Johnson’s story:

Johnson’s departure from Planned Parenthood turned out to be a more complex story than it first appeared. At a court hearing for an injunction sought by Planned Parenthood to prevent Johnson from divulging confidential information to her new allies, two of Johnson’s former co-workers testified that she told them in the days before she resigned that she was afraid she was about to be fired. At one time, Johnson, who was named the regional Planned Parenthood affiliate’s employee of the year in 2008, seemed to have a promising future with the organization. By mid-2009, however, her relationship with her employer had begun to deteriorate. Salon reported that on October 2, Johnson was summoned to Houston to meet with her supervisors to discuss problems with her job performance. She was placed on what Planned Parenthood calls a “performance improvement plan.” It was just three days later, on Monday, that Johnson made her tearful appearance at the Coalition for Life. The following day she faxed Planned Parenthood a resignation letter, which mentioned nothing about a crisis of conscience.

...

Other questions about Johnson’s credibility arose during our interview. She told me, for example, that there had never been any threats of violence against the Bryan clinic; however, Johnson herself received a series of threatening letters in 2007. “God will punish you for killing the innocent or we will,” read one. “You are not taking us seriously. You were at the clinic alone. Not very smart,” read another. In fact, the threats were taken so seriously that security cameras were installed at Johnson’s house, as she later acknowledged. Johnson also claimed that while most services at Planned Parenthood were provided by a nonprofit corporation, abortions were done by a for-profit corporation. Both she and Carney seemed to sincerely believe this was true, though all services at Planned Parenthood are, in fact, provided by a pair of separate nonprofit corporations.

As confounding as these inconsistencies are, there may be a much larger problem with Johnson’s story. Johnson has told the story of her journey from pro-choice activist to pro-life celebrity many times in many venues, and the crux of the tale is always the same: her moving description of what she saw on the ultrasound that September day in the Bryan clinic’s operating room ... Johnson’s account is so plausible and rich in detail that even Planned Parenthood seems not to have investigated whether this event ever took place. At my request, the staff at the Bryan clinic examined patient records from September 26, the day Johnson claims to have had her conversion experience, and spoke with the physician who performed abortions on that date. According to Planned Parenthood, there is no record of an ultrasound-guided abortion performed on September 26. The physician on duty told the organization that he did not use an ultrasound that day, nor did Johnson assist on any abortion procedure. “Planned Parenthood can assure you that no abortion patients underwent an ultrasound-guided abortion on September 26,” said a spokesperson. It’s difficult to imagine that Johnson simply got the date wrong; September 12 was the only other day that month that the clinic performed surgical abortions.

Could clinic staff and the physician be mistaken? The Texas Department of State Health Services requires abortion providers to fill out a form documenting basic information about each procedure performed at a clinic. This document is known as the Induced Abortion Report Form. The Bryan clinic reported performing fifteen surgical abortions on September 26. Johnson has consistently said that the patient in question was thirteen weeks pregnant, which is plausible, since thirteen weeks is right at the cusp of when physicians will consider using an ultrasound to assist with the procedure. Yet none of the patients listed on the report for that day were thirteen weeks pregnant; in fact, none were beyond ten weeks.

Obama Featured on Chicago Anti-Abortion Rights Billboards

After an anti-choice organization placed, and ultimately pulled, a New York billboard with the message “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in The Womb,” the group is now posting similar billboards in Chicago featuring President Obama. Jill Stanek, a radical anti-choice blogger, details the group Life Always and its new billboard in Obama’s hometown that reads: “Every 21 Minutes, Our Next Possible Leader Is Aborted.” Stanek writes that “Tomorrow, March 29, over 30 pro-life billboards will be unveiled on Chicago’s south side, where residents are predominantly black.”

The “Abortion as Black Genocide” theme in the anti-choice community continues to grow, with legislators even pushing bans on so-called “race-based abortion.” Kathryn Joyce of Political Research Associates explains:

Recent studies by the Guttmacher Institute found that abortion rates are indeed higher among women of color. African Americans, in particular, are thirteen percent of the population but account for 37 percent of all abortions. However, Guttmacher determined, this is due to their greater incidence of unwanted pregnancies, resulting from economic inequality and poor access to contraception and education. Nonetheless, the anti-abortion movement holds that Black and brown populations are being targeted – rather than served – by abortion providers who deliberately place clinics in inner-city, low-income neighborhoods.

Focus On The Family Warns Of Gay “Indoctrination” In Schools And The Military

Yesterday, RWW reported on the Religious Right’s virulent opposition to a California bill that would make sure lesbian and gay historical figures are represented in the curriculum. Now, Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink is linking the curriculum bill to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in its post “Indoctrination 101: From the Battlefield to the Ball Field.” Focus on the Family has consistently railed againsthomosexual indoctrinationin schools and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, demanding its reinstatement. CitizenLink looks to traditionally anti-gay groups such as the Center for Military Readiness and the Pacific Justice Institute, along with its affiliated California Family Council, to blast the purported “indoctrination”:

The California Senate Education Committee passed legislation Wednesday that would mandate public schools teach U.S. history, California history and social science with a deliberate emphasis on the roles and contributions of gay- and lesbian-identified individuals, as well as those of transsexuals and bisexuals.

“It seems a bit like a quota system,” said Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council. “It’s based less on the level of contribution and more on one’s sexual orientation.”

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said: “Our Legislature just doesn’t get it — with thousands of teachers getting pink slips, this is not the time to place more expensive, politically correct mandates on our schools. This bill also undermines parental rights and is insensitive to those whose cultures and belief systems are at odds with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) agenda.”



Meanwhile, the military has been ordered to “re-educate” its members on similar issues. The U.S. House Armed Services Committee soon will hold hearings on the repeal of the law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which prevented open homosexuality in the military.

In 1993, the House and Senate conducted 12 hearings and field trips before passing the policy. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said the committee needs to hold a similar number before any repeal is made permanent.

“Imposition of LGBT law and policies on our military would be enormously complicated and anything but simple,” she said. “Members of Congress must ask questions and insist on honest answers.”

Among the issues Donnelly wants addressed: sexual privacy violations; “zero tolerance” of dissent; impact of sexual misconduct on unit cohesion and trust in leadership; infringements on religious liberty for chaplains and people of faith; plans to accommodate same-sex couples in military family housing; LGBT “sensitivity” training in all Defense Department training programs, academies and schools; and personal dress and behavior.

Land: America Didn't Realize How Good We Had It Under George W. Bush

The Florida Baptist Witness reports that Richard Land spoke at the Jacksonville Baptist Association’s Leadership Institute last week and said that America was on the verge of revival that would reverse all of the horrors that President Obama has inflicted upon this nation ... provided that none of the conservatives on the Supreme Court die before Obama can be voted out of office. 

Oh yeah, and Americans will also come to realize just how good they had it under George W. Bush:

Addressing abortion, Land said the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which effectively legalized abortion on demand, likely will be overturned during his lifetime. One pro-choice justice being replaced by a pro-life justice would result in a majority willing to overturn Roe, he said.

“We just need one more vote,” Land said, “which means that we need to pray that none of the justices that are conservatives die until after we get a conservative president. And then one of the liberals has to change.”

Since abortion was legalized in 1973, more Americans have been aborted each year than have died cumulatively in all the wars the nation has fought, according to Land. Yet abortion is not merely a moral issue, but also an economic one, he said.

“How many people that are not working would be working if we hadn’t killed those babies?” he asked. Unemployed Americans could be “making goods and services for those people, building homes for those people, building schools for those people, teaching in the schools for those people.”

Recent healthcare legislation also threatens the sanctity of human life, Land said. If so- called “Obamacare” is not repealed, elderly Americans will be denied life-saving medical procedures because of the cost involved, he said.

“I personally think that the greatest threat to the sanctity of human life right now is Obamacare,” he said, adding, “I have no compunction about telling you that everybody in this room will live a shorter life, and it will be more filled with pain and suffering—if Obamacare is not rescinded—than you would otherwise. They are going to ration care.”

...

Land predicted that President George W. Bush will experience a similar fate as Harry Truman, who left office with a low approval rating but was appreciated decades later as one of the greatest presidents in American history.

Evangelicals likely will not see a president in the near future who identifies with them as much as Bush, he said, calling Bush’s two inaugural addresses “extraordinary” and “insightful.”

“I suspect too many Americans didn’t realize what they had when they had George W. Bush,” Land said.

Right-Wing Commentator: Obama Wants Black Children “Eliminated”

When the state of New Jersey ordered the closure of a school named after President Barack Obama over waning enrollment numbers, right-wing commentator Jeannie DeAngelis knew who was responsible: President Obama. Not because of the President’s education policies, but for his support of a woman’s right to choose. DeAngelis, like many others in the anti-choice movement, espouse the erroneous conspiracy theory that abortion providers are targeting the African-American community. Writing for RenewAmerica, the conservative blogger blames Obama’s advocacy of abortion-rights for having black children “eliminated long before they could register for kindergarten”:

Sad to say, but Barack H. Obama Elementary School in Asbury Park, New Jersey, a school whose student body is 94% black, is being forced to close its doors. Due to a "steep decline in total enrollment" this summer, the school will shut off the loudspeaker and ring the dismissal bell for the very last time.

"Bruce N. Rodman, the state-appointed official who manages the school district's finances, said enrollment at the Obama school had seen a 35 percent drop over the past ten years."

How ironic, an institution named after a President who is a champion of Planned Parenthood, an organization that prides itself on providing accessible "reproductive services" to black women, is being forced to close because potential students were eliminated long before they could register for kindergarten.

The empty seats at Barack H. Obama Elementary School, formerly known as Bangs Elementary, are a visible testimony to the success of the abortion policies America's first black president proudly supports. If the school's namesake were invited to speak at a school assembly, thanks to the type of pro-abortion policy he promotes the guest of honor would find the auditorium filled with a small cluster of children and only hear a faint echo of clapping from somewhere in the last row.



Instead the school is closing, and when it does, the unintentional message is that the students emerging through those double doors are a but a small percentage of living, breathing survivors who, despite Planned Parenthood's efforts, miraculously managed to escape being victims of an abortion policy the "Barack H. Obama" brand continues to endorse.

Pro-Voucher Group Working Against Recall of Union-Busting Wisconsin Republicans

An organization that backs private school vouchers is campaigning against the recall of the eight Republican Wisconsin senators who backed Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation. The so-called American Federation for Children (AFC) is an ardent supporter of the voucher scheme in Milwaukee, the unsuccessful voucher program which Walker and his GOP allies want to export to other parts of the state as part of bolstering the Republicans’ attacks on public schools and teachers.

Listen to their robocall defending GOP Senator Sheila Harsdorf:

At the same time that Walker and the Republicans proposed a massive $834 million cut to public schools, endangering the state’s esteemed public education system, they seek to spend more taxpayer money on a wasteful voucher program that has been unable to improve the education of Milwaukee students. A comprehensive study in 2009 found “no overall statistically significant difference between [voucher school] and [public school] student achievement growth in either math or reading one year after they were carefully matched to each other,” and that fourth graders in the voucher program were actually performing worse than comparable public school students.

While the private school voucher scheme did nothing to improve education, it did funnel taxpayer dollars to religious schools: of the 120 schools receiving vouchers examined in the study, 95 were religious and 7 operate within a religious tradition.

Renowned education scholar Diane Ravitch, once a proponent of the so-called “school choice” movement, told OnMilwaukee.com that the voucher program “has not worked”:

Milwaukee is indeed the nation's laboratory for assessing the value of school choice. The advocates of school choice predicted that academic performance in choice schools would not only soar, but that the competitive pressure would cause achievement in the regular district schools to improve. None of this has happened. The latest studies show that students in voucher schools and in charter schools do not perform any differently from those in the regular public schools.



"Reformers" in Milwaukee have been pursuing strategies that we now know are ineffective. The more time and resources devoted to ineffective strategies, the less attention there is to finding useful improvements. Choice got the support of foundations and business leaders, but it has not worked.

Even the state schools superintendent Tom Evers agreed that “choice schools have proven to be no more effective and in some cases less effective than Milwaukee Public Schools.”

But organizations like the AFC ignore and dismiss the clear findings that the Milwaukee voucher program is a wrongheaded and ill-designed effort to improve education, and instead want to expand the program to more school districts and tear down the public education system. Now, they want to make sure that Republican legislators keep their jobs and continue to support vouchers and bust unions representing public school teachers.

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 3/22/11

Michele Bachmann

History: New Hampshire politicians take jabs at Bachmann's history blunder (Politico, 3/17).

2012: Deep roots in conservative movement bolster her campaign prospects (TNR, 3/17).

Haley Barbour

Campaign: Expanding campaign and presence in early state (NYT, 3/22).

Mississippi: State taxpayers paid for $300,000 of his out-of-state traveling costs (Clarion Ledger, 3/21).

Foreign Affairs: Calls for reducing troop level in Afghanistan (CBS News, 3/16).

Mitch Daniels

Book: Signs book deal with conservative publisher (AP, 3/21).

2012: Wife raises doubts about potential run (Indianapolis Star, 3/20).

Newt Gingrich

New Hampshire: Schedules speeches and meetings in the Granite State (Union Leader, 3/21).

Foreign Affairs: Claims President Obama "does not even know who his enemies are" (Union Leader, 3/20).

Obama: Says President is busy on ESPN instead of handling crises (LA Times, 3/18).

Mike Huckabee

Religious Right: Says he wants world leaders to have a "biblical worldview" (RWW, 3/21). 

Anti-Choice: Lauds anti-choice leaders on Fox News show (News Hounds, 3/21).

Fox News: Favorite candidate of Fox News viewers (HuffPo, 3/18).

Sarah Palin

Foreign Affairs: Plans to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu during tour of Israel after visiting India (Forward, 3/21).

Energy: Alaska abandons much of Palin's energy agenda (NYT, 3/17).

Campaign: Top aide profiled by Los Angeles Times (LA Times, 3/16).

Ron Paul

Foreign Affairs: Slams US involvement in no-fly zone as "unconstitutional" (Raw Story, 3/21).

GOP: Wins California GOP convention straw poll (Sacramento Bee, 3/20).

Economy: Pushes elimination of the Federal Reserve (Reuters, 3/17).

Tim Pawlenty

2012: Announces formation of exploratory committee (Star Tribune, 3/21).

Campaign: Adopts Southern accent in stump speech (Minnesota Public Radio, 3/18).

Tea Party: Set to address New Hampshire Tea Party rally (Think Progress, 3/17).

Mitt Romney

Health Care: Allies downplay impact of Massachusetts health care reform law on primary (The Hill, 3/17).

Campaign: Recruits fundraisers close to former President Bush (Bloomberg, 3/17).

Donald Trump

Foreign Affairs: Brags to Fox News that he "screwed" Qaddafi on land deal (Fox News, 3/21).

New Hampshire: Scheduled to address political forum in New Hampshire (Boston Herald, 3/16).

Rick Santorum

Foreign Affairs: Derides Obama for turning the US into "the military of the UN" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/18).

Health Care: Calls Mitt Romney's health care reform law a "failure" (The State Column, 3/18).

Religious Right: Tells far-right Catholic group that he was "appalled" by JFK's "radical" support of the separation of church and state (Boston Globe, 3/15).

Personhood Law Would Ban Treatment of Life-Threatening Pregnancies

As personhood legislation sprouts up in states like Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Iowa, the radical anti-choice group Personhood USA also hopes to introduce their extreme (and unconstitutional) legislation in North Dakota. Personhood bills criminalize abortion and certain forms of birth control by granting legal rights to zygotes, declaring it a separate ‘person’ from the mother. Many doctors believe that such legislation would ban in vitro fertilization and prohibit doctors from giving medical assistance to women with serious pregnancy complications like ectopic pregnancies. The AP reports on North Dakota doctors speaking out against the radical legislation in their state:

Doctors told the North Dakota Senate's Judiciary Committee that it could affect couples using in vitro fertilization to try to have a baby as well as women who have complications in early pregnancy that will prevent an embryo from developing into a viable baby. Such complications include an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg begins growing outside the uterus. The doctors who testified said they did not perform abortions.



Although the measure exempts in vitro fertilization from criminal penalties, it includes language saying that "causing injury to a human being" is not justified.

Dr. Stephanie Dahl, a Fargo infertility specialist who works at North Dakota's only in vitro fertilization center, said the bill would make it illegal to do the procedure.

"The process of IVF may result in injury to an embryo," Dahl said. "It is unavoidable."

Dr. Shari Orser, a Bismarck obstetrician and gynecologist, told the committee that most eggs that are fertilized for in vitro fertilization never become viable embryos "and only a small percentage of embryos thought to be viable produce a child."

"To suggest that every embryo is a person is absurd," Orser said.

Orser said the law also would complicate the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. Without treatment, a tubal pregnancy can result in serious internal bleeding and death, she said.

Other conditions can result in a fetus developing without kidneys, lungs or a brain, Orser said.

"These diagnoses are often made in the first half of these pregnancies," Orser said. "Should a woman be forced to continue the pregnancy when she knows that her baby will die, or can she be spared the emotional distress and the risks of carrying a pregnancy to term?"

Religious Right Rebels Against Latest GOP Budget Proposal

It looks like it barely took two months for major Religious Right groups to panic over the GOP leadership’s agenda. Speaker John Boehner decided to pass another temporary continuing resolution that includes funding towards family planning and health services groups like Planned Parenthood, which anti-choice organizations fiercely opposed. With Republican leaders ready to ignore their pleas, many are now on the attack.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association did not mince words in his attack on Republican leaders:

The new temporary Continuing Resolution, which will be voted on in the House tomorrow, is perfectly terrible. It does not defund Planned Parenthood, abortions in D.C., ObamaCare, NPR or the EPA. The GOP leadership right now is only agreeing to stuff that Obama said he didn't want anyway. This is an inkling that there may an alarming lack of spine in House GOP leadership. This is the optimum time to strike down funding for Planned Parenthood, after Lila Rose's undercover investigation exposed its willingness to aid and abet those who traffic in child prostitution by arranging for underage girls to get flatly illegal abortions. The question on defunding is simple: if not now, when?

The Family Research Council will score the vote on the continuing resolution in its ratings of members, and Tony Perkins called on the group’s allies in Congress to vote against it:

Much to the displeasure of voters and dozens of organizations like FRC, the proposal sidelines every pro-life provision for which we fought. Apparently, some Republicans are worried that the bill will get hung up by the language to defund Planned Parenthood and D.C. abortions. All the more reason to have this battle now and move on.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List said the defunding of Planned Parenthood was a “non-negotiable” issue:

If Congress can’t cut off taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, a willing partner of the exploitation of women and young girls, how can it be serious about cutting spending anywhere else? The time to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood is not next week, or in three weeks, or in a month, it’s now. Ending taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood in both short-term and long-term Continuing Resolution bills is a non-negotiable.

Colson Slams Lady Gaga for ‘Born This Way’

Following Focus on the Family’s staunch criticism of Lady Gaga over her new song ‘Born This Way,’ Chuck Colson is now attacking Gaga for claiming that sexual orientation is not a choice. The Religious Right leader also goes after Attorney General Eric Holder, who recently announced that the Justice Department will no longer defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act and said that a person’s sexual orientation should be considered comparable to sex, religion, race, and national origin. Colson quotes conservative writer and Gaga-critic Frank Furedi in arguing that since Gaga transformed herself from into a pop-sensation, gays and lesbians can similarly transform themselves into heterosexuals:

Do people choose to be gay, or are they born that way? Here’s a tip: Don’t turn to Lady Gaga for an answer.

According to Vogue magazine, Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” is more than “an unbelievably great dance song”; it is “destined to be the anthem of every gay-pride event for the next 100 years.” It only took the well-known pop star 10 minutes to write the song and its explanation of same-sex attraction. At least that’s what Lady Gaga told Vogue.

That being the case, we shouldn’t expect too much nuance and thoughtfulness from someone best known for wearing meat as a dress and making an obscene gesture at a Mets game. Still, Lady Gaga has unintentionally raised some important questions which go far beyond sexual orientation.



As regular BreakPoint listeners know, the link between same-sex attraction and genetics is far from established. But what’s baffling is the way the singer -- and the culture she represents -- holds two conflicting viewpoints at the same time. After all, performers like Lady Gaga are the masters of reinvention. They are constantly shedding identities and personas, whether for financial gain or as a matter of self-expression. So to then insist at the same time that reinvention and redefinition is impossible and that identity is fixed is literally incoherent.

Furedi sees this incoherence as in keeping with the way that “identity politics” has “fluctuated between the individualistic celebration of choice and [the] . . . quest for legitimacy.” As a libertarian, Furedi worries that we are on our way to seeing ourselves as “slaves to our biology” instead of as beings capable of “making our own world” and “choosing who we want to be.” And he’s right to object! This idea is spreading. After all, Attorney General Holder, explaining why the Administration will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, said that sex orientation is an “immutable characteristic.”

But for the Christian, thinking in terms of dichotomies such as “nature versus nurture” and “genetics versus free will” is the real problem. For us, it’s not either-or. Who we are cannot be reduced to any one thing. For instance, Christianity teaches that biology and the rest of creation has a great deal to teach us about how we should live. This is part of what we mean by “natural law.” An obvious example is the biological facts that lie behind the teaching that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But saying that biology is somehow normative is not the same thing as saying that is determinative. We are free to choose how we behave, both for good and for ill.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Equality Matters: Maryland's Marriage Equality Bill Sent Back To Committee, Reportedly Delayed Till Next Year.
  • Tim Murphy @ Mother Jones: Birther Bill Author: What's a Long-Form Birth Certificate?
  • Towleroad: Leading Anti-Gay Utah State Senator Chris Buttars is Retiring.
  • Joe.My.God: Corruption Bust: New York Post Outs Anti-Gay Sen. Carl Kruger And Boyfriend.
  • Media Matters: Wash. Times Gives Platform To Anti-Choice Extremist Randall Terry.
  • Igor Volsky @ Wonk Room: Iowa Kingmaker Vander Plaats Still Comparing Gay Marriage To Polygamy, Incest.
  • Brian Beutler @ TPM: New Hampshire Republican Won't Apologize For Saying 'Defective' People Should Die In Siberia.
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choice Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Friday 09/09/2011, 10:22am
As we have been noting over the last few weeks, all of these people who have spent the last several years calling on Christians to take dominion over the Seven Mountains have suddenly started downplaying their Dominionist agenda. New Apostolic Reformation guru C. Peter Wagner has been especially active in trying to downplay the Dominionist aspect of his movement and just yesterday spent twenty minutes telling Voice of America that they were merely seeking to "influence" society and have no interest in establishing any sort of theocratic society. The problem for Wagner is that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 08/31/2011, 11:40am
Mike Huckabee is scheduled to be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for Personhood Mississippi, the group running the campaign to pass Amendment 26, which would criminalize abortion with no exceptions by giving rights to zygotes. In addition to banning abortion, the personhood amendment would also make certain forms of birth control, in-vitro fertilization and the treatment of problem pregnancies a crime. The American Family Association, which is based in Mississippi, committed $100,000 to fund the effort to pass Amendment 26 in November. By supporting Amendment 26, Huckabee places himself... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/31/2011, 9:44am
Yesterday, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a survey that found that "Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism" and that there is "no indication of increased alienation or anger among Muslim Americans in response to concerns about home-grown Islamic terrorists, controversies about the building of mosques and other pressures that have been brought to bear on this high-profile minority group in recent years." But Bryan Fischer, of course, wasn't buying it at all and dedicated a segment of his radio program yesterday to warning that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/29/2011, 1:42pm
Frank Turek has become a hero of sorts to the Religious Right after Cisco terminated his contract as a consultant when an employee complained about his work as an anti-gay activist. Turek, who was a motivational speaker for Cisco before he was canned, is a radio commentator on American Family Radio, the American Family Association’s far-right radio network, and is the author of Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone. He also frequently appears on broadcasts from Rick Joyner’s the Oak Initiative and joined Joyner, Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin to... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/29/2011, 12:50pm
No matter how many times the deceitful claim that abortion providers are systematically targeting the black community for genocide is repudiated, new anti-choice groups can’t seem to stop running more ‘black genocide’ billboard campaigns. In March, a group called Life Always notoriously used images of President Barack Obama and a young black girl in their billboard campaign that abortion is black genocide. Earlier this summer the National Black Pro-Life Coalition put up billboards in Atlanta likening legal abortion to slavery and the Radiance Foundation and Issues4Life... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/29/2011, 11:30am
Over the last week Kyle has been rebutting claims by some journalists and Religious Right activists that Dominionism, which contends that fundamentalist Christians must take ‘dominion’ over society and government, is nothing more than a liberal conspiracy. Dominionism has been gaining attention as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry’s close ties with outspoken propagators of the radical dominionist ideology come to light. In a post today, Rachel Tabachnik takes on the Washington Post’s Lisa Miller’s much-discussed article dismissing dominionism. Tabachnik notes that... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 08/29/2011, 9:55am
Lou Engle and Rick Joyner will be working together in September to promote The Call: Detroit, Engle’s prayer rally on November 11. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since both are closely involved in the New Apostolic Reformation, or the movement which believes that God is ordaining a new generation of prophets and apostles. Both have prophesied that America is turning into Nazi Germany and have claimed to know the reasons behind natural disasters, with Joyner calling Hurricane Katrina God’s judgment for homosexuality and Engle asserting that the Joplin, Missouri tornado... MORE