contraception

‘Replacing’ Planned Parenthood – Minus Birth Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Alveda King: 'Chemicals And Things' In Birth Control Make Women Infertile

Anti-abortion activist Alveda King claimed in a radio interview yesterday that female journalists may be hesitant to be critical of abortion rights because they have had abortions themselves or have been rendered infertile by “the chemicals and things that they try to use for birth control.”

King was discussing with Rebecca Maxwell, guest host of the “Steave Deace Show,” the recent set of videos smearing Planned Parenthood by suggesting that the organization sells fetal tissue for profit. The media was forced to cover these videos, King said, even though they had been “hesitant to deal with” legal abortion in general, perhaps because of their own personal histories.

“One reason that people have been hesitant to deal with it: shame, secrecy,” she explained. “And even if you think about the media, how do we know [whether a journalist who] is reporting this information has had to grapple with abortion or loss of fertility through using the chemicals and things that they try to use for birth control?"

"There are so many layers," she added. "How do we know that the men themselves weren’t involved in having their own child aborted? So it’s bringing it right up to you, it’s unavoidable, it’s true.”

The myth that hormonal birth control causes long-term infertility has been debunked by no less a flaming liberal outfit than Fox News, which notes that the “birth control and infertility myth has been circling around since the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the pill in 1960.”

Federal Court Rejects Another Bogus 'Religious Liberty' Claim From Religious Right

The Tenth Circuit today released its opinion in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, becoming the latest federal appellate court to reject the claim that the Obama Administration’s contraception coverage accommodation for religious nonprofits violates their religious liberty.

This is the latest effort by the far right to redefine “religious liberty” and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to use as a sword to deprive third parties of their legal rights.  Under RFRA, no federal law imposing a substantial burden on religious exercise can be sustained unless it is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government purpose.

The Tenth Circuit now joins the DC Circuit, the Third Circuit, the Fifth Circuit, and the Seventh Circuit in rejecting this attack on the accommodation for religious nonprofits.  Notably, all these decisions came after the Supreme Court rewrote the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in the Hobby Lobby case, giving certain for-profit corporations and their owners greater latitude to exempt themselves from laws they find personally offensive.  (The Sixth Circuit also reached the same conclusion, but it is still in the process of reconsidering it to make sure it is consistent with Hobby Lobby.)

The Obama Administration created a process whereby religious nonprofits can exempt themselves from the federal requirement that its employees have certain contraception healthcare coverage: Fill out a form (or now, just send a letter) and let the Department of Health and Human Services know that you won’t be providing it and say who your insurance carrier is, so that officials can inform them of their legal requirements to provide the coverage.  The religious right has called even this accommodation a violation of the religious liberty rights of nonprofits, saying it makes them complicit in the provision of contraception that violates their religious beliefs.

The Tenth Circuit concluded that the accommodation does not substantially burden Plaintiffs’ religious exercise and therefore does not violate RFRA.  The court stated:

The accommodation relieves Plaintiffs from complying with the Mandate and guarantees they will not have to provide, pay for, or facilitate contraceptive coverage.  Plaintiffs do not “trigger” or otherwise cause contraceptive coverage because federal law, not the act of opting out, entitles plan participants and beneficiaries to coverage.  Although Plaintiffs allege the administrative tasks required to opt out of the Mandate make them complicit in the overall delivery scheme, opting out instead relieves them from complicity.

The court does not question the sincerity of the plaintiffs’ assertion that filling out the form violates their religious beliefs.  But it also pointed out that under RFRA, whether a burden is substantial is a legal question that is up to the court, not the plaintiff, to answer:

If plaintiffs could assert and establish that a burden is “substantial” without any possibility of judicial scrutiny, the word “substantial” would become wholly devoid of independent meaning.  Furthermore, accepting any burden alleged by Plaintiffs as “substantial” would improperly conflate the determination that a religious belief is sincerely held with the determination that a law or policy substantially burdens religious exercise.  (internal citation removed)

Whether it’s women’s ability to access their legal right to healthcare or same-sex couples’ ability to exercise their constitutional right to marry, imagine the chaos if people could simply exempt themselves from – and severely weaken – laws they disapprove of by citing their personal religious beliefs.

But that is a recipe for a Balkanized society, not a healthy pluralistic democracy.  Citing a previous case, the Tenth Circuit states: “Law accommodates religion; it cannot wholly exempt religion from the reach of the law.”

This post originally appeared on the blog of People For the American Way.

Mike Huckabee: Contraception Mandate Is Like The 'Tyranny' That Caused The American Revolution

Even though Mike Huckabee signed into law a contraception coverage mandate that was actually much more sweeping than a similar mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while serving as governor of Arkansas, the Republican politician has been one of the most incendiary opponents of the ACA mandate.

While speaking today with American Family Radio host Kevin McCullough, who falsely claimed that “Obamacare makes abortion taxpayer funded,” Huckabee baselessly charged that the mandate covers “abortifacients.”

Huckabee said that the mandate represents such a threat to freedom that it is similar to the actions of the British government that sparked the American Revolution: “When I go back to American history, that’s why the American revolution started. You had a government that became a tyranny and that government began to tell people what limitations of their belief could be.”

Swanson & Buehner: New Gonorrhea Strain Sent By God to Punish America; Single Women Have No Rights

As we know, pastors Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner of Generations Radio are no fans of birth control. In fact, Swanson believes that “little tiny fetuses, little babies” are “embedded” into “those wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill.”

Reacting to the news that the FDA has decided to make the morning-after pill available without a prescription to women ages 15 and older, Buehner called the move an attempt “to destroy the patriarchal structure of the family” as part of its “war against God’s family structure.”

According to Buehner, the Bible makes it clear that an unmarried woman “doesn’t have the feminist independence that we hear so much about to make contracts, to buy drugs, to engage in activities without the father’s consent,” as naturally the father should know “what drugs his daughter’s putting into her body” and “whether or not his daughter is out there fornicating with the football team.”

When the government does something like this, their intentions, their self-conscious intention, is to destroy the patriarchal structure of the family. The Book of Numbers is very clear and the Book of Numbers says that ‘when the father hears the vow of his daughter, an obligation to which she’s bound herself, if the father says nothing then the vow stands; but if the father should forbid her on the day he hears of it then none of her vows, none of her obligations of which she has bound herself, shall stand.’ What that means is that a father who has a daughter, she’s not free, she doesn’t have the feminist independence that we hear so much about to make contracts, to buy drugs, to engage in activities without the father’s consent. Now when you tell the father he has no business knowing what drugs his daughter’s putting into her body, when a father has no business knowing whether or not his daughter is out there fornicating with the football team, you’ve destroyed patriarchy even more. I think the government is waging a war against God’s family structure.

Swanson took it one step further by alleging that a new strain of gonorrhea is divine punishment for sexual immorality.

“God is in control and he can send a superbug to wipe out a lot of people who are engaged in this kind of sexuality and if that be the case then I guess we don’t need a political magistrate to do that work for us,” Swanson said.

He knows what’s going on and he will exercise perfect justice and nobody, nobody, nobody is going to get away with this kind of thing. Dave, you mentioned the rise in STDs, sexually transmitted diseases are going to rise I think significantly for 15, 16, 17 year old girls and here’s an article that just came out yesterday: ‘Sex Superbug Could Be Worse Than AIDS.’ It’s an antibiotic resistant strain of gonorrhea and it could knock of these kids in three days. It’s apparently a very virulent disease, it’s a super bug; they consider it a super bug. ‘Some analysts say that the bacteria’s affects could match those of AIDS. This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly…. Even though nearly 30 million people have died from AIDS-related causes, Dr. Christianson believes the effect of the gonorrhea bacteria is more direct. Getting gonorrhea from this strain might put someone in septic shock and death in a matter of days. This is very dangerous.’ Apparently it has hit Hawaii, California and Norway thus far.

This idea that somehow that we are safe and technology can take care of us and we can take a pill for this and a pill for that and everything is going to be hunky-dory and you can get away with whatever kind of sexual activity you want to get away with, there is a God in the heavens, there is a God in the heavens. I know that the average American doesn’t believe that anymore. They don’t fear God, the beginning of wisdom is not the fear of God in these schools, they don’t teach the beginning of knowledge and wisdom is the fear of God in sex-education classrooms. They say, ‘well you know you might get an STD,’ but then the really smart guy says, ‘well that’s alright these government agencies can figure out a way to solve these problems and so I don’t have to worry about any of this.’ Friends, ultimately God is in control and he can send a superbug to wipe out a lot of people who are engaged in this kind of sexuality and if that be the case then I guess we don’t need a political magistrate to do that work for us.

Buehner predicted that within a decade elementary and middle schools will be putting the morning-after pill in vending machines as more and more women have trouble coping with the ramifications of putting “the bullet into the baby’s head.”

Swanson: A lot of these liberals are more than happy to provide abortion and it doesn’t really matter how these girls got to be pregnant, the point being that these little girls can be messed up sexually in so many different ways but society wants to be sure that the child is done away with in the process.

Buehner: Yeah, obviously the goal here is to kill, to keep children from being born, that’s what the pill does, that’s what its point is, to keep children from being born. Now one of the things about the day-after pill is a girl doesn’t know if she’s pregnant, she doesn’t know if conception happened so gets it, she’s like the one in the firing squad, there’s usually one person in the old firing squad who had a blank, she gets the comfort of knowing perhaps that she had the blank and she didn’t actually put the bullet into the baby’s head.

So there is the killing aspect of this but you’re right if the winds of society don’t change the direction they’re blowing not only do I see that this FDA ruling will stand, I believe it will go all the way to the judges’ utopian idea that girls, if they can ask for it they can get it. In fact, I believe you will probably see within a decade that this will be available in vending machines in elementary and junior highs in the near future, within about ten years or so, you just go to the vending machine, put in your fifty cents, get your day-after pill and go on about your life. The social consequences are catastrophic.

Right Wing Leftovers - 2/22/13

  • Even though studies keep proving that morning-after pills don’t cause abortion, Religious Right groups will continue to baselessly argue otherwise. 
  • Family Research Council invites you to the National Organization for Marriage’s anti-gay Marriage March.
  • Yet another tough break for professional vote-suppressor Hans von Spakovsky. 
  • Rick Warren is very, very, very sad that Tim Tebow pulled out of his appearance at Robert Jeffress’ megachurch. 

'Religious Liberty' Panelist: Compromise is of the Devil

The Family Research Council hosted a panel discussion Wednesday on religious liberty in America.  If you have paid any attention at all to the frantic warnings from FRC’s Tony Perkins that tyranny is on the march, you could have guessed what was coming.  The overall theme of the conversation was that the HHS mandate for insurance coverage of contraception is a dire threat to religious freedom in America.  So are the advance of marriage equality and laws against anti-gay discrimination – or the “sexual liberty agenda.”

The panel featured three lawyers: Adele Keim of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund) and Ken Klukowski of the Family Research Council.

Keim talked about Becket’s client Hobby Lobby, which is suing the Obama administration over the contraception mandate.  Or as Keim insisted on calling it, the contraception/abortifacient mandate. Keim argued that business owners are no less deserving of religious accommodation than churches or religiously affiliated nonprofits, saying “Americans do not lose their First Amendment rights when they go to work.” Of course by the standard she was invoking, many Americans could find their own rights and access to health care dictated by the religious beliefs of their employer.

The ADF’s Fiedorek focused on the “great peril” to religious liberty posed by the “agenda to expand sexual liberty and redefine marriage.”   She said in the conflict between sexual liberty and religious liberty, "people of faith" are "the ones being marginalized." She recounted a litany of such “persecution,” including now-familiar stories of a New Mexico photographer and a Colorado baker who were penalized under state anti-discrimination laws when they declined to serve same-sex couples celebrating commitment ceremonies.  Fiedorek compared cases in which businesses are required not to discriminate against gay couples to requiring an African American photographer to take pictures at a KKK event or a Jewish baker to create a cake decorated with a swastika.  She called it “particularly atrocious” that Catholic social service agencies were being required to abide by anti-discrimination ordinances – and were being “forced” to close.  She began and closed her presentation with quotes from the movie Chariots of Fire, ending with one that includes, “Don’t compromise. Compromise is a language of the devil.”

Klukowski talked about the role of religious freedom in the settling of America and the founding of the U.S.  And he recycled ridiculous religious right charges that the Obama administration believes not in freedom of religion but in the narrower “freedom of worship,” a notion that he said would be “profoundly disturbing” to the founding fathers.

The most interesting question from the audience focused on implications of the Bob Jones University case, and on whether the racialist Christian Identity movement could make the same religious liberty claims the lawyers were defending.  Why, the questioner asked, couldn’t the “conscience” rights the lawyers wanted for business owners not be claimed by a Christian Identity-affiliated business owner to deny doing business with African American people or interracial couples?

After a moment of awkward silence, Klukowski said that in the Bob Jones case, the Supreme Court had said the university could continue its racially discriminatory policies, but that its tax exemption was a benefit conferred by the government and could therefore be removed, especially in light of the post-civil war constitutional amendments addressing racial discrimination.  Klukowski did not directly address whether and how that principle could, would, or should apply to the current conversation about anti-gay discrimination.  He gave a confusing statement about what he said was the right of a business owner to throw someone out of their store for wearing a certain T-shirt or carrying a Bible.  The First Amendment, he says, allows people to be jerks in their private lives, but it was not clear whether he meant that the relationship between a business and its customers was “purely private” or falls into the category of public accommodation.

Swanson: Wombs of Women on Birth Control 'Embedded' with 'Dead Babies'

Well, here’s some medical research we hadn’t heard about. Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson, who last week delved memorably into feminist theory, tells us this week that “certain doctors and certain scientists” have researched the wombs of women on the pill and found “there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb…Those wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

Swanson must be speaking with the same doctors as former Rep. Todd Akin. Even Kevin Peeples, whom Swanson is interviewing about his anti-contraception documentary Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?, isn’t quite sold on the evidence.

Swanson: I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.

Peeples: We’ve actually heard on both sides of that. We’re researching that and want to make sure we speak correctly to that in our second film. But we have medical advice on both sides of the table there, so we want to make sure that we communicate that properly.

Swanson: It would seem, and I realize that people are a little split on what are all the effects of the birth control pill, but it would seem that there’s a tremendous risk in the use of it for the life of children.

Earlier in the interview, Peeples and Swanson discuss how birth control came to be widely used and accepted by many churches. Women, Peeples laments, “desire the men’s role” and are now missing out on “the role God put them in that he laid out in Genesis.” Before World War II, Peeples claims, “abortion, sterilization, eugenics and birth control were all tied together” until “Hitler took the fall for taking it very aggressively and dramatically.”

Peeples: It starts with men and women fighting and not being happy with the role that God put them in that he laid out in Genesis. So whenever you seek to desire, when women seek to desire the men’s role, they lose the part and the idea of what children does, not just for the kingdom and not just does with their family, but does for their gender role.

Swanson: Are you saying that the population control stuff, egalitarian feminism, birth control, abortion, they’re all sort of interrelated?

Peeples: Yeah, it wasn’t until after World War II that they begin to separate them. Abortion, sterilization, eugenics and birth control were all tied together, they were all kind of a package for eugenics and population control. Hitler took the fall for taking it very aggressively and dramatically, and so they said, ‘Hey, let’s kind of take this back, let’s get rid of the negative things and let’s play on Christian liberty, let’s play on freedom, let’s play on people kind of taking this upon themselves to control population rather than forcing it on them. So, again, it’s just another effect of not researching our history to know what happened in the world alongside of the Church.

'Religious Freedom' Rallies Barely Conceal Anti-Obama Activism

Opponents of contraception access this weekend held “religious freedom” demonstrations across the country to protest the Obama administration’s new rules ensuring contraception coverage in health insurance plans. In one of the rallies last month in Washington D.C. in front of the White House, speakers including Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition and Lila Rose of Live Action denounced the Obama administration for their purportedly “tyrannical” insurance mandate.

The keynote speakers at the White House rally was none other than Father Marcel Guarnizo, whose claim to fame is denying a lesbian parishioner communion at her mother’s funeral and refused to attend the burial ceremony. Fr. Guarnizo said that pro-choice and pro-gay equality politicians are “unfit to rule” and are “not worthy of a democratic vote.” He went on to maintain that American democracy is on the brink of collapse and told attendees to “vote this man out of office in November.”

He also had harsh words for Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who championed his state’s marriage equality law, claiming that they are more than unfaithful Catholic “lost sheep” but “wolves who are plotting and working specifically against the common good and the Church.” “Those people need to be castigated publicly by the shepherds of the church,” Guarnizo said.

Also appearing was American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, who warned that legal abortion and gay rights is provoking God’s “judgment and wrath” on America. 

Leading Anti-Choice Activist says Romney 'Did The Same Thing' as Obama on Contraception

Personhood USA president Keith Mason spoke to Janet Mefferd on Monday to cast doubt on Romney’s record on reproductive rights and stem-cell research, addressing Romney’s consistency, or lack thereof, on abortion rights and stem-cell research, role in health care reform in Massachusetts, and views on mandating hospitals to distribute emergency contraceptive pills. “At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life,” Mason said, arguing that Romney’s move on contraception coverage was no different from the Obama administration’s stance:

Mefferd: When you look at his record back in Massachusetts, he talks about a pro-life conversion but it is very confusing I think for a lot of pro-lifers to look at what he did in Massachusetts and feel totally comfortable with where he actually stands versus what he says. Where do you come down on his pro-life record in Massachusetts and where he stands now?

Mason: At the end of the day, I don’t believe he is pro-life. I guess I could be blunt; I could go through a list. We have RomneyCare as a starter, in Romney Care he used his veto powers in eight different ways but he didn’t use those veto powers to veto the $50 co-pay abortions that are within RomneyCare. Then after that even in 2004 we have a bill that he says he had a pro-life conversion so he vetoed a bill against embryonic stem-cell research and then he signed a bill later allowing for stem-cell research by embryos leftover from IVF clinics. That’s not that convincing to me either.

As far as the morning after pill goes, we have a bill that he vetoed, which is part of his pro-life conversion, he used it sort of for his credentials, for expanded access to the morning after pill. But then just three months later he signed a bill that even expanded it even farther than that, than it was being implemented at the time. Then even against his legal team’s advice he signed an executive order mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute the morning-after pill. With all these rallies, which I’ll participated on the 8th with religious freedom sort of to send the message to the Obama administration to not trample on that, the guy that we’re supposed to rally around sort of did the same thing.

As William Saletan points out in a Slate article documenting Romney’s constantly changing story about his “conversion” on the abortion issue, Romney claims to have stopped supporting abortion rights after he was troubled by a meeting regarding the ethics of embryo research, but after coming out against reproductive choice he continued to favor research on surplus IVF embryos. And despite Romney’s assertion that “every time as governor” he “came down on the side of life,” he said in a 2005 interview (after his supposed change of views) that he would veto any bill about abortion, “whether it’s pro-life or pro-choice.”

The Massachusetts-based Catholic Action League criticized Romney for enforcing his private counsel’s opinion mandating that Catholic hospitals distribute emergency contraceptive pills, claiming, “The injury to the conscience rights of Catholic hospitals was not done so much so much by the church’s ideological enemies on the Left but by the Romney administration.” Later, Romney said he personally supported his counsel’s view. During the presidential campaign, however, Romney described the Obama administration’s opposition to exempting health workers from distributing contraceptives as part of “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.”

 

Kuhner Claims Obama is 'Our Lenin'; Mefferd Afraid He’s More Like Stalin

Right-wing columnist Jeffrey Kuhner visited the Janet Mefferd show earlier this week to discuss a recent column he wrote for the Washington Times, positing that “Obama is America’s Lenin.” In the column, Kuhner attacks the Obama administration’s recent birth control regulations, claiming that "like many secular leftists, [Obama] seeks to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization,” that he is “in the pocket of the pro-abortion feminist lobby,” and that “Mr. Obama is our first non-Christian president.”

Kuhner went into more detail in his interview with Mefferd, saying “I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism” and claiming that while the president is not a practicing Muslim he is “clearly a cultural Muslim.”

Mefferd not only agreed with Kuhner’s analysis, she was willing to go even farther, warning, “We know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.”


Kuhner: This is a violation of the First Amendment. This is a violation of separation of church and state. This is a blatant war on Christianity. It is a war on our conscience rights. It is a war on our basic human freedoms. And I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism, where you now have state coercion of religion, where you have a blatant, flagrant attempt to purge Christianity from the public square, being so openly and blatantly embraced by the president of the United States.

Janet, if this mandate goes through, if Obamacare is not repealed, I believe it will break the back of our constitutional republic, I believe it will be the end of the First Amendment as we’ve known it, and I believe we are on a path towards radical, secular liberalism, which in many ways is just a form of cultural Marxism.

Obama is our Lenin. He is embarking on a cultural, social, political transformation of this nation, and that is why Christians of all denominations, of all faiths, must stand up and vote this man out of office in November.

 Kuhner: So I believe he is somebody who’s the product of the multicultural, neo-Marxist left. He despises Christianity. He despises our biblical principles. He despises the civilizational roots of American society. And he’s also, I believe –and there’s no getting around this – not that he’s a practicing Muslim or a believing Muslim, but he’s clearly a cultural Muslim.

...

And Janet, I have to say this, many people don’t understand this aspect of communism. Communism never sought to completely eradicate religion. Even they knew that was impossible. What they said was this: ‘We don’t want it in public. If you want to worship, that’s fine, do it in your own home, do it in your own head, do it in your own bedroom. But don’t take your faith outside the home, it doesn’t belong here.’

Mefferd: Well, I tell you, that sounds awfully familiar, and we know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.
 

Issa Stacks Hearing to Attack Contraception Compromise

Rep. Darrell Issa, who has followed through on his threat to turn his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into an attack dog on the Obama administration, today held a one-sided hearing attacking as a threat to religious liberty the administration’s recent compromise on health care regulations requiring insurers to cover contraception.

Not present at the hearing was a representative of the Catholic Health Association, which has embraced the administration’s compromise. When asked about the CHA’s position, Bishop William Lori, head of the Catholic bishops’ new “religious liberty” task force, said archly that the CHA doesn’t speak for the church as a whole – the bishops do. But polls show that the bishops actually speak for a small minority of American Catholics on these issues.
 
Issa – who had no concerns about separation of church and state when he was pushing for federal funding for religious school vouchers in the District of Columbia – labeled his stacked hearing “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” It was striking for some of us who are accustomed to hearing conservative politicians and Religious Right figures denouncing the separation of church and state, and dismissing the letter in which Thomas Jefferson used the phrase, to hear Issa and his colleagues vigorously endorsing the concept – or at least the rhetoric – and invoking Jefferson.
 
Issa and fellow Republicans used the “religious liberty” frame as an excuse to prevent testimony from women affected by the lack of insurance coverage of contraceptives, which also serve as treatment for a variety of medical conditions.  Rep. Rosa DeLauro (one of several Catholic Democrats who attended the heargin) and several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, forcefully raised the issue of women’s health, only to be told that access to health care was not the topic of the hearing. DeLauro drew a distinction between religious organizations as service providers – Catholic hospitals are not required to perform abortions, for example – and as employers. Nothing in the First Amendment, she said, says that religiously affiliated employers aren’t subject to same rules as every other employer. Republicans on the committee embraced the goalpost-moving standard staked out recently by the bishops, which is that not only should religiously affiliated organizations be exempt, but that any business owner should be able to cite religious beliefs as reason not to provide his employees with coverage.
 
The hearing made it clear that the GOP has decided to aggressively pursue their election year strategy of portraying Obama as an enemy of religious liberty.  There was no rhetorical “bridge too far” at this hearing – it was suggested that the Obama administration was a few keystrokes away from completely eliminating religious freedom, and that it was using government coercion to force churches to change their religious doctrine. Even Joseph Stalin was invoked. GOP members of Congress encouraged panelists to portray themselves as willing martyrs to religious liberty – and panelists complied, with some saying they would be willing to go to jail rather than side with government over God. 
 
It’s worth remembering with all the rhetoric about the end of freedom in America that the compromise plan would not require religious groups to provide or pay for coverage: insurance companies would contact employees directly, offer coverage to those who want it, and pick up the tab.
 
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, also Catholic, said he had had concerns with the original rules and believes the compromise addressed religious liberty concerns. He denounced Issa’s hearing as a “sham” and a “shameful exercise.”  He scoffed at the going-to-jail rhetoric and told panelists they were being used, wittingly or not, as part of an anti-Obama political agenda.  

Issa Stacks Hearing to Attack Contraception Compromise

Rep. Darrell Issa, who has followed through on his threat to turn his Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into an attack dog on the Obama administration, today held a one-sided hearing attacking as a threat to religious liberty the administration’s recent compromise on health care regulations requiring insurers to cover contraception.

Not present at the hearing was a representative of the Catholic Health Association, which has embraced the administration’s compromise. When asked about the CHA’s position, Bishop William Lori, head of the Catholic bishops’ new “religious liberty” task force, said archly that the CHA doesn’t speak for the church as a whole – the bishops do. But polls show that the bishops actually speak for a small minority of American Catholics on these issues.
 
Issa – who had no concerns about separation of church and state when he was pushing for federal funding for religious school vouchers in the District of Columbia – labeled his stacked hearing “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” It was striking for some of us who are accustomed to hearing conservative politicians and Religious Right figures denouncing the separation of church and state, and dismissing the letter in which Thomas Jefferson used the phrase, to hear Issa and his colleagues vigorously endorsing the concept – or at least the rhetoric – and invoking Jefferson.
 
Issa and fellow Republicans used the “religious liberty” frame as an excuse to prevent testimony from women affected by the lack of insurance coverage of contraceptives, which also serve as treatment for a variety of medical conditions.  Rep. Rosa DeLauro (one of several Catholic Democrats who attended the heargin) and several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, forcefully raised the issue of women’s health, only to be told that access to health care was not the topic of the hearing. DeLauro drew a distinction between religious organizations as service providers – Catholic hospitals are not required to perform abortions, for example – and as employers. Nothing in the First Amendment, she said, says that religiously affiliated employers aren’t subject to same rules as every other employer. Republicans on the committee embraced the goalpost-moving standard staked out recently by the bishops, which is that not only should religiously affiliated organizations be exempt, but that any business owner should be able to cite religious beliefs as reason not to provide his employees with coverage.
 
The hearing made it clear that the GOP has decided to aggressively pursue their election year strategy of portraying Obama as an enemy of religious liberty.  There was no rhetorical “bridge too far” at this hearing – it was suggested that the Obama administration was a few keystrokes away from completely eliminating religious freedom, and that it was using government coercion to force churches to change their religious doctrine. Even Joseph Stalin was invoked. GOP members of Congress encouraged panelists to portray themselves as willing martyrs to religious liberty – and panelists complied, with some saying they would be willing to go to jail rather than side with government over God. 
 
It’s worth remembering with all the rhetoric about the end of freedom in America that the compromise plan would not require religious groups to provide or pay for coverage: insurance companies would contact employees directly, offer coverage to those who want it, and pick up the tab.
 
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, also Catholic, said he had had concerns with the original rules and believes the compromise addressed religious liberty concerns. He denounced Issa’s hearing as a “sham” and a “shameful exercise.”  He scoffed at the going-to-jail rhetoric and told panelists they were being used, wittingly or not, as part of an anti-Obama political agenda.  
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contraception Posts Archive

Peter Montgomery, Friday 08/28/2015, 12:03pm
Republican legislators and governors have dramatically restricted women’s access to abortion in recent years. Those successes have emboldened the anti-choice movement to pursue ever-more extreme goals, which is why we now see Republican presidential candidates vowing to grant full constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, and pledging to use the power of the White House to legally ban abortion in all circumstances, including rape, incest, or to save a woman’s life. The Religious Right’s relentless campaign to destroy Planned Parenthood is part of this... MORE
Miranda Blue, Tuesday 07/28/2015, 12:26pm
Anti-abortion activist Alveda King claimed in a radio interview yesterday that female journalists may be hesitant to be critical of abortion rights because they have had abortions themselves or have been rendered infertile by “the chemicals and things that they try to use for birth control.” King was discussing with Rebecca Maxwell, guest host of the “Steave Deace Show,” the recent set of videos smearing Planned Parenthood by suggesting that the organization sells fetal tissue for profit. The media was forced to cover these videos, King said, even though they had been... MORE
Paul Gordon, Tuesday 07/14/2015, 4:40pm
The Tenth Circuit today released its opinion in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, becoming the latest federal appellate court to reject the claim that the Obama Administration’s contraception coverage accommodation for religious nonprofits violates their religious liberty. This is the latest effort by the far right to redefine “religious liberty” and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to use as a sword to deprive third parties of their legal rights.  Under RFRA, no federal law imposing a substantial burden on religious exercise can be sustained unless it... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 03/23/2015, 3:50pm
Even though Mike Huckabee signed into law a contraception coverage mandate that was actually much more sweeping than a similar mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while serving as governor of Arkansas, the Republican politician has been one of the most incendiary opponents of the ACA mandate. While speaking today with American Family Radio host Kevin McCullough, who falsely claimed that “Obamacare makes abortion taxpayer funded,” Huckabee baselessly charged that the mandate covers “abortifacients.” Huckabee said that the mandate represents such a threat to... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 05/14/2013, 2:20pm
As we know, pastors Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner of Generations Radio are no fans of birth control. In fact, Swanson believes that “little tiny fetuses, little babies” are “embedded” into “those wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill.” Reacting to the news that the FDA has decided to make the morning-after pill available without a prescription to women ages 15 and older, Buehner called the move an attempt “to destroy the patriarchal structure of the family” as part of its “war against God’s family structure.”... MORE
Brian Tashman, Friday 02/22/2013, 6:45pm
Even though studies keep proving that morning-after pills don’t cause abortion, Religious Right groups will continue to baselessly argue otherwise.  Family Research Council invites you to the National Organization for Marriage’s anti-gay Marriage March. Yet another tough break for professional vote-suppressor Hans von Spakovsky.  Anyone want to buy Human Events? AFA’s Buster Wilson is mad at us because we quoted him verbatim.  Rick Warren is very, very, very sad that Tim Tebow pulled out of his appearance at Robert Jeffress... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 02/20/2013, 6:27pm
The Family Research Council hosted a panel discussion Wednesday on religious liberty in America.  If you have paid any attention at all to the frantic warnings from FRC’s Tony Perkins that tyranny is on the march, you could have guessed what was coming.  The overall theme of the conversation was that the HHS mandate for insurance coverage of contraception is a dire threat to religious freedom in America.  So are the advance of marriage equality and laws against anti-gay discrimination – or the “sexual liberty agenda.” The panel featured three lawyers:... MORE