reproductive choice

Alan Colmes Talks To Wingers So You Don't Have To

I have to say that Alan Colmes’ decision to leave his position on “Hannity and Colmes” is just about the best thing to ever happen … at least for me personally. And the reason is because he now has time to dedicate to interviewing fringe right wing figures on his radio program, much to my delight.

Take, for instance, this two-fer he pulled off yesterday where he interviewed Norma McCorvey (AKA, Jane Roe) to discuss her arrest during Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing and Orly Taitz to discuss her representation of U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, who is contesting his deployment to Afghanistan on the grounds that Barack Obama is ineligible to hold the office of President.

The Taitz interview is pretty much what you would expect: an exercise in insanity. Taitz flat-out dismissed Colmes' attempts to explain that Obama’s birth certificate has been made public and calls the people at a “bunch of yahoos” for trying to explain as much.  Then, when Colmes asked her why she disliked the term “birther,” she replied by asking him if he likes the term “moron” because that is what she calls those who buy into Obama’s lies about his eligibility. She then said that all the name-calling is “retarded” … and that the judges who have thrown out her cases are “idiots" before alleging that there has been “one hundred times more fraud committed by Obama than [Richard] Nixon”:

That was crazy enough, but Colmes’ interview with McCorvey is unlike anything I have ever heard.

In it, she explained that she fell asleep during Sen. Al Franken’s remarks (because he was soooooo boooooring) during the opening of Sotomayor’s hearings and then work up and decided to just disrupt the proceedings so she could get her point across. Amazingly, McCorvey doesn’t even seem to know what state Franken represents (she says he’s from Michigan and calls him a “pirate” for stealing all those votes from poor Norm Coleman) and, more amazingly, doesn’t even seem to know Sotomayor’s name, calling her “Sotomotor” even after Colmes’ properly pronounced her name.

She then went on to assert that she had to protest because Sotomayor supports reproductive choice and when Colmes pointed out that very little is actually known about Sotomayor’s views on the issue and cites a case in which she ruled on procedural grounds against a challenge to President Bush’s Mexico City Policy, McCorvey said that was several years ago and that “she’s changed” since then. When Colmes asked her what evidence she has that Sotomayor has “changed,” she asserted that it’s obvious that she has changed because “she’s lived in liberal New York for all these years.”

Eventually, she admitted that she would oppose anyone that Obama nominated and, as Colmes valiantly tried to get her to provide some evidence that Sotomayor had “changed,” McCorvey just continued to insist that she had … until she reached the point where she was proclaiming that she wouldn’t be surprised if Sotomayor had Obama’s blood running through her veins – literally.

You absolutely have to listen to this:

God bless you, Alan Colmes.

O'Reilly Was Not Alone In Targeting Tiller

Bill O'Reilly is deservedly getting lots of attention for his years-long vicious crusade against George Tiller:

But it should be pointed out that O'Reilly had a lot of company in this effort to demonize Tiller, as Religious Right groups had been targeting Tiller for years and regularly holding him up as the epitome of the "evil" that is reproductive choice.

For instance, just last month, more than two dozen right-wing groups and activists sent a letter to Senators opposing the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, citing among their primary concerns her "ties" to Tiller:

Governor Sebelius has long close and personal ties to notorious abortionist George Tiller, known for performing late-term abortions in Kansas, include donations from Mr. Tiller of hundreds of thousands of dollars to PACs and organizations controlled by the Kansas Governor. She has also repeatedly interfered in cases brought against Mr. Tiller, including recruiting a candidate to replace the state attorney general who was originally prosecuting the abortion doctor.

Signatories of the letter included the likes of Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Jim Backlin of the Christian Coalition, Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Brian Burch of Fidelis, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, and Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition.

The fact of the matter is that, for years, right-wing groups sought to make Tiller the face of the abortion fight and a quick search of several of the leading organization's websites demonstrates just how often they citied Tiller in their own anti-abortion efforts.

For instance, Tiller's name was mentioned dozens if not hundreds of times on the websites of organization's like Focus on the Family, Faith 2 Action, Vision America, American Family Association, Christian Coalition, American Center for Law and Justice, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, the Traditional Values Coalition, and the Alliance Defense Fund where he was often referred to with terms like "accused serial abortionist," the most notorious abortionist in America," "George (the Killer) Tiller," and "Tiller the Killer."

There are at least 78 mentions of the name "George Tiller" on the Family Research Council website, often in connection with statements like this from March of this year:

The trial of notorious Kansas abortionist, George Tiller, is now underway. During his career as an abortionist, Tiller has performed over 80,000 abortions, among them thousands of viable, third-trimester babies. Women travel to Kansas from all over the world to obtain late abortions they cannot get elsewhere. Tiller's body count is greater by far than all the American troops killed in Vietnam ... This man should be in jail. Whatever the outcome of the trial now underway, the fact is that jail is the only appropriate place for 'doctors' who kill children" ... May George Tiller finally be brought to some semblance of justice!

But perhaps no organization outside of the single-issue groups like Operation Rescue made Tiller a bigger target than did Concerned Women for America, which has more than 200 mentions of him on its website, including this column by Janice Crouse from just a few weeks ago:

The bloodshed of the thousands of late-term abortions that Dr. George R. Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, performs each year vastly eclipses the death toll from the struggle over the slavery contest in Kansas in the years immediately prior to the Civil War. The slaughter in Tiller's abortion clinic - by his own account he has performed over 60,000 abortions, with a "special interest" and focus on "late-term" abortions - should justly revive the label of "Bleeding Kansas."

It is hard to know what is in the mind of someone like George Tiller, the abortionist who for years has routinely killed the babies of women in the last stages of their pregnancies - seven, even eight months along ... Tiller takes upon himself the role of God and condemns to death any innocent child whose mother chooses to label it as "unwanted." Then he executes them.

As I've been reading the coverage of Tiller's murder over the last two days, I've been asking myself "why do I even know his name?"  

I don't know the name of even one other women's health provider in this country, yet I was well-aware of George Tiller ... and that is because, for years, the Right had demonized Tiller and his perfectly legal practice, turning him into the poster boy for the abortion debate writ large, and routinely holding him up as the incarnation of the absolute wickedness of abortion. 

Is The Right Suffering Collective Amnesia?

You really have to hand it to the Right: when it comes to hypocrisy, they seemingly know no limit.

Take this newest "Washington Update" from the Family Research Council demanding to know whether Sonia Sotomayor gave some sort of assurance to the White House about her views regarding reproductive choice:

In a 2007 debate, Obama said he "would not appoint somebody who doesn't believe in the right of privacy." After bobbing and weaving over the past few days, the White House now apparently believes it must make public its confidence that Sotomayor views abortion on demand as settled law. But that is exactly what Roe is not. The sweeping decision unsettled the nation's conscience in 1973 and caused a firestorm that continues to this very day.

It's imperative now that Judge Sotomayor address how the White House obtained its assurance about her views ... Does Sotomayor pick and choose what she regards as settled, and how and to whom did she give assurances?

If they are trying to gin up some sort of outrage, maybe first they could explain why, back in 2005, even before George Bush had nominated Harriet Miers, Karl Rove and others from the White House were explicitly reaching out to people like James Dobson to assure him that Miers opposed abortion:

Dobson also said he learned that President Bush was looking only for a woman to appoint to the position, which eliminated many of the top names that Washington observers had bandied about in the days leading up to Miers' nomination.

"But I was not gonna be the one to reveal this. I knew that people would eventually be aware of some of that information, but I didn't think I had the right to say it. And so, I made my comment," Dobson said.

"What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldn't reveal," Dobson explained. "Well, it's what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life."

"In other words, there is a characterization of her that was given to me before the President had actually made this decision," Dobson concluded.

It didn't work, ultimately, because the Right eventually forced Miers to withdraw based largely on its concerns about this very issue.

This sort of amnesia seems widespread, judging by this Bobby Eberle piece lamenting the fact that Republicans didn't put up a big enough fight to get Miguel Estrada confirmed:

If Judge Sotomayor is confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic to sit on the Supreme Court, and Obama, the media, and the left-wing establishment are making sure everyone knows it ... All of this talk sends a sad reminder to me of how things could have been had Republicans stood up and fought for Miguel Estrada, one of President Bush's first judicial nominees. Estrada would have been the first Hispanic to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The nomination was seen as a potential stepping stone for Estrada (not Sotomayor) to be the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court.

While it is quite possible that Estrada may have eventually ended up on the Supreme Court, this sort of finger-pointing and teeth-gnashing willingly ignores the fact that Bush wanted to name the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court by nominating Alberto Gonzales, but the Right would have none of it and essentially pre-emptively killed his nomination, as we chronicled in this report back in 2005:

Newsweek correctly states that “Gonzales is the only A-list contender who religious conservatives pledge, upfront, to fight.” The article quotes Tom Minnery of Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family saying outright about a potential Gonzales nomination: “We'd oppose him.”

In the same article, Manuel Miranda, head of the recently formed coalition of extreme conservative groups called the “Third Branch Conference” and a former Frist staffer fired for unethically reading internal Democratic judiciary staff communications, warned that a Gonzales nomination could doom the Republican Party in upcoming elections: “If the president is foolish enough to nominate Al Gonzales, what he will find is a divided base that will take it out on candidates in 2006.” Miranda went on to threaten retribution against Florida Governor Jeb Bush, if he decides to run for president. “We're not Republican patsies,” he said. “Jeb Bush can go sell insurance.”

The New York Times reported similar opposition to Gonzales: “Late last week, a delegation of conservative lawyers led by C. Boyden Gray and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III met with the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., to warn that appointing Mr. Gonzales would splinter conservative support.”

Elsewhere in the article, the Times reported that Paul Weyrich was warning “administration officials that nominating Mr. Gonzales would fracture the president's conservative backers.” Weyrich also claimed to have held a conversation with Republican Party chairman Ken Mehlman to “let the administration know through whatever channels we have that Gonzales would be an unwise appointment because of the opposition of some of the groups.”

In the same article, Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime radical and extreme right leader, said “Bush was very clear, and certainly his constituents believed him, when he said he would appoint justices like Scalia and Thomas. We are not in favor of Gonzales.” One of the reasons for the intensity of the opposition to Gonzales is that the Right feels that they were betrayed by President Reagan with his nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor who was, according to Schlafly, “a terrible disappointment.”

The National Review made its opposition to a Gonzales nomination clear in an editorial entitled “No to Justice Gonzales”: “[The] president has to know that conservatives, his supporters in good times and bad, would be appalled and demoralized by a Gonzales appointment. It would place his would-be successors in the Senate in a difficult position, forcing them to choose between angering conservatives by voting for Gonzales and saying no to him. If Democrats attack Gonzales... conservatives will not rally to his defense.”

Robert Novak wrote a similar piece called “No, not Gonzales!”: “Gonzales long has been unacceptable to anti-abortion activists because of his record as a Texas Supreme Court justice. Beyond pro-lifers, he is opposed by organized conservative lawyers. Ironically, the same Bush supporters who have been raising money and devising tactics for the mother of all judicial confirmation fights are in a panic that Gonzales will be named. With the president's popularity falling among his conservative base as well as the general populace, a politically disastrous moment may be at hand.”

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council also voiced his opposition to a Gonzales nomination during a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country”: “I think what you would hear would be [what] sounds like slashing the tires of the conservative movement, because this has been a moment in time that has been anticipated for over a decade. And if there is someone who . . . appears along the same lines of an O’Connor, an unknown or someone who has a judicial philosophy that is less than a Scalia or Thomas, it`s a problem. There is no question about it.”

Bill Donohue: The Gay Divorcee

Today, the New York Times profiles the Catholic League's Bill Donohue and he is loving life right about now.  Donohue has seen a lot of "anti-Catholic," behavior in recent weeks which means he’s spent a lot of time talking to the media about how “outraged” he is ... and that is exactly how he likes it:

It has been a busy week for Mr. Donohue, a contentious and unofficial enforcer of Roman Catholic sensibilities who can grate on enemies and friends alike with his immense ability to be offended on behalf of his church.

In the 16 years since he took the reins of the Catholic League — an organization that claims to have 50,000 paying members nationwide but has no formal connection to the church and no spokesman except Mr. Donohue — he can recall few moments that have so thoroughly tapped his well of combativeness.

With the movie “Angels and Demons” opening on Friday, he has been issuing public broadsides and giving interviews on radio and television by the fistful, pounding at what he says are historical distortions about the church’s history in the book’s plot. “They even have a scene where rats eat a bunch of cardinals,” he said. “Can you imagine any other religion where this would not be viewed as rank religious bias?”

On Sunday, the University of Notre Dame is set to give an honorary degree to President Obama, a supporter of abortion rights, and Mr. Donohue has been vociferous in his criticism. “Not so much against Mr. Obama, but Father Jenkins for inviting him,” he said, referring to the university president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins. “Here is a Catholic priest, bestowing an honor on someone who supports selective infanticide.”

And Mr. Obama’s appointment of Harry Knox, a gay human-rights activist — “an anti-Catholic bigot who has called the pope a liar” — to the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships had Mr. Donohue in overdrive.

“This is fantastic,” said Mr. Donohue, 61, with a gap-toothed smile that he rarely shows on television. “I can’t get enough of it.”

Donohue describes himself as "the Marine forward unit of the church," seeking out the enemy and destroying them ... and by “enemy” he means anyone who says anything critical of Catholics, the Catholic Church, or the Catholic Faith, as determined entirely by him. As Donohue sees it, "if an offense is committed against the communal institution of Catholicism, it is an offense against every individual Catholic.”

But there is nothing that riles him up more than apostasy, especially from Catholics who support reproductive choice: “I hate them," he admits.

Which makes this little nugget all the more interesting:

Before taking up the cause, Mr. Donohue, a divorced father of two grown children who lives in Mineola, on Long Island, was a sociology professor at La Roche College, a Catholic college in Pittsburgh.

Signs G.O.P. Is Rethinking Its Stance on Gay Marriage?

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney has a piece in today's paper claiming that the "the issue of gay marriage may be turning into more of a hindrance than a help" for the Republican Party. 

Citing a recent poll showing that 57 percent of those under the age 40 said they support marriage equality, Nagourney says it suggests to "many Republicans that the potency of the gay-marriage question is on the decline." He then quotes three Republicans, the first being Steve Schmidt, John McCain's senior strategist during his presidential campaign.

Schmidt recently came out in favor of marriage equality, so it is no surprise that he thinks the GOP should re-examine its stance on the issue. But, as Timothy Potter of the Family Research Council put it, Steve Schmidt isn’t exactly speaking for the majority of the party these days:

Steve Schmidt isn’t the head of the GOP. But I don’t doubt that there are others in the GOP establishment who think like him, and I don’t care. The GOP should do what it thinks is best for itself. I don’t think abandoning a third of your base is necessarily a good idea.

The article also contains a quote from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty:

Asked if he thought, given recent events, that Republicans were making a political mistake in emphasizing gay issues, Mr. Pawlenty, who is 48, responded: “I think it’s an important issue for our conservative voters.” But he notably did not dwell on the subject.

Apparently, because he didn't "dwell" on the topic, that somehow suggests that the party as a whole is undergoing some sort of shift.

Finally, Nagourney quotes Rudy Giuliani of all people, saying that voters are more concerned with issues like the economy and national security and don't really care about social issues right now:

“Right now, people are not concerned about issues like gay marriage because they are concerned about the economy,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former Republican mayor of New York, told reporters in Albany after meeting with Republican members of the state Senate, who are opposing legislation to legalize gay marriage.

Mr. Giuliani explained that he opposed gay marriage — while supporting civil unions — but that he did not think it made much sense for Republicans to be harping on the issue if the party had any serious interest in returning to power.

“The Republican party does best organizing itself around economic issues and issues of national security,” said Mr. Giuliani, 64, who ran for president last year and is now thinking about running for governor of New York.

It should be pointed out that Giuliani might not be a particularly good representation of just what the Republican Party thinks about anything, considering that he spent $60 million seeking the GOP nomination last year and dropped out after securing a whopping one delegate. His campaign tanked thanks, in part, to right-wing threats to abandon the GOP should he become the nominee because of his views on the issue of marriage and reproductive choice.

While polls may show that the GOP's anti-gay views are becoming less popular with voters, especially younger voters, there is still a long way to go before the party itself abandons its traditional stance on the issue ... and considering that the Religious Right would rather see the party destroyed than allow that to happen, it's unlikely that any such a massive shift will be happening any time soon.

Because Everything Is Always About Abortion

I feel like I have said this before, but one of the things that never fails to amaze me about the Religious Right is their willingness to take some seemingly unrelated issue currently in the news and tie it into their agenda, usually as it relates to reproductive choice.

Case in point is yesterday’s Washington Update from the Family Research Council regarding the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates over the weekend.

After grudgingly giving President Obama credit for “doing the right thing,” Tony Perkins held the episode up as evidence that America “puts a high value on life” and then used it to attack Obama’s position on abortion:  

Despite what some say, Captain Phillips is alive today because his government acted in the interest of preserving life. Our President also sent a strong message that the change in American leadership does not mean a change in U.S. terrorism policy. It emphasized the excellence of our military and reaffirmed a core value of our nation--life is worth defending. We commend President Obama for acting decisively to protect Captain Phillips.

I must add, however, that this incident also serves to highlight an unconscionable contrast that exists in our culture and epitomized by this administration. The President moved heaven and earth to protect an American captive while turning a deaf ear to the cries of the unborn. At FRC, we remind the President that every life--whether in the belly of a life raft or the womb of its mother--deserves this same level of protection from their government.

Considering that Phillips was saved after snipers killed his captors, how would FRC recommend that the government ensure “this same level of protection” to the unborn?  By having snipers take out abortion providers? Draw your own conclusions.

Reproductive Choice: Need, Numbers, and Dawn Johnsen

I have already written too many posts about Concerned Women for America’s Wendy Wright and her involvement with the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, both in meetings and on conference calls, noting the disconnect between that Obama administration’s assertion that the efforts are aimed at finding ways to reduce the need for abortion and Wright’s insistence that there is no such need. But since she keeps making this point, I feel it is important to keep hammering away at it.

The latest comes from this WorldNetDaily column by anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek in which she declares there is no need for her side to seek common ground or compromise on the issue because they are winning:

If America is as pro-abortion as the other side likes to say, there is absolutely no reason to "reduce the need for abortion." So don't let them gloss over this point. Stick on it. Solutions can't be determined without understanding the problem. What exactly is the problem with abortion?

If they state the problems are merely financial or inconvenience, they lose, because they alienate the vast unwashed they are trying to woo by denying what the vast unwashed consistently polls it knows: Abortion is the taking of a human life.

If they admit there is a moral problem with abortion, they lose by opening a can of worms with both the public and the abortion industry. The next question obviously is, "What is the moral problem with abortion?" And they never ever want to be pinned into going there.

(And by the way, as CWA President Wendy Wright wrote me, don't use their terminology. "Say 'number' rather than 'need,' because 'need' is subjective, whereas 'number of abortions' is quantifiable," stated Wright.)

Always remember, the ones seeking compromise know they are losing, and Obama knows his radical pro-abortion position is a loser.

Ignoring the illogical assertion that the anti-choice position is a winning one, the key here is Wright’s insistence that they never recognize any sort of “need” for abortion, which allows them to push for regulations and restrictions on access to reproductive health services without having to accept the necessity of family planning services and sex ed.

If you need further proof that Wright has absolutely no intention of seeking any sort of compromise or consensus on this issue, you need look no further than her assertion that Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to be Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Legal Counsel must be stopped because of her past work with NARAL:

Wendy Wright, the head of Concerned Women for America, told that Obama's selection reveals a lot about his pro-abortion views and that Johnsen should be disqualified because of her work with a leading abortion advocacy group.

“NARAL’s obsession with abortion skews its legal positions, blinding it to the Constitution’s equal protection for all human beings," she said. "The fact that Ms. Johnsen worked for NARAL is a huge black mark against her judgment and exposes her bias."

"Americans will not be able to trust that Department of Justice’s legal opinions or Obama’s executive orders comply with the Constitution when the lead person for making that judgment is incapable of treating all human beings with respect," she added.

In essence, Wright is declaring that anyone with whom she disagrees should be barred from working for the government because they have demonstrated that their judgment cannot be trusted by virtue of the fact that they don’t share her right-wing views about reproductive rights..

Good luck finding common ground on with someone who holds this view.

Blackwell's Misdirected Advice

A few weeks ago we noted that Newt Gingrich was embarking on a new effort seeking to bridge the divide between the fiscally and socially conservatives wings of the Republican Party in order to take advantage of their shared ideology and values and rebuild the conservative coalition.  As we said at the time, this effort was aimed primarily at getting the fiscal conservatives to find common ground with the social conservatives, who they have tended to dismiss:

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

While the social conservatives have also been relatively loyal to fiscal conservative ideals as well, the same cannot be said for the fiscal conservatives when it comes to issues social conservatives care about ... which makes this recent column by Ken Blackwell all the more confusing:

The past couple of months, economic conservatives have aggressively opposed President Obama’s agenda to radically expand government, financed by deficits that run into the trillions. If social conservatives want to protect America’s families and social values, they must join with their fiscally conservative cousins to oppose President Obama and reverse America’s culture of debt.

Why is Blackwell aiming his advice at social conservatives, telling them to "join when their fiscally conservative cousins" rather than at the fiscal conservatives urging them to join their socially conservative cousins?

Religious Right groups have been loyal soldiers in the fiscal conservatives battles for years and have played a key role in recent attempts to mobilize opposition to everything from stimulus legislation to the bank bailouts to the current budget proposal.  But fiscal conservatives have been all but absent in the Religious Right's efforts to stop a handful of President Obama's nominees or fight his agenda on the reproductive choice/equality/social issues that the Religious Right cares about.

But for some reason, Blackwell is telling the Religious Right that they have to find ways to work with the fiscal conservatives, which is something that they have always been eager and willing to do because they actually share pretty much the same agenda on economic issues. 

It is the fiscal conservatives who have traditionally dismissed the need to work with their "cousins" ... and as a senior fellow at one of the preeminent social conservative organization in the country, you'd think Blackwell would know that.

But Blackwell is also on the board of the Club for Growth, one of the preeminent fiscal conservative organizations and so it seems as even in these new efforts to bring together two of the key sections of the conservative coalition, it is once again the fiscal conservatives who are calling the shots and telling their socially conservative cousins that it is their responsibility to fall into line for the greater good.

Wright Recognizes No Such Need

I’ve already written several posts about the meeting last week Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, and other right-wing groups and Joshua DuBois, head of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, at the White House.

The topic of the meeting was abortion reduction and, as I pointed out repeatedly, there is a key difference between “the need to reduce abortions” and “reducing the need for abortion.”  CWA does not recognize that there is ever a “need” for abortion and is fundamentally opposed to things like family planning and sex ed. CWA’s Wendy Wright has been very clear on their position, saying repeatedly that restrictions and regulation on reproductive choice, coupled with funding for crisis pregnancy centers, are the best ways to reduce abortion. 

Last week, Wright appeared on NPR’s “Tell Me More” where she made this point explicitly, saying there is no such thing as a need for abortion:

There are two phrases that have been used: reducing the number of abortions and reducing the need for abortion. Well, no woman wants an abortion – she has a need, and she thinks the abortion will solve that problem. So what we really need to look at is what are those needs? What is it that she needs help with? Does she need housing? Does she need career support? And providing her needs can help her to make the choice of giving life to her child, which then will result in fewer abortions. So it's important that we look at what are the true needs of women and helping to - helping her with those needs rather than just say, here’s an abortion, end of problem - which is not the end of the problem, it's all just the beginning of many more problems.

The White House’s stated goal is to “reduce the need for abortion,” and working with groups to achieve that is generally only efficient if said groups actually recognize that such a need exists.

What Steele Meant By "Beyond Cutting Edge"

Shortly after Michael Steele was elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee, he declared that the GOP's messaging and outreach efforts were going to be not merely "off the hook" but downright "beyond cutting edge."

He then proceeded to try and take on Rush Limbaugh, got his head handed to him and quickly apologized, only to, shortly thereafter, make some heretical statements about gays and reproductive choice, for which he was again relentlessly attacked, at which point he tried to lay low until the fury passed.

Steele is apparently now confident that the outrage over his previous comments has subsided and that we have all forgotten exactly what transpired, because he is now back to giving interviews and claiming that it was all part of his master plan (and that he just might run for president, should the opportunity arise):

Steele: I am very introspective about things. I don't do -- I am a cause and effect kind of guy. So if I do something, there's a reason for it. Even, it may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there's a logic behind it.

Lemon: Even with the current events in news--

Steele: Yeah.

Lemon: There's a rationale behind Rush, all that stuff?

Steele: Yup. Yup.

Lemon: You want to share it with us?

Steele: Sure, I want to see what the landscape looks like. I want to see who yells the loudest, I wanted to know who says they're with me but really isn't.

Lemon: How does that help you?

Steele: It helps me understand my position on the chess board. It helps me understand, you know, where the enemy camp is and where those who are inside the tent are.

Lemon: It's all strategic?

Steele: It's all strategic.

I see.  So his gaffes really weren't gaffes at all - they were, instead, intentional, calculated attempts to get others to expose their biases and agenda? Brilliant!

Apparently, Steele operates under the motto that "whatever almost gets you fired makes you think you are a genius." 

But I wonder what the strategic rationale and logic is behind this statement. Is he merely bragging or is this some new, super-convoluted attempt to learn more about his "position on the chess board"? Didn't he learn enough about about that during the last go-rounds, or has he decided to play the fool once again in order to get an even better understand the enemy camp?

It's all so very confusing ... but maybe that is just because I can never hope to understand the "beyond cutting edge" logic and reasoning at work here.

CWA Says It Would Be Glad to Help the White House Place More Restrictions on Reproductive Choice

We’ve already written a few posts about the upcoming meeting at the White House between Joshua DuBois, head of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and representatives of Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, CareNet, and the Christian Medical Association to discuss reproductive choice and related issues.

Today, we learned a little more about how this meeting was arranged and, judging by the remarks made by Wendy Wright of CWA, it’s pretty clear that those who are participating expect this meeting to focus much more on the former than the latter.

Wright explains that it was through her outreach to the White House that the meeting was arranged and that she choose who would attend it with her, saying that when she learned that the administration was committed reducing the need for abortion, she thought “we can help with that, so I contacted the White House and asked for a meeting with the Faith-Based office and invited the other groups to join with me.  We feel that in order for the Obama Administration to be making good policies, to take positions on legislation regarding reducing the need for abortion, they need to have full information, particularly, information on programs and policies that work, that are effective.  And we know what works: putting regulations on abortions; states that have done that see their abortion numbers go down.”

Wright goes on to say that she does not believe that President Obama will attend the meeting, but that they will explain to the administration that pregnancy resource centers are an effective means of reducing abortions and to discuss the “threat to doctors’ and health care workers’ freedom on conscience,” saying that it is vital to protect their “freedom to not do what is wrong”:

On a semi-related note, CWA, FRC, CareNet, and the Christian Medical Association are all part of a new effort called Freedom2Care which is committed to protecting "the federal 'provider conscience' regulation finalized in December 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services" which was "made necessary by a climate of discrimination and pressures directed at healthcare professionals who follow life-affirming ethical standards such as the Hippocratic Oath and the Judeo-Christian Scriptures."

While we're at it, let's re-post this video CWA put out just before the election called "Operation: Rally The Church" in which Wright explained that if Christians didn't vote, "liberals who mock Christians, support abortion on demand and same-sex marriage, and would prefer that America be weak in the world community" would ruin this country, warning that if "citizens ... who love God don't vote, then the people who will be ruling over us in government will continue the slaughter of unborn babies, weaken marriage, and silence those who love God," thus making it imperative for Christians to go to the polls because all those who have died defending this country are putting "their hope in you ... to keep this a country worth living and dying for":

White House Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for the Religious Right

To say that the Religious Right has been opposed to Barack Obama’s presidency from the moment he was elected would be something of an understatement.

Since taking office, the Right has opposed just about every aspect of his agenda, from his choice of nominees to the economic stimulus legislation. But nothing has outraged them more than reversals of President Bush’s stem cell and “Mexico City” policies.

When Obama reversed the Mexico City policy, the Family Research Council lashed out, saying that while he was for “banning the torture of terrorists” he was signing “an order that exports the torture of unborn children around the world” and that because of his action “U.S. taxpayers will be forced to take part in exporting a culture of death.” Concerned Women for America likewise claimed that the moved “offends the morality of millions of Americans, funds abortion efforts in countries where abortion is illegal, and breaks a campaign promise to reduce abortions” and also asked why he was “concerned about the higher moral ground with the terrorists who murder for ‘Allah,’ and yet you won’t honor and obey Christ and defend the defenseless unborn baby.”

When Obama reversed the stem cell policy, CWA’s Wendy Wright called it “politics at its worst,” saying it was “driven by hype" and "fuels the desperation of the suffering, and financially benefits those seeking to strip morality from science” while FRC said it was “yet another deadly executive order” and “a slap in the face to Americans who believe in the dignity of all human life.”

Given that FRC’s and CWA’s stance regarding life issues is to vehemently oppose anything that does not move the country toward curtailing, and eventually outlawing, of reproductive choice, what is the Obama administration’s best option for dealing with such groups?

Why, inviting them to White House for a discussion on how to reduce the need for abortion, of course:

The Brody File has learned that conservative Evangelical groups will meet with the head of the White House Faith-Based Office on Tuesday.

Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council will meet with Joshua DuBois, the man who leads the administration’s office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Wendy Wright, the president of CWA reached out to the Obama administration and they responded by inviting CWA and some of these other conservative Evangelical groups to The White House. The meeting plans to focus on the need to reduce abortions in the country and on responsible fatherhood programs. Also present at the meeting will be Tom McClusky, Senior Vice-President of the Family Research Council as well as representatives from the Christian Medical Association and Care Net, a pro-life Evangelical pregnancy crisis group.

Wendy Wright from CWA sends the following via email to The Brody File:

“The Obama administration says they want to be inclusive and represent all Americans. The White House faith-based office is now tasked with reducing the number of abortions – something that pro-life groups have very good experience in accomplishing. Pregnancy resource centers and regulations on abortion have a terrific track record in helping women choose alternatives to abortion. Funding abortion or abortion providers is one of the worst things that could be done. What the government funds, we get more of. We hope to begin a dialogue that results in policies which actually work, not just financially benefit certain interest groups like abortion providers.”

If the Obama administration thinks that it is going to win support for anything that it does on this issue from groups like CWA and FRC, it is sorely mistaken … which is something they will presumably learn once this meeting takes place.

These are not moderate, open-minded groups looking for common ground – they are militant, anti-choice groups committed to, above all, making abortion illegal everywhere and for everyone, with no exceptions.

It is hard to understand what the administration expects to gain by meeting with such groups to discuss efforts to reduce abortion considering that the only option such groups support is to outlaw them entirely.

Steele Seeks to Weather the Storm As Criticism Mounts

Since setting of a firestorm last week with his heretical comments about homosexuality and reproductive choice, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is trying to withstand the onslaught of criticism by calling off all television appearances and hunkering down to focus on the nuts and bolts of running the RNC (which, among other things, apparently includes redecorating his office to include a Bowflex.).

But that doesn’t mean that outrage has subsided and, if anything, the criticism appears to be mounting.

Concerned Women for America is blasting him for his “woefully misinformed view of the homosexual lifestyle” while the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins says that if Steele and the GOP are trying to create a “big tent” for the party, they are going to find out it’s nothing but a “empty big tent [if they] keep doing what they're doing."

Matt Barber of the Liberty Council has likewise weighed in, complaining that Steele "sounded like he was on the payroll of Planned Parenthood":

I am starting to wonder whether Michael Steele is on the payroll of the RNC or whether he's on the payroll of the [Democratic National Committee], because that sounds like something that Howard Dean or any spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign or the radical homosexual lobby would have said.

While many on the Right have been harshly critical of Steele, few have gone so far as to openly call for his resignation, as Star Parker has done in her latest column:

From what I see, the Republican National Committee representatives who picked Michael Steele as their new chairman made a mistake. I think Steele ought to step aside … This is not a time when we can muddle through with a leader who is not sure who he is, who is not clear about the principles of his party, and who is not consumed with the importance of the cultural war that we now confront. Mr. Obama certainly knows his own values with clarity and knows exactly what his objectives are … The Republican Party needs a chairman who wants to fight this fight. It seems pretty clear that Michael Steele is not that man.

For its part, the American Family Association is conducting a survey of its activists to see if they think that, in light of remarks, Steele should resign as Chairman of the Republican National Committee” and the results are not looking too good for him considering that nearly 95% of the respondents want to see him step down:

Yes, Michael Steele should resign as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.       78,578

No, Michael Steele should not resign as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.   5,011

... And Out Come The Wolves

It has only been a few hours since Michael Steele's GQ interview first hit the blogs, but a variety of right-wing leaders have already blasted him for his heresy on the issues of homosexuality and reproductive choice.

As we mentioned before, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Charmaine Yoest, formerly of FRC and now president of Americans United for Life, and anti-choice activist Jill Stanek had all weighed in to question his commitment to the right-wing agenda and his standing as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

And the hits just keep on coming:

Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition: "I'm a little surprised that Michael Steele, being the leader of the Republican Party, is at odds with the pro-life platform, the platform that conservative put in place... If this is his viewpoint, he has made it be known. I'm just surprised that the leader of the party is at odds with the pro-life platform."

Evangelical leader Lou Engle: "Steele's argument that abortion is a matter of "individual choice" is extremely disappointing, especially in light of past statements in which he promised to protect and defend human life. "Steele's remarks to GQ indicate that he may be confused about "choice" and the "law." The law is supposed to protect human life, not permit the taking of it. And, it can never be a "choice" for an individual to take a life."

Mike Huckabee has likewise spoken out via a post on his Huck PAC blog:

Comments attributed to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are very troubling and despite his clarification today the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grassroots politics. Since 1980, our party has been steadfast and principled in believing in the dignity and worth of every human life. We have supported a Constitutional amendment to protect life and the party has taken the position that no one individual has the supreme right to own another person in totality including the right to take that life. For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it's a violation of the most basic of human rights--the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. His statement today helps, but doesn't explain why he would ever say what he did in the first place.

Finally, Ken Blackwell, who's support for Steele helped put him over the top during the RNC election back in January, has issued a not-so-veiled call for him to step down:

"Chairman Steele, as the leader of America's Pro-Life conservative party, needs to re-read the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and the 2008 GOP Platform. He then needs to get to work -- or get out of the way."

Blackwell's decision to cut himself loose from Steele is, in many ways, primarily an effort to save his own reputation.  He was the Religious Right's choice for RNC Chairman but dropped out early in the election when it was clear he wasn't going to win. He then endorsed Steele, of whom the Right was already suspicious, and set about attempting to explain his decision by saying that he had been assured that Steele fully supported the GOP platform which, as Religious Right leaders are fond of reminding everyone, was among the most right-wing platforms the party has ever had.

As Blackwell explained it:

Over breakfast on January 30, Mr. Steele and I discussed the 2008 platform. During that conversation he earnestly expressed his full support of the platform. This is a platform that is unabashedly pro-life, strongly grounded in Second Amendment freedoms, and fully embracing limited government and the rule of law.

That conservation and my perception of Mr. Steele’s authentic embrace of those principles provided me with the basis upon which I could endorse him with a clear conscience and firm conviction once I determined it was time for me to exit the race.


Principle must trump politics. I would rather endorse no one than endorse someone I feared might abandon the GOP’s values and priorities.

I supported Mr. Steele because, by energetically advocating the principles and policies in the GOP platform, he can reunite and grow the GOP once again. Republicans face daunting challenges, but by being true to our principles Republicans can be the real agents of change.

Of course, Steele's commitment to those principles is now being called into question ... as is Blackwell's judgment in supporting him, which largely explains why he was among the first to tell Steele that it might be time for him to "get out of the way."

Is Michael Steele Trying to Get Fired?

It is probably safe to assume that Michael Steele's days as Chairman of the Republican National Committee are numbered now that this new interview from GQ is making the rounds in which he says that he believes that gay people can’t choose to be straight, that women have a right to reproductive choice, and that states should make their own decisions regarding these issues:

Let’s talk about gay marriage. What’s your position?

Well, my position is, hey, look, I have been, um, supportive of a lot of my friends who are gay in some of the core things that they believe are important to them. You know, the ability to be able to share in the information of your partner, to have the ability to—particularly in times of crisis—to manage their affairs and to help them through that as others—you know, as family members or others—would be able to do. I just draw the line at the gay marriage. And that’s not antigay, no. Heck no! It’s just that, you know, from my faith tradition and upbringing, I believe that marriage—that institution, the sanctity of it—is reserved for a man and a woman. That’s just my view. And I’m not gonna jump up and down and beat people upside the head about it, and tell gays that they’re wrong for wanting to aspire to that, and all of that craziness. That’s why I believe that the states should have an opportunity to address that issue.


Do you think homosexuality is a choice?

Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”

So your feeling would be that people are born one way or another.

I mean, I think that’s the prevailing view at this point, and I know that there’s some out there who think that you can absolutely make that choice. And maybe some people have. I don’t know, I can’t say. Until we can give a definitive answer one way or the other, I think we should respect that.


How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your Catholic faith but by the fact that you were adopted?

Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in that—I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it… Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.

Explain that.

The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.

Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?

Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

You do?

Yeah. Absolutely.

Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?

The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?


The interesting thing about this is that his statements are not really all that different from the positions he defended in the interview he gave to CNS News back in December. Though not as open about these things as he was in GQ, it was clear in the CNS interview that Steele did not ascribe to the GOP's hard-line stances on gays and choice but would support them because they were in the Republican Party Platform.  As I wrote at the time in response to Ken Blackwell's explanation of why he backed Steele:

Steele's embrace of these principles is anything but "authentic" - it is entirely opportunistic. Of all the candidates running for RNC Chairman, Steele is the one most likely "abandon the values and priorities" Blackwell cites because, as Steele freely admits, he doesn't actually agree with them.

Steele's views were well-known before his election as Chairman for the RNC, but given all the criticism he's come under recently, it seems quite likely that this latest dust-up will be enough to topple him from the position he's held for less than two months.

In fact, Ben Smith reports that Steele is already backtracking but it looks like it is too little too late as right-wing activists have already begun piling on:

"I think it is very troubling for a public figure, of either party, particularly one who presents himself as pro-life, to describe the abortion issue as being a matter of 'individual choice,'" That is language straight out of Planned Parenthood's messaging playbook," said Charmaine Yoest, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action, who said she hadn't heard from the RNC. "There are millions of pro-life Americans, Republican and Democrat, who are looking for leadership on the life issue and they will find Mr. Steele's comments disturbing and demoralizing."

Another anti-abortion activist and sharp critic of President Barack Obama on the subject, Jill Stanek, was even blunter.

"Michael Steele has just unmistakably proclaimed himself to be pro-choice," she said in an email. "You thought he was 'embattled' last week over his Limbaugh comment? Ha. He has now stepped both feet into it."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins emails, "I expressed my concerns to the chairman earlier this week about previous statements that were very similar in nature. He assured me as chairman his views did not matter and that he would be upholding and promoting the Party platform, which is very clear on these issues. It is very difficult to reconcile the GQ interview with the chairman's pledge."

This is a Richard Cizik territory, and we all know how that turned out.

You've Been Fadin', Always Out Paradin', Keep in Touch With Mama King

Sometimes you have to wonder if Alveda King is even capable of discussing issues not related to reproductive choice or of seeing issues through anything other than the spectrum of abortion:

Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is tired of the violence in American society ... "A pastor in Illinois is gunned down. Music stars make the news with their fists instead of their voices. Violence more and more intrudes where love and beauty should prevail," said Dr. King, "and I can't help but wonder if this would be the case if we hadn't let legalized violence brutalize people in what should be a haven of nurturing, the womb."

King goes on to liken herself to a "real life Madea, packing a Bible instead of a gun" and proclaims that "many young people who hear me speak have taken to calling me 'Mama King.'"

Interesting.  Of course, others who have heard her speak have taken to calling her "misleading":

Some students at Alveda King's speech Tuesday night did not expect a strictly literal interpretation of the advertised "life affirming choices" speech.

The niece of Dr. Martin Luther King spoke out strongly against abortion at her "Can the Dream Survive?" presentation in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium. Some students were surprised to learn that was the topic of her lecture. Several of the about 650-person audience walked out.

"I felt a little misled personally," said Flint senior Detrone Turner, who said he thought the speech was going to be about increasing diversity.

Sponsored by The Student Budget Allocation Committee, The Office for Institutional Diversity and Students For Life, King presented a PowerPoint called "Can the Dream Survive If the Kids Are Dead?"

"That whole adding in 'can the dream survive if the kids were dead' was an aspect that I wasn't expecting," Turner said. "It kind of caught me off guard."

The article also contains a rather surprising piece of information of which I was previously unaware and don't fully know what to make:

A mother of several children, King admitted she had two abortions herself, but that she was tricked into the procedures. The doctor who performed her first abortion did not tell her that she was pregnant.

"I was pregnant and he didn't tell me. It was illegal. It was not 1973. Roe v. Wade had not passed," she said. "Really, I was pregnant (and) he didn't tell me."

The situation was similar for her second abortion.

Perhaps that explains her obsession with the issue, though this revelation only seems to raise more questions than in answers.

Understanding the "Black Genocide" Movement

Kathryn Joyce, author of “Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement,” has a good piece up on “Religion Dispatches” on the effort by anti-choice activists to convince Americans that reproductive freedom is actually a plot to commit genocide against minorities:

Lately, however, antiabortion groups don’t simply seize the mantle of abolitionism, but argue directly that abortion is a concerted attack on people of color. Black and brown populations are, according to the new rhetoric, allegedly targeted for aggressive population control by abortion providers who deliberately place clinics in inner-city, low-income neighborhoods, resulting in higher rates of abortion among Latina and black women in the United States compared to white women.

[A]ntiabortion activists continue to claim that providers are targeting black and Latino populations, and have leafleted inner-city neighborhoods with denunciations of “Klan Parenthood,” juxtaposing images of lynchings and aborted fetuses with the slogan “lynching is for amateurs.” The argument’s popularity is climbing, spurring numerous rallies, publications and organizations devoted to spreading word of abortion providers’ supposedly racist motives. Indeed, Rep. Franks, the lead sponsor of the Susan B. Anthony bill, said he was inspired by a Washington, DC abortion clinic protest last April that denounced the “black genocide” of abortion.

Among the most prominent names in the movement are Day Gardner, of the National Black Pro-Life Union; Rev. Clenard Childress and Johnny Hunter of the group Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN, at the website Black; and Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King. King, the media darling of the bunch, addressed the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 38th Annual Legislative Convention this summer, arguing that “fully 1/4 of the black population of the US has gone missing” due to abortion.

This is something we’ve mentioned several times before and Joyce does a good job of explaining how this message was developed and who is pushing it, so be sure to read the whole thing.

We'll Keep Swinging and Missing Until We Have Won

We've written about the anti-choice movement's new focus on "personhood" as it attempts to find new tactics to outlaw reproductive choice a few times in the past, mostly to note that efforts to date have not been particularly impressive considering that it was wiped out at the polls in Colorado last November.

But that doesn't mean they are giving up.  Recently, Personhood USA announced that "seven different states have started efforts for the personhood of pre-born children. In addition, Rep. Duncan Hunter has introduced H.R. 881, the Right to Life Act , on the federal level, propelling the personhood movement forward."

Now, RH Reality Check reports that the North Dakota House just passed such a measure yesterday:

On Tuesday, one body of North Dakota's state legislature voted, 51-41, not only to ban abortion, but to define life as beginning at conception. Such a measure, considered extreme even by pro-life standards, would have far-reaching consequences on women's health.

State Rep. Dan Ruby introduced the legislation, which declares that "for purposes of interpretation of the constitution and laws of North Dakota, it is the intent of the legislative assembly that an individual, a person, when the context indicates that a reference to an individual is intended, or a human being includes any organism with the genome of homo sapiens."

"It was at the bottom of the calendar and we didn't expect [the House] to get to it, so it caught us a little bit by surprise," said Tim Stanley, senior director of government and public affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. "This bill dangerous, far reaching, and allows government -- not women and families -- to make critical decisions about health care." Some state legislators have been quoted saying the intent of the measure is not to ban abortion outright. However, many legal experts agree that defining life as beginning at conception would affect access to birth control and emergency contraception as well as affect in vitro fertilization. "I'm not sure if this is naivete or if this is sincere," Stanley said. "The bottom line is that our attorneys have looked at this and are extremely concerned."

OneNewsNow asked one of the activists who is pushing this personhood effort, Cal Zastrow of Michigan Citizens for Life, why they are focusing on this issue considering that it lost so badly in Colorado, and he says it is because they will not quit until abortion is outlawed:

"Because it raises the pro-life tide and it gets the vision to not quit until every baby is protected by law and love," he contends. "And you're right, we didn't win the World Series every time we swung the bat -- but we're going to keep swinging the bat and keep going until we have won the World Series."

Of course, a more accurate explanation is probably the one Katy Walker of the American Life League gave last year when she admitted that "the idea of personhood in this movement is really the only thing, the only option left to us."

Targeting Hutchison, Deep in the Heart of Texas

In yesterday's Right Wing Leftovers, I mentioned that both Phyllis Schlafly and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison are scheduled to speak at the Denton County [Texas] Republican Party's annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner in a week or so.

I thought that seemed odd because hard-line Religious Right leaders, like Rick Scarborough, are currently livid that Hutchison is planning on challenging current Republican Governor Rick Perry because they see her as insufficiently right-wing, primarily on reproductive choice issues. But I couldn't find anything from Schlafly or the Eagle Forum going after Hutchison on this, so I didn't mention it. 

But now I see that Matt Lewis at Townhall is reporting that Texas Eagle Forum president Cathie Adams has teamed up with David Barton to undermine Hutchison's primary bid:

Pro-life Activists in Texas, including Texas Eagle Forum President and RNC Committeewoman Cathie Adams and WallBuilders Founder and President David Barton, are also weighing in on the issue by pointing the differences between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

An email recently distributed by the two says: “Senator Hutchinson served for many years as an Honorary Advisory Board Member of the WISH List, whose mission is to raise money to identify, train, and elect pro-abortion Republican women at all levels of Government.”

And an accompanying flier notes that, “Governor Perry has always been active in the pro-life movement," and that "Senator Hutchinson supports legal abortion until viability and has called for the removal or weakening of the pro-life plank of the Republican party.”

The biting part is that the flier compares and contrasts John Cornyn and Rick Perry's conservative records versus Kay Bailey Hutchinson -- who is closely compared to President Barack Obama.

That ought to make for some interesting conversation at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, since Schlafly just happens to be the national head of the Eagle Forum, who's state affiliate is now attacking Hutchison by comparing her to Barack Obama. 

On a related note, Lewis also linked to this video Rick Scarborough released last month blasting Hutchison for daring to run for Governor and demanding that she return all the donations she received for her Senate campaign:

Happy Gary Bauer Day

Today is the annual March for Life, held every year on January 22 to protest abortion and press for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

As such, Religious Right groups are doing what they do every year, with the Family Research Council  hosting its Blogs for Life Conference and March for Life organizers and activists complaining that the media isn't paying attention to them and nobody takes them seriously:

Still, Nellie Gray — who founded the March for Life 36 years ago — pines for some meaningful attention from the press. Her marchers hit the streets near the Capitol on Thursday, virtually retracing the steps of an estimated 1.8 million inaugural revelers whose every move was chronicled by a crush of media just two days earlier.


"Anyone climbing on a bus from somewhere else, thinking they're going to wave into a network news camera, is going to be very disappointed. In the last 20 years, despite large annual crowds, the liberal manufacturers of TV have simply never found the March for Life to be the slightest bit newsworthy," said Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, drawing a comparison to a liberal antiwar activist.

"Everyone knows that a single Cindy Sheehan in the summer seems to be worth more than 20,000 pro-lifers in January."

For his part, Gary Bauer has seemingly decided to dedicate this day to getting his name in print - first with an op-ed with Star Parker in The Weekly Standard:

A century and a half ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case that African Americans have no rights under the Constitution. Barack Obama's election would seem to put the final nail in the coffin of that evil philosophy. With its Roe decision, however, the court again wrongly declared that some Americans are entitled to no constitutional rights and can be destroyed at the discretion of others. Sadly, that evil philosophy will be given new hope under President Obama.

The battle for equal rights has reached a major milestone. But Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of full equality will remain just a dream as long as unborn children are denied the right to life, the most fundamental right of all.

And secondly with a solo op-ed in the Politico debunking the "myths" of Roe:

Another misconception concerns what would happen if Roe were overturned. The day after Roe’s reversal, abortion policy would revert back to the states. Some states would severely restrict abortion, while a bigger group of more populous states would likely pass laws guaranteeing the same access to abortion they have now. So, far from ending the abortion battle, Roe’s reversal would mark the beginning of a battle to which the past 35 years have been a prelude.

A post-Roe America would look like the America of today in terms of the sheer volume of abortions. The major difference would be an anti-abortion movement toiling to tackle 50 separate abortion policies simultaneously. Another important difference is that we would no longer teach young Americans the lie that — among their cherished constitutional rights of free speech, religion and assembly — there is also a right to take the life of an unborn baby.

A final misconception about Roe is one too often held by its opponents: that Roe’s reversal is the ultimate anti-abortion goal and that support for constitutional protections for the unborn betrays the federalist principles of conservatism. But by asserting states’ rights, Roe’s anti-abortion opposition effectively (if unwittingly) accepts Roe’s reasoning that prenatal life is not a due process right within the constitutional framework and, therefore, that the unborn child is not a constitutional “person.”

Moreover, in our system of government, certain issues are left to the states while others are deemed so essential to our understanding of democracy that they must be taken up nationally. We fought a civil war over the conviction that some issues are too fundamental to be decided state by state. Just as slavery was an assault on human dignity, the slaughter of millions of unborn children is an assault on a natural human right that exists prior to, and regardless of, the whims of a majority.

So you see there really is nothing to worry about - anti-choice activists merely want to overturn Roe so that the issue can be decided by the states ... and then they can eliminate the right to reproductive choice in all fifty of them by passing a constitutional amendment making it illegal. 

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reproductive choice Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/24/2011, 6:26pm
Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class. George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment. After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels. What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act. Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right. Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/24/2011, 6:26pm
Today is the day that Antonin Scalia delivered his lecture to those attending Rep. Michelle Bachmann's Tea Party class. George Allen apparently thinks every has forgotten about his infamous "macaca" moment. After years of pressure from the Religious Right, Marriott will stop offering pornography in its hotels. What a surprise: members of the Bush administration regularly violated the Hatch Act. Mark DeMoss continues his lonely crusade to try and sell Mitt Romney to the Religious Right. Rick Santorum stands by his claim that it is "remarkable... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 10/27/2010, 5:41pm
Here is the text [PDF] of the remarks Newt Gingrich delivered at Liberty University today. It is pretty much what we have come to expect from him. Speaking of ridiculous nonsense, Dinesh D'Souza was on "Wallbuilders Live" today discussing "The Roots of Obama's Rage." Ken Cuccinelli will be joining Brent Bozell, Grover Norquist, Tony Perkins and others for an election night celebration hosted by Richard Viguerie and Morton Blackwell. Day Gardner and the National Pro-Life Union endorse Randall Terry acolyte Missy Smith. Also, support for reproductive... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 09/27/2010, 11:18am
Dr. William Harrison was an ardent supporter of a woman's right to reproductive choice which, in turn, made him a frequent target of right-wing anti-choice activists. On Friday, he died after a four-month battle with leukemia ... and Operation Rescue is rejoicing, seeing it as proof that "God always gets the last word": "We are thankful that this man will never again have the opportunity to kill any more babies, hurt any more women, or cause any more human misery on this Earth," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "In the end, God always gets the last word.... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 07/21/2010, 3:42pm
It is important to remind ourselves occasionally that right-wing anti-choice groups don't just want to control the rights of women in America, they want to control the rights of women everywhere. Case in point: Pat Robertson's ACLJ has been deeply involved and spent tens of thousands of dollars in trying to keep abortion out of the constitution being drafted in Kenya ... and now it looks like dozens of other Religious Right leaders are backing the effort: With just two weeks to go until Kenyans vote on a new Constitution, World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 06/21/2010, 12:09pm
Conservative activists continue to pile on Gov. Mitch Daniels for suggesting a "truce" in the culture wars, with Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council citing this statement from Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values: Unless he knows something we don’t, using the word “truce” when family values are under increasing attack can only mean surrender. Does he have knowledge that the other side is going to stop performing abortions during this “truce”? Are homosexual activists going to stop promoting same-sex marriage during this... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/11/2010, 2:39pm
Richard Land and Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission are claiming credit for having played in "instrumental" role in thwarting President Obama goals in 2009 and as they lay out the Southern Baptists' legislative agenda for 2010 which focuses heavily on fighting against reproductive choice and gay rights: Whenever the voters have been given the opportunity to decide the question of same-sex marriage in their states, they have opted to support traditional marriage. Nevertheless, the battle to protect marriage is far from over. Right now, the... MORE