Women should be able to make personal decisions w/o intrusion of pols like Greg Abbott, who’d ban abortion even for rape and incest.#HB2
it is hard to find abortion support and info in the internet because all those anti choice, anti autonomy, pro bs people got nothing to do but act stupid in the internet and upload pro bs propaganda. SO PLEASE SHARE WIDE
Mr. Abbott, you are a hate filled idiot who is about as useful as a milk bucket under a bull. The only thing that will reduce the number of babies born out of wedlock is comprehensive sex education in our schools. Clearly whatever you were taught is for shit if you think there is any correlation between same sex marriage and unplanned pregnancies. And for the record, if you have an issue with gay marriage, don’t get married to a gay person. And if you don’t want another idiot as Governor of Texas, don’t vote for Greg Abbott. Vote for Wendy Davis. She knows where babies come from. I mean it. Really.
And if you don’t want another idiot as Governor of Texas, don’t vote for Greg Abbott. Vote for Wendy Davis.
#IASen: GOPer Joni Ernst dodges question on abortion for rape victims
Republican Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst evaded a question during a Thursday night debate on whether she supports exceptions to an absolute abortion ban in cases of rape or incest, saying she “supports life” with a possible exception being when a mother’s life is at risk.
Early in the debate, the moderators asked Ernst — who supported the personhood amendment in 2013 to change the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception, thus giving legal rights to fetuses — to answer a series of questions on her support of the amendment. But when asked for specific exceptions she would support to an abortion ban, she didn’t mention cases of rape or incest.
“I support life so, going back to perhaps the life of the mother, I think that would be important,” she said.
Republican Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst evaded a question during a Thursday night debate on whether she supports exceptions to an absolute abortion ban in cases of rape or incest, saying she “supports life” with a possible exception being when a mother’s life is at risk.
The state was previously permitted to enforce laws that forced all but eight abortion facilities in the state to shutter.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday halted enforcement of some provisions of a strict Texas abortion law that forced many clinics around the state to close.
The Court stopped enforcement of the requirement that abortion clinics meet the same facilities’ standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Requirements for doctors at clinics in McAllen and El Paso to have admitting privileges at local hospitals were also put on hold.
“Tomorrow, 13 clinics across the state will be allowed to reopen and provide women with safe and legal abortion care in their own communities,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights told The New York Times. But said, “This fight against Texas’ sham abortion law is not over.” Oct. 14, 2014, at 7:18 p.m.
Enforcement of the law was halted while it is under review by an appeals court. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito voted against the court’s order.Supreme Court / Via supremecourt.gov
Cecile Richards, of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the order protected women’s right to safe, legal abortions from the unnecessarily severe law.
We’re seeing the terrible impact these restrictions have on thousands of Texas women who effectively no longer have access to safe and legal abortion. We’re relieved that the court stepped in to stop this, and we hope this dangerous law is ultimately overturned completely.
A federal appeals court will allow Texas to enforce strict regulations that will force all but eight abortion facilities in the state to close until the court can determine if the law is constitutional, the Associated Press reported.
The regulations require abortion facilities to include operating rooms and hospital-style air filtration systems. Another portion of the law has already required doctors working at clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
Currently, only seven clinics in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas meet the requirements, which critics say effectively deny many women the right to an abortion in the second most populous state in the U.S.
The 2013 law aimed to protect women’s health, said Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas conservatives. A U.S. District judge ruled in August that the law, which would require millions of dollars of upgrades at clinics, was actually about making access to abortions more difficult. Thursday’s opinion by a panel of judges in New Orleans puts a hold on the earlier decision pending more court review.
According to the law’s opponents, almost a million women will now live more than three hours away from an abortion clinic. It was briefly halted by a 13-hour filibuster by Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, who is now running for governor.
Davis reacted to the court decision Thursday on Twitter:
Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, who is running against Davis for governor, also posted his reaction.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has blocked Texas from enforcing key parts of a 2013 law that would close all but eight of the state’s abortion facilities.
The justices largely granted the request of abortion providers Tuesday. With three dissenting votes, the court suspended a ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed Texas to enforce a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.
The appeals court’s ruling suspended an August decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who found that such upgrades were less about safety than making access to abortion difficult.
Yeakel’s ruling stopped the requirements, so the state appealed. The 5th Circuit is still considering the overall constitutionality of the measure but allowed it to go into effect.
H/T: Huffington Post
Ernest Angley’s Grace Cathedral rocked by accusations involving abortions and vasectomies [TW: Sexual Abuse, Homophobia, Religious Indoctrination, Emotional Abuse, Spiritual Abuse]
Depending whom you ask, one of two things is happening at the big Cuyahoga Falls church run by legendary television evangelist Ernest Angley:
• The devil himself has infiltrated the church, and Angley, who is a prophet of God, has been working tirelessly to fight him off.
• Angley’s church is a dangerous cult where pregnant women are encouraged to have abortions, childless men are encouraged to have vasectomies and Angley — who preaches vehemently against the “sin” of homosexuality — is himself a gay man who personally examines the genitals of the male parishioners before and after their surgeries. They also say he turns a blind eye to sexual abuse by other members of his church.
During the past few months, a tear has ripped through the 3,000-seat auditorium known as Grace Cathedral. One longtime associate pastor resigned, telling friends and family he felt he had been inappropriately touched by Angley for seven years.
The dispute exploded on July 13, when Angley and two others in his camp addressed the situation in a 2½-hour open service. The service was recorded by one of the attendees and shared with the Beacon Journal.
In response to swirling accusations that he is a homosexual who has abused both his associates and members of the congregation, Angley, 93, had this to say to a large Sunday gathering.
“I’m not a homosexual. God wouldn’t use a homosexual like he uses me. He calls me his prophet, and indeed I am. …
“They called Jesus a homosexual, did you know that? And still do. Because he was with men. Oh, Mary Magdalene and a few women. But you can’t stop the people’s lies.”
Then he addressed his history of urging the males in his congregation to submit to vasectomies.
“I’ve helped so many of the boys down through the years,” he said in his slow, singsong cadence. “They had their misgivings. Sure, I’d have them uncover themselves, but I did not handle them at all.
“And I would tell them how that would work. And they’d have to watch it. I’d have some of them come back to me that I felt needed to. And I would tell them, I would look at them, their privates — I, so I could tell how they were swelling.
“One young man, he decided to put in a garden [doctors advise against physical exertion after a vasectomy]. And he’d like to died. If he’d just told me — ask me. …
“Another one was constipated. It was awful. And he was just dying deaths.
“And another one, one of his testicles fell out, absolutely fell out. ‘It’s dangerous, you should have a nurse.’ But I knew they wouldn’t get one.
“And men’s — I was a farm boy. We thought nothing about undressing. We didn’t know about homosexuals. We talked about women.
“And some of these turned against me.”
They certainly did. In droves.
Many speak out
The Beacon Journal spoke individually with 21 former members of the church who insist that Angley has been running a cult, not a church, and say he consistently threatens and intimidates his flock into following his instructions, bullying them into life-changing decisions that often split up families.
These folks say Angley controls virtually every aspect of their lives, from deciding what they read and watch on TV to whom they will marry and when. The sheer amount of time they are urged to spend at the church — three- to five-hour services, multiple times per week, plus a host of other activities — enables him to limit outside interference, they say.
Angley and other top church officials say the wave of members who left the church this summer was part of a conspiracy to take control of the ministry, and that the former members are “lying” about virtually everything.
But a parade of ex-members — some who departed 25 years ago, some who departed only a few months ago — scoff at those assertions.
“This man is a monster,” said Pam Cable of Akron, who left the church in 1988. “He’s a monster. And I can’t understand why all these years have gone by and nobody’s ever really been able to do anything about him.
“The people in Akron, Ohio, have a Jim Jones sitting in their backyard. … These people in his congregation would drink the Kool-Aid if he told them to. They would.”
Kenny Montgomery, a former usher, also invokes the name of Jones, the religious leader who in 1978 persuaded 909 of his followers to commit suicide by drinking Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.
“That place is a textbook cult,” said Montgomery, whose mother introduced him to the church at age 9. “I’m really scared for my friends and family that still go there.”
He and others say Angley holds so much sway over his members’ lives that he has persuaded them to get abortions and vasectomies even when they didn’t want to.
“None of us have kids because he makes all the men get fixed,” said Becky Roadman, 32, who quit the church last year and now lives in Georgia. “You’re not allowed to have babies there.”
That assertion is seconded by Akron resident Angelia Oborne, who worked in the church’s restaurant, the Cathedral Buffet, for 20 years before quitting the church a year and a half ago.
“My husband and I can’t have children because my husband had a vasectomy,” she said. “We were looking at getting it reversed, but I’m 35 years old and … may not be able to have children anymore.
“And that breaks my heart, because that choice was made for me, because of the brainwashing, the mind control. We weren’t allowed to have children. If you turned up pregnant, it’s almost as if you had sinned.”
Oborne says Angley once advised a friend to think of her growing fetus as “a tumor.”
“She was four months pregnant and she sat in the [abortion clinic] waiting room and told her baby that she was so sorry that she was doing this,” Oborne said.
“I know another girl — she won’t come forward — but she was forced into having four abortions.”
Among those who have been pressured into abortions is Mimi Camp of Munroe Falls.
Camp was 25 and the mother of two boys when she and her husband moved from Florida to Akron and joined the church. When she became pregnant again and revealed what she figured would be the joyous news, her husband was upset, quoting Angley as saying, “It’s against God’s will for anyone to have a child.”
When they went to talk with Angley, Camp said, their pastor declared that abortion was her only option — “and then he went into some sort of vision and said, ‘Thus sayeth the Lord, if you have this child it could take your life or be retarded and you won’t be the mother to your other two children.’ ”
Camp grudgingly, haltingly acceded.
“I actually waited until I was 15 or 16 weeks along,” she said. “I was taking my prenatal vitamins and everything because I just didn’t want to do it.
“I kept getting pressured. The church recommended the abortion clinic. The first one I went to, I got up and walked out. I couldn’t go through with it.
“Then some higher-ups from the church were saying, ‘You know, you’d be doing the right thing. You really need to go through with it.’ And I went ahead and did it.”
She deeply regrets the decision. She experienced early menopause and never had another chance to have the girl she always wanted.
“I thought perhaps it was a girl,” she said. “It was terrible. It was absolutely gut-wrenching.”
Bad time for kids
During a 90-minute interview in his office, Angley said he doesn’t remember Camp’s circumstances, doesn’t push for abortions and only suggests vasectomies.
“I can’t regulate their lives,” he said. “But I can advise them about things if they ask me.”
Why would the head of a church want to limit the size of his future congregation? Usher Mike Kish, who sat in on the interview, said, “I would hate to even bring a child into the world at this point, being a parent, just having common sense. … If you look at the condition of this world … it just seems to be going downhill.”
When Angley was asked whether he agrees that this is a bad time to have children, he responded: “It really is. It really is. I wouldn’t want to be brought into this world now.”
Even if you had strong faith?
“No, because the people of strong faith go down. And their children are in danger … . It wasn’t like that when I was a kid. We could walk up and down the streets, we could play at night and we were not molested at all.”
Angley volunteered a story about a male church employee who, Angley believes, wanted a child too much.
“This girl, she wanted a baby, she’s a second wife,” Angley said. “Those vasectomies can be undone, and he had it undone for her sake.
“I knew he shouldn’t have. We almost lost her, and they had twins and one of them died [at birth]. The little boy [who survived], he is something else. He really loves me. … The daddy, he’s proud of him. But he knows he did the wrong thing.”
Angley and his late wife, Esther (he called her “Angel”), who died in 1970, never had children. When asked why, Angley said: “We didn’t want children. We wanted to give our lives to the work of God. … My wife really loved children, but she didn’t feel like that we should have them.”
Some former members believe Angley has an ulterior motive in trying to prevent his parishioners from having children. Among them is Greg Mulkey of Barberton.
Mulkey was a prominent figure at Grace Cathedral, a singer in the Hallelujahs, a group featured on Angley’s TV broadcasts, and a key member of the church choir.
“He doesn’t want people to have kids because it would take their time and money away from [the church],” he said.
“He really forced people into abortions through scare tactics, as if he were a medical doctor. It turns my stomach.”
Mulkey says vasectomies were force-fed as well.
“When you tell another man to have a vasectomy, and you’re not a doctor, and you have influence over that person, you’re taking away their humanity.
“[It’s] his way of controlling everyone. It’s very scary stuff.”
Given Angley’s level of control, ex-members say, parishioners are vulnerable to his advances and those of his associates. That subject will be examined in Part Two.
N 2005, THE WITHERSPOON SCHOOL of Law and Public Policy held a conference in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The school’s name was something of a misnomer: Rather than grant JDs, Witherspoon staged seminars and lectures offering lessons in what it summarized as “the comprehensive biblical foundation for our common law and constitutional government.” Its target audience was homeschooled young men. The school itself was a project of Vision Forum, a Texas-based ministry whose founder was also a leader in the Christian Patriarchy movement, which preaches, among other things, that husbands should vote for their wives.
Timeline: The Personhood Movement
Most sitting judges would go to great pains to avoid such a gathering. But Tom Parker, then a few months into his first term on the Alabama Supreme Court, gladly accepted an invitation to speak at that year’s Witherspoon retreat. Before his election to Alabama’s highest court, Parker had been an aide-de-camp to Chief Justice Roy Moore, whose installation of a granite Ten Commandments monument in the state judiciary building had touched off what became for Alabama both a considerable embarrassment and a genuine constitutional crisis. At Parker’s swearing-in, he made it clear that he had sought the bench to continue his old boss’s spiritual fight.
“The very God of Holy Scriptures, the Creator, is the source of law, life, and liberty,” he declared to an audience that included his eight unsmiling fellow justices.
The atmosphere at Parker’s Witherspoon appearance was far warmer, and his remarks there were even more candid. A DVD of the session shows him gripping the lectern, dressed in a gray suit and blue tie, as he railed against the perceived sins of jurists at every level. “It’s the judges who have legalized abortion and homosexuality … They are shaking the very foundation of our society.” Parker made it clear that he had no intention of letting legal precedent get in his way. “We cannot fall under that trap,” he insisted. “We have to stand for what’s right.” The one thing he most wished for the young men before him was that they find a way to gain positions of influence and turn them to God’s purpose. No opportunity to do so should be shrunk from or wasted.
In the nine years Parker has now served on the court, he has made the most of his opportunities. Child custody disputes, for instance, have made good occasions to expound on the role of religion in parental rights. (“Because God, not the state, has granted parents the authority and responsibility to govern their children, parents should be able to do so unfettered by state interference,” he wrote in one case.) But Parker has been the most creative in his relentless campaign to undermine legal abortion. Again and again, he has taken cases that do not directly concern reproductive rights, or even reproductive issues, and found ways to use them to argue for full legal status for the unborn.
Those efforts have made Parker a pivotal figure in the so-called personhood movement, which has its roots in a loophole in Roe v. Wade. While that 1973 ruling was creating a broad new right to abortion grounded in a constitutionally protected right to privacy, an often-overlooked passage left an opening for those who would seek its undoing. Duringoral arguments, the justices had asked Roe’s lawyer what would happen if a fetus were held to be a person under the Constitution. “I would have a very difficult case,” she had replied. In his majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun noted that the Supreme Court could find no basis for such status, before adding, “If this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe’s] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed.”
Roe’s fiercest critics immediately took up the challenge, launching a push for a constitutional amendment affirming that life begins at conception. But that first effort fizzled, and it’s only in recent years that a new wave of pro-life activists—many of them born after Roe and educated in fundamentalist Christian settings—have once again seized on personhood as a way not just of weakening Roe, but of overturning it. In state after state, they have been pushing to have their beliefs enshrined in policy. This November 4, in Colorado, voters will cast ballots on Amendment 67, an initiative that would include unborn human beings under the definition of “person” and “child” throughout the state’s criminal code. North Dakotans, meanwhile, will decide on Measure 1, which would alter the state constitution to recognize the “inalienable right to life” at every stage of human development.
Even if both initiatives fall short, others will follow. The first one to pass doubtlessly will then be challenged in court, igniting the potentially decisive battle that personhood advocates really want. Their goal is to get to the U.S. Supreme Court — as quickly as possible, while conservatives still dominate.
Christian-educated lawyers have been preparing for that day, churning out articles published by Christian law journals, which are then cited in briefs submitted to courts by Christian-right legal organizations. But given their provenance, the impact of those arguments has been limited. Parker, a graduate of Dartmouth and Vanderbilt who counts Clarence Thomas as a role model, has the imprimatur of his office behind him, and he has used it to build a body of reasoning that can be cited and re-cited, helping to frame and refine the thinking of other lawyers and judges in the battles ahead. “Now, it’s not just an obscure law-review article making these arguments,” said Glen Halva-Neubauer, a Furman University political scientist who studies anti-abortion activism. “It’s not just some treatise that twenty-five of your right-to-life friends know about and nobody else. The mainstream effect is not inconsequential.”
And that, of course, was the idea all along. “What Justice Parker has done,” said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the nonprofit National Advocates for Pregnant Women, “is explicitly lay out the roadmap for overturning Roe v. Wade.”
The Human Life Amendment, as personhood advocates’ first big push was commonly known, was ahead of its time. In the wake of Roe, pro-choice groups — which then included many centrist Republicans — had the momentum. Personhood proponents hoped in vain that Ronald Reagan’s election and the GOP’s capture of the Senate in 1980 would turn the tide, but the comparatively moderate pro-life mainstream wasn’t fully on board. By the time the Supreme Court reaffirmed a core right to abortion in the landmark 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the movement had shifted to its own incremental approach. Targeting legislatures in conservative states, it sought tougher penalties for fetal homicides, and, later, birth certificates for stillborn babies. The revised approach alarmed abortion-rights advocates because it was so emotionally resonant — and effective.
The basic holding of Roe obviously remains in place, and more than one million legal abortions are performed in the United States every year. Yet the personhood movement has made significant inroads. Today, 38 states have fetal-homicide statutes that make it a crime to cause the death of an unborn child during an act of domestic violence, for example, or while driving drunk. At least 15 have laws that make the pregnancy of a homicide victim an aggravating factor that can lead to the death penalty. And more and more jurisdictions have begun policing pregnant women themselves. In almost every state, women have been arrested or detained for exposing their fetuses to illegal drugs; in more than half of them, mothers can lose some or even all of their custody rights if they or their newborn tests positive for controlled substances. In some places, legislators have written laws expressly authorizing such steps. (Tennessee’s new statute goes the furthest, allowing pregnant drug-users to be charged with criminal assault.) More commonly, it’s constables and prosecutors who’ve taken the initiative, reinterpreting existing laws to detain and arrest mothers. “One clever thing about using drug cases this way,” said Sara Zeigler, a feminist scholar and dean at Eastern Kentucky University, “is that the average person is not going to be at all sympathetic” to a pregnant woman who gets high. Thanks to moves such as these, the idea that a fetus has rights separate from its mother’s has taken root in the law and flourished, even when the more controversial subject of fetal personhood is not directly invoked.
Parker’s own calling wasn’t clear for many years. He was born to a middle-class Montgomery family in 1952, at the dawn of the modern civil rights era, a few miles from the bus stops and churches where it all began. At a time when many white families were fleeing to segregated Christian academies, he attended the city’s public schools. (His senior year, he was student body president and, according to his classmates, “Most Sincere.”) At Dartmouth, he thought he might become a historian, but ultimately chose law school instead.
What he found at Vanderbilt Law School in the mid-1970s shocked him. The religious roots of American law were a forbidden topic. There were no classes specifically devoted to the founding document of American jurisprudence, he said.
“They teach you about what judges say about the Constitution rather than having you go back and study the Constitution,” he told a gathering last year.
As a young lawyer, Parker led fights to restore God to everyday life in the state — particularly in its schools and textbooks. But he often wound up frustrated, never more so than when a landmark school prayer case he worked on went down to defeat before the U.S. Supreme Court. He complained that the court’s 1985 decision in Wallace v. Jaffree was “the greatest setback to religious liberty that has ever occurred in this country.”
After a stint as a lobbyist, during which he helped establish two think tanks affiliated with James Dobson’s hugely influential Focus on the Family, Parker became a confidant of Roy Moore, then a county judge. When Moore became chief justice of the state Supreme Court in 2000, Parker served as his legal lieutenant, strategist and spokesman. And when Moore’s final Ten Commandments crusade ended in debacle, Parker was ousted, too.
If unemployed, Parker was hardly finished. He went to work at Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law, a think tank devoted “to protect[ing] the Constitution and protect[ing] the heritage of our Country.” It promoted the far-right strain of Christianity known asReconstructionism — supporters believe that the Bible should be the governing text for all areas of civil and political life; that America’s Christian founders intended it to be a Christian land; that there is no law without God; that the law and the Constitution don’t evolve any more than humans do, but are fixed and immutable. The Foundation was also a champion of the newly revived personhood movement — indeed, it claimed the group Personhood Alabama as one of its projects.
Parker won a spot on the state’s top court in 2004. Once elected, he freely recruited the kinds of committed, somewhat eclectic culture combatants who made up Moore’s circle. For the powerful behind-the-scenes job of chief of staff, he chose John Eidsmoe, an ex-law professor and author of several seminal Reconstructionist works — “the top Biblical law commander of the era,” according to Frederick Clarkson, a journalist and historian of far-right religious movements and senior fellow at Political Research Associates.
Two of Parker’s quirkiest hires were Alex and Brett Harris, 16-year-old homeschooled twins from outside Portland, Ore., whose blog, Rebelution (tagline: “a teenage rebellion against low expectations”) had made them the Jonas Brothers of the Christian homeschool world. After they blogged about one of his opinions, Parker took them on for a two-month legal internship; despite their lack of training, they quickly progressed from filing memos to researching and drafting legal opinions. A few months after that, in 2006, Parker made them the grassroots directors in his (failed) campaign to become chief justice. “They demonstrated a maturity comparable to the law students we’ve had, and sometimes exceeding that maturity,” Parker raved.
n 2013, a case landed on the Alabama Supreme Court docket that presented Parker with yet another opportunity to attack Roe v. Wade. One of the plaintiffs, Hope Ankrom, from Coffee County south of Montgomery, had pleaded guilty after her son tested positive for cocaine and marijuana at birth. The other, Amanda Kimbrough, from rural northwestern Alabama, had used methamphetamine while pregnant, giving birth 15 weeks prematurely to a boy who soon died. Facing the possibility of life in prison, she opted for a plea deal and a 10 year sentence in the notorious Tutwiler state penitentiary for women. But no Alabama laws specifically authorized the women’s arrests and convictions. Instead, prosecutors had charged them under a felony “chemical endangerment” statute enacted in 2006 to protect children from the noxious fumes and explosive chemicals that make home-based meth labs so dangerous.
Lawyers for Ankrom and Kimbrough argued that the state had grossly overreached, pointing out that legislators had debated — and rejected — expanding the meth-lab law to cover pregnant women. Parker, along with five other justices, didn’t buy it. He declared that the chemical-endangerment law did indeed apply to fetuses exposed to drugs in the womb. But again, Parker didn’t leave it at that. His main opinion in Ex Parte Ankron and Kimbrough ran 55 pages. His concurrence ran another 20.
This time, Parker’s goal was to establish the many ways that existing statutes recognize fetuses as persons with legally enforceable rights. The document is a kind of masterpiece of pro-life reasoning. “He’s someone who really takes time to read history and the development of jurisprudence,” said Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel and a leading Christian legal theorist. “He’s not a surface thinker.” Step by step, Parker lays out his evidence: laws that give inheritance rights to unborn children, laws that ban pregnant inmates from being executed, laws that give fetuses legal guardians for the purposes of protecting their interests, laws that allow parents to sue for damages if fetuses are injured or killed as the result of negligence or some other wrongful act. Several pages of the concurrence consist almost entirely of lists of statutes from around the country conferring fetal rights. “Today, the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion,” he concluded, “and that denial is only because of the dictates of Roe.”
This past spring, as if to punctuate its reasoning, the Alabama Supreme Court confronted a virtually identical case, and, with Parker again writing the majority opinion, reached a virtually identical conclusion. In this concurrence, Parker called on the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the matter of full fetal rights once and for all.
The Court will soon have its chances, if it wants to take them. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit just upheld a set of abortion regulations in Texas that have shut down most of that state’s abortion clinics, the appeal of which the justices could well agree to hear. Meanwhile, the National Advocates for Pregnant Women is putting together a lawsuit that would challenge Alabama’s chemical-endangerment prosecutions, which now number at least 130. Going to the Supreme Court on any issue that touches on abortion feels increasingly risky for pro-choice supporters. Anthony Kennedy remains the swing vote, and, on the one hand, he has argued that people must be allowed “to define one’s own concept of existence.” On the other, he has upheld almost every abortion restriction to come before him. Staver is hopeful that Kennedy’s concern for “the dignity of the individual,” a recent theme of his ever-unpredictable reasoning, may make him newly amenable to overturning Roe on personhood grounds.
Pro-choice advocates, not surprisingly, are deeply worried about any ideas that Parker’s writings could give the justices in Washington. “Parker is pointing out all the ways the law treats the fetus as a person already,” Zeigler, the feminist scholar, said. “The pro-choice argument, meanwhile, is that the personhood of the fetus hinges entirely on the women’s perception of it.” To the question of what constitutes life, she continued, “Parker has answers. The pro-choice side is more, ‘It depends.’ … People will really struggle with that.”
Last year, University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus — author of a widely panned study on same-sex parenting that is nonetheless frequently cited on the Religious Right — helped launch a new group called the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, which has since been publishing his research on topics including pre-marital sex, divorce, religion among college students and masturbation.
According to tax records filed this summer, the Austin Institute receives much of its funding from one donor: New York hedge fund honcho and social conservative mega-donor Sean Fieler.
The 2013 tax return for Fieler’s Chiaroscuro Foundation reports two grants to the Austin Institute, totaling $250,000. Although the public copy of Chiaroscuro’s tax return obscures the dates of its fiscal year, the organization’s 2010 return indicates that its tax year runs from January through December.
Meanwhile, the Austin Institute’s return reports that it took in just $205,000 in contributions between February and June 2013, indicating that a significant portion of its initial funding came from Fieler’s charity.
Fieler’s funding of the Austin Institute shouldn’t come as a surprise. To begin with, he is a trustee of the Witherspoon Institute, the Princeton-based think tank that kicked in $700,000 for Regnerus’ now infamous “New Family Structures” study. The study claimed to show that children raised by gay and lesbian parents suffer all sorts of harmful consequences like drug use and abuse, despite only actually studying two people raised by same-sex couples.
According to the Austin Chronicle, the new group was quickly dubbed “Witherspoon Institute South” — a name stemming from its staff’s plentiful ties to the Witherspoon Institute and the Religious Right.
The Austin Institute grants were among the biggest expenditures last year by Fielder’s Chiaroscuro Foundation, many of which went to groups fighting marriage equality and abortion rights. This year, recipients include Americans United for Life ($20,000), the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty ($260,000), the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), which fights pro-choice and LGBT rights initiatives at the U.N. ($20,000), the National Abstinence Education Foundation ($50,000) and the Susan B. Anthony List ($40,000). As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, Fieler’s foundation also gave $50,000 last year to Morality in Media for its increasingly quixotic anti-porn campaign.
In 2012, the foundation gave $20,000 to the National Organization for Marriage, but seems to have snubbed the group in 2013.
The Chiaroscuro Foundation is just the beginning of Fieler’s influence: Last month, RH Reality Check delved in detail into Fieler’s political spending, including his funding of the American Principles Project and his hand in political races across the country.
While Regnerus’ research at the Austin Institute has so far made less of a splash than his faulty same-sex parenting study, he has continued to lend his voice to the effort to stop marriage equality, including testifying on behalf of a same-sex marriage ban in Michigan this year. (That move caused some of his UT colleagues to distance themselves from his work.)
The Austin Institute’s most noticeable contribution so far is a viral YouTube video applying a pop-economics veneer to the Religious Right’s favorite target, the sexual revolution. The video explains (in economic terms, of course) how contraception led to women turning against each other while men became video-game playing slobs — the only solution to which is for women to band together to withhold sex until marriage.
And the Austin Institute seems primed to provide more research to conveniently reinforce the Religious Right’s policy views — a solid investment for a donor like Fieler.
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
IotC Head Michael Peroutka: Gay 'Deathstyle' Wants To 'Recruit Your Children' [TW: Homophobia, Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry, Anti-Abortion Extremism]
In an interview with Steve Deace yesterday, Institute on the Constitution head and Maryland GOP politician Michael Peroutka claimed that the aim of LGBT rights advocates is to “recruit your children” into their “deathstyle.”
“Is this about sinful people want to engage in their sin, or is this about making a statement that you will go along with the sin?” Peroutka asked about the LGBT rights movement.
Deace responded by repeating his theory that LGBT people are simply seeking “validation” from the government because they can’t get it from God, adding: “We have two moral vices that have a powerful political lobby in America. One is sexually driven and the other one’s driven on covetousness, that’s the welfare state and victimology.”
Deace fretted that as part of this agenda, the gay rights movement is turning “ESPN into homosexual cake-smash make-out sessions.”
“It seems to me that the reason that it’s got to be validated, perversion has to be validated, because recruitment is necessary,” Peroutka added. “This deathstyle — I don’t call it a lifestyle — this deathstyle does not reproduce, it needs to recruit, so it’s got to recruit your children.”
Earlier in the interview, Deace said that governors should just ignore court rulings that they disagree with — such as marriage equality and legalized abortion —saying that if he were governor he would have shut down every abortion clinic in the state “and arrested every employee for killing, every single one of them.”
“The Nazis, everything they did was technically legal too,” he said.
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
This morning’s broadcast of the American Family Association’s “Today’s Issues” program was dedicated to promoting the AFA’s “A Time to Speak" documentary, which is aimed at getting pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote in the upcoming elections.
One guest on the program was Mike Huckabee, who began his interview by threatening to leave the Republican Party if the GOP does not take a stand against the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday not to hear appeals of lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans in several states.
Incensed by the decision, Huckabee declared that “I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have abdicated on this issue,” warning that by doing so the GOP will “guarantee they’re going to lose every election in the future.”
"Guarantee it," he said before proclaiming that the Republicans are going to "lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people" if the party does not stand and fight on the issues of gay marriage and abortion.
"I’m gone," Huckabee warned. “I’ll become an independent. I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this”:
H/T: Kyle Mantyla at RWW
Dr. Willie Parker NAILED IT at our Men for Choice event last week. Thank you, Dr. Parker, for being an amazing advocate for reproductive freedom!
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, tried Sunday to defend the Texas anti-abortion law that shut down 13 clinics this week. But he seemed to have no idea what the law actually does.
"The issue for us is only one thing, and that’s whether you ought to use taxpayer money to fund abortion," Priebus said of the state law on NBC’s "Meet the Press."
The statute in question has nothing to do with taxpayer funding of abortion. It requires all abortions in Texas to take place in ambulatory surgical centers, or mini-hospitals, and requires all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The law also bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and limits how doctors can prescribe medication abortions.
Since the first provision of the law went into effect nearly a year ago, all but seven of the 44 abortion clinics in Texas have been forced to shut down or stop offering the procedure.
Chuck Todd, the host of “Meet the Press,” asked Priebus why Republicans “don’t like a lot of regulations on businesses, except if the business is an abortion clinic.” He noted that the new law has effectively closed 80 percent of the abortion clinics in Texas.
Priebus dodged the question.
"The fact of the matter is that we believe that any woman that’s faced with an unplanned pregnancy deserves compassion, respect, counseling, whatever it is that we can offer," he said.
WE SHOULD BE SCARED: If You Are Pro-Choice, This Is The Single Most Ominous Paragraph You Will Read Today
You know what’s even worse for abortion advocates than a federal appeals court decision eviscerating abortion rights? A Supreme Court decision eviscerating abortion rights
While many women in Texas were sitting down to dinner, a federal appeals court in Texas drastically reduced their access to reproductive health. In the process, the Court practically begged the Supreme Court to take the case and to narrow abortion rights nationwide. Two judges who are particularly hostile to abortion are responsible for Thursday’s decision limiting abortion rights in Texas. And, it is clear from a single paragraph of their opinion that they are very confident the Supreme Court will take their side if the justices agree to to hear this case.
On Thursday evening, a conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit surprised no one who has paid attention to their abortion decisions by reinstating much of a Texas law restricting access to abortion in that state. The Fifth Circuit is one of the most conservative federal courts in the country, and it includes several judges who are particularly unfriendly to pro-choice arguments. Two of those judges, Jerry Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod, were on the three-judge panel that handed down Thursday’s decision.
As Tara Culp-Ressler notes, women in Texas are now “waking up to learn that the number of health care facilities in their communities has been drastically reduced overnight.” Before the Texas law took effect, the state had 40 licensed abortion clinics. Now there are eight, a result that was predicted by the trial judge whose opinion the Fifth Circuit overruled on Thursday.
Judge Elrod’s opinion for the court builds upon a prior Fifth Circuit decision holding thatforcing some women to travel 150 miles to obtain an abortion is not an “undue burden” on their right to choose. It places an unusually high burden on plaintiffs seeking to bring what are known as “facial challenges” — lawsuits claiming that a law should be effectively removed from the books — in abortion cases. And it rejects the trial judge’s conclusion that the Texas law should be struck down because it does virtually nothing to advance women’s health — or much at all, for that matter, besides make abortions harder to obtain. “In our circuit,” Judge Elrod writes, “we do not balance the wisdom or effectiveness of a law against the burdens the law imposes.”
Nevertheless, the single most ominous paragraph of the opinion, at least for people who care about reproductive freedom, is this one:
Plaintiffs argue that the district court’s balancing approach is used by other circuits. We agree with Plaintiffs that some circuits have used the balancing test to enjoin abortion regulations; other circuits—including ours—have not.Compare Planned Parenthood Ariz., Inc. v. Humble, 753 F.3d 905, 914 (9th Cir. 2014), and Planned Parenthood of Wisc., Inc. v. Van Hollen, 738 F.3d 786, 791–99 (7th Cir. 2013), with Abbott II, 748 F.3d at 593–94, 597, Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region v. DeWine, 696 F.3d 490, 515 (6th Cir. 2012), Greenville Women’s Clinic v. Bryant, 222 F.3d 157 (4th Cir. 2000), and Women’s Health Center of W. Cnty., Inc. v. Webster, 871 F.2d 1377 (8th Cir. 1989). We are bound to follow our circuit’s approach.
See that long list of case names and legal citations? That’s what’s known as a “circuit split.” The conservative Fifth Circuit is actually calling attention to the fact that their approach to abortion cases is at odds with the way other federal courts of appeals handle similar cases.
The reason why this is significant is that the Supreme Court is particularly likely to hear a case when “a United States court of appeals has entered a decision in conflict with the decision of another United States court of appeals on the same important matter.” Though it is common for a federal appeals court to explain why they are not following the rule in a another circuit when one of the parties has asked them to do so, Judge Elrod’s lengthy citation — which includes one case that was decided three years before the Supreme Court built the backbone of current abortion jurisprudence in Planned Parenthood v. Casey — is an unusually ostentatious and gratuitous effort to highlight the fact her own decision is “in conflict with the decision of another United States court of appeals on the same important matter.” If anything, Elrod is exaggerating the extent to which judges deciding abortion cases disagree with each other.
That’s a very strange tactic for a judge to take unless they are eager to have their opinion reviewed by the justices, and quite confident that their decision will be affirmed if it is reviewed by a higher authority. By calling attention to disagreement among circuit court judges regarding the proper way to resolve abortion cases, Elrod sent a blood-red howler to the Supreme Court telling them to “TAKE THIS CASE!”
Elrod, it should be noted, is not wrong to be confident her decision will be affirmed if it is heard by the justices. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the closest thing the Supreme Court has to a swing vote on abortion, hasn’t cast a pro-choice vote since 1992. As a justice, Kennedy’s considered 21 different abortion restrictions and upheld 20 of them.
Source: Ian Millhiser for ThinkProgress
BREAKING: Appeals court allows Texas to enforce abortion restrictions that will force all but seven abortion facilities to close.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal appeals court Thursday allowed Texas to immediately begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that will effectively close all but seven abortion facilities in America’s second most-populous state.
A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans stayed a lower judge’s ruling while it considers the overall constitutionality of key portions of Texas’ sweeping 2013 abortion law, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry and other conservatives say is designed to protect women’s health.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled in August that part of the law requiring Texas clinics to spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades was less about safety than making access to abortion difficult.
Jim Galloway at the Atlanta Journal Constitution offers a roundup of the drama surrounding a congressional debate this week between Democratic Rep. John Barrow of Georgia and his Republican challenger Rick Allen, which included a last-minute venue change because Allen refused to debate at the “suspect venue” of an Augusta-area Islamic community center.
The debate, sponsored by the Islamic Society of Augusta in conjunction with a local newspaper, was scheduled to take place in the 800-seat community center, until Allen’s campaign refused to go there, calling it a “suspect venue” and attacking Barrow for “standing shoulder to shoulder” with a “Muslim cleric” (the man organizing the event was actually a doctor).
So, Galloway explains, the debate was moved to a smaller location (to the annoyance of some would-be attendees who were turned away), but the drama didn’t end there, as Allen “made every attempt to avoid” the 73-year-old Egyptian-American doctor who had arranged the debate and refused to shake his hand. This, Allen later explained, was not because of the doctor’s religion but because he specializes in high-risk pregnancies, which can sometimes end in abortion.
The players were U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the Augusta Democrat, and Republican challenger Rick Allen, a local businessman. The only thing that separated the two candidates was air, a few issues, and a stenciled, paper sign denoting the sponsor of the event: The Islamic Society of Augusta.
…But the venue was changed from the 800-seat Islamic Community Center to a much smaller government venue.
One of the two parties involved was uncomfortable in such a place of worship, Augusta Chronicle president Dana Atkins explained to local talk radio host Austin Rhodes of WGAC (580AM). “It was the Rick Allen campaign headquarters,” Atkins said, when pressed.
“Barrow’s obviously close association with the head of the Islamic Center is his affair, but it does make this a suspect venue for us,” is the line that stood out in an Allen campaign press release.
Nonetheless, the debate limped forward. Then came Saturday afternoon, and — just as the crowd began gathering — the Hand Shake Incident.
The event organizer was 73-year-old Dr. Hossad Fadel, an Egyptian-American and now-retired physician recruited to Augusta in 1975 by the Medical College of Georgia. Also in the room was Dewey Galeas, chairman of the Columbia County GOP.
“I made every attempt to avoid the man. I walked by (Fadel), acknowledged him, thanked him for his hospitality, and then I walked on,” Galeas later said.
Fadel pursued and offered Galeas his hand. The county GOP chairman refused. Galeas said it wasn’t Fadel’s Muslim religion that motivated the slight, but his own “deep religious conviction over abortion.”
To explain: Fadel was brought to Augusta to establish a new specialty at the medical school called maternal fetal medicine. It concerns the management of high-risk pregnancies, which do not always end well.
Fadel declined to speak of the incident, except to say that Galeas later emailed him an apology, which he has accepted.
But it was the final question that was the likely focus of the crowd: How will you help other members of Congress understand that not all Muslims are terrorists?
“I think I do it by example, by treating every law-abiding citizen alike. That’s what the Framers intended. That’s what we should do,” Barrow said, reminding the audience that it wasn’t his idea to move the debate.
“I think that John Barrow should be asked the question, ‘Why he insisted that the debate be in the Islamic Center?’” Allen replied. “The idea behind this is, we want to make everybody feel welcome at every facility, okay?”
As for the tension between Muslims and their fellow Americans, Allen had this recommendation: “What I want, from everyone who is a citizen in this country, is to speak out – and to speak out heartily – against [ISIS]. That’s what I want to see from every religion. We must stop this radicalism,” he said.
The Islamic Society of Augusta has, in fact, already done so.
H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW