Posts tagged "Abortion"

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Culture

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

Today, crass anti-choice extremist shitstain Dana Loesch is bullying #Rally4MOWomen attendees for simply exercising their 1st Amendment right to express their opinions on how extreme anti-abortion policies being proposed are affecting Missouri women.

Typical from someone who is a habitual disgrace to women in this country.

Michelle Malkin’s propaganda hive Twitchy piles on, which Loesch retweeted:

You, Dana, are an ignorant bully.

It’s people like you that want to take away the right to make the choice to have an abortion.

(cross-posted from


Over the past several years, state legislatures have enacted a record-breaking number of abortion restrictions. That pace hasn’t abated during this year’s legislative sessions, as lawmakers are rushing to pass measures to shut down abortion clinics and create additional red tape for women seeking abortions. But even though the assault on reproductive rights has been steadily gaining ground, there’s one type of restriction that hasn’t been able to win enough support, even among some anti-choice Republicans.

So-called “fetal heartbeat bills,” a radical proposal to cut off legal abortion services at just six weeks — before many women even realize they’re pregnant — are failing in states across the country. Although the far-right abortion opponents who push six-week bans claim that the procedure should be outlawed after a fetal heartbeat can first be detected, they can’t always get their other colleagues to sign onto the effort.

Last year, North Dakota and Alabama became the first states in the country to pass abortion restrictions banning the procedure after the detection of fetal heartbeat (although Arkansas’ ended up being amended to a 12-week ban). Perhaps observing that those two laws have both been blocked from taking effect because they blatantly violate Roe v. Wade, at least five state legislatures have declined to advance fetal heartbeat bans so far this year:

ALABAMA: Lawmakers in Alabama introduced a package of several anti-abortion restrictions, including a six-week abortion ban, on the same day in February. The legislature rushed to approve two of those measures before the state’s session came to a close this week, but the Senate didn’t take up the heartbeat ban. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) said he’s waiting to see how the legal challenges to six-week bans in other states before Alabama passes its own version “and spends dollars we don’t have as a state.” The lawmaker who introduced the bill said she’s “very, very disappointed” that the legislature “didn’t have the fortitude” to approve it anyway.

MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi has been trying and failing to enact a heartbeat ban for several years in a row. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has already indicated that he’s eager to sign one. “It would tell that mother, ‘Your child has a heartbeat,’” he told supporters at an anti-abortion event last year. But so far, this bill has repeatedly failed to make it out of committee. The state recently passed a 20-week abortion ban, but the heartbeat bill — which would have banned abortion at 12 weeks, like the one in Arkansas — remains a step too far.

KANSAS: Top Republican lawmakers in Kansas have decided to block a six-week abortion ban this year because they’re not interested in provoking a legal fight. Even though the legislature has strong GOP majorities, the politicians there are taking their cues from Kansans for Life, the most influential anti-choice group in the state. Kansans for Life doesn’t support the proposed fetal heartbeat ban because they’re nervous that a court battle would end up striking it down. “We’re just being cautious,” House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey (R) explained when asked why the legislature hasn’t scheduled a vote on the measure.

KENTUCKY: A fetal heartbeat measure was introduced again in Kentucky this session, after failing to advance last year, but abortion opponents haven’t had much luck this time around either. The measure is currently stalled in committee with little chance of passing. Pro-choice Kentucky lawmakers have been able to successfully block proposed abortion restrictions for several years in a row, so there’s little chance that a radical six-week abortion ban will make it through.

OHIO: Republicans in Ohio have long been divided over whether to adopt an aggressive anti-abortion strategy, and attempt to enact a harsh fetal heartbeat ban, or take a more subtle and incremental approach to chipping away at reproductive rights. This split has prevented the state from approving a six-week ban for the past several years, although it continues to be re-introduced. Senate President Keith Faber (R) says he won’t schedule a vote on the measure this session because he’s worried it will trigger a court challenge.

Indeed, legal battles over unconstitutional abortion restrictions come with a cost. North Dakota is gearing up to spend at least $600,000 to defend its stringent anti-abortion laws in court, while Kansas and Idaho have both accumulated legal fees in this area that top one million dollars.

In general, abortion opponents haven’t decided whether it’s better to continue gradually chipping away Roe v. Wade piece by piece, or whether it’s necessary to take a bold stance to ban nearly all abortions. So far, feuds over this divide are bubbling to the surface in political races in Georgia and Kentucky. And some Republicans will need to adopt a particularly hardline stance against abortion if they want to court support from thecountry’s major anti-choice groups before the upcoming presidential primaries.

But so far, anti-choice lawmakers have actually had more success with the first, incremental strategy. That’s largely because radical restrictions like six-week bans, which are obviously extreme on their face, tend to capture headlines and spark outrage — while more subtle efforts to undermine abortion rights are able to slip under the radar.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

H/T: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

This is a new flashpoint in the battle against abortion rights. Draconian v. ultra-draconian. 

h/t: Robin Marty at TPM Cafe

Horrible news out of Texas. 

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

As Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) woos young voters ahead of an expected 2016 presidential bid, it’s become conventional wisdom among many Beltway pundits that Paul could broaden the GOP’s appeal with his ostensibly tolerant views on social issues - never mind that that this narrative is completely divorced from Paul’s traditional conservative positions on such topics.

Paul’s effort to win over Millennials and other constituencies historically suspicious of the GOP came to the fore with his March 19 speech at the University of California, Berkeley, where Paul condemned government surveillance programs as a threat to privacy.

The chattering class proclaimed that the speech was emblematic of Paul’s appeal as an unconventional, "intriguing" Republican. And despite Paul’s conservative stances on issues like marriage equality, reproductive choice, and creationism, many media outlets have also pointed to Paul as the kind of candidate who could help move the GOP away from its hardline social positions. It’s a narrative that even some of Paul’s conservative critics have come to accept, as Charles Krauthammer showed when he called Paul "very much a liberal on social issues."

A look at media coverage of Paul helps explain where Krauthammer got that notion.

  • A March 26 Wall Street Journal analysis of Millennials’ political loyalties pointed to “the unorthodox Mr. Paul” as someone who “may have a wider lane than most other Republican candidates when it comes to appealing to the young.” Besides his anti-interventionist foreign policy and anti-surveillance views, the Journal cited Paul’s “more libertarian social views,” even though it failed to provide a single example of a social issue on which Paul has bucked conservative orthodoxy.
  • NPR, in a write-up on the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), examined fissures within the GOP coalition on issues like marriage equality. The piece suggested that Paul was the candidate of those “more tolerant of same-sex marriage.”
  • Writing for Politico Magazine, Kevin D. Williamson asserted that “Paul’s libertarianism is intended to offer a little something for everybody … spending cuts for the Republican base, legal relief for potheads, a presidential pat on the head for gay people.”
  • RealClearPolitics’ Scott Conroy heralds Paul’s “efforts to court young people holding progressive social views,” while passively stating that Paul “largely” shares his father’s conservative stances on reproductive choice and marriage equality.
  • Proclaiming Paul the GOP frontrunner for 2016, The Atlantic's Peter Beinart argued that “[o]n issues from NSA surveillance to drug legalization to gay marriage, the GOP is moving in his direction.”

Except the GOP long ago arrived at Paul’s position on marriage equality - unequivocal opposition. To be sure, Paul opposes a federal marriage amendment and has urged the GOP, for strategic reasons, not to emphasize social issues. But he remains a steadfast supporter of state marriage equality bans, recently condemning as “illegitimate" a Kentucky court ruling against the state’s marriage ban  and reaffirming "the historic and religious definition of marriage."

As for RealClearPolitics’ statement that Paul “largely” agrees with his father on social issues - there’s no “largely” about it. According to his chief of staff, Paul opposes abortion in all instances except “to save the life of the mother.” While Paul’s office skirts the question of whether he supports exceptions for rape or incest, he’s on the record opposing such exceptions. And Paul doesn’t just oppose marriage equality. He has taken to anti-gay extremist Bryan Fischer’s radio show to discuss the topic, and in remarks he later said were a joke, Paul has compared same-sex marriage with polygamy and bestiality.

On other hot-button issues, Paul’s rhetoric dovetails with that of other conservatives. Under the Obama administration, Paul charges, U.S. taxpayers are funding an international "war on Christianity." Speaking before the Christian Homeschool Educators of Kentucky in 2010, Paul appealed to young-earth creationists, refusing to say how old he believes the earth is.

The media’s facts-be-damned references to Paul’s supposed unorthodoxy on social issues is symptomatic of a larger failure of political journalism. Mentions of his purported social libertarianism almost uniformly come in the context of speculation on the 2016 horse race - how Paul can position himself as an electable candidate, how he could puncture the Democratic coalition. What’s lost is a meaningful discussion of his positions on actual issues.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA



2009 was a grim year for social conservatives. Barack Obama was an ambitious and popular new president. Republicans, and their conservative philosophy, were largely discredited in the public eye by a failed war and a massive recession. And the GOP’s effort to reshape its message was still in its awkward adolescence. If the conservative movement had a mascot, it would have been a white man dressed as Paul Revere and waving a misspelled sign.

Amidst this wreckage, more than two hundred of the nation’s leading Christian conservatives joined together in a statement expressing their dismay at the state of the nation. “Many in the present administration want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development,” their statement claimed, while “[m]ajorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views.” Meanwhile, they feared that the liberals who now controlled the country “are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

The signatories to this statement, which they named the “Manhattan Declaration,” included many of America’s most prominent Catholic bishops and clergy of similar prominence in other Christian sects. It included leaders of top anti-gay organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, and of more broadly focused conservative advocacy shops such as the Family Research Council. It included university presidents and deans from Christian conservative colleges. And it included the top editors from many of the Christian right’s leading publications.

Perhaps most significantly, however, the document’s signatories includes Alan Sears, the head of one of the two conservative legal groups litigating what are likely to be the two most important cases decided by the Supreme Court this term. Indeed, the Manhattan Declaration offers a virtual roadmap to understanding what religious conservatives hope to gain from Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, two cases the justices will hear Tuesday which present the question whether a business owner’s religious objections to birth control trump their legal obligation to include it in their employee’s health plan.

The Roadmap

“[F]reedom of religion and the rights of conscience” the Declaration claims, “are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.” In the eyes of the Declaration’s signers, liberal forces had captured the arms of government and they were now prepared to use their political dominance to force conservative Christians to betray their own moral values. And the signatories were particularly concerned about two items — abortion and gay rights:

We see this, for example, in the effort to weaken or eliminate conscience clauses, and therefore to compel pro-life institutions (including religiously affiliated hospitals and clinics), and pro-life physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other health care professionals, to refer for abortions and, in certain cases, even to perform or participate in abortions. We see it in the use of anti-discrimination statutes to force religious institutions, businesses, and service providers of various sorts to comply with activities they judge to be deeply immoral or go out of business.

Remember last month’s fight over whether anti-gay business owners in Arizona could invoke “religious liberty” and get away with denying services to gay people? Look no further than the Manhattan Declaration to find the intellectual origins of the bill that would have given those business owners that right.

Similarly, while the Declaration refers explicitly to “abortions,” the document calls for a vision of religious liberty that extends to birth control as well. According to Hobby Lobby’s brief in the Supreme Court, the company filed its lawsuit because it objects to “four drugs or devices that can prevent an embryo from implanting in the womb—namely, Plan
B, Ella, and two types of intrauterine devices.” Hobby Lobby’s owners believe that these drugs and devices “risk killing an embryo,” and that providing a health plan which covers these services “makes them complicit in abortion.”

It’s should be noted that Hobby Lobby’s concerns are not grounded in science. As a brief filed by multiple health provider groups — including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — explains, “there is a scientific distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientific record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.” So Hobby Lobby isn’t just claiming the right to object to abortion, it is claiming the right to label many common forms of birth control a form of “abortion” and object to those as well — even though drugs and devices don’t actually cause abortions.

The Manhattan Declaration, in other words, predicts both of the major fights over “religious liberty” that confront the nation this year. While the Declaration warned about “anti-discrimination statutes” forcing business owners to take actions they object to on religious grounds, one of the leading lawmakers backing the Arizona bill admitted that it was intended as a response to instances in other states where anti-gay business owners were “punished for their religious beliefs” because they denied service to gay customers in violation of those states’ anti-discrimination laws. Similarly, where the Declaration speaks of conservative Christians being forced to “participate in abortions,” Hobby Lobby claims that the law is making it “complicit in abortion.”

The Firewall

In case there is any doubt, the Manhattan Declaration is a stunningly radical document. It opposes not just abortion and marriage equality, but also “non-marital sexual cohabitation” and “the discredited idea of unilateral divorce.” The Declaration also ends with a pledge to openly defy the law. “[W]e will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions … nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships [or] treat them as marriages or the equivalent[.]”

Shortly after Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) vetoed the Arizona bill, however, one of the nation’s most prominent social conservatives explained that conservative objections to reproductive liberty and marriage equality do not necessarily need to end in civil disobedience. Marriage equality, the New York Times‘ Ross Douthat claimed, is inevitable. Yet, when it comes, Douthat also hoped for a world where, if “a Mormon caterer or a Catholic photographer objected to working at a same-sex wedding,” the rest of the country would allow them to “opt out” of any legal obligation to comply with anti-discrimination laws.

Douthat framed this kind of arrangement as the terms of social conservatives’ “surrender,” although it is a weird kind of surrender that allows the losing side to dictate terms to the victors at the moment that society has recognized many of their longstanding views as abhorrent. If Brown v. Board of Education had followed Douthat’s logic, it would have said that segregated schools violate the Constitution — except that whites-only schools are fine in Alabama and Mississippi.

Nevertheless, Douthat’s column provides a helpful window into the kind of reasoning that animates the Hobby Lobbylitigation, the bill Brewer vetoed and the Manhattan Declaration. The logic of all three is that religious conservatives must comply with the law — but only up to a point. When the law asks employers to cover abortions that aren’t actually abortions, or when it asks them to treat gay men, lesbians and bisexuals as if they are human beings entitled to the same dignity as straight men and women, then the Christian right must be given a special right to defy the law. And if the courts won’t give it to them, then the Manhattan Declaration calls upon conservative Christians to refuse to comply with the law regardless.

If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood lose, then it remains to be seen whether either of them will actually take up this call for disobedience. Should they win, however, there should be no doubt what the Christian right’s next move will be. The Manhattan Declaration lays out two foes: reproductive liberty and gay rights. Hobby Lobby asks the Court to take care of the former. The next lawsuit will target the latter — and it will be able to cite Hobby Lobby as a powerful precedent supporting anti-gay discrimination.

Source: Ian Millhiser for ThinkProgress


GOP Senate Candidate Drops Strict Anti-Abortion Position

GOP Senate Candidate Drops Strict Anti-Abortion Position


By Daniel Strauss

In an interview with The Denver Post on Friday Gardner, who recently jumped into the race to defeat Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), said he couldn’t support personhood anymore. Critics of personhood have said that the proposal effectively outlaws all types of birth control.

"This was a bad idea driven by good intentions," Gardner told the Denver newspaper. “I was not right. I can’t support personhood now. I can’t support personhood going forward. To do it again would be a mistake.”

Gardner’s decision to switch stances comes after Democrats focused their early attacks against the newly declared Senate candidate and GOP favorite on social issues. Liberal organizations highlighted a video of Gardner in a 2010 debate where, as a state lawmaker, touted his support for personhood and helped efforts to get the issue on the Colorado ballot.

Gardner admitted to the Post that his position switch would likely also be used against him throughout the Senate campaign.

"The fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position," Gardner said. "I’ve learned to listen. I don’t get everything right the first time. There are far too many politicians out there who take the wrong position and stick with it and never admit that they should do something different."

Colorado voters defeated essentially identical personhood measures in 2008 and 2010.

The Udall campaign panned Gardner’s position switch.