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I am Liberal, pro-reproductive choice, and a proud fan of Duck Dynasty.  On Phil (and the rest of the cast)’s anti-reproductive choice viewpoints, I disagree.   OTOH, the cast of that show makes me laugh, jack!

The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about punishing women for having sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.
  • Pro-Lifer/Anti-Reproductive Choicer: Aren't you glad that your mother wasn't pro-choice?
  • Pro-Reproductive Choicer: She wasn't? And, all along, I thought she was pro-choice for some time - since before I was even born. But I guess you know my mother better than I do, even though you never met her.

NEW YORK — By today’s politically polarized standards, the Supreme Court’s momentous Roe v. Wade ruling was a landslide. By a 7-2 vote on Jan. 22, 1973, the justices established a nationwide right to abortion.

Forty years and roughly 55 million abortions later, however, the ruling’s legacy is the opposite of consensus. Abortion ranks as one of the most intractably divisive issues in America and is likely to remain so as rival camps of true believers see little space for common ground.

Unfolding events in two states illustrate the depth of the divide. In New York, already a bastion of liberal abortion laws, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged in his Jan. 9 State of the State speech to entrench those rights even more firmly. In Mississippi, where many anti-abortion laws have been enacted in recent years, the lone remaining abortion clinic is on the verge of closure because nearby hospitals won’t grant obligatory admitting privileges to its doctors.

"Unlike a lot of other issues in the culture wars, this is the one in which both sides really regard themselves as civil rights activists, trying to expand the frontiers of human freedom," said Jon Shields, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. "That’s a recipe for permanent conflict."

On another hot-button social issue – same-sex marriage – there’s been a strong trend of increasing support in recent years, encompassing nearly all major demographic categories.

There’s been no such dramatic shift, in either direction, on abortion.

For example, a new Pew Research Center poll finds 63 percent of U.S. adults opposed to overturning Roe, compared to 60 percent in 1992. The latest Gallup poll on the topic shows 52 percent of Americans saying abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, 25 percent wanting it legal in all cases and 20 percent wanting it outlawed in all cases – roughly the same breakdown as in the 1970s.

"There’s a large share of Americans for whom this is not a black-and-white issue," said Michael Dimock, the Pew center’s director. "The circumstances matter to them."

Indeed, many conflicted respondents tell pollsters they support the right to legal abortion while considering it morally wrong. And a 2011 survey of 3,000 adults by the Public Religion Research Institute found many who classified themselves as both “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” 

Shields, like many scholars of the abortion debate, doubts a victor will emerge anytime soon. 

Supporters of legal access to abortion were relieved by the victory of their ally, President Barack Obama, over anti-abortion Republican Mitt Romney in November.

A key reason for the relief related to the Supreme Court, whose nine justices are believed to divide 5-4 in favor of a broad right to abortion. Romney, if elected, might have been able to appoint conservative justices who could help overturn Roe v. Wade, but Obama’s victory makes that unlikely at least for the next four years.

Abortion-rights groups also were heartened by a backlash to certain anti-abortion initiatives and rhetoric that they viewed as extreme.

"Until politicians feel there’s a price to pay for voting against women, they will continue to do it," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a lightning rod for conservative attacks because it’s the leading abortion provider in the U.S.

In Missouri and Indiana, Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate lost races that their party initially expected to win after making widely criticized comments regarding abortion rights for impregnated rape victims. In Virginia, protests combined with mockery on late-night TV shows prompted GOP politicians to scale back a bill that would have required women seeking abortions to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound.

However, anti-abortion leaders insist they have reason for optimism, particularly at the state level.

In the past two years, following Republican election gains in 2010, GOP-dominated state legislatures have passed more than 130 bills intended to reduce access to abortion. The measures include mandatory counseling and ultrasound for women seeking abortions, bans on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, curbs on how insurers cover the procedure, and new regulations for abortion clinics.

The ACLU and other abortion-rights groups are challenging several of the laws in court, notably the 20-week ban. Yet already this year, Republican leaders in Texas, Mississippi and elsewhere are talking about new legislative efforts to restrict abortion.

Mississippi’s Gov. Phil Bryant says he wants to end abortion in the state and is eager for the remaining clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, to close.

"My goal, of course, is to shut it down," Bryant told reporters on Jan. 10. "If I had the power to do so legally, I’d do so tomorrow."

The clinic is a steady target of anti-abortion protesters who take turns praying, singing hymns and confronting patients. Its administrator, Diane Derzis, says the three principal physicians on her staff have been unable to get admitting privileges at area hospitals due to pressure from the anti-abortion movement.

She drew a contrast with the push for same-sex marriage.

"With marriage equality, gays and lesbians are fighting for something they didn’t have," Keenan said. "In the case of reproductive rights, you’re trying to maintain the status quo. The millennial generation doesn’t see it as threatened."

Another difference: the campaign for same-sex marriage has benefited greatly from personal testimony by gay couples, speaking out in legislative hearings and campaign videos. By contrast, although millions of American women have had abortions, relatively few speak out publicly to defend their decisions.

"If you know some women, you know a woman who’s had abortion," said Dr. Anne Davis, who is medical director for Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health and provides abortions as part of her practice in New York City.

"But you do not see women talking about their abortions," Davis said. "They do what they need to do and move on. I can’t blame people for that."

Davis, who learned abortion techniques during her residency at the University of Washington in the mid-’90s, said the procedure has become increasingly safe – notably with the advent of abortions via medication. She expressed dismay at the spate of restrictive laws that she and many of her fellow physicians view as ill-founded.

"Initially, we’d say, `That’s ridiculous’ – and now we’re stuck with them," she said.

Despite all the furor, abortion has been commonplace in the post-Roe era, with about one-third of adult women estimated to have had at least one in their lifetime.

Of the roughly 1.2 million U.S. women who have abortions each year, half are 25 or older, about 18 percent are teens, and the rest are 20-24. About 60 percent have given birth to least one child prior to getting an abortion. A disproportionately high number are black or Hispanic; and regardless of race, high abortion rates are linked to economic hard times.

The Roe opinion, written by Justice Harry Blackmun, asserted that the right to privacy extended to a women’s decision on whether to end a pregnancy. States have been allowed to restrict abortion access at late stages of pregnancy, but only if they make exceptions for protecting the mother’s health – and the net result has been one of the most liberal abortion policies in the world.

At the time of Roe v. Wade, abortion was legal on request in four states, allowed under limited circumstances in about 16 others, and outlawed under nearly all circumstances in the other states, including Texas, where the Roe case originated.

Some abortion opponents, such as Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life, urge bipartisan efforts to support pregnant young women as they pursue careers or education, so they don’t feel financial pressure to have an abortion. But supporters of legal access to abortion look askance at such proposals if they are coupled with calls to take abortion decision-making out of a woman’s hands.

For Carrie Gordon Earll, now senior policy analyst for the conservative ministry Focus on the Family, that Roe-established freedom of choice once seemed logical. She got pregnant in 1981 while attending a Christian college and opted to have an abortion.

She recently made a video expressing her regrets.

"I can look back at those 40 years and say without a doubt, the world is not a better place because of abortion, women are not in a better place," she says. "What it has created is a world where you’re almost expected to abort if you’re pregnant at an inopportune time."

In an interview, Earll mused on how the anti-abortion movement has persevered since Roe.

"We’ve had 40 years of marketing by Hollywood and the cultural elites that abortion is a good thing, and we still have a battle going on," she said. "We’re holding our own."

A similar refrain of perseverance is sounded by Dr. Douglas Laube of Madison, Wis., who began performing abortions as part of his practice a year after the Roe decision.

"It was important for women to be able to legally ensure their right to make their own decision," said Laube, who is chairman of Physicians for Reproductive Health Choice. "But it served to polarize society politically."

Laube is worried by the spread of anti-abortion state laws, but encouraged by the surge of women becoming obstetrician-gynecologists – a trend he hopes will ease the shortage of abortion providers.

"I see the movement toward the religious right being countered by a growing movement among practitioners and advocates for maintaining this as legal," he said. "That means the controversy will continue. But it also means we will hold our ground."

h/t: Huffington Post

The last two nights of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show featured segments on how abortion rights are under attack in 4 states (Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota), both by anti-choice zealots and GOP Governors (Bryant [MS], Dalrymple [ND], Daugaard [SD]) and their legislatures, as part of the War On Women playbook to drastically curtail and/or end abortion rights and to defund Planned Parenthood, to name a few. 

Mississippi’s last women’s health clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could be closed down due to anti-choice extremist Governor Phil Bryant (R)’s wishes that "Mississippi should be an abortion-free state." If his plan successfully goes through, it would be the 1st state since the highly controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by SCOTUS to effectively ban abortion. 

Of the four states with only one women’s health service clinic (or abortion provider) left in their respective states, all except Arkansas currently has a GOP Governor running the state. All four of the states listed have both their state Houses and Senates under GOP control.

Full blogpost at Daily Kos

She’s back!

The deranged homophobic (and also apparently anti-unionization) zealot founder of Mission: AmericaLinda Harvey, is encouraging her Religious Right supporters to make Ohio a “Right To Work For Less” state in order to stop the “pro-abortion/pro-homosexual agenda in the schools.”

Right Wing Watch’s Brian Tashman:

Mission America head Linda Harvey encouraged Ohio Republicans to push anti-union right-to-work legislation on her radio bulletin today, and like always linked it back to her zealous anti-gay activism. Harvey maintained that Religious Right supporters should rally behind so-called right-to-work efforts because “unions support all aspects of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual activism and have no problem truly with students opting for these life-altering practices” and promote “politically correct agendas.” She went on to falsely assert that without such laws workers are forced to join labor unions and also made the discredited claim that unions can compel non-members to pay for political activities.
Typical right-wing anti-teachers union rubbish uttered by Harvey.

(cross-posted from Daily Kos)

In late September we broke the news that Todd Akin was arrested for blocking access to a women’s health clinic. We posted a video of Akin speaking in O’Fallon, MO in March 2011. Akin, apparently not aware that he was being recorded, told the crowd that he had been arrested with other protesters outside the clinic. “Don’t tell anybody I’m a jail bird,” he joked. He also said he reunited the evening before with “a group of people who had been in jail with me” who were all “involved in the pro-life movement.”

Akin spoke freely of his arrest that evening and used it to illustrate his point that Christians should follow God’s law – not man’s law – when the two are at odds. That viewpoint raises a number of questions when it’s coming from a candidate for Senate. Yet Akin, who spoke freely last year, has refused to provide any details about what happened and with whom. So we had to go find them ourselves.
We learned from a public records request that Akin was arrested on May 9, 1987 in St. Louis. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch covered the protest and reported the following day that police “arrested 30 anti-abortion protesters” for blocking “the front doors of Reproductive Health Services” while about “50 anti-abortion activists picketed two clinics” in St. Louis County. The Post-Dispatch quoted the spokesman for the protesters, John Ryan, who said the actions “were in honor of Mother’s Day.”
At the time, Ryan was head of the Pro-Life Direct Action League. He and his organizationwere among those sued by the National Organization for Women in 1986, which sought to “stop what it called a nationwide conspiracy to close abortion clinics.” “We believe there is a reign of terror going on,” said Eleanor Smeal, then president of NOW. She labeled Ryan – who had been “arrested almost 350 times” by then – a “terrorist.”
This is who Akin chose to get involved with in 1987 – and it gets worse. Ryan was pushed out as head of the Pro-Life Direct Action League around September 1987 and replaced by an aggressive, fundamentalist leader, Tim Dreste. Dreste affiliated the group with Randall Terry’s radical Operation Rescue the following summer. This is the same Randall Terry who later said of abortion providers, “When I, or people like me are running the country, you’d better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we’ll execute you.”
Dreste shared a jail cell with Terry in September 1988 and returned to St. Louis under orders to break with the Catholic-dominated Pro-Life Direct Action League. Just one month later, Akin appeared at an event for Dreste’s new group, Whole Life Ministries.
The Post-Dispatch reported on October 29 that Akin, who was elected days later to public office, “spoke to about 35 anti-abortion activists” planning to block clinic doors the next day. He said, “As far as I am concerned, you are the freedom fighters of America.” “My hat is off to you,” he continued.
Akin was elected the following month to the state house and had an opportunity to make a clean break with extremism. He never took it. More to come….

But Romney has never been easy to pin down on abortion-related issues. When it comes to women’s health, and particularly the issue of safe and legal access to abortion services, the presidential candidate has had a long and convoluted evolution throughout his political career — shifting from pro-choice to pro-life, amending his stated intentions for the future of Roe v. Wade, and waffling over whether the power to regulate abortion legislation should rest with the states or the courts. ThinkProgress has compiled a timeline of Romney’s constantly changing stance on abortion:

5/27/1994: Romney supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.

During a 1994 Massachusetts Senate debate, Romney emphasized his commitment to supporting a women’s right to safe and legal abortions. “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country,” he said. “I have since the time my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice.”

9/8/1994: A Romney spokesperson says Mitt has been consistently pro-choice.

After Sen. Edward Kennedy’s campaign criticized Romney for not being a true supporter of abortion rights, a Romney spokesperson told reporters, “Mitt has always been consistent in his pro-choice position.”

9/21/2002: Romney is “unequivocally” pro-choice.

In a 2002 interview with WBZ-TV, Ann and Mitt sought to clarify that Mitt Romney will not limit women’s reproductive freedom. “When asked whether I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer — yes,” Romney said.

5/27/2005: Romney is pro-life, but says he will maintain the pro-choice status quo.

Romney committed to keeping the current pro-choice laws in Massachusetts in place, deferring on his own beliefs on the subject of abortion because he says they are a distraction. “I’m absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice, and so far I’ve been able to successfully do that,” Romney said at a news conference.

07/26/2005: Romney vetoes pro-choice legislation.

Romney vetoed a bill that would have allowed women in Massachusetts access to emergency contraception in pharmacies and hospitals. In an op-ed explaining his decision, he wrote, “I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view.”

8/12/2007: Romney says he has never been pro-choice.

Romney told Fox News that he never called himself pro-choice. “I never allowed myself to use the word pro-choice because I didn’t feel I was pro-choice,” Romney said. “I would protect the law, I said, as it was, but I wasn’t pro-choice.”

10/28/2007: Romney supports a federal bill to ban abortion across the country.

In a Republican primary debate in 2007, Romney said he would be “delighted” to sign a bill banning abortion across the country. “I would welcome a circumstance where there was such a consensus in this country that we said we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period,” he said. “That would be wonderful…but that’s not where America is today. Where America is, is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade and return to the states that authority.”

11/30/2007: Romney supports overturning Roe v. Wade and returning control over abortion laws to the states.

At a town hall meeting, Romney said that abortion laws should be determined by the states. “I would like, for instance, to see Roe v. Wade overturned — and by overturning Roe v. Wade, you would effectively be returning to the people and the states the ability to create their own legislation as it relates to abortion and life,” he said.

8/7/2007: Romney supports expanding the definition of the 14th Amendment to include unborn children, which would outlaw all abortions under any circumstances.

During an appearance on Good Morning America, Romney confirmed that he supported the so-called “human life amendment” in the 2004 GOP platform that would extend the 14th Amendment’s protections to fetuses and outlaw abortions without any exceptions. “I do support the Republican Platform and I support that being part of the Republican Platform,” he said.

8/16/2007: Romney qualifies his stance on the Human Life Amendment to say he might not actually support it.

After his Good Morning America appearance, Romney walked back his stance on the 14th Amendment after discussing it with one of his advisers. When reporters asked him to clarify whether or not he actually supported a constitutional amendment banning all abortions, Romney said, “I’m pro-life; it would be great if we could just leave it at that.”

1/23/2012: Romney calls Roe v. Wade “one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history.”

On the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Romney said that it marked “one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history” and recommitted himself to “reversing that decision, for in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.”

6/18/2012: Romney lays out a “pro-life pledge” that outlines the anti-abortion legislation he would support as president.

Romney reiterates his support for anti-choice policies in an op-ed in the National Review Online, including banning federal funding for abortion under the Hyde Amendment, denying funds for voluntary family planning services in foreign countries under the “global gag rule,” overturning Roe v. Wade, and appointing anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court.

8/27/2012: Romney broadens his support for rape exceptions to include exceptions in the case of the “health of the mother.”

Until this point, Romney had typically argued that abortion should only be limited to rape, incest, or life of the mother. But in an interview with CBS, Romney broadened his rhetoric to say that he is in “favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

8/27/2012: A Romney adviser says that Mitt’s stance on abortion has remained unchanged.

Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul clarified that, even though Romney appeared to have shifted to favor a health exception in his abortion stance, his position on abortion did not change. “Gov. Romney’s position is clear: he opposes abortion except for cases of rape, incest and where the life of the mother is threatened,” she said in a statement.

8/27/2012: Romney believes abortion is not a political issue because it should be settled by the courts.

In the same CBS interview, Romney said that abortion “is a decision that will be made by the Supreme Court.”

8/28/2012: Romney’s sister says that Mitt won’t be touching abortion because it’s not his focus.

In an interview with the National Journal, Jane Romney said that her brother would never make abortions illegal as president. “He’s not going to be touching any of that. It’s not his focus,” she said. Calling Democratic concerns about restricted access to reproductive rights unfounded scare tactics, Jane said she believes “Mitt’s much more in the middle” when it comes to abortion.

10/9/2012: Rommey says he does not plan to enact anti-abortion legislation as president.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Romney suggested that he would not focus on abortion issues as president. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” he said.

10/10/2012: Romney will be a pro-life president, but still will not name specific abortion-related legislation that he will enact in office.

Romney reiterated his support for anti-choice policies, such as regulating abortion at the state level and cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. “I am pro-life, I’ll be a pro-life president,” he said. “I will take pro-life measures, but those happen to be executive-order and budget measures, as opposed to legislation, at least so far as I’m aware.” When he was asked about the possibility of a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade, Romney said, “That’s not where America is now.”

In the 1994 debate during the Massachusetts Senate race, Kennedy derided Romney as having a “multiple choice” stance on abortion.

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

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) told his mistress to get an abortion for the sake of his marriage, despite his pro-life views, in a conversation obtained by the Huffington Post. Rep. DesJarlais, whosupported the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” — a bill that included “forcible rape” language in one of its early drafts — demanded that his lover end her pregnancy, saying, “You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one.” The lawmaker has faced accusations of hypocrisy before; although he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he later celebrated the construction of a health clinic in his district funded wholly by Obamacare.

h/t: Think Progress Health 

At a 2011 “pastor’s briefing” with disgraced pseudo-historian David Barton, congressman and Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO) recounted an experience of going to jail after protesting against abortion rights. Akin told the audience that he had earlier spoken with “a group of people who had been in jail with me” who were all “involved in the pro-life movement.”

“Don’t tell anybody I’m a jail bird,” Akin said, briefly telling a story about when “a bunch of us sat in front of these doors and the police gave us a ride to the free hotel for a while and you know how it goes.”

At the event with Barton, who has strongly backed his candidacy and has been campaigning with the embattled candidate, Akin was discussing biblical views on when to submit to governmental authority. Akin’s extreme views on abortion rights and rape are already well-known, but he only gave few details about his time as a “jail bird” during what may have been an illegal blockade of a clinic.

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Anti-abortion restrictions should be designed to raise “the costs” of abortions in order to discourage women from obtaining them, a prominent scholar for a leading anti-abortion group told an audience of social conservative activists in Washington last weekend.

Abortion rights advocates have long suspected that the purpose of restrictive abortion laws is to impede access to abortion. Anti-abortion advocates generally refuse to concede the point, countering that laws that require women to make multiple trips to the abortion clinic, for instance, are intended to help women make informed choices. But speaking at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of religious conservatives sponsored by the Family Research Council and other conservative groups, anti-abortion scholar Michael J. New veered from abortion foes’ traditional argument when he specifically advocated policies to raise “the costs” of abortions.

"The best thing you can do when you get home is support a variety of state pro-life bills, and essentially, if your state has them, they can be strengthened," New, a University of Michigan-Dearborn professor who is an adjunct scholar for the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute, said during a September 15 presentation at the summit. "You can defund abortion by stopping Medicaid funding or by defunding Planned Parenthood. You can strengthen parental-involvement laws, by requiring both parents to be involved. You can strengthen informed-consent laws: Require the woman to see an ultrasound, or require two trips to the clinic. That raises the costs; that stops the abortion from happening. You can lengthen the waiting period. Don’t be like the other states that do 24, 48, 72 hours. Do it for nine months—that’ll stop abortions in your state. I guarantee it."

The Charlotte Lozier Institute was founded in 2011 as the education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee that works to elect abortion rights opponents to Congress. The Lozier Institute has been touted as the abortion rights opponents’ response to the Guttmacher Institute, a policy group once affiliated with Planned Parenthood that produces research on abortion laws and policy and is often cited by lawmakers, scholars, and journalists on both sides of the abortion debate.

New, who is also a fellow for the conservative Witherspoon Institute, said his research has found a correlation between states’ anti-abortion legislation and declines in abortion—among 47 states that reported data in 1990 and 2005, he said the number of abortions dropped by about 22 percent.

Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager of the Guttmacher Institute, told The American Independent that although abortion restrictions that lead to higher costs for women might have the effect of reducing abortion rates in those states, these laws don’t address the broader issue.

"None of these restrictions reduces the need for abortion," Nash said. "This is all about abortion and has nothing to do with reducing unintended pregnancy."

h/t: Sofia Resnick at Mother Jones, via The American Independent

WASHINGTON — A Republican member of Congress equated Planned Parenthood to “slavery forces” and called it a “racist organization” that was “created with the sole purpose of killing children that look like mine.”

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a congressman from Kansas who made the comments at the 2012 Values Voter Summit this morning, is staunchly anti-abortion rights and said he has adopted four children “each of them either black, Hispanic, native American.”

“Besides slavery, abortion is the other darkest stain on our nation’s character,” Huelskamp told the crowd. “And this president is looking for every way possible to make abortion more available and more frequent, and he wants you to pay for it — even if you disagree with it. Welcome to another provision of Obamacare. “

He continued, taking a shot at Planned Parenthood: “And not shockingly, we see this administration opposing any reductions in taxpayer funding to the one private corporation, the largest abortion business in the entire country — Planned Parenthood.  Would not allow any single reductions, more than $300 million tax dollars to this entity.”

h/t:’s First Read

2011 was a banner year for anti-choice activists who succeeded in pushing through a record number of abortion restrictions. But it’s a new year, and it appears the GOP is dead set on outdoing itself. Republicans in Congress and across the country are introducing a variety pack of extreme anti-abortion bills — including personhood initiatives, heartbeat bills, and fetal pain bills — that saw some success last year. Here is a run-down of the abortion restrictions American women across the country are already facing in the first month of 2012:

– PERSONHOOD: The Virginia General Assembly’s very first bill, House Bill 1, is a “personhood” measure that defines life as beginning at conception and would essentially outlaw abortions. Modeling it on Mississippi’s failed measure, Virginia Republicans threaten to outlaw birth control and in vitro fertilization for couples trying to have a baby. Anti-choice activists hope to push similar measures in at least 11 other states, including Ohio and Kansas.

– RACE-BASED ABORTIONS: Following in Arizona’s footsteps, Florida Republicans introduced a bill that would “require abortion providers to sign an affidavit stating they’re not performing the procedure because the woman did not want a child of a particular gender or race.” Despite a complete lack of evidence, they insist that minority women are seeking abortions, or have a higher abortion rate in their communities, because they loathe the race or sex of the fetus.

– FETAL PAIN: Florida Republicans are simultaneously pushing a bill that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks based on the unfounded idea that fetuses can feel pain. “They suck their thumbs,” said state sponsor Rep. Daniel Davis (R). “They get hiccups. They get excited when their mom talks. They feel pain.” The medical community, however, insists that it is highly unlikely the fetus registers pain as its brain is not developed enough. U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the same measure to ban post-20 week abortions for women in Washington, D.C in order to protect a fetus from “the agonizing process of being aborted.”

– HEARTBEAT BILL: Slowly proceeding in Ohio, the “heartbeat” bill is also gaining a foothold in the Oklahoma legislature. State Sen. Dan Newberry (R) and state Rep. Pam Peterson (R) filed companion measures that “require abortion providers to use a fetal heart rate monitor on the fetus of a woman who is at least eight weeks pregnant and make the heartbeat of the unborn child audible before an abortion is performed.” The heartbeat can often be detected as early as “six to seven weeks,” before a women even knows she is pregnant.

House GOP Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) are also pushing their own anti-abortion bills in Congress.

h/t: Tanya Somanader at ThinkProgress Health

This could very well be the year of the Super Bowl ad few of us wanted to see.

Angela Michael is an anti-abortion activist, a grandmother and a candidate for Congress in the 15th District, which includes parts of Madison County in Illinois. 

Michael told me Friday she has purchased a 30-second TV ad slated to run at about 3 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday on KSDK-TV, which reaches the entire St. Louis metro area.

Michael’s ad is not your typical Super Bowl ad. This is not Danica Patrick in 4 1/2-inch stilettos touting GoDaddy.

Michael’s ad is grisly. It shows the remains of aborted fetuses.

She is trying to quickly raise another $8,000 to purchase a 30-second slot closer to the 5:30 p.m. kick off.

“People will actually see what we allow to happen to innocent babies and to women,” Michael says.

What do I mean by “grisly”? Go to and see for yourself. Be prepared, the video is graphic.

Will this really run on Super Bowl Sunday?

Yes, says Michael. It’s a done deal. She and her husband have the receipt for the $1,800 they paid.

I’ve left messages over three days with Lynn Beall, president and general manager of KSDK-TV. She has not called me back.

Michael is one of a handful of hard-core abortion opponents across the nation who were encouraged to run for Congress by Randall Terry, a long-time abortion foe who founded Operation Rescue. Terry happens to be running for president.

Michael is well known in Granite City, where for 20 years she has been protesting and trying to counsel women as they enter the Hope Clinic for Women, where abortions are performed.

Michael operates Small Victories, a nonprofit that assists women who choose to give birth. It provides counseling, medical assistance and helps with rent payments. 

Michael and her husband, Daniel, have adopted two babies in recent years. They say they first talked the mothers out of having abortions. The Michaels have 13 children, ages 1 to 29.

Michael has been criticized for taking photos of women entering the Granite City clinic and posting their photos on a website.

What Randall Terry realized is that federal courts have ruled that TV stations, which are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, must air the campaign ads of candidates for federal office. This does not apply to state or local candidates.

The one thing TV stations can do is run an advisory or warning prior to such ads.

Michael, in her 50s, was once an obstetrics nurse. She lives in Highland, Ill., and is unopposed in the March 20 Democratic primary. Terry also is running as a Democrat.

Michael’s opponent is incumbent John Shimkus, a Republican who is also anti-abortion. He, too, is unopposed in the primary.

Shimkus has about $1.3 million in his campaign war chest and Michael has about $4,000. Realistically, she has little chance of unseating him.

She tells me her goal is not to shock people on Super Bowl Sunday. Instead, she wants to create a “crisis of conscience” in the same way that newsreels showing the bodies of slaughtered Jews revealed the horrors of the Holocaust.

“What I’m trying to do is make history,” she says. “This Sunday will be 39 years that we have allowed this.” 

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the legal right to abortion on Jan. 22, 1973, in the Roe v. Wade case.

“The battle has to be brought into the streets for the people to see it,” she says.

Michael has been in the streets for many years. In 2006, Michael sued Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer and Police Chief Richard Miller. She alleged that she and her daughter were harassed and roughed up by two other spectators at a parade and that police did little to protect them and did not charge anyone.

The incident was on Nov. 19, 2005. Michael and others were hoisting large graphic signs of aborted fetuses during the annual Santa Claus parade. 

“They wanted to enjoy the day and celebrate children, and I was asking: What about the children one block away who were being slaughtered?” Michael says.

Hagnauer told me he spoke to Michael the day of the parade and said, “‘Listen, we got some kids involved. The graphic signs, could you turn them around?’ We thought they were going to do that but they didn’t.”

Michael says she originally entered the Congressional race based on one issue — abortion. But now that she is “meeting people and kissing babies” she has greater interest in being a well-rounded candidate.

The reason she decided to make her first run for office is because she was about to leave the pro-life movement in despair.

“The movement is not moving,” she says. “It is a pro-loafing movement.”

Many of those in the anti-abortion movement are more concerned with fundraising than ending abortion, she says.

h/t: Steve Pokin at Suburban Journals

Super Bowl viewers in 40 cities across the country will see graphic ads featuring images of bloody, aborted fetuses. The ads are being paid for by fringe anti-abortion candidate Terry Randall:

Anti-abortion ads showing graphic images of aborted fetuses covered in blood and surrounded by religious icons will air during the Super Bowl in February, courtesy of Democratic Presidential candidate Randall Terry.

Terry, who has spent a year in jail and been arrested 50 times for his anti-abortion efforts, is using a Federal Election Commission loophole that ensures ads for political candidates cannot be prohibited within 45 days of an election. Apparently, primaries count, so Terry will be running ads on local stations during Super Bowl XLVI February 5.

The Colorado paper the Greeley Gazette notes that Randall has already run political ads with images of aborted fetuses in New Hampshire. The ads attacked President Obama for supporting “child killing.”

Another reason to despise Randall Terry.

h/t: Marie Diamond at ThinkProgress Health