During the Tuesday night broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show, host Rachel Maddow ended the show by discussing Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and his recent comments regarding his state’s high uninsured rate. A recent survey revealed that Mississippi is the only state to have seen its uninsured rate increase since the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Overall, the country has seen a significant decrease in the number of uninsured people. However, Mississippi’s uninsured rate has climbed to 21.46%. Only Texas currently has a higher uninsured rate than Mississippi.
When presented with these results, Bryant decided that President Barack Obama and the ACA were to blame.
“If statistics show that the ill-conceived and so-called Affordable Care Act is resulting in higher rates of uninsured people in Mississippi, I’d say that’s yet another example of a broken promise from Barack Obama.”
Maddow highlighted Bryant’s refusal to work with any of the provisions of the ACA that would have helped bring health coverage to more Mississippians. The governor refused to assist in creating a state exchange even though his own state’s health commissioner, a Republican, had a well-designed exchange ready to be put in place. Due to Bryant’s intransigence, the HHS and other federal agencies were unable to work with the state exchange, and only two health insurance companies were willing to be placed on it. The governor also refused to expand Medicaid, which would have provided coverage to over 300,000 residents of his state. Instead, Bryant said that people have free coverage — the emergency room.
Rachel decided to use a visual metaphor to illustrate the effects of Bryant’s obstruction when it comes to Obamacare. The host brought out a model of a Lamborghini. The remote control car worked perfectly and she was able to drive it around the studio. After driving it around, she bashed it several times with a hammer. After causing severe damage to the car, she tried to drive it around again. Of course, it went nowhere. In mock outrage, Maddow kicked the car, called it a piece of junk and said nobody should get this car because it doesn’t work.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
In a short four-minute segment, Rachel Maddow destroyed Bryant’s declaration that the ACA is to blame for Mississippi’s high uninsured rate. The fact remains that red state Republican governors like Bryant and Texas’ Rick Perry have done everything in their power to ensure that the health care law is a failure in their state. However, when presented with the aftereffects of their obstruction, they turn tail and blame Obama or Democrats for the negative impact of their actions. Republicans take a jackhammer to Obamacare in their states and then call it a piece of junk when it doesn’t work as promised.
Phony "Christian" BarbWire.com writer Gina Miller: Mississippi's Non-Discrimination Sticker Campaign Is Anti-Christian
A few months ago, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill designed to protect businesses that discriminate against gay customers in the name of religious liberty. In response, activists started a "We Don’t Discriminate" campaign, encouraging businesses to post stickers declaring that all customers are welcome in their stores in an effort to take “a public stance against discrimination and for equal rights”:
Of course, this response has infuriated Gina Miller, the content editor for BarbWire, who declares that the “Alphabet Soup Perversity Brigade” is actually attacking Christians by posting these stickers and therefore calls upon Christians to boycott any store that has one:
As they do in every aspect of their anti-Christian, freedom-robbing agenda, they lie about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, insisting it will open the door to a flood of anti-homosexual “discrimination,” with Christian businesses owners refusing to do business with people simply because they’re sodomites. That’s not happening, but these people don’t let truth or reason even come close to getting in their way, because if there were even one case of a “Christian” business owner telling a homosexual, “We don’t serve your limp-wristed kind in here,” it would be blaring headline news from coast to coast, world without end.
The truth of the matter is the exact opposite of how the Left portrays it. Christians are not refusing to serve homosexuals, but homosexuals are targeting Christian-owned businesses with demands that would force the owners to participate in the desecration of marriage, in direct violation of their conscience. When Christians politely refuse them, instead of going down the street to a willing business, they sue the Christians. These activists know exactly what they’re doing, and their goal is not to get a stupid “wedding” cake made for two men. No. Their goal is to use the courts to strip the rights and freedoms of Christians and any others who are opposed to the militant homosexual movement’s agenda, which includes the destruction of marriage.
The AFA published a list of Mississippi businesses that have signed on to place one of the anti-Christian, pro-homosexual stickers on their windows. Here’s the “If You’re Buying” site where you can also see the sticker and the business list as it’s updated. These are businesses you might want to avoid here in Mississippi, unless you’re in the mood to go inside and find out if they really understand what that anti-Christian sticker means.
That’s pure truth, but our inalienable rights will not stand if these homofascists get their way. Freedom of conscience, religion, speech and association for Christians is directly in the evil cross-hairs of this diabolical movement, and unless we stand firmly, loudly and unified against it, our freedoms will be crushed. Don’t doubt it for a minute.
h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW
After simultaneous debate in both chambers of the Mississippi Legislature Tuesday, state lawmakers approved a religious freedom bill that some have argued could lead to discrimination against LGBT people and others.
First in the House, the bill passed 79-43 and later, Senate lawmakers approved the bill with a wide majority. Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to sign the bill into law.
As it is written, the Mississippi bill — Senate Bill 2681 or the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act — largely mirrors the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other bills passed in 18 states that mirror the federal law, except for language that prevents employees of private businesses from raising legal claims against those employees under the bill. Proponent lawmakers say the bill will protect state citizens’ free exercise of religion from government intrusion, while some lawmakers in both chambers questioned whether it would have unintended consequences — including permitting discrimination.
Several lawmakers questioned the bill’s sponsoring lawmakers in both chambers.
After repeated questions by his colleagues about possible consequences of the bill and what exactly it intends to do, Rep. Joey Hood, sounding frustrated said, “What we’re trying to do, gentlemen, is just protect the religious freedom of Mississippians.”
During the Senate debate, Sen. Derrick Simmons, a Democrat who has been outspoken in his opposition to the legislation, urged his colleagues to vote “no,” saying, “I urge you not to legalize discrimination in the State of Mississippi.”
“I believe certainly by the way that this bill is drafted that it will allow discrimination in Mississippi,” Simmons said. “There is nothing in the proposed legislation that prohibits that.”
In a somewhat heated exchange, Sen. Gary Jackson asked Simmons to point to a section of the bill that would open the door to discrimination. Simmons said he couldn’t, but repeated that there’s no language in the bill that would prohibit discrimination.
Another Democratic senator, David Blount, said, “There are potentially huge economic effects to passing this bill and the reputation of Mississippi in this country,” likely referring to the firestorm of opposition that arose over “religious freedom” legislation vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Feb. 26.
But later in the debate, Sen. Phillip Gandy, the principal author of the bill, said the bill has none of the language found in the Arizona bill, and further unlike Arizona, the bill isn’t opposed by big business groups in the state. “The Mississippi Economic Council has no problem with this bill, the business community,” Gandy said. The MEC previously opposed the bill before recent revisions to its language.
Since the Mississippi bill was introduced in January, LGBT and civil rights activists have loudly expressed concerns the law could lead to people discriminating against others based on their religious beliefs.
“Senate Bill 2681 would promote discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families in Mississippi,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, in a statement Tuesday morning. “As a minister, it’s clear that this extreme bill is about legalizing discrimination, not protecting religious freedom. Furthermore the broad implications of this bill could result in discrimination aimed toward many communities.”
The approved bill, the latest of a series of versions over the last three months, emerged from a small committee of House and Senate lawmakers just minutes before a Monday night deadline, surprising some who thought it was stalled for this session.
Just last month, the House approved a drastically-amended version of the bill that removed most of its language and simply called for a study committee on how to proceed with the matter. The Senate, however, rejected the amended version and instead moved for the two chambers to conference on the bill. That conference committee drafted the latest version of the bill.
“Even though the Mississippi legislature removed some of the egregious language from Arizona’s infamous SB 1062, we are disappointed that it passed this unnecessary law and ignored the national, public outcry against laws of this nature,” said Eunice Rho, advocacy and policy counsel with the ACLU.
In addition to provisions for religious protections, the bill calls for the addition of “In God We Trust” to the state’s seal, a change personally proposed by Gov. Bryant.
Pending Bryant’s signature, the law takes effect July 1, according to the bill’s language.
Messages were left at Bryant’s office seeking comment and exact plans for the bill.
2013 hasn’t been a great year for reproductive rights. Ever since 2010, abortion opponents have imposed a flurry of state-level legislation intended to slowly chip away at abortion access, and that trend certainly continued this year.
But women’s health advocates also believe there was something different about 2013. This year, a far-right contingent of the anti-choice community appeared to abandon their incremental strategy — in which they undermine women’s access to abortion bit by bit, largely with indirect laws that don’t strike at the heart of Roe v. Wade — and get bolder. They started pushing for extremely harsh abortion restrictions that fly in the face of the constitutional right to choose, and they got more serious about shutting down abortion clinics one by one. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), lawmakers in more than 25 states proposed some kind of outright ban on abortion this year.
And they were largely successful. Here’s what the anti-choice community managed to accomplish in 2013:
1. North Dakota and Arkansas approved the harshest abortion bans in the nation.
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JAMES MACPHERSON
In March, Arkansas enacted a 12-week abortion ban, cutting off access to reproductive care far before the parameters established under Roe v. Wade, which guarantees legal abortion rights until around 24 weeks of pregnancy. At the time, it was the harshest abortion ban in the country. But not to be outdone, anti-choice lawmakers in North Dakota soon surpassed that record. Later that month, North Dakota enacted a six-week abortion ban, outlawing the procedure at a point before many women even realize they’re pregnant. North Dakota’s governor admitted that he approved that law because he wants to provoke a Supreme Court challenge to Roe. Both laws are currently awaiting their day in court.
2. Texas passed a sweeping law that’s forced one third of the state’s clinics to shut down.
CREDIT: ERIC GAY/AP
Over the last six months, Texas is the state that’s most frequently landed in the headlines because of its abortion policy. This summer, as Texas lawmakers considered a package of stringent abortion restrictions that inspired massive grassroots protests, the fight captured national attention. Despite the outcry against the proposed measure — one poll estimated that 80 percent of Texas voters opposed the anti-choice bill — it passed, and was upheld by Texas’extremely conservative appeals court. It began going into effect at the beginning of November.
That’s created a bleak landscape for the estimated 26 million people who live in the Lone Star State. About one third of the state’s abortion clinics have shut down, and the remaining ones are dealing with huge patient loads while operating at a reduced capacity. According to the ACLU’s estimations, about 9 million Texans don’t live within easy access to a nearby clinic anymore, a new reality that’s taking the biggest toll on low-income and rural women in the state.
4. Abortion opponents consistently refused to make exceptions for rape victims.
The issue of rape and abortion access has become particularly contentious over the past year, after several Republican lawmakers made controversial comments on the subject in the lead-up to the 2012 election. At least in terms of messaging, this tends to be a losing area for abortion opponents, since Americans overwhelmingly favor legal abortion access for victims of sexual assault. But in terms of policy, there were lots of advancements in this area. The majority of state-level abortion restrictions enacted in 2013 didn’t include an exception for rape victims. Even on a national level, when the House advanced a 20-week abortion ban, lawmakers only added a rape exception as an afterthought following a public outcry. Despite the outrage over Todd Akin, his worldview is prevailing.
Indeed, this issue came to a head very recently. Earlier this week, Michigan lawmakers approved an anti-choice measure that requires women to purchase a separate insurance ride if they want abortion coverage, even in cases of rape or incest. Opponents have decried the measure as “rape insurance.”
5. Mississippi’s governor tried to end abortion for good in his state — and actually admitted what he was doing.
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/PHELAN M. EBENHACK
At the very beginning of the year, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) acknowledged something that most anti-choice lawmakers prefer to leave unspoken: His goal isn’t to make abortion safer. He’s trying to end abortion for good.
Mississippi only has one abortion left in the entire state, and it’s been on the brink of shutting down ever since state lawmakers enacted stringent regulations requiring abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges from local hospitals. That’s a medically unnecessary requirement, and most abortion doctors aren’t able to comply with it — so it’s an effective way to force them to stop practicing. On the surface, though, the anti-choice community typically claims admitting privileges are simply intended to ensure patient safety. Bryant acknowledged that’s not exactly true. “My goal is of course to shut it down,” he said in reference to the state’s lone clinic.
Even though Mississippi’s only clinic has managed to hang on — in April, a federal judge temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the stringent law — anti-choice groups are still fighting to shut it down.
Mississippi’s Governor Has Some Bad Ideas | Mississippi may be the worst state in the nation for women. And the governor’s newest ideas won’t help.
By several objective measures, Mississippi is one of our worst states. It has the nation’s highest poverty rate, its second-highest teen pregnancy rate, and its highest teen birth rate. An Education Week report ranks its schools 48 out of 50. Only Louisiana locks up a higher percentage of its people. Its infant mortality rate—9.67 deaths per 1,000 live births, the highest in the nation—is close to Botswana’s. Its life expectancy is the lowest in America and lower than those of Guatemala or Pakistan. Few states invest less in public education or public health. If it were an independent country, we’d consider it part of the Third World.
Not coincidentally, Mississippi is also one of our most conservative states, though in a recent Gallup poll, it slipped from first place to fourth. As iVillage reported last year in a piece on the country’s worst states for women—Mississippi came in first, or rather last—it’s one of only four states that has never sent a woman to Congress.
So we really shouldn’t be shocked that Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, thinks America’s educational woes can be laid at the feet of working mothers. Speaking on a panel this week about how the country became so “mediocre” in education, he replied, “Both parents started working, and the mom is in the workplace.” His comments sparked national outrage and indignation, but they shouldn’t have surprised us. Of course arch-conservatives think social breakdown is caused by the abandonment of traditional gender roles. Of course they fail to recognize that excessive wingnuttery is decimating their societies. That’s why their answers to social breakdown are frequently so ridiculous.
Consider Mississippi’s brilliant new approach to fighting teen pregnancy. On Monday, NPR reported on a new Mississippi law mandating the collection of cord blood from babies born to girls under 16. The idea, apparently, is that DNA could identify fathers who have passed through the criminal justice system and who might be statutory rapists, hence discouraging older men from impregnating younger girls. “Too many of these young teens are becoming pregnant against their will,” Bryant said.
Given that Bryant was a co-chair of the failed campaign for a personhood law in Mississippi—which might have outlawed the birth control pill, the IUD, and the morning-after pill, as well as all abortion—it’s nice to know that he’s suddenly concerned about forced pregnancy. But this law, a gross invasion of girls’ privacy, will do nothing for the state’s teen pregnancy problem. For one thing, as NPR reports, “[r]oughly 65 percent of teenage pregnancies in the state occur between teens who are one or two years apart in age.” Besides, the law doesn’t lay out who will pay for all this DNA testing, or who will be in charge of prosecuting fathers if they find them. “[P]rosecutors would have to determine in which county conception had occurred before charges could be filed,” says NPR.
Then there’s the very real danger that this law will be used against the girls themselves. Right now, says Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, two Mississippi women who have suffered stillbirths are being prosecuted under the state’s murder statutes because there were drugs in their systems when they lost their pregnancies. If every single teen mother has her cord blood on file, it would be easy for prosecutors to test it if their babies suffer expected medical problems. “If they’re collecting cord blood, it could be used just as easily against pregnant women,” says Paltrow. “She’s at much at risk of prosecution as the person who impregnated her.”
There are, of course, more sensible ways to address teen pregnancy, which has already fallen dramatically all over the country since the 1990s, even in Mississippi. Step one: increase access to birth control. “Recent research concluded that almost all of the decline in the pregnancy rate between 1995 and 2002 among 18–19-year-olds was attributable to increased contraceptive use,” a 2012 Guttmacher Institute report concluded. “Among women aged 15–17, about one-quarter of the decline during the same period was attributable to reduced sexual activity and three-quarters to increased contraceptive use.”
Naturally, Mississippi is doing nothing to promote increased contraceptive use. “When the governor of Mississippi is saying these teen births are a tragedy, he’s not doing anything to prevent the births,” says June Carbone, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota and co-author, with Naomi Cahn, of the forthcoming book Family Classes: What is Really Happening to the American Family. “He wants to punish the sex. That’s the whole campaign—no sex education, make abortion difficult, and say you have no business having sex.”
Not that more access to sex education and contraception would be enough to stem Mississippi’s dysfunction. “A promising future is the best contraceptive,” says Carbone. “If women see they have a promising future, they are less likely to get pregnant, less likely to have sex at 14 or 15.” That means investing in education overall, as well as in decent jobs that pay a living wage. You’re not going to see much of that with a governor like Phil Bryant, who will never grasp that more conservatism is the problem, not the solution.
Of COURSE the law will be used against the girls themselves.
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.
JACKSON, Miss. — A federal judge on Wednesday decided to continue to block a state law that threatened to shut down Mississippi’s only abortion clinic and make it nearly impossible for a woman to get the procedure in the state.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III temporarily blocked the law July 1 and extended that order Wednesday, though he did not immediately say how long it would last.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states can’t place undue burdens or substantial obstacles to women seeking abortion. The law would require anyone performing clinic abortions to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. The doctors at the clinic in Jackson do not have those privileges, and the clinic says the privileges aren’t medically necessary.
Supporters of the law say it’s designed to protect patients. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says he hopes it will help make Mississippi “abortion-free.”
The clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, says it has been unable to obtain admitting privileges for its two out-of-state OB-GYNs because local hospitals have not responded to their requests.
The law was passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature and when Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed it, he said: “If it closes that clinic, then so be it.”
The state’s attorney had argued that any anti-abortion statements by elected officials were “weak evidence” that the purpose of the law was to prevent abortions.
Terri Herring of the Pro Life America Network lobbied for the law and attended the court hearing. After the judge’s decision, Herring said the hospitals should deny admitting privileges for the abortion clinic’s doctors.
"There’s no vetting process for fly-by-night physicians who come in and perform abortions at the clinic," Herring said.
The clinic uses out-of-state physicians because in-state physicians generally don’t want to face the social pressure of having protesters at their offices, homes or churches, clinic employees say.
Opponents of the law say any patient experiencing complications could receive immediate care from emergency room physicians.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 established a nationwide right to abortion. In 1992, the court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey upheld the Roe decision and allowed states to regulate abortions before fetuses are viable. But the 1992 decision also said states may not place undue burdens or substantial obstacles to women seeking abortion.
If the clinic closed, the closest clinics to Jackson are about 200 miles away, in Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama.
Mississippi physicians who perform fewer than 10 abortions a month can avoid having their offices regulated as an abortion clinic, and thus avoid restrictions in the new law.
h/t: Huffington Post
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi could soon become the only state without an abortion clinic because of a new law taking effect this weekend. Critics say the law would force women to drive hours across the state line to obtain a constitutionally protected procedure, or could even force some to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.
Top officials, including the governor, say limiting the number of abortions is exactly what they have in mind.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant frequently says he wants Mississippi to be “abortion-free.”
"If it closes that clinic, then so be it," Bryant said as in April as he signed the law, which takes effect Sunday.
Abortion rights supporters have sued, asking a judge to temporarily block the law from taking effect. So far, that hasn’t happened.
The law requires anyone performing abortions at the state’s only clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, and the clinic contends the mandate is designed to put it out of business. A clinic spokeswoman, Betty Thompson, has said the two physicians who do abortions there are OB-GYNs who travel from other states.
Michelle Movahed of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is one of the attorneys representing the Mississippi clinic in its federal lawsuit. She said in an interview Friday that several states – including Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma – have tried in the past two or three years to chip away at access to abortion.
H/T: Huffington Post