WorldNetDaily columnist Gina Loudon is promoting her book “What Women Really Want” by arguing today that Republicans should be “giddy” about the prospect of running against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race.
She calls on GOP politicians to attack Clinton for supposedly tolerating rape and other forms of violence against women: "If she stood passive while Islamic women were raped and stoned to death, what will she passively let happen to women were she president of the United States?"
Loudon goes on to claim that immigration reform and gun policy reform are part of the real “war on women.”The first war is one where women are being serially gang-raped and stoned to death by Islamists across the world who believe women are only one-fifth of a person. If a woman is raped, under Shariah law, five men must testify that they witnessed the woman being raped. Otherwise, she is stoned to death in front of her friends and family. Christian and Jewish women are being led like lambs to slaughter by Islamists. There is definitely a war on women, but not the one the statist elites in D.C. like to pretend is happening. That is but a ruse designed to distract the simple minded.
Where are the old-school feminists who cussed conservative icons like Phyllis Schlafly and burned their bras in protest of equal pay, in the face of this bloody war on women? Do equal rights not to be stoned matter less than equal pay or birth control?
Where is Hillary on this? If I were GOP leadership, I would be giddy about the thought of a Hillary run. Aside from Benghazi, think about a campaign based on what she never did to stop the real war on women. If she stood passive while Islamic women were raped and stoned to death, what will she passively let happen to women were she president of the United States?
Women with whom we spoke on our book tour are most concerned with safety and security, and that is because of failed foreign policy and open borders exacted on them by the pro-old-feminist administration (including old feminists like Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, etc.). Economic security and national security are of grave concern to women today. Open borders give away jobs, especially starter jobs for youth. Open borders let terrorists in our country, and that threatens women’s families and futures. Open borders mean children with unknown, untreatable and, in some cases, latent diseases sit in classrooms with our children.
Even for those women who don’t care to ever touch a gun (and that is OK), most still wouldn’t want to take away the rights of other moms to protect their children, their families from abusers, or their homes from tyranny.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Some women looking for abortions are being misdirected to “clinics” that have no intention of providing them with such a service.
"Misconception," a short documentary from Vice News, looks at the phenomenon of “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) — organizations staffed by anti-abortion groups, usually religiously-based, that encourage women to follow through with their pregnancies, even if they have already decided to terminate.
Some crisis centers provide factually incorrect advice about the process of abortion and its aftermath, others use religious rhetoric to shame women for their choices. Many such centers receive government funding through federal grants or state programs. Vice estimates that in 2014, CPCs could now outnumber abortion clinics 5 to 1.
The film, produced by Allison Yarrow and Claire Ward, investigates the deceptive practices these “clinics” use. Misrepresenting themselves as abortion providers using manipulative tactics like engineering their pages to show up in online searches for “pregnancy symptoms” or situating themselves next to abortion clinics, CPCs reel women in under false pretenses. Often, as shown in the film, these clinics refuse to provide abortion pricing information over the phone, often only revealing that the procedure is not offered there after subjecting women to a “counseling session” and sonogram.
The idea for the documentary came from Yarrow’s field reporting for a Newsweek feature, "The Abortion War’s Special Ops," which follows anti-abortion activist Lila Rose and pro-abortion rights activist Katie Stack. Stack, who was herself referred to a crisis pregnancy center following an unplanned pregnancy, founded The Crisis Project, which investigates the “medical misinformation, emotional manipulation and religious doctrine” that CPCs commonly use.
In “Misconception,” host Fazeelat Aslam attends the pro-life March For Life in Washington D.C., meets with a young woman in Texas who found herself at a crisis pregnancy center after searching for access to an abortion, and goes undercover with Stack to another CPC. Posing as Stack’s aunt, Aslam films a counseling session in which Stack is advised against abortion.
"[Abortion] could never be safe, because it’s so totally unnatural," an anonymous "counselor" tells Stack and Aslam. "Your body is meant to keep that baby, not to have someone put an instrument in and rip it out."
The film also features hidden camera footage from Stack’s visits to other CPCs around the country, revealing some of the shocking things CPC workers have said to her.
"If people die due to an abortion, later on a lot of times they’re finding parts of the fetus in like the lungs or the heart," one "counselor" says. (Hint: this is not true.)
Yarrow believes that “honest, well-run” crisis pregnancy centers have their place, but that the misrepresentation of their mission is unacceptable.
"Centers should reveal up front that they do not offer abortion services and that their counseling is inspired by an anti-abortion position and religious morals," she told The Huffington Post in an email. "We are all entitled to our own positions on abortion, but I bet many people disagree with taxpayer-funded deception."
Stack and other anti-CPC activists are pushing for CPCs to disclose that they do not provide abortions, so that women directed to these places are fully aware of the resources available to them. Raising awareness of this issue is working: organizations like Google have taken a stand, removing deceptive ads for CPCs from their search results.
"The best way to combat crisis pregnancy center deception is to know where these centers are located in your own hometown, and to inform other men and women in your community where they are and what they do," Yarrow told HuffPost. "Insist that your legislators support bills that require centers to adhere to truth in advertising standards."
Watch the full film above, and find out more about The Crisis Project here.
"Crisis Pregnancy Centers" = hotbeds of deceptive medical information for the anti-choice movement.
H/T: Nina Bahadur at HuffPost Women
Linda Harvey And Molly Smith: Anti-Choicers Must Oppose Gay Rights Because Gay Rights Cause Abortion
Molly Smith, the director of Cleveland Right to Life, lost her group’s affiliation with National Right to Life Committee last year when she criticized Sen. Rob Portman for announcing his support for marriage equality after his son came out as gay.
The national group chided Smith [pdf] for taking on “an advocacy agenda that includes issues beyond the right to life,” but her group pushed back, saying that “any politician, including Portman, who supports the break-up of the American family and supports the denial of a mother and father for children has forfeited the right of support and endorsement of the prolife movement .”
Then, earlier this year, Smith was picked as the head of the National Personhood Alliance, a new group meant to be an even more extreme rival to National Right to Life.
Which is to say, feelings are still raw. The subject came up in Smith’s interview this month with anti-gay activist Linda Harvey, who wholeheartedly agreed with Smith that anti-choice activists must also oppose LGBT rights because, she said, LGBT rights lead to a greater incidence of abortion.
“The Planned Parenthood and anti-life lobby is heavily imbued and connected to homosexuality,” Harvey told Smith. “They’re in favor of opening up the doors and spreading the boundaries of sexuality all across the board. That includes homosexuality. The lines are very blurred, and unless you stand strong on this issue, you’re going to see much more, and you do see much more, out of wedlock sexuality and then of course, more abortion.”
Harvey said that she had seen Planned Parenthood march in the Columbus, Ohio, LGBT pride parade: “Why are they doing that? Because they know, you muddy the water, and you get a lot more of their business, abortion.”
Smith and Harvey then discussed polls showing rapidly increasing support for gay rights, which they decided must be skewed.
“I’m beginning to lose all kinds of respect for these polls,” Smith said.
“Yes, they’re inaccurate, they portray things in the wrong way,” Harvey agreed, adding that if polls gave people “all the information” about LGBT people “they would change their minds” and realize that “maybe these people are defending something that is not defensible and is, indeed, shameful.”
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
THE GOP'S WAR ON WOMEN CRUSADES ON: 3 state measures that could end legal abortion in their respective states
Ballot initiatives in Colorado, North Dakota, and Tennessee could deal a major blow to abortion rights in those states.
States have approved more anti-abortion measures during the past three years than during the entire preceding decade. And this fall, voters themselves will also have the chance to decide whether to approve or block extreme anti-abortion ballot initiatives in three states. Ballot measures in Colorado and North Dakota would effectively ban abortion by defining personhood as beginning at conception, and a constitutional amendment in Tennessee would allow the state legislature to pass draconian anti-abortion laws, including a ban. Here’s a look at those ballot initiatives:
Colorado’s Constitutional Amendment 67: This ballot measure would amend Colorado’s constitution to define a fetus as a person under Colorado’s criminal code, a change that opponents say would make any abortion a crime, including in cases of rape and incest, and when the health of the mother is endangered.
Supporters of the amendment, including Personhood Colorado, the group backing the ballot measure, say it has nothing to do with abortion, but rather is designed to ensure that those who harm an unborn child in any manner will be prosecuted. The woman who initially pushed for the measure is Colorado resident Heather Surovik, whose fetus was killed by a drunk driver. The driver pleaded guilty to vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated, but because under Colorado law an unborn child is considered part of the mother’s body and not a separate person, he was not charged with killing the fetus.
"Amendment 67 corrects the loophole in Colorado law and ensures that those criminals can be charged with killing a child in many different scenarios," Jennifer Mason, a spokeswoman with PersonhoodUSA, told the Washington Post in August.
Reproductive rights advocates say baloney. The “Vote No on 67” campaign, a broad coalition of organizations including the ACLU of Colorado, the Colorado Bar Association and NARAL Pro-Choice America, note the amendment would “give legal and constitutional rights to a woman’s fertilized egg,” making criminals out of women who seek abortions and the doctors who perform them. Amendment 67 could also restrict access to emergency contraception and other types of birth control, as some prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus.
Planned Parenthood of Colorado is planning to spend at least $3.8 million in an effort to defeat the amendment. And Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is harping on the ballot initiative to help drive women to the polls in November. Udall’s Republican opponent, Rep. Corey Gardner (R-Colo.), says he opposes Amendment 67 but has supported personhood measures in the past.
Coloradans defeated personhood amendments in 2008 and 2010 that defined a fetus as a person from the moment of fertilization, or from the first stage of biological development. But because this time around the measure’s language focuses on “protecting pregnant women,” and supporters are framing it as unrelated to abortion, opponents fear it has a better chance.
North Dakota’s Constitutional Measure 1: North Dakota’s personhood amendment asks voters to decide whether the state’s constitution should protect “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development.”
The measure would have the effect of banning all abortion services, according to the North Dakota Coalition For Privacy in Healthcare, a group opposing the initiative that includes the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition. “Victims of rape and incest could be forced to carry a pregnancy that resulted from sexual violence,” the coalition notes. “Women whose health is at risk could also be prohibited from terminating their pregnancies.” The measure could even criminalize miscarriage and ban some forms of birth control. Former North Dakota Democratic lieutenant governor Lloyd Omdahl has said Measure 1 is “driven primarily by theology.”
Proponents of the personhood amendment say the ballot initiative would keep existing laws governing abortion from being overturned by courts. Last year, North Dakota enacted two laws restricting abortion in the state. One forbade women from terminating a pregnancy based on sex or genetic defect. The other, which banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected—about six weeks after conception—was shot down by a federal court in April.
GOP state Sen. Margaret Sitte, a supporter of the personhood amendment, says Measure 1 is “intended to present a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade,” the landmark Supreme Court case that held the constitutional right to privacy included a right to abortion. If the measure passes, North Dakota would be the first state to define life as beginning at conception. States have defeated three other personhood ballot initiatives in recent years. In addition to Colorado’s 2008 and 2010 personhood amendment fails, voters shot down a similar ballot measure in Mississippi in 2011.
Tennessee’s Constitutional Amendment 1: As my colleague Molly Redden reported last week, the country’s biggest abortion battle is currently playing out in Tennessee, where supporters and opponents of abortion rights are fighting over a constitutional amendment that will appear on state ballots this November.
The measure states, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” It would allow the legislature “unlimited authority to pass burdensome and unnecessary restrictions and regulations on abortion, including banning all abortions,” according to Planned Parenthood, including in the case of pregnancy from rape, or incest, or when an abortion is necessary to protect the mother’s health.
Here’s Redden with the backstory:
Tennessee Republicans have been striving to put this referendum before voters since 2000, when a state Supreme Court decision blocked several harsh anti-abortion measures from becoming law. The ruling, which struck down several anti-abortion laws passed in 1998, has prevented the Legislature from passing certain strict laws enacted in other states, such as a mandatory abortion waiting period.…
Amendment 1 would overturn that court decision. ‘It will basically just open the floodgates for the General Assembly to pass any kind of restriction if the amendment passes,’ says Jeff Teague, the president of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. ‘We think they probably have a long list of things they’re going to pass.’
The amendment is particularly insidious, the group Vote No on 1 says, because it “is carefully worded in order to deliberately confuse voters about the real intention and motives of those behind the amendment.” The reproductive rights coalition says the language in the ballot initiative may trick voters into thinking that it includes exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest, or when a woman’s health is in danger, when it does not.
Proponents of Amendment 1 have raised over $500,000 as of early July—which they are spending on TV ads and voter outreach efforts—and hope to raise a total of $2.1 million. Opponents have raised more than $360,000 so far and hope to rake in a total of $4 million. The referendum battle looks to become the most expensive in the state’s history.
If the ballot initiative passes, anti-abortion politicians in the state are expected to pass the same extreme abortion laws and regulations that have shuttered abortion clinics in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, and Alabama.
BarbWire's Gina Miller: 'Slutty' Women Encourage Sexual Assault [TW: Anti-Feminism, Victim Shaming, Victim Blaming, Slut-Shaming, Sexism, Trivialization of Rape, Rape Culture, Enabling of Rape Culture]
BarbWire content editor and columnist Gina Miller was the guest this weekend on “Mission America,” where she and host Linda Harvey took a break from attacking the LGBT community to discuss campus sexual assaults, for which they blame feminism for launching a “war on white males.”
Miller said feminists, and all liberals, “have this hatred for males, especially white males.”
“There is this palpable hatred for men,” she said. “Actual rape is a terrible thing and no one is saying that these men are not accountable but I at the same time hold women responsible for when they put themselves, present themselves in slutty attire at a drunken frat party and then expect these frat boys to behave like gentlemen. It’s nonsense.”
Harvey, for her part, claimed the “war on women” is a myth, when in reality there is “a war on unborn babies, a war on common sense [and] a war on Christianity.” Miller agreed: “The war on women is a completely fabricated, made-up thing. There is actually a war out there, it’s a war against all humanity led by the Devil himself and people that he inspires. A war on unborn babies, it’s a genocidal, homicidal war. There is a real war on white males in this nation.”
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
The most contentious political battle raging in Tennessee this year has nothing to do with control of the US Senate or the governor’s mansion—it’s taking place over a ballot measure that would make Tennessee the next hot zone in the war over abortion rights.
The referendum, called Amendment 1, would amend Tennessee’s constitution to read: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion,” including for pregnancies “resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.” If the amendment succeeds, it would allow state lawmakers to pass the kinds of draconian abortion restrictions seen in neighboring states. And pro- and anti-abortion rights groups are raising millions to swing the outcome.
Tennessee Republicans have been striving to put this referendum before voters since 2000, when a state Supreme Court decision blocked several harsh anti-abortion measures from becoming law. The ruling, which struck down several anti-abortion laws passed in 1998, has prevented the Legislature from passing certain strict laws enacted in other states, such as a mandatory abortion waiting period. In 2011, a supermajority of both chambers of the state Legislature, which included many Democrats, passed a measure to place Amendment 1 on the November 2014 ballot.
Amendment 1 would overturn that court decision. “It will basically just open the floodgates for the General Assembly to pass any kind of restriction if the amendment passes,” says Jeff Teague, the president of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. “We think they probably have a long list of things they’re going to pass.”
VOTE NO ON 1 if you live in Tennessee!
h/t: Molly Redden at Mother Jones
Conservative commentators think we’re more interested in pretty shoes than voting. I wonder why they’re having trouble getting women’s support.
Hello? Oh, I’m sorry, I think you’ve stumbled into the wrong place. This is a piece about politics, and you’re on Cosmopolitan.com. Surely you were looking for something about shoes, or maybe information on how to find a boyfriend? If you’re a young woman, scoot along now, little lady, because all this talk about “issues” and “elections” is probably beyond the purview of what you’re looking for from Cosmopolitan.com. (Do you know what “purview” means? Don’t worry your pretty head about it).
Insulted yet? Well, that’s what folks at Fox News and a series of conservative commentators and websites seem to think about you. On Fox’s Outnumbered — a show so dedicated to serious and not-at-all-sexist political analysis that it bills itself as “Featuring an ensemble of four female panelists &#OneLuckyGuy" — panelists took turns complaining about Cosmopolitan.com's decision to endorse pro-choice candidates, claiming (falsely) that Cosmopolitan.com will “probably leave out jobs and a whole bunch of other stuff that we ladies care about.” Putting aside the fact that Fox commentators have not always shown such a commitment to the interests of working women, our endorsement criteria are actually a little more detailed and include issues such as equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, and leadership on ending violence against women. In the past month, our political stories have included coverage of a Supreme Court justice’s reflections on Roe v. Wade, multiple threatened executions by ISIS, sexual assault in the armed forces, and the militarization of the police in places like Ferguson, Missouri, just to name a few.
"Is this beyond the purview of what the readership of this magazine actually wants to see?" Fox panelist Guy Benson asked about our #CosmoVotes initiative aimed at getting women to the polls. “Do they want to be preached at about politics when they really just want to check out the latest fashions and these wonderful shoes you guys are all wearing?” With that last line, he gestured to the footwear of his four female co-hosts.
One of the reasons we started #CosmoVotes was because we saw how regularly young female voters are derided, condescended to, and insulted. Women hear so often that we’re dumb and uninformed that even the most politically savvy among us start to believe it: Women are less likely than men to think they’re qualified to run for office; they’re less likely to hear they should run for office; and once they do run, they are less confident and less likely to take risks. With the inescapable "Beyonce voter" heckles from the media peanut gallery, who can blame them?
Women who are assertive and confident are punished for that too, because they’re seen as abrasive, while men are just leaders. And so even though more women vote than men and more women are graduating from college than men, women are still sorely underrepresented in every major political body. Men go through life with a pervasive overconfidence, which benefits them in the workplace and in leadership positions; for women, simply having a female name means you’re perceived as less competent. Women, then, opine less and are less likely to see themselves as experts or adequately informed; as a result of that, and the fact that female voices and opinions are routinely derided, womenplay less of a role in public political debate.
It means we realize that pro-life women use birth control and have abortions too, and we think they should have that right.
We think that’s a damn shame. And we want to give our readers the tools to push back on it by encouraging them to vote (no matter which candidate they vote for) and by throwing our weight behind candidates who stand up for women instead of condescending to us.
Yes, that means we are endorsing candidates who are pro-choice. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about our pro-life readers. It means we realize that pro-life women use birth control and have abortions too, and we think they should have that right. It means we realize that outside of the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” monikers, 7 in 10 Americans say they want abortion to be legal. It means we recognize that nearly every American woman will use contraception at some point in her life, and 1 in 3 will have an abortion before her 45th birthday. We recognize that contraception and abortion are normal parts of women’s reproductive lives, and choosing to determine the number and spacing of your children is an act of love, of responsibility, and, sometimes, of basic self-preservation. It means we know women don’t see contraception as a frivolous allowance, but as a cornerstone of their personal and financial well-being — a tool that allows them to complete an education, pursue a career, pick a partner they love and not one they’re tied to out of shame and obligation, and build a family when they are emotionally, financially, and physically ready. And it means we understand that reproductive health care is basic health care and limiting that care is a public health issue: where contraception and abortion are unavailable, women are killed and injured.
No one has to agree with us or with the candidates we’ve endorsed. We welcome vigorous debate, and as we’ve said before, we hope you do your own research, form your own opinions, and vote for the politicians you believe represent your best interests. But we do object to the suggestion that Cosmopolitan.com shouldn’t be issuing endorsements at all because, apparently, we’re bubbleheads who should “stick with fashion and orgasms.” Newspapers that cover, say, sports — not exactly the height of intellectual acuity — aren’t subjected to the same condescension that comes with writing about sex, fashion, and beauty. They don’t hear the accusation that they’re “dictating" what their apparently mindless readers should do or face the assumption that because light content appears on one page, there’s no place for something more serious.
It’s almost as if the problem isn’t that we, like so many other publications, are writing about politics and endorsing candidates, but that we’re writing about politics and endorsing candidates and we’re a publication focused on women.
We think you’re perfectly capable of reading an article about shoes and still walking yourself to your polling place to cast an informed, thoughtful vote.
This is all especially rich coming from conservative media mouthpieces, in an election year when conservative candidates are having a tough time appealing to female voters (the only women who reliably support Republicans are those who are both married and don’t have a college degree). Many conservative policies — like opposition to abortion access, insurance coverage for contraception, equal pay for equal work, a higher minimum wage, and gun control — do women real harm. Of the 10 worst American states for women, measured by women’s economic security, leadership roles, and health, all 10 are Republican-dominated red states. This isn’t just about a horse race; it’s about women’s day-to-day ability to live up to their full potential and to exist in a healthy, cared-for body.
Conservative rhetoric hurts too. It’s not just the cluelessness about how women’s uteruses supposedly “shut down” “legitimate rape.” It’s also the idea that women are more interested in driving their kids to the dentist than in equal pay, that the pay gap isn’t real, that abortion is never necessary, and now that young women just want to see shoe pictures and are too dumb to realize Cosmopolitan.com's endorsements are our analysis and suggestion, not marching orders.
We think you’re perfectly capable of reading an article about shoes and still walking yourself to your polling place to cast an informed, thoughtful vote. We hope you do vote, no matter who it’s for, because the more women cast their ballots, the more all our political parties will have to respond to our needs and interests. But we also hope you’re paying attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle messages that politicians and political commentators send about women, and that you’re making connections between rhetoric, worldview, and policy.
And we hope that doing that analysis is a reminder that political thought and leadership isn’t just for the TV talking heads and the white-haired men in Congress. Listen to what these guys are saying about you — and then don’t believe it.
We’ll see you at the polls on November 4. And we’ll see you right here on Cosmopolitan.com every day before then, writing about, discussing, and sometimes opining on the abundance of issues that shape your health, your financial future, and the many dimensions of your life.
BREAKING: Missouri State Senate Republicans’ controversial 72-hour waiting period on abortion bill that was originally vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon has been passed into law during Missouri’s veto session.
Senate Republicans kill filibuster, vote to override @GovJayNixon veto of 72-hour abortion waiting period http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/the-buzz/article2048499.html … #moleg
BREAKING: Veto of #HB1307 has been disgracefully overridden in the Missouri State Senate 23-7, 72-hour abortion waiting period w/o execptions will become law
Senate on abortion bill, just a few minutes after override passed House. Democrats discussing. Looking for indication of filibuster #moleg— Jonathan Shorman (@jshormanNL) September 11, 2014
Sifton: I am going to take some time this evening making some points #moleg— Jonathan Shorman (@jshormanNL) September 11, 2014
Missouri’s abortion waiting period will become 72 hours #moleg— Jonathan Shorman (@jshormanNL) September 11, 2014
BREAKING: #HB1307 has been veto overriden in the House 117-44. The Senate is next.
As Missouri lawmakers head back to the state capitol this week for a special session, there’s one thing at the top of their to-do list: Override Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D) recent veto of a harsh abortion restriction.
The legislation would effectively triple Missouri’s existing waiting period for abortion, forcing women to wait a full 72 hours before being allowed to proceed with the medical procedure. If approved, Missouri will join the ranks of Utah and South Dakota, the only two states in the nation that currently impose a three-day abortion waiting period.
In May, as the bill was moving through the GOP-controlled legislature, women’s health advocates launched a 72-hour filibuster to protest what they said was a condescending measure that assumes women aren’t capable of making their own decisions about their reproductive health care. They pointed out that the restriction will pose a significant hardship for the women who will be forced to make several trips to the abortion clinic — once to receive the mandatory “counseling” about the procedure, and again for the actual abortion three days later — which could require them to take multiple days off work.
The legislation also drew harsh criticism for failing to include an exception for victims of rape and incest, potentially forcing those women to deal with the additional emotional trauma of remaining pregnant for longer than they would prefer. When Nixon vetoed the proposed waiting period in July, he cited that reason for opposing the bill, calling it “insulting to women” and “callous” to victims of rape and incest. “It victimizes these women by prolonging their grief and their nightmare,” the governor said in a statement.
Nonetheless, Republican leaders think they have enough support for the bill to override Nixon, which requires a three-fourths majority in each chamber. Senate leaders told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they’re confident they’ve got the necessary votes. And they’re not concerned about the lack of a rape exception; in fact, Rep. Kevin Elmer (R), who sponsored the bill in the House, told Mother Jones that he never considered adding such an exception because he believes life begins at conception.
“The bottom line is that a woman who is a victim of rape and incest needs to have time also to consider what is right for her. Many times victims of rape and incest are brought to the abortion clinic by the perpetrator and forced into an abortion very quickly,” Patty Skain, the executive director of Missouri Right to Life, told The Missourian.
Even though there’s just one abortion clinic left in the entire state of Missouri, lawmakers there have been particularly focused on restricting the procedure. This past year, the legislature considered more than 30 different anti-abortion bills.
It’s not unusual for Republican-dominated legislatures to exert their veto power for this purpose. Last year, in Arkansas, lawmakers overrode the governor to enact 12-week and 20-week abortion bans. In Michigan, lawmakers were recently able to implement a measure preventing women from using their insurance coverage to pay for abortion — widely derided as “rape insurance” because it also lacked an exception for rape victims — by collecting enough petition signatures to bypass the governor and trigger a vote on the controversial legislation.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge Friday threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics statewide in a victory for opponents of tough new anti-abortion laws sweeping across the U.S.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. The ruling stops new clinic requirements that would have left seven abortion facilities in Texas come Monday, when the law was set to take effect.
Texas currently has 19 abortion providers — already down from more than 40 just two years ago, according to groups that sued the state for the second time over the law known as HB2.
"The overall effect of the provisions is to create an impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion," Yeakel wrote in his 21-page ruling.
The ruling blocks a portion of the that law would have required abortion facilities in Texas to meet hospital-level operating standards, which supporters say will protect women’s health. But Yeakel concluded the intent was only to “close existing licensed abortion clinics.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who is the favorite to become governor next year, vowed to seek an immediate appeal to try to preserve the new clinic rules.
Clinics called the measures a backdoor effort to outlaw abortions, which has been a constitutional right since the Roe v. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.
Under the new restrictions, the only remaining abortion facilities in Texas would have been in major cities, and there would have been none in the entire western half of the nation’s second-largest state. For women in El Paso, the closest abortion provider would be in New Mexico — an option the state wanted Yeakel to take into consideration, even though New Mexico’s rules for abortion clinics are far less rigorous.
"It’s an undue burden for women in Texas — and thankfully today the court agreed," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, which would have been among the clinic operators affected. "The evidence has been stacking up against the state and against the politicians who so cynically passed these laws in the name of safety."
Miller said that she will now seek to re-open a clinic in the Rio Grande Valley — where there hasn’t been an abortion provider for months — as soon as this weekend.
The new Texas restrictions would have required clinics to have operating rooms, air filtration systems and other standards that are typically only mandated in surgical settings.
Some clinics in Texas already stopped offering abortions after another part of the 2013 bill required doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. That part of the law has been upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans, where the state will now seek a second reversal.
"The State disagrees with the court’s ruling and will seek immediate relief from the Fifth Circuit, which has already upheld HB2 once," Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean said.
Similar rules on admitting privileges have been blocked by federal courts in Mississippi, Kansas and Wisconsin.
Attorneys for the state denied that women would be burdened by fewer abortion facilities, saying nearly 9 in 10 women in Texas would still live within 150 miles of a provider. Critics say that still leaves nearly a million Texas women embarking on drives longer than three hours to get an abortion.
Opposition to the Texas law was so visible that Democrat Wendy Davis launched her campaign for governor behind the celebrity she achieved through a nearly 13-hour filibuster last summer that temporarily blocked the bill in the state Senate.
Her opponent in November is Abbott.
In her radio address yesterday, Phyllis Schlafly took on the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault, which she said could be eliminated if women would just get married instead of focusing so much on their careers.
Noting that “marriage settles men down,” Schlafly asked, “So what’s the answer for women who worry about male violence? It’s not to fear all men. It’s to reject the lifestyle of frequent ‘hookups,’ which is so much promoted on college campuses today, while the women pursue a career and avoid marriage.”
We all know that married men can still be violent to their families, but they are far less likely to be violent against women than are live-in boyfriends.
Why is this? It’s true that women who have found men who are already better partners are more likely to marry them, but it’s also true that marriage settles men down. Being married makes a man care more about his family’s expectations and future because he sees his family as enduring. It also makes him more faithful and committed to his partner. Marriage makes men directly protective of their wives, and living in a home with their daughters gives them the opportunity to be directly protective of them as well. Marriage also creates indirect protection for wives and daughters, because married women and their children tend to live in safer neighborhoods.
So what’s the answer for women who worry about male violence? It’s not to fear all men. It’s to reject the lifestyle of frequent “hookups,” which is so much promoted on college campuses today, while the women pursue a career and avoid marriage.
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
An undercover video released this week by Progress Texas exposes the primary methods that right-wing activists use to intimidate women from ending a pregnancy and make it too difficult for doctors to work at abortion clinics — like tracking patients’ cars, figuring out where new clinics will be opened, and ensuring that there are protesters outside of clinics during “all hours that abortions are being performed.” The audio was recorded at “Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed,” a training hosted by anti-abortion groups in the state at the beginning of August.
“What’s most telling, I think, is that the training this audio came out of was called something like ‘Keeping Abortion Clinics Closed,’ ” Heather Busby, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “It wasn’t called, you know, ‘Bringing Safe Options To Women.’ It wasn’t called ‘Helping Women Stay Healthy And Safe.’ It was about closing abortion clinics, and they said it! They put it right out there.”
The speakers on the track are leaders in Texas’ anti-choice community. They’re instructing attendees on four major tactics to accomplish their goal of closing reproductive health facilities: lining the sidewalks outside clinics to dissuade patients from entering; tracking patients’ physical descriptions and license plates; monitoring clinic staff and potential abortion providers; and examining tax records to identify the locations of new abortion doctors.
“It’s totally legal — you track license plates, the license plates that are coming into any abortion facilities,” Karen Garnett, the executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas (CPLC), explained during the training. “We have a very sophisticated kind of little spreadsheet where everybody keeps track… You have license plates, car make, model, description of the person. And then as far as the staff members, the abortionists, you can identify if you got a new abortionist.”
The speakers in the video also confirm their goals have been advanced by an onerous new law in Texas, HB 2, that’s shuttered half of the state’s clinics over the past year. In addition to the broad swaths of the state that no longer have a single abortion facility, forcing women to travel hundreds of miles to get to the nearest clinic, there’s a general atmosphere of uncertainty about where to end a pregnancy now that the law is in effect. Abortion opponents are happy to keep it that way.
“The poorer ones that are going there for abortions, they heard that it was going to close, so they quit going there,” Eileen Romano, a staffer at 40 Days For Life, told trainees. “They started going to health clinics because they thought it was closed and they didn’t have the transportation to get there. God is good.”
Progress Texas and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas are both decrying the “outrageous” and “disturbing” tactics outlined in the video, saying that Americans need to realize the true nature of the activism to end abortion.
“There’s been a misconception that these are just sweet little grannies, praying outside the clinic and just wanting to talk to women about their options,” Busby said. “This video really illustrates and drive home the point that this isn’t just about sitting outside a clinic and praying the rosary. This is about tracking, and stalking, and doing whatever you can to turn people away from a clinic — to intimidate them, to be a constant presence, and to keep women from accessing safe and legal abortion care.”
Progress Texas executive director Ed Espinoza added that the speakers in the video adamantly supported the GOP lawmakers who spearheaded HB 2 last year, and now there’s a “legitimate question” about whether those politicians agree with the extreme tactics being described.
The anti-abortion harassment in the state has only intensified as abortion clinics have been forced out of business, leaving fewer targets for anti-choice activists to go after. Another provision of the new state law, currently the subject of an ongoing court challenge, will impose even more restrictions on clinics if it’s allowed to take effect this fall. Experts in the state predict that the number of clinics will dwindle to just six unless that portion of HB 2 is successfully blocked. With just six clinics, Busby said she “can’t even imagine” how much the anti-abortion harassment in the state will increase.
This issue isn’t specific to Texas. Across the country, patients and staff at abortion clinics face significant harassment and intimidation that sometimes turns violent. Clinics are plagued by bombings, arson, vandalism, burglaries, shootings — and according to the National Abortion Federation, which tracks crimes against abortion providers, there have been 17 attempted murders of doctors since 1991. Imposing fixed buffer zones around abortion clinics is one proactive policy that’s helped keep persistent anti-choice protesters at bay; however, the Supreme Court recently ruled it goes too far to restrict protesters’ free speech rights.
Republican Greg Abbott has taken the war on women a little too far. Sure, he’s against paycheck fairness and equal pay, and he chose a corporation over a rape victim. But to spy on an elderly woman through her bathroom window seems a bit far fetched, even for a Texas Republican.
But the ends justify the ever increasing desperate means it seems. Republicans figuratively donned their James O’Keefe investigative pimp kits and headed out to frighten elderly minority women in a desperate and misguided attempt to prove that non-existent voter fraud was a thing. Why not spy on naked citizens using their bathrooms in the name of small government?
Yes. In 2006, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, charged with upholding the law, deployed his office in an “investigation” to prove voter fraud that was dubbed a “wild goose chase.” It was during this “investigation” that an elderly woman said in a sworn statement that two investigators from Greg Abbott’s office were peeking in her bathroom window.
The Houston Chronicle reported at the time:
Gloria Meeks of Fort Worth, also 69, said she stepped out of her morning bath last month and screamed.
Two voter fraud investigators from Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office were peeking in her bathroom window, Meeks said in a sworn statement.
Ms. Meeks said she was being investigated for helping the elderly and disabled vote, according to the New York Times.
Via a Lonestar Report on her sworn statement, we learn that she was naked and the agents justified this because they thought it was a kitchen window:
According to the sworn statement of Ms. Gloria Meeks, a 69 year- old Fort Worth community activist, two of Abbott’s voter fraud agents came on to her property and looked into her bathroom window while she was unclothed and leaving the shower. Incredibly, the agents justified their privacy violation by explaining, that they thought they were peeping in the “kitchen window.”
Oh. So that’s what Texas would be like if Abbott wins. Good times.
Lest you get caught up in the whole spying on an elderly woman through her bathroom window, the effort was much more widespread than that. The Lonestar Project revealed in 2008 that the results of Abbott’s very expensive “investigation” proved that voter fraud was practically non-existent. But also, “Texas Democratic Party officials and legal counsel became aware and concerned about the Texas Attorney Genera’s vote suppression efforts following the release of reports from the Lone Star Project. The reports raise questions about the legality of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s use of federal grant funds to investigate and prosecute citizens who have participated in mail ballot programs that benefit seniors and the disabled.”
Mail in your ballot? The Abbot team might be peeking in your bathroom windows! You know, just to be sure. Not to worry, though, if you are a Republican. Republican voters were not under “investigation” in this effort to get rid of a non-existent problem. But it’s totally legitimate to prosecute just your opposition, right? Like a witch hunt, but without the public aspect. This is what we want from our Attorney Generals – to take us back to before the American justice system.
The Lonestar Project busted the AG again:
The Lone Star Project issued numerous open records requests to the AG and found that virtually all the prosecutions were of minority senior citizens who were doing nothing more than helping their neighbors vote. Additional research showed that ALL those prosecuted were Democrats. This research was confirmed by a Dallas Morning News investigative report this month detailing that:
“26 cases – all against Democrats, and almost all involving blacks or Hispanics… In 18 of the 26 cases, the voters were eligible, votes were properly cast and no vote was changed – but the people who collected the ballots for mailing were prosecuted.” (Dallas Morning News, May 18, 2008)
Intimidating minorities to rig the vote? No problem! Greg Abbott has been trying anything he can think of to keep minorities from voting, which is the opposite of upholding the law.
In fact, his office is back in court this week defending Republican-championed redistricting maps (congressional and legislative) from charges that they intentionally discriminate against African Americans and Hispanics. It’s not like he did an investigation that only went after mostly minority Democrats and spied on an elderly minority woman in her bathroom. What can go wrong?
Abbott has only spent $3.9 million of Texas taxpayers’ money on the defense, though, so it’s not like he’s going full pimp O’Keefe yet. But the meter is still running at full speed. Anything to give the Republicans an edge.