Huckabee Robocalls Iowans to Ask About Abortion Views

Lynda Waddington

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee robocalls Iowans to identify politically active opponents of abortion and to request contributions.

It seems
that the medal for first robocall in Iowa following the 2008 general
election goes to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee’s recorded voice is used on the call, which is a phone
survey that, based on the questions asked, seeks to identify
politically active opponents of abortion and to request contributions.

Call recipients are asked if they have ever voted, if they agreed
with President-elect Barack Obama and if they ever contributed to a
political campaign or candidate. The call goes on to discuss the U.S.
Supreme Court ban on so-called partial birth abortion, then brings up
the Freedom of Choice Act,
legislation designed to codify reproductive rights. Huckabee’s voice
goes on to inform callers that if this proposed legislation passes that
there will be no limits on abortion.  Then Huckabee requests a donation.

Iowans who received the phone survey said the funds were to go to the National Right to Life Council.

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The call reportedly appeared on recipients’ caller identification
screens as "Call Center, VA – (703) 263-1658." This same information
has been connected
to calls received by Georgia residents, which have been described as
push-polls against Jim Martin, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in
that state who will face Republican Saxby Chambliss in a Dec. 2 runoff.
In Georgia the calls were paid for by the Americans in Contact PAC, a
group which lists its mission as being identification of social and
fiscal conservatives throughout America and engaging them at the
grassroots level in the political process of elections and legislation
at all levels of government.

This particular PAC also conducted calls during the month of October that attacked Obama’s economy stance. According to a press release on the group’s Web site,
the PAC kicked off a "grassroots campaign in the state of California to
identify hundreds of thousands of supporters of traditional marriage
who will help protect Proposition Eight," the recently passed ballot
initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in California.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Sanders Promises to Fight Anti-Choice ‘Counter-Revolution’

Ally Boguhn

Candidates on the 2016 campaign trail spent the week focusing on reproductive health, with Jeb Bush’s super PAC considering an attack on Sen. Marco Rubio's abortion stance.

Candidates on the 2016 campaign trail spent the week focusing on reproductive health.

Democrats highlighted their support for increased access to reproductive health services, with Bernie Sanders vowing to fight anti-choice extremism and Hillary Clinton releasing a veterans’ services platform ensuring access to reproductive health care.

Meanwhile, on the Republican front, Jeb Bush’s super PAC considered an attack on Sen. Marco Rubio’s opposition to rape exemptions, and Carly Fiorina helped push for a forced parental notification law in California.

Jeb Bush’s PAC May Use Rubio’s Extreme Abortion Stance to Paint Senator as Unelectable

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Jeb Bush’s allies at Right to Rise, a super PAC supporting the candidate, may be preparing to launch an attack on rival Rubio, alleging that the Florida senator’s opposition to abortion exemptions in cases of rape and incest are too extreme to make him electable, the New York Times reported earlier this week.  

In focus groups held in New Hampshire, PAC strategist Mike Murphy reportedly “showed some Republicans a video portraying Mr. Rubio as too extreme on abortion,” after the candidate said he had “never advocated” for abortion laws to include exemptions for cases of rape and incest, a source told the New York Times.

Bush, during a subsequent interview with the Huffington Post, did not follow the lead of his PAC, with which he is legally banned from coordinating due to campaign finance laws. When asked about Rubio’s position that abortion be banned without exceptions, the Huffington Post reported, “Bush replied by focusing on his own position on the issue, noting that he was ‘probably the most pro-life governor in the country,’ but he declined to criticize Rubio’s view.”

Responding to the news that Bush and his allies may be moving to attack his rival’s position on abortion, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement, “We welcome Governor Bush and his team to reality. We’re glad they finally figured out what we’ve been saying for years—the Republican position on abortion as advanced by Rubio and many others is way out of the mainstream and turns off voters.”

She continued, “That being said, it is pretty striking to watch the far-right attack the extreme far-right on this issue. Grab the popcorn folks, it’s about to get interesting.”

Bernie Sanders Pledges to Fight Anti-Choice “Counter-Revolution” and Stand for Paid Family Leave

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders signaled his support for paid family leave and pledged to take a stand against the rash of anti-choice measures being discussed on the state and federal levels.

Making an appeal to the National Federation of Democratic Women in South Carolina on Saturday, Sanders pledged to help fight the anti-choice “counter-revolution going on,” referring to the increasing restrictions on abortion and birth control, reported the Washington Post.

The Democratic presidential candidate also voiced his support for paid family leave policies. “When a mom has a baby, that mom has a right to stay home with that baby,” Sanders said. 

Sanders, noting that such policies were “not a radical idea,” pointed to the prevalence of similar ones in countries around the word. “It doesn’t make you un-American because you’re learning from other countries.”

Sanders has been a vocal proponent of paid family leave, calling the United States’ lack of it an “international embarrassment” during the last Democratic debate.

Sanders co-sponsored Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which would give people “up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery,” according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Fiorina Robocalling California Voters to Push Forced Parental Notification Law in California

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina gave her support to a California ballot measure that would put in place a forced parental notification law, despite a similar law having been struck down by the California Supreme Court nearly 20 years ago.

Fiorina’s voice has been used in robocalls for the anti-choice group Californians for Parental Rights, a “fundraising committee whose founder has spent millions unsuccessfully pushing parental notification ballot measures in almost every California general election for the past decade” for more than a month, Mother Jones reported.

“In California, a 13-year-old girl can have a surgical abortion without either of her parents ever knowing about it,” Fiorina says on the calls before asking recipients to give their signature to put the measure on the ballot for 2016.

If passed, the law would require physicians to give written notification to the parents of unemancipated minors in the state 48 hours in advance of performing an abortion procedure.

Hillary Clinton Releases Veterans’ Services Platform Expanding Reproductive and LGBTQ Care

Hillary Clinton’s newly released platform on veterans’ services included guaranteed access to reproductive health care for women veterans, as well as expanded LGBTQ care.

The Democratic presidential candidate’s proposal, released the day before Veteran’s Day, noted the importance of addressing shortcomings when it comes to caring for women veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), including “requiring the provision of reproductive services across the VHA to ensure women have access to the full spectrum of medical services they need.”

“Women veterans are the fastest growing population served by the [Department of Veterans Affairs], highlighting the importance of proactively addressing the VHA’s ability to meet their needs,” Clinton’s proposal said.

The proposal included plans to improve LGBTQ care and support, hoping to “recognize the honorable service of LGBT veterans by proactively reviewing and upgrading discharge records for veterans who were discharged because of their sexual orientation; and honoring their service by continuing efforts to improve the support and care they receive at the VHA to ensure respectful and responsive health care.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Mike Huckabee Pushes ‘Personhood’ to Outlaw Abortion

Ally Boguhn

Ben Carson proposed transgender people get their own bathrooms, Mike Huckabee advocated for “personhood” laws, and Hillary Clinton met with families who lost children to police violence.

This week on the campaign trail, Ben Carson proposed transgender people get their own bathrooms, Mike Huckabee advocated for “personhood” laws, and Hillary Clinton met with families who lost their children to police violence.

Ben Carson Calls for Trans People to Have Separate Bathrooms to Avoid Making Other People Uncomfortable

Speaking with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos about the failed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) during a Thursday interview, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said that transgender people should have their own restrooms: “How about we have a transgender bathroom?” Carson suggested. “It’s not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable.”

Carson went on to claim that measures like HERO grant LGBTQ people “extra rights” over the rest of the population. “It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the [LGBTQ] movement. I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights—extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else,” Carson said.

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The Humans Rights Campaign (HRC) condemned Carson’s comments in a statement outlining the candidate’s factually incorrect rhetoric about transgender people. “Ben Carson’s hateful comments are out of touch and all candidates should immediately make clear that they disavow his dangerously transphobic views,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. Ben Carson can’t go a week without invoking reckless and irresponsible stereotypes about the LGBT community, and his suggestion that transgender people be required to use segregated bathrooms echoes an ugly past our country should never revisit.”

Mike Huckabee Advocates for Using “Personhood” Laws to Outlaw Abortion

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee invoked radical “personhood” laws as a solution for criminalizing abortion, advocating for using the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution in order to outlaw the procedure.

Personhood measures have been repeatedly rejected by voters across the country, including in Colorado.

Speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday at “Freedom 2015,” hosted by the the National Religious Liberties Conference, an event organized by a notorious anti-LGBTQ pastor and radio host, Huckabee claimed that the United States has “acted like a savage uncivilized country” in allowing abortion under Roe v. Wade.

Redefining a fetus as a person under the law, the GOP presidential candidate said, would allow conservatives to bypass a new constitutional amendment or overturn Roe. Huckabee claimed that anti-choice advocates have been going about their fight “the wrong way.”

“What we have not done is what we should be doing and what I would do, which is to say we would invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment as it relates to this issue. Because here’s the fact: We don’t have to pass a constitutional amendment. We already have two of them,” said Huckabee.

“The Fifth Amendment says that you cannot deprive a person of life or liberty without due process. And the 14th Amendment says that everybody has equal protection under the law. There is but one question to be resolved—is the unborn child a person or just a blob of tissue? If a blob of tissue, then it has no constitutional rights. If the unborn child is in fact a person, no need to pass a new amendment.”

Hillary Clinton Meets With Families of Trayvon Martin,  Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Jordan Davis

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton met this week with families from across the country who lost relatives to gun violence.

At a two-hour meeting in Chicago on Monday, Clinton sat down with the families of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Jordan Davis in the midst of the former secretary of state’s push to address criminal justice and gun reform as part of her presidential campaign.

The mothers of the victims said that “Clinton did not make any explicit promises to them, but did pledge to stay engaged in their causes and work on criminal justice reform,” according to CNN.

Speaking about the meeting with People magazine, Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, said that “[Clinton] seemed genuinely passionate and enthusiastic about meeting us. Secretary Clinton sat at a table with ten mothers, and some of us had stories about the loss of a child to police brutality; others talked about losing a child to senseless gun violence in neighborhoods that have sometimes three or four murders a night.”

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