Wishful Thinking? Two Republican Pro-Choice Groups Team Up

Micah Steffes

Via LifeNews, two Republican so-called "pro-abortion" (ahem) groups are teaming up in a fresh effort to defang the GOP's stance on abortion and, as LifeNews put it, to "drag the party to the left."

Via LifeNews, two Republican so-called "pro-abortion" (ahem) groups are teaming up in a fresh effort to defang the GOP’s stance on abortion and as LifeNews put it, to "drag the party to the left."

The two groups are WISH, Women in the Senate and House, and the Republican Majority for Choice. After being marginalized within the party for years and years, the two have combined powers to set their sights set on weakening the Republican party’s newest pro-life platform. 

All I have to say to the is, Good Luck, because the platform is rigid. Here’s a little gem: 

Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children… At it’s core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion.

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WISH and the RMC are interesting anomalies. As the the largest fundraising program for pro-choice Republican women, WISH, according to their website, has fundraised nearly $3,500,000 to endorse candidates such as Olympia Snowe (R-ME). And the RMC, which subscribes to the "big tent" approach to divisive social issues, not only blatantly supports reproductive rights, but also goes so far as to shame their party’s conduct when it comes to the matter, calling out their agenda as "intrusive and alienating," "obstinate," and "irresponsible." 

Interestingly (or maybe unsuprisingly?), LifeNews spoke not with the RMC or WISH, but with Colleen Parro, head of the Republican National Coalition for Life, who said,

Feeling scorned after eighteen years of trying and failing to remove the pro-life language from the Republican national platform, and with the last three Republican presidential administrations [taking a pro-life stance], pro-choice Republican women are trying to make a come-back.

I wonder, and I’m asking this in earnest, if these groups are so frustrated by the lack of inclusivity of the Republican party, why do they still remain loyal? Salon had a feature up awhile back regarding the RMC’s (the RPCC at the time) floor fight in Philly over the issue. Adele Stan quoted one member saying, 

I’m a Republican because I believe in less government in all aspects of my life…and to have the pro-life position determine whether or not you’re a Republican will make us a very small party in the end. 

While they may be a minority as far as the big pro-life players in the GOP go, both groups are bolstered in their position by pointing to evidence that says the majority Republican citizenry is actually on their side, whether they self-identify as pro-choice or not. After telephoning 1,000+ Republicans in a phone survey, the RMC found that 80% of those surveyed found themselves agreeing with the statement "a person must follow her own faith, personal beliefs, and conscience in private matters like abortion."

They’re definitely an interesting bunch if they’re up for the challenge. But I suppose, given all the talk about finding Common Ground, if ever there was a time to launch an effort to weaken the GOP’s unyielding stance on abortion, now’s the time.  

News Politics

Republican’s ‘Personhood’ Embrace Could Cost GOP Control of Colorado Senate

Jason Salzman

State Sen. Laura Woods was a sponsor of a so-called personhood bill that would give legal rights to a fetus, effectively outlawing abortion in Colorado.

A Colorado state senator, whose re-election race in November will likely determine whether Republicans retain control of the chamber, is sponsoring anti-choice legislation that could very well harm her bid in a swing district, state observers say.

State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Westminster) was a sponsor of a so-called personhood bill that would give legal rights to a fetus. The bill aimed to ban abortion in much the same way as three failed “personhood” ballot initiatives in Colorado would have outlawed it.

The legislation, referred to as the “Protect Life at Conception Act,” was nixed by Democrats in the Colorado house last week.

Woods is also among the sponsors of a bill requiring doctors to offer pregnant patients an ultrasound before they can have an abortion and to wait 24 hours before performing an abortion.

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The bill, which is awaiting committee action and is referred to as “A Woman’s Right to Accurate Health Care Info Act,” ensures “women have the opportunity to see or forego [sic] the opportunity to see the ultrasound.”

Woods sponsored similar so-called personhood and ultrasound bills last year, and both went down in committee.

Colorado has a Democratic governor, and the state house is likely to remain under Democratic control, state observers say. Losing Woods’ state senate seat would leave the GOP a minority in that chamber, with Democrats controlling 18 of 34 seats if Woods can’t secure re-election.[

Professor Robert D. Loevy, professor emeritus of political science at Colorado College, told Rewire that Woods’ anti-choice positions could hurt her in the upcoming general election—if she sticks with them.

“Her anti-abortion actions will make her popular among the Republicans who tend to go to caucuses and vote in primaries and who tend to be very conservative and anti-abortion,” Loevy said. “But when you get to the general election, being anti-abortion can be detrimental to you, particularly in a swing district.”

Woods took strong anti-choice positions during her primary run in 2014, and she has not moved away from them.

During her 2014 primary, Woods shared a Facebook post comparing her Republican opponent, Lang Sias, to Kermit Gosnell, a rogue abortion provider serving a life sentence. Woods apologized for sharing the post.

After defeating Sias, Woods moved on to the general election, where she won her seat by about 650 votes—a 1 percent margin—against then-state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D), who is running against Woods again this year.

Woods, during her 2014 general election campaign, didn’t back away from her staunch anti-choice stances, hiring a campaign consultant with ties to Colorado’s failed “personhood” amendments.

Her support of a “personhood” abortion ban on Colorado’s 2014 ballot caused one local libertarian blogger, who normally supports conservative candidates, to write that he would not vote for her.

Asked to comment on whether Woods has backed away from her anti-choice positions during her time in office, Karen Middleton, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, points to a Facebook post shared by Woods with the comment “interesting,” two days after three people were killed at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Woods’ post depicted Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the House of Lords in England in the name of enhancing religious freedom for Catholics in the 1600s. Under a drawing of Fawkes was the quotation, “The mind of a slave asks is it legal? The mind of a free man asks is it right?” The post has since been deleted.

“Senator Woods has held extreme anti-choice views for a long time, but she really put them into words when she blamed Planned Parenthood for the domestic terrorism attack at the clinic in Colorado Springs,” Middleton told Rewire, referring to the Fawkes post. “Between advocating violence against doctors and patients and her sponsorship of both personhood and mandatory transvaginal ultrasound bills, we’re sure voters will hold her accountable in the next election. As will we.”

Denver Post analysis of her voting record revealed Woods to be one of the eight most conservative lawmakers in the Colorado legislature, despite representing a district that’s evenly divided among Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters. The Post described the group of eight as “essentially a Colorado version of the congressional ‘Freedom Caucus,’” a group stacked with legislators hostile to abortion rights.

Woods, who used to comment on conservative talk radio under the name “Laura Waters,” did not return a call from Rewire seeking comment on how she thinks her anti-choice stances will be received in her district in November. She told the Denver Post last year that she thinks she’s “representing all Coloradans well.”

“If you’ve looked at my voting record at all, what you will know is I’m an independent thinker,” Woods told Denver Post reporter John Frank in January. “I bucked my leadership, I bucked the party, I bucked the caucus … if it didn’t line up with my principles or my district.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Carly Fiorina Forces Kids to Attend Anti-Choice Rally

Ally Boguhn

Ahead of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade this week, Marco Rubio vowed to take action to further limit access to abortion domestically and abroad, Ted Cruz used Martin Luther King Jr. Day to push his opposition to reproductive rights, and Carly Fiorina used preschoolers as props in an anti-choice rally.

Ahead of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade this week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) vowed to take action to further limit access to abortion domestically and abroad, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) used Martin Luther King Jr. Day to push his opposition to reproductive rights, and Carly Fiorina used preschoolers as props in an anti-choice rally.

Carly Fiorina Reportedly Borrows Preschoolers on Field Trip For Anti-Choice Rally

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina allegedly hijacked the field trip of a group of preschool children this week, sweeping them into an anti-choice rally.

While speaking at a “Right to Life” forum during a campaign swing Wednesday at Iowa’s Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens, Fiorina reportedly directed a group of preschool children to join her on stage.

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But according to one parent whose child attended the event, Fiorina’s campaign did not have permission for the class to attend. “The kids went there to see the plants,” Chris Beck, the father of one of the children, told the Guardian.

“I would not want my four-year-old going to that forum—he can’t fully comprehend that stuff. He likes dinosaurs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers,” Beck said.

“I guess the kids must have thought [Fiorina] was pretty neat, because then their teachers and parents and the kids all followed Carly into the event,” Sarah Isgur Flores, Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager, said in a statement to Des Moines’ KCCI. She added that the candidate had encountered the kids at the venue.

A campaign spokesperson told the Guardian that the campaign was “happy that these children chose to come to Carly’s event with their adult supervisor.”

During the forum, Fiorina reasserted her support for the medically unsupported Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. She promised to continue to fight to defund Planned Parenthood.

“No one has been a louder speaker of the truth on this issue than Carly Fiorina,” Fiorina said of herself, according to the Quad City Times.

Ted Cruz Seized on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Push Anti-Choice Agenda

Cruz kicked off the week by penning an article in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day suggesting King would have supported an anti-choice agenda, had he lived to see the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

“While we continue to conquer racial bigotry, we cannot neglect the current climb towards justice for all—especially for children,” wrote Cruz in a piece for conservative site the Resurgent.

“Just five years after Reverend King’s death, another grave injustice stained our nation. The Supreme Court ruled that unborn children have no right to life. That decision defied the very essence of freedom – without life, there is no liberty. Without life, there is no pursuit of happiness. Yet, since Roe v. Wade, that right has been snatched away from 56 million unborn children.”

Referencing a quote from Alveda King, anti-choice activist and niece of King, Cruz pointed to the upcoming March for Life, calling on readers to “remember [King’s] call: ‘Now is the time to make justice a reality to all of God’s children.'”

Anti-choice activists and leaders often claim that King would have supported their cause, but in truth, as Imani Gandy writes for Rewire:

We know that he wrote about the importance of publicly funded family planning programs. We know that in 1966, his wife accepted a Margaret Sanger Award on his behalf, bestowed upon him by Planned Parenthood “in recognition of excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and reproductive rights.” We know that he served on a sponsoring committee of a Planned Parenthood study on contraception in 1960 and wrote, “I have always been deeply interested in and sympathetic with the total work of the Planned Parenthood.”

Marco Rubio Vows to “Immediately” Work to Defund Family Planning Organizations

Rubio promised to “immediately” act to cut off abortion funding should he be elected president by re-instituting the Mexico City Policy during his first day in office.

“We must defund Planned Parenthood, and I have voted multiple times to do so. I have voted against budget deals that include funding for an organization that continuously demonstrates callous disregard for defenseless unborn children,” Rubio said during an interview with the anti-choice site Life News.

Rubio went on to assert that he would act to re-implement the Mexico City Policy, or the “global gag rulea Reagan-era law overturned by Obama in 2009 that had blocked international family planning organizations that offer abortion from receiving federal fundingshould he win the race for the White House.

“As president I will work to make sure that taxpayer dollars are never spent on abortions at home or overseas,” Rubio asserted. The law already prohibits federal funding for the vast majority of abortion care.

Rubio this week announced the creation of an anti-choice advisory board to help guide his campaign on ending abortion access. The board consists of anti-choice activists, religious leaders, and legal experts who the presidential candidate claimed will act as “authorities on the dignity of human life.”

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