Conservative Evangelicals + White House = Confusing Abortion Meeting

Amie Newman

The White House is setting up a meeting with evangelicals to discuss "abortion reduction". Right Wing Watch raises an interesting question about this: why?!

The Rewire team is in Boulder pounding out our exciting future but I wanted to point folks towards the meeting taking place at the White House next Tuesday.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) and the Family Research Council are set to meet with Josh DuBois, the head of this administration’s Faith Based Office to discuss abortion reduction. TBN.com’s David Brody writes:

The meeting plans to focus on the need to reduce abortions in the country and on responsible fatherhood programs. Also present at the meeting will be Tom McClusky, Senior Vice-President of the Family Research Council as well as representatives from the Christian Medical Association and Care Net, a pro-life Evangelical pregnancy crisis group.

And though Wendy Wright of CWA has this to say, via an email to The Brody File, about the meeting:

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“The Obama administration says they want to be inclusive and represent all Americans. The White House faith-based office is now tasked with reducing the number of abortions – something that pro-life groups have very good experience in accomplishing. Pregnancy resource centers and regulations on abortion have a terrific track record in helping women choose alternatives to abortion. Funding abortion or abortion providers is one of the worst things that could be done. What the government funds, we get more of. We hope to begin a dialogue that results in policies which actually work, not just financially benefit certain interest groups like abortion providers.”

Kyle at Right Wing Watch parses out just how closed the extreme religious right really is to "common ground" work:

If the Obama administration thinks that it is going to win support for anything that it does on this issue from groups like CWA and FRC, it is sorely mistaken … which is something they will presumably learn once this meeting takes place.

These are not moderate, open-minded groups looking for common ground – they are militant, anti-choice groups committed to, above all, making abortion illegal everywhere and for everyone, with no exceptions.

It is hard to understand what the administration expects to gain by meeting with such groups to discuss efforts to reduce abortion considering that the only option such groups support is to outlaw them entirely.

Well said. If the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives wants to work on taking care of women’s health and lives why not focus on proven pregnancy prevention tools? Why not clear a path for faith based programs to provide access to health information and services to women who cannot afford care otherwise?

Read more at Right Wing Watch

With the Right to Life March in Washington, D.C. as a backdrop, this short documentary provides an overview of legislation filed in Congress to reduce abortion. Interviewed are Rachel Laser, Director of the Cultural Program at The Third Way, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rep. Rosa, DeLauro (D-CT) two sponsors of the bill.

News Law and Policy

Anti-Choice Group: End Clinic ‘Bubble Zones’ for Chicago Abortion Patients

Michelle D. Anderson

Chicago officials in October 2009 passed the "bubble zone" ordinance with nearly two-thirds of the city aldermen in support.

An anti-choice group has announced plans to file a lawsuit and launch a public protest over Chicago’s nearly seven-year-old “bubble zone” ordinance for patients seeking care at local abortion clinics.

The Pro-Life Action League, an anti-choice group based in Chicago, announced on its website that its lawyers at the Thomas More Society would file the lawsuit this week.

City officials in October 2009 passed the ordinance with nearly two-thirds of the city aldermen in support. The law makes it illegal to come within eight feet of someone walking toward an abortion clinic once that person is within 50 feet of the entrance, if the person did not give their consent.

Those found violating the ordinance could be fined up to $500.

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Harassment of people seeking abortion care has been well documented. A 2013 survey from the National Abortion Federation found that 92 percent of providers had a patient entering their facility express personal safety concerns.

The ordinance targets people seeking to pass a leaflet or handbill or engaging in “oral protest, education, or counseling with such other person in the public way.” The regulation bans the use of force, threat of force and physical obstruction to intentionally injure, intimidate or interfere any person entering or leaving any hospital, medical clinic or health-care facility.

The Pro-Life Action League lamented on its website that the law makes it difficult for anti-choice sidewalk counselors “to reach abortion-bound mothers.” The group suggested that lawmakers created the ordinance to create confusion and that police have repeatedly violated counselors’ First Amendment rights.

“Chicago police have been misapplying it from Day One, and it’s caused endless problems for our faithful sidewalk counselors,” the group said.

The League said it would protest and hold a press conference outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic in the city’s Old Town neighborhood.

Julie Lynn, a Planned Parenthood of Illinois spokesperson, told Rewire in an email that the health-care provider is preparing for the protest.

“We plan to have volunteer escorts at the health center to make sure all patients have safe access to the entrance,” Lynn said.

The anti-choice group has suggested that its lawsuit would be successful because of a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled a similar law in Massachusetts unconstitutional.

Pam Sutherland, vice president of public policy and education for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune back then that the health-care provider expected the city’s bubble zone to be challenged following the 2014 decision.

But in an effort to avoid legal challenges, Chicago city officials had based its bubble zone law on a Colorado law that created an eight-foot no-approach zone within 100 feet of all health-care facilities, according to the Tribune. Sidewalk counselor Leila Hill and others challenged that Colorado law, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it in 2000.

Analysis Politics

Timeline: Donald Trump’s Shifting Position on Abortion Rights

Ally Boguhn

Trump’s murky position on abortion has caused an uproar this election season as conservatives grapple with a Republican nominee whose stance on the issue has varied over time. Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul's changing views on abortion.

For much of the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump’s seemingly ever-changing position on reproductive health care and abortion rights has continued to draw scrutiny.

Trump was “totally pro-choice” in 1999, but “pro-life” by 2011. He wanted to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood in August 2015, but claimed “you can’t go around and say that” about such measures two months later. He thinks Planned Parenthood does “very good work” but wants to see it lose all of its funding as long as it offers abortion care. And, perhaps most notoriously, in late March of this year Trump took multiple stances over the course of just a few hours on whether those who have abortions should be punished if it became illegal.

With the hesitancy of anti-choice groups to fully embrace Trump—and with pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List all backing his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—it is likely his stance on abortion will remain a key election issue moving into November.

Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul’s changing views on abortion.

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