Abortion

Hate Speech Brings Down a Bull Moose

Alexander Sanger

Alexander Sanger, Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council and grandson of Margaret Sanger, founder of the birth control movement more than eighty years ago, discusses the murder of Dr. George Tiller and criticizes Right Wing talk shows, such as the O’Reilly Factor, for providing a justification for Tiller’s murder.  He writes that: those defending or excusing the murder of Dr. Tiller adduce a perverse variation on the civil obedience argument of Gandhi and King and Thoreau---murder for a higher principle. They press that principle further to say that it was necessary to kill the doctor in order to save lives---the lives of unborn children he might have aborted.  This is to adapt the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Greater Good justification (we dropped the bombs to end the war to save American and Japanese lives, as many as a million and more) to the abortion issue...

During
the election campaign of 1912, a mentally-unbalanced man fired a shot at
Theodore Roosevelt, the candidate of the Bull Moose Party, at a rally in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The bullet was slowed by TR’s lengthy speech, which he
had double folded in his pocket, and by his eyeglasses case, nevertheless the
bullet entered his body and he was bleeding profusely. Roosevelt declined to
seek immediate medical attention and mounted the podium, announcing that he had
been shot but that “it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

A minute later, Roosevelt delivered the following lines about his would-be assassin.

Now, friends, of course, I do not know, as I say, anything about him; but it
is a very natural thing that weak and vicious minds should be inflamed to acts
of violence by the kind of awful mendacity and abuse that have been heaped upon
me for the last three months by the papers in the interest of not only Mr. Debs
but of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Taft.

Friends, I will disown and repudiate any man of my party who attacks with such
foul slander and abuse any opponent of any other party; and now I wish to say
seriously to all the daily newspapers, to the Republicans, the Democrat, and
Socialist parties, that they cannot, month in month out and year in and year
out, make the kind of untruthful, of bitter assault that they have made and not
expect that brutal, violent natures, or brutal and violent characters,
especially when the brutality is accompanied by a not very strong mind; they
cannot expect that such natures will be unaffected by it.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

These words bring to mind the mendacity, abuse and foul slander that were
heaped upon Dr. George Tiller by the Right Wing talk show machine, most
prominently by Bill O’Reilly, but by others as well. O’Reilly called Dr. Tiller
a “baby killer,” who has “blood on his hands” and who is guilty of what
O’Reilly called “Nazi stuff.” Others in the Right Wing routinely call abortion
a “Holocaust.”

Bill O’Reilly and his cohorts of hate cannot expect that “not very strong minds
… will be unaffected” by their inflammatory language.

Truly delusional or deranged persons need little of this sort of “foul slander”
to pick up a gun in order to prevent what they are told is a Holocaust. Those
with weaker minds and constitutions, need more instigation, which is what the
daily litany of hate, intolerance and mendacity that Right Wing talk shows
provide. They also provide a justification for murder – that murdering a doctor
is justifiable homicide, preventing a greater evil, saving innocent lives. In
this case, homicide isn’t just justifiable, it is as necessary and imperative as
bombing Auschwitz.

Delusional people often commit assassinations—Hinckley shooting Reagan to
impress Jody Foster, for example. But an ordinary human mind, even a not very
strong one, needs to be inflamed to commit the deed.  Murder is a powerful
taboo, but it can be overridden by the sort of bile that TR decried in 1912.

The Right Wing talk show juggernaut is an operation that would make Joseph
Goebbels or the KKK proud – first dehumanizing the enemy, as the Nazis did the
Jews and as the KKK did the black man, then dramatizing their threat to the
home and hearth, and finally inciting the weak, in carefully coded and deniable
language, saying that whatever happens to the enemy he brought on himself.


Those defending or excusing the murder of Dr. Tiller adduce a perverse
variation on the civil obedience argument of Gandhi and King and
Thoreau—murder for a higher principle. They press that principle further to
say that it was necessary to kill the doctor in order to save lives—the lives
of unborn children he might have aborted.  This is to adapt the
Hiroshima/Nagasaki Greater Good justification (we dropped the bombs to end the
war to save American and Japanese lives, as many as a million and more) to the
abortion issue.


General George S. Patton used to give incredibly bloodthirsty speeches to his
men in order to inflame them to kill in battle, believing that it was necessary
to get men’s passions up in order to induce them to commit murder.  So the
atrocities they committed in war seemed to them condign revenge and (as with
the murder of an abortion doctor) a morally justified preventative
measure.  In his famous ”Blood and Guts” speech to his Third Army on the
eve of D-Day, Patton said the following:


We’re not going to just shoot the […], we’re going to rip out their living […]
and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those
lousy Hun […] by the bushel-[…]-basket. War is a bloody, killing business.
You’ve got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the
belly. Shoot them in the guts.”


Scott Roeder, the accused murder of Dr. Tiller, upon hearing that Dr. Tiller’s
clinic would not reopen, said the closure would mean “no more slicing and
dicing of the unborn child in the mother’s womb and no more needles of poison
into the baby’s heart to stop the heart from beating….” I wonder which
Right Wing Patton he heard that from.  

Alexander Sanger is Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council
and the grandson of Margaret Sanger, founder of the birth control movement more
than eighty years ago.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Trump Selects Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to Join His Ticket

Ally Boguhn

And in other news, Donald Trump suggested that he can relate to Black people who are discriminated against because the system has been rigged against him, too. But he stopped short of saying he understood the experiences of Black Americans.

Donald Trump announced this week that he had selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to join him as his vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, and earlier in the week, the presumptive presidential nominee suggested to Fox News that he could relate to Black Americans because the “system is rigged” against him too.

Pence Selected to Join the GOP Ticket 

After weeks of speculation over who the presumptive nominee would chose as his vice presidential candidate, Trump announced Friday that he had chosen Pence.

“I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate,” Trump tweeted Friday morning, adding that he will make the official announcement on Saturday during a news conference.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

The presumptive Republican nominee was originally slated to host the news conference Friday, but postponed in response to Thursday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France. As late as Thursday evening, Trump told Fox News that he had not made a final decision on who would join his ticket—even as news reports came in that he had already selected Pence for the position.

As Rewire Editor in Chief Jodi Jacobson explained in a Thursday commentary, Pence “has problems with the truth, isn’t inclined to rely on facts, has little to no concern for the health and welfare of the poorest, doesn’t understand health care, and bases his decisions on discriminatory beliefs.” Jacobson further explained: 

He has, for example, eagerly signed laws aimed at criminalizing abortion, forcing women to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds, banning coverage for abortion care in private insurance plans, and forcing doctors performing abortions to seek admitting privileges at hospitals (a requirement the Supreme Court recently struck down as medically unnecessary in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case). He signed a ‘religious freedom’ law that would have legalized discrimination against LGBTQ persons and only ‘amended’ it after a national outcry. Because Pence has guided public health policy based on his ‘conservative values,’ rather than on evidence and best practices in public health, he presided over one of the fastest growing outbreaks of HIV infection in rural areas in the United States.

Trump Suggests He Can Relate to Black Americans Because “Even Against Me the System Is Rigged”

Trump suggested to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he could relate to the discrimination Black Americans face since “the system [was] rigged” against him when he began his run for president.

When asked during a Tuesday appearance on The O’Reilly Factor what he would say to those “who believe that the system is biased against them” because they are Black, Trump leaped to highlight what he deemed to be discrimination he had faced. “I have been saying even against me the system is rigged. When I ran … for president, I mean, I could see what was going on with the system, and the system is rigged,” Trump responded.

“What I’m saying [is] they are not necessarily wrong,” Trump went on. “I mean, there are certain people where unfortunately that comes into play,” he said, concluding that he could “relate it, really, very much to myself.”

When O’Reilly asked Trump to specify whether he truly understood the “experience” of Black Americans, Trump said that he couldn’t, necessarily. 

“I would like to say yes, but you really can’t unless you are African American,” said Trump. “I would like to say yes, however.”

Trump has consistently struggled to connect with Black voters during his 2016 presidential run. Despite claiming to have “a great relationship with the blacks,” the presumptive Republican nominee has come under intense scrutiny for using inflammatory rhetoric and initially failing to condemn white supremacists who offered him their support.

According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Tuesday, Trump is polling at 0 percent among Black voters in the key swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

What Else We’re Reading

Newt Gingrich, who was one of Trump’s finalists for the vice presidential spot, reacted to the terrorist attack in Nice, France, by calling for all those in the United States with a “Muslim background” to face a test to determine if they “believe in sharia” and should be deported.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton threw her support behind a public option for health insurance.

Bloomberg Politics’ Greg Stohr reports that election-related cases—including those involving voter-identification requirements and Ohio’s early-voting period—are moving toward the Supreme Court, where they are “risking deadlocks.”

According to a Reuters review of GOP-backed changes to North Carolina’s voting rules, “as many as 29,000 votes might not be counted in this year’s Nov. 8 presidential election if a federal appeals court upholds” a 2013 law that bans voters from casting ballots outside of their assigned precincts.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the election goals and strategies of anti-choice organization Susan B. Anthony List, explaining that the organization plans to work to ensure that policy goals such as a 20-week abortion ban and defunding Planned Parenthood “are the key issues that it will use to rally support for its congressional and White House candidates this fall, following recent setbacks in the courts.”

Multiple “dark money” nonprofits once connected to the Koch brothers’ network were fined by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) this week after hiding funding sources for 2010 political ads. They will now be required to “amend past FEC filings to disclose who provided their funding,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

Politico’s Matthew Nussbaum and Ben Weyl explain how Trump’s budget would end up “making the deficit great again.”

“The 2016 Democratic platform has the strongest language on voting rights in the party’s history,” according to the Nation’s Ari Berman.

News Politics

Another Anti-Choice Radical Seems Ready to Back Donald Trump

Ally Boguhn

Shifting stances on reproductive health and rights have created questions about Trump’s position, though Trump’s charity has given money to anti-choice groups and the candidate has spoken at length about his opposition to funding Planned Parenthood.

Troy Newman, president of radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue, said he would vote for presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in a post on his organization’s website that stopped just short of an endorsement, adding to the chorus of anti-choice leaders lining up to back the candidate.

Newman, who originally endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and served on his anti-choice coalition before the candidate suspended his campaign, wrote that since his “man” was no longer an option, he felt conflicted about who to support in the general election. It was ultimately a “simple choice” to vote for Trump.

“So, yes, I can vote for Trump, but I’m stopping short on an endorsement,” Newman wrote before calling on Trump to “earn” the anti-choice vote through a laundry list of demands.

“Donald Trump needs to name 3 or 4 Supreme Court Justices that he would appoint. He needs to codify his promise to defund Planned Parenthood,” Newman wrote. “He needs to ensure that the pro-life position in the GOP platform is left untouched, or, better yet, made stronger by adding ‘Defund PP’ language!”

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

The activist directed Trump to release his choices for several key positions in his administration, claiming that “we all know that personnel are policy.”

“I’d like to see Trump pre-appoint a cabinet,” Newman wrote. “Who would be his Attorney General to prosecute Planned Parenthood? Who would be the HHS Secretary ensuring that the abortion mandate in ObamaCare is abolished?”

Newman’s record as an extremist has been a point of controversy on the campaign trail. Leaders from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and People for the American Way penned a letter in April calling on Cruz to distance himself from Newman based on the activist’s history of violent rhetoric about reproductive health.

That rhetoric includes writing a book arguing that those who have abortions should be treated as murderers and abortion care providers should be executed. Newman co-founded the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the anti-choice organization whose deceptively edited videos falsely accused Planned Parenthood of profiting from fetal tissue donations and led to the felony indictment of the group’s figurehead.  

A recent report from the National Abortion Federation (NAF) found “a dramatic increase in hate speech and internet harassment, death threats, attempted murder, and murder,” that coincided with the launch of CMP’s smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.

Newman was detained last October by Australian authorities who feared the anti-choice leader’s presence in the country could lead to the “harassment and intimidation” of those seeking reproductive health care.

Trump has faced a wave of criticism from conservatives and anti-choice activists over his assertion that he would change the GOP’s platform on abortion rights to include exceptions for cases of rape and incest. Cruz supporters have reportedly moved to block such changes from being made during the GOP convention in July.

Nevertheless, anti-choice groups and their leaders have backed the presumptive Republican nominee. Officials from both Priests for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List last week signaled support for Trump in statements to the Washington Times, despite both groups having condemned the candidate over his abortion rhetoric.  

The night prior to Newman’s post, Trump vowed during an appearance on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor to nominate anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court should he be elected. “They will be pro-life, and we will see about overturning [Roe v. Wade],” Trump told host Bill O’Reilly when prompted to discuss how he would “protect the sanctity of human life” if he won the White House. “I will appoint judges that will be pro-life.”

Shifting stances on reproductive health and rights have created questions about Trump’s position, though the candidate has spoken at length about his opposition to funding Planned Parenthood.

Trump in March went as far as to suggest that those who have abortions should be punished should the procedure be outlawed. His campaign later issued a statement claiming doctors, not abortion patients, would be punished.