FDL Action mobilizes phone bank on Stop Stupak Day

Robin Marty

On Wednesday, December 2nd, reproductive rights advocates across the country are rallying to protest the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House health care bill. If you can't attend a rally, you can still get involved: One Voice for Choice, a web site sponsored by FDL Action PAC, an arm of the liberal blog Firedoglake, is sponsoring phone-banking efforts to "pro-choice" Democrats who may be soft on "choice."

On Wednesday, December 2nd, reproductive rights groups and their supporters across the country rally to protest the addition of the Stupak-Pitts amendment to the House health care bill.  Their goal is to ensure that access to abortion for all women, regardless of income, is not sacrificed in the name of health care reform.  But rallies aren’t the only way that citizens can be involved in today’s actions.  One Voice for Choice, a web site sponsored by FDL Action PAC, an arm of the liberal blog Firedoglake, has begun organizing volunteers for phone banking efforts to the pro-choice democratic congressional members most likely to be supporting the amendment.

"Bart Stupak has bragged he has enough votes to kill the final bill if his demands aren’t met" said Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake. "Our goal is to collapse Stupak’s hand and short-circuit this attack on women’s rights. We hope that by reaching out to educate likely voters in their districts to the far-reaching implications of the Stupak language, we can help these wayward Democrats understand that having the Hyde language in the bill is sufficient to their needs."


64 Democrats voted for the passage of the Stupak amendment in early November.

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The HR3 Ten: Meet Joe Donnelly: Not Quite as Big a D*** as Heath Shuler

Sarah Jaffe

If jobs, the deficit, and education are the top priorities for Blue Dogs like Donnelly, why are they supporting a radical anti-choice agenda to deprive pregnant people of access to health care?

Ten Democrats cosponsored H.R.3, even with language redefining rape; four of those ten also apparently don’t care if pregnant women die. Sarah Jaffe takes a closer look at all ten, find all posted to date here.

In the run-up to the 2010 election, Melinda Henneberger at Politics Daily wrote of Joe Donnelly: 

Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Donnelly and his Republican challenger in next month’s election, state Rep.Jackie Walorski, have a fair amount in common: Both are pro-gun, pro-life, and oppose climate change legislation, though it’s Donnelly who has been endorsed by the NRA, and he, too, who emphasizes his stand against illegal immigration. Both candidates are running against Nancy Pelosi and on Hoosier valueswhatever those might be

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Despite running against his own party and its priorities, Joe Donnelly got $770,760.74 in DCCC expenditures in his race. Not bad, eh? Donnelly’s district was a “red to blue” target in 2006, and so the party kept pouring money in to keep him in it.

Molly McClure is from Donnelly’s district, and she notes that while Indiana as a whole is pretty conservative, it did vote for Obama in 2008–the first time a Democrat had taken the state since 1964 and Barry Goldwater’s epic loss. Obama took South Bend/St. Joseph County in ’08, but much of the rest of the district voted McCain. She notes that the district is heavily Catholic–in addition to Notre Dame, other Catholic schools are prominent in the area.

So during the 2010 campaign, Donnelly was running ads slagging his (female) Majority Leader at the time and his (black) president, notably over the issue of immigration. As Greg Sargent noted, he’s from Indiana–not exactly a contentious border state. Yet he couldn’t even bring himself to vote for the DREAM Act to give immigrant kids citizenship if they went to college or joined the military. 

And of course, as soon as the election was over, Donnelly didn’t hesitate to jump in for HR3. What better way to prove he’s still independent, right? Although he isn’t (as of yet) a cosponsor of HR358, that hardly makes him a feminist, eh? 

He did release this statement on the removal of “forcible” from HR3, but notably says nothing about the fact that he was willing to put his name on the bill as is (and, as of now, it still is).

“I welcome yesterday’s news that Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, the author of H.R. 3, is going to strike the word “forcible” from the bill,” said Donnelly. “Doing so will bring the bill’s language in line with the language of the Hyde Amendment, which has been the law of the land for 35 years. The intention of the bill, as originally drafted, was not to change existing law regarding the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion-related services in cases of rape. Rape is a violent and despicable act in every circumstance. It is my firm belief that our laws should always reflect that fact.”

His other priorities in the current Congress are, apparently, celebrating the goodness of our Catholic schools and the “Collectible Firearms Protection Act.” No word on whether he thinks people ought to be protected from collectible firearms, but he apparently thinks you should be able to import a lot of them.

His top earmarks are defense (obviously) as well as local transportation and a million bucks to his alma mater, Notre Dame. They’ve paid him back with $46,702 in campaign cash, as well. 

Donnelly is on the Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. He’s also on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs,  Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs and the Subcommittee on Health. 

Donnelly is just fine with extending the PATRIOT Act and FISA, the Bush-era surveillance programs that have admittedly become slightly more bipartisan since Obama took office. He’s also voted with Republicans on war funding without benchmarks for withdrawal. 

He’s been squishy on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, first voting against repeal “because the Pentagon study group was still working on its assessment of the impact of a possible lifting of the ban.” He did eventually call for repeal and vote for repeal. 

Donnelly appears to have gubernatorial ambitions–and so, apparently does Mike Pence. 

Unlike Critz and Shuler, Donnelly did not oppose health care reform and wasn’t on the original Stupak letter, though he did vote for the Stupak amendment and, Molly McClure notes, refuse to vote for health care until Obama committed to the executive order recodifying the Hyde amendment. He also did vote for the stimulus bill, making his claims of supporting “jobs and education” at least sort of valid. 

But then we have to ask–if jobs, the deficit, and education are the top priorities for Blue Dogs like Donnelly, why are they going along with a radical antichoice agenda that would deprive pregnant people of access to health care? 

You can ask him here or contact: 

1530 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3915
Fax: (202) 225-6798

And of course, ask the DCCC why they poured so much money into a Democrat who was running ads against them? 

430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number: (202) 863-1500 

While you’re at it, you can ask them why they’re only asking for $100,000 for “the DCCC’s Women’s Health Rapid Response Fund.”  Antichoice Dems are worth $3.4 million and women’s health is worth $100,000?

Meet Mike McIntyre next! Meet Heath Shuler and Mark Critz here

Roundup: Michigan Legislates Fetal Remains Based on Anti-Choice Group’s “Discovery”

Robin Marty

An alleged discovery of identifiable fetal remains in Michigan prompts legislation to "respectfully" dispose of materials.

Michigan is considering new rules for how to dispose of products of conception removed during abortion procedures after being contacted by a local anti-abortion group that claimed to have found fetal remains while digging through a dumpster outside a clinic they were protesting. 

Via The State News:

A state representative is calling for abortion reform in Michigan following the alleged discovery of 17 aborted fetuses in a Lansing abortion clinic’s dumpster. A spokesman from the local police department, however, said investigators discovered biomedical waste and patient medical records in the dumpster, but no fetuses were found.

During a press conference held Wednesday at the Capitol to address the issue, state Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, announced a bill that would require clinics to bury or cremate aborted fetuses if the parent requests it. Violators of the bill would face felony charges and a maximum of three years in jail, or a fine of up to $5,000.

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Jones, who represents the district where the fetuses were allegedly found, was contacted by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and Chris Veneklase, a Michigan resident who said he found the fetuses. Veneklase was protesting outside WomansChoice/Health Care Clinic, 6500 Centurion Dr., in Lansing, when he noticed its use of a commercial dumpster. In February, he looked inside one of the garbage bags.

Citizens for a Pro-Life Society helped Veneklase continue to search through the dumpster and allegedly discovered more biomedical waste and medical records. Veneklase and the organization then reported the incident. The WomansChoice/Health Care Clinic declined to comment Wednesday.

According to a news report from News Channel 8, random searches were made over the following months by police, but no signs of actual remains were ever found, only discarded tissue.

“They did random searches over several months, and found medical waste and tissue inside that dumpster, but no fetuses.”

No matter the lack of evidence, anti-choice lawmakers are now using their claims to push for a law that will require all clinics to cremate or bury the products of conception. Some lawmakers have begun to draft one, but none of them seem concerned about offering legislation to deal with violations of medical privacy if in fact personal records were disposed in trash bags, as the anti-choice activists claim.

From WLIX:

        The bags were labeled in detail.

“17 bags that contained the bodies of these aborted children with the mother’s names on the bags thrown into the trash dumpster,” said [Director of the Citizens for a Pro-Life Society Monica] Migliorino Miller.

Dates of the abortion and even medication that was given to the woman was included. The public display of private patient information is an issue that the Attorney General’s office investigated.

Joy Yearout, the deputy communications director for the Attorney General’s office said in a statement on Wednesday: “The Eaton County prosecutor and the Michigan Attorney General’s office found that the few documents uncovered in our investigation are not of the nature that would be criminally charged under the state medial records statute.”

It seems unlikely that the AG’s office would see no violations in such an obvious breach of HIPAA law, an omission that makes the story that there were private medical records in the bags much more suspect.  However, if the legislators are going to actively legislate how to dispose of remains out of “respect” for the fetus, it would be nice if they showed at least some interest in respecting the right to privacy of the woman involved as well. 

Mini Roundup: The anti-choice double standard — judges overruling parents who want their daughters to continue their pregnancies are wrong.  Judges who overrule parents who want their daughters to have abortions are right.

October 28, 2010

October 27, 2010


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