Roundup: Out With the Old, and In With the… Old

Robin Marty

Here comes the new year, same as the old year. It may be 2010 on the calendar, but it looks like a lot of legislators are still replaying 2009 in their sessions. Also, probably the only time you'll hear me say, "Go, Wisconsin!"

Happy 2010, one and all!

If you are like me, you have probably been pining for the symbolism of 2010 for a while: the new decade, the fresh start, the chance to once again look at the world with optimism and a new pair of eyes.

Well, hope you enjoyed your two days of "new," because I looked around the country for today’s round up, and a lot of it is the same old story.

Oklahoma legislators are planning to bring back the same anti-abortion legislation that they tried and failed to pass last year, proving that if at first you don’t succeed, you’re probably a politician:

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Two controversial abortion laws now in court might be revisited this
legislative session if supporters decide they can successfully
circumvent any legal rulings. One measure that would have required
women to undergo an ultrasound within an hour of obtaining an abortion
and hear a description of the findings was tossed out by an Oklahoma
County judge who ruled that it violated the state’s constitutional
one-subject requirement. The attorney general’s office is appealing
that decision.

In another case, an Oklahoma County judge has extended a
temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of a measure that
would require physicians to obtain extensive personal information from
abortion recipients and make it available for inclusion on a state Web
site. Opponents argue the measure, which has other provisions, is
intrusive and unnecessary and could make women who receive abortions
identifiable.

Plaintiffs challenging that bill contend it also violates the one-subject rule. The case is set to be heard beginning Feb. 19.

Look for Oklahoma lawmakers to continue to make national news on this front, whether we want them to or not.

Kansas is also poised to do a 2009 redux, with legislators adamant about passing laws to crack down on late term abortions in the state, despite the fact that after the death of Dr. Tiller, there is no longer anyone in the state that can even perform them.

Tiller’s clinic has been closed since he was shot to death in May
and no doctor or clinic elsewhere in Kansas is doing the same work.

But legislators who oppose abortion still expect to pass a bill
requiring doctors who perform late-term procedures to report more
information to the state and making it possible for them to face
lawsuits if patients or others come to believe their abortions violated
state law. Abortion opponents contend such issues are still compelling,
even if no doctor or clinic is performing abortions as late as Tiller
did.

Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of the Planned
Parenthood chapter, said he’s not surprised at abortion opponents’
plans. He sees the annual legislative disputes mainly as an effort to
help anti-abortion groups raise money.

“There’s nobody in the state of Kansas who’s doing abortions past 22
weeks of pregnancy. It’s a moot issue, from a practical standpoint,” he
said. “For the Legislature to continue to spend significant amounts of
its time on an issue that has no practical impact is waste of taxpayer
money and legislative time.”

 

Some states are bypassing 2009, and heading all the way back to the early 2000’s. In Alaska, where a parental notification law was taken off the books in 2007, an Anchorage Arch Bishop is making a push to get all Catholic registered voters to sign a petition to add a consent law to the ballot during the next election.

In
order for the Parental Notification Initiative to go before voters
in August, organizers need 44,000 signatures of registered Alaskan
voters.

“At
this moment they are 4,500 signatures short with two weeks to go,”
Archbishop Schwietz wrote in a December 31 letter addressed to all
pastors and parish administrators in the archdiocese.

“How
tragic it will be if this initiative fails because of a lack of attention
or indifference,” he added.

In
order for an initiative to be placed on a state election ballot in
Alaska, 32,734 signatures from registered voters are required and
while the minimum number of names has already been gathered, more
signatures are still needed to make-up for those signers who may be
disqualified because they are not registered voters. The deadline
is Jan. 15.

But there are some signs of progress out there.  In Wisconsin, 2010 means the implementing of a new rule requiring that all insurers cover birth control in their plans.

Mandating birth control coverage will dramatically increase its access,
Safar said. She cited a 2001 report by the state Office of the
Insurance Commissioner that showed about one in five of the most
popular insurance plans with prescription drug coverage in Wisconsin
did not cover contraceptives.

Wisconsin is joining 24 other
states that already require birth control to be covered, according to
the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two additional states
require insurance companies to offer contraceptive coverage as an
option to employees, but it can be declined.

Maybe it will be a happy new year after all!

 

Mini Roundup:  In lieu of a mini-roundup, a second dip into Oklahoma. apparently, when it comes to "til death do you part," Oklahoma really means it:

If Rep. Sally Kern,
R-Oklahoma City, gets her way, Oklahomans soon will have a harder time
getting divorced. In House Bill 2279, Kern seeks to tighten up the
incompatibility grounds for divorce. Under her proposal, judges could
not grant a divorce on the basis of incompatibility if there are living
minor children of the marriage, the parties have been married 10 years
or longer, or either party files a written objection to the granting of
the divorce.

Apparently forcing married people who hate either other’s guts
to stay married is better for everyone, including the children, than
letting everyone have the chance to start a new life, in Kern’s view.

I guess you can’t say they don’t take the sanctity of marriage seriously in the state.

 

January 3, 2010

My
Turn: Don’t make
abortion about ability to pay
BurlingtonFreePress.com

What
lawmakers have in store for Oklahomans

Tulsa World

Abortion
foes plan to renew debate
Lawrence Journal World

Latest
Rasmussen Poll Finds Majority Oppose
Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill
LifeNews.com

Abortion
Ethics: When Might Makes Right
Gospel Coalition

Majority
Favors
Abortion Ban
in Health Care Bill
American
Spectator

Kyle
Simplot: A
pro-life
view of capital punishment
La Crosse Tribune

Pro-Life
News: Republicans, Health Care, Abortion, Mother Teresa, Ben Nelson
LifeNews.com

LETTER:
Spend Energy Helping Disadvantaged Children
Flathead Beacon

Family
takes journey of
adoption
Greensboro News & Record

US
parents of Chinese children share joys, challenges after 2008
adoptions
Columbus Dispatch

Cindy
Lange-Kubick: Birthday bash to celebrate
adoption
Lincoln Journal Star

Sc
Hopes New Father Registry Could Speed
Adoptions

WJBF-TV

Mo
Yan’s bold leap forward
Global Times

Tubal
ligation: Not always permanent
Boston Herald

 

January 2, 2010

Dump
the Health Insurance Bill
Bay Area Indymedia

Christmas
in Mexico 2009
Catholic
Exchange

Abortions at
10-year high in Illinois
Chicago Sun-Times

Abortion
foes plan to renew debate in Kansas

The Associated Press

Abortion
Still Threatens Health Care Bill
CBS
News

Abortion and
Health Care: The Rotten Tree
Catholic Online

As
use of morning-after pills rises in India, health workers voice concerns
Washington Post

Increasing
Rates of
Abortion in
Illinois
Feminists for Choice

Whose
Right?
Adoption
Exclusion in America
Conducive
Chronicle

Everyone
is called to consider
adoption
Spartanburg Herald Journal

RP
population to reach 94 million
Philippine Star

New
laws kick in Friday
Watertown
Daily Times

Proposals
for sex ed are stuck in the ’80s
PennLive.com

 

January 1, 2010

Health
care vigil draws Ind. treasurer
Evansville Courier & Press

Shaheen:
End war pregnancy policy
Concord Monitor

Women’s
eNews Announces Its 21 Leaders 2010

Women’s eNews

NARAL
ProChoice
America PAC Endorses Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy
NARAL Pro-Choice America

Commentary:
Contend for the Future by Setting Freedom Free
Catholic.org

Truth
Truck Will Deliver New Year’s Message to Pro-life Traitor Sen. Ben Nelson
Christian News Wire

Anti-abortion
activist can’t use ‘necessity defense’ in slaying
CNN

Tim
Tebow might be focus of Super Bowl anti-
abortion ad
Dscriber

Alaska
Bishop Urges Catholics to Support Petition for Parental Rights on
Abortion
LifeNews.com

Abortion is
about health care, not power and politics
Boston Globe

Marblehead
adoption
agency faces lawsuit
The
Daily Item of Lynn

Planned
Parenthood Does More Than 1.1 Million Abortions Annually Worldwide
LifeNews.com

MMDHD
Family Planning
Clinics scheduled
The
Morning Sun

Don’t
be shy on family planning
Boston Globe

 

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Republican National Convention Edition

Ally Boguhn

The Trump family's RNC claims about crime and the presidential candidate's record on gender equality have kept fact-checkers busy.

Republicans came together in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), generating days of cringe-inducing falsehoods and misleading statements on crime, the nominee’s positions on gender equality, and LGBTQ people.

Trump’s Acceptance Speech Blasted for Making False Claims on Crime

Trump accepted the Republican nomination in a Thursday night speech at the RNC that drew harsh criticism for many of its misleading and outright false talking points.

Numerous fact-checkers took Trump to task, calling out many of his claims for being “wrong,” and “inflated or misleading.”

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 Among the most hotly contested of Trump’s claims was the assertion that crime has exploded across the country.

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement,” Trump claimed, according to his prepared remarks, which were leaked ahead of his address. “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”

Crime rates overall have been steadily declining for years.

“In 2015, there was an uptick in homicides in 36 of the 50 largest cities compared to the previous years. The rate did, indeed, increase nearly 17 percent, and it was the worst annual change since 1990. The homicide rate was up 54.3 percent in Washington, and 58.5 percent in Baltimore,” explained Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. “But in the first months of 2016, homicide trends were about evenly split in the major cities. Out of 63 agencies reporting to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, 32 cities saw a decrease in homicides in first quarter 2016 and 31 saw an increase.”

Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement posted to the organization’s website that 2016 statistics aren’t sufficient in declaring crime rate trends. 

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” Grawert said. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, and that can’t be ignored, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.” 

When Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, was confronted with the common Republican falsehoods on crime during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed that the FBI’s statistics were not to be trusted given that the organization recently advised against charges in connection with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

“According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades,” Tapper told Manafort. “How can Republicans make the argument that it’s somehow more dangerous today when the facts don’t back that up?”

“People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” said Manafort, going on to claim that “the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton.”

There was at least one notable figure who wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s fearmongering: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “Great Trump Speech,” tweeted Duke on Thursday evening. “Couldn’t have said it better!”

Ben Carson Claims Transgender People Are Proof of “How Absurd We Have Become”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson criticized the existence of transgender people while speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast on Tuesday in Cleveland.  

“You know, we look at this whole transgender thing, I’ve got to tell you: For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is. And now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa?”

“Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan. Look, I know I don’t look that way. My ancestors came from Sweden, or something, I don’t know. But I really am. And if you say I’m not, you’re a racist,’” Carson said. “This is how absurd we have become.”

When confronted with his comments during an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Carson doubled down on his claims.“There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female,” said Carson. “And just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just, a leopard can’t change its spots.”

“It’s not as if they woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to be a male or I’m going to be a female,’” Couric countered, pointing out that transgender people do not suddenly choose to change their gender identities on a whim.

Carson made several similar comments last year while on the campaign trail.

In December, Carson criticized the suggested that allowing transgender people into the military amounted to using the armed services “as a laboratory for social experimentation.”

Carson once suggested that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligned with their gender identity amounted to granting them “extra rights.”

Ivanka Trump Claims Her Father Supports Equal Pay, Access to Child Care

Ivanka Trump, the nominee’s daughter, made a pitch during her speech Thursday night at the RNC for why women voters should support her father.

“There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites. And long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” Ivanka Trump said. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.” 

“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she continued before pivoting to address the gender wage gap. 

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

However, Trump’s stated positions on the gender wage gap, pregnancy and mothers in the workplace, and child care don’t quite add up to the picture the Trumps tried to paint at the RNC.

In 2004, Trump called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers. When a lawyer asked for a break during a deposition in 2011 to pump breast milk, Trump reportedly called her “disgusting.”

According to a June analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, the Trump campaign found that men who worked on Trump’s campaign “made nearly $6,100, or about 35 percent more [than women during the April payroll]. The disparity is slightly greater than the gender pay gap nationally.”

A former organizer for Trump also filed a discrimination complaint in January, alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts.

When Trump was questioned about equal pay during a campaign stop last October, he did not outline his support for policies to address the issue. Instead, Trump suggested that, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Though he had previously stated that men and women who do the same job should be paid the same during an August 2015 interview on MSNBC, he also cautioned that determining whether people were doing the same jobs was “tricky.”

Trump has been all but completely silent on child care so far on the campaign trail. In contrast, Clinton released an agenda in May to address the soaring costs of child care in the United States.

Ivanka’s claims were not the only attempt that night by Trump’s inner circle to explain why women voters should turn to the Republican ticket. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Manafort said that women would vote for the Republican nominee because they “can’t afford their lives anymore.”

“Many women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” claimed Manafort. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message. And as they hear the message, that’s how we are going to appeal to them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Vox’s Dara Lind explained how “Trump’s RNC speech turned his white supporters’ fear into a weapon.”

Now that Mike Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Republicans have faced “an intense, chaotic, awkward week of brazen lobbying at the breakfast buffet, in the hallways and on the elevators” at the convention as they grapple with who will run to replace the state’s governor, according to the New York Times.

“This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival,” wrote Rebecca Traister on Trump and the RNC for New York Magazine. “They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white, patriarchal power.”

Though Trump spent much of the primary season denouncing big money in politics, while at the RNC, he courted billionaires in hopes of having them donate to supporting super PACs.

Michael Kranish reported for the Washington Post that of the 2,472 delegates at the RNC, it is estimated that only 18 were Black.

Cosmopolitan highlighted nine of the most sexist things that could be found at the convention.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked, “Where are these contributions that have been made” by people of color to civilization?

Analysis Politics

The 2016 Republican Platform Is Riddled With Conservative Abortion Myths

Ally Boguhn

Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the Republican platform, which relies on a series of falsehoods about reproductive health care.

Republicans voted to ratify their 2016 platform this week, codifying what many deem one of the most extreme platforms ever accepted by the party.

“Platforms are traditionally written by and for the party faithful and largely ignored by everyone else,” wrote the New York Times‘ editorial board Monday. “But this year, the Republicans are putting out an agenda that demands notice.”

“It is as though, rather than trying to reconcile Mr. Trump’s heretical views with conservative orthodoxy, the writers of the platform simply opted to go with the most extreme version of every position,” it continued. “Tailored to Mr. Trump’s impulsive bluster, this document lays bare just how much the G.O.P. is driven by a regressive, extremist inner core.”

Tucked away in the 66-page document accepted by Republicans as their official guide to “the Party’s principles and policies” are countless resolutions that seem to back up the Times‘ assertion that the platform is “the most extreme” ever put forth by the party, including: rolling back marriage equalitydeclaring pornography a “public health crisis”; and codifying the Hyde Amendment to permanently block federal funding for abortion.

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Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the platform, which the Susan B. Anthony List deemed the “Most Pro-life Platform Ever” in a press release upon the GOP’s Monday vote at the convention. “The Republican platform has always been strong when it comes to protecting unborn children, their mothers, and the conscience rights of pro-life Americans,” said the organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, in a statement. “The platform ratified today takes that stand from good to great.”  

Operation Rescue, an organization known for its radical tactics and links to violence, similarly declared the platform a “victory,” noting its inclusion of so-called personhood language, which could ban abortion and many forms of contraception. “We are celebrating today on the streets of Cleveland. We got everything we have asked for in the party platform,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, in a statement posted to the group’s website.

But what stands out most in the Republicans’ document is the series of falsehoods and myths relied upon to push their conservative agenda. Here are just a few of the most egregious pieces of misinformation about abortion to be found within the pages of the 2016 platform:

Myth #1: Planned Parenthood Profits From Fetal Tissue Donations

Featured in multiple sections of the Republican platform is the tired and repeatedly debunked claim that Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue donations. In the subsection on “protecting human life,” the platform says:

We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.

Later in the document, under a section titled “Preserving Medicare and Medicaid,” the platform again asserts that abortion providers are selling “the body parts of aborted children”—presumably again referring to the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood:

We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.

The platform appears to reference the widely discredited videos produced by anti-choice organization Center for Medical Progress (CMP) as part of its smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. The videos were deceptively edited, as Rewire has extensively reported. CMP’s leader David Daleiden is currently under federal indictment for tampering with government documents in connection with obtaining the footage. Republicans have nonetheless steadfastly clung to the group’s claims in an effort to block access to reproductive health care.

Since CMP began releasing its videos last year, 13 state and three congressional inquiries into allegations based on the videos have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund—which has endorsed Hillary Clinton—called the Republicans’ inclusion of CMP’s allegation in their platform “despicable” in a statement to the Huffington Post. “This isn’t just an attack on Planned Parenthood health centers,” said Laguens. “It’s an attack on the millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood each year for basic health care. It’s an attack on the brave doctors and nurses who have been facing down violent rhetoric and threats just to provide people with cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.”

Myth #2: The Supreme Court Struck Down “Commonsense” Laws About “Basic Health and Safety” in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

In the section focusing on the party’s opposition to abortion, the GOP’s platform also reaffirms their commitment to targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws. According to the platform:

We salute the many states that now protect women and girls through laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation. We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

The idea that TRAP laws, such as those struck down by the recent Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health, are solely for protecting women and keeping them safe is just as common among conservatives as it is false. However, as Rewire explained when Paul Ryan agreed with a nearly identical claim last week about Texas’ clinic regulations, “the provisions of the law in question were not about keeping anybody safe”:

As Justice Stephen Breyer noted in the opinion declaring them unconstitutional, “When directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.”

All the provisions actually did, according to Breyer on behalf of the Court majority, was put “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion,” and “constitute an undue burden on abortion access.”

Myth #3: 20-Week Abortion Bans Are Justified By “Current Medical Research” Suggesting That Is When a Fetus Can Feel Pain

The platform went on to point to Republicans’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a piece of anti-choice legislation already passed in several states that, if approved in Congress, would create a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks based on junk science claiming fetuses can feel pain at that point in pregnancy:

Over a dozen states have passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which current medical research shows that unborn babies can feel excruciating pain during abortions, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version.

Major medical groups and experts, however, agree that a fetus has not developed to the point where it can feel pain until the third trimester. According to a 2013 letter from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “A rigorous 2005 scientific review of evidence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” which begins around the 28th week of pregnancy. A 2010 review of the scientific evidence on the issue conducted by the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists similarly found “that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior” to 24 weeks’ gestation.

Doctors who testify otherwise often have a history of anti-choice activism. For example, a letter read aloud during a debate over West Virginia’s ultimately failed 20-week abortion ban was drafted by Dr. Byron Calhoun, who was caught lying about the number of abortion-related complications he saw in Charleston.

Myth #4: Abortion “Endangers the Health and Well-being of Women”

In an apparent effort to criticize the Affordable Care Act for promoting “the notion of abortion as healthcare,” the platform baselessly claimed that abortion “endangers the health and well-being” of those who receive care:

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

Scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that abortion is safe. Research shows that a first-trimester abortion carries less than 0.05 percent risk of major complications, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and “pose[s] virtually no long-term risk of problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.”

There is similarly no evidence to back up the GOP’s claim that abortion endangers the well-being of women. A 2008 study from the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, an expansive analysis on current research regarding the issue, found that while those who have an abortion may experience a variety of feelings, “no evidence sufficient to support the claim that an observed association between abortion history and mental health was caused by the abortion per se, as opposed to other factors.”

As is the case for many of the anti-abortion myths perpetuated within the platform, many of the so-called experts who claim there is a link between abortion and mental illness are discredited anti-choice activists.

Myth #5: Mifepristone, a Drug Used for Medical Abortions, Is “Dangerous”

Both anti-choice activists and conservative Republicans have been vocal opponents of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA’s) March update to the regulations for mifepristone, a drug also known as Mifeprex and RU-486 that is used in medication abortions. However, in this year’s platform, the GOP goes a step further to claim that both the drug and its general approval by the FDA are “dangerous”:

We believe the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex, a dangerous abortifacient formerly known as RU-486, threatens women’s health, as does the agency’s endorsement of over-the-counter sales of powerful contraceptives without a physician’s recommendation. We support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law.

Studies, however, have overwhelmingly found mifepristone to be safe. In fact, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals says mifepristone “is safer than acetaminophen,” aspirin, and Viagra. When the FDA conducted a 2011 post-market study of those who have used the drug since it was approved by the agency, they found that more than 1.5 million women in the U.S. had used it to end a pregnancy, only 2,200 of whom had experienced an “adverse event” after.

The platform also appears to reference the FDA’s approval of making emergency contraception such as Plan B available over the counter, claiming that it too is a threat to women’s health. However, studies show that emergency contraception is safe and effective at preventing pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, side effects are “uncommon and generally mild.”