Roundup: So Many States, So Many Laws

Robin Marty

A looming boycott on Oklahoma (watch out, Rogers and Hammerstein!) and a doctor with a sense of humor top off today's roundup.

For political junkies like me, there’s nothing better than the beginning of legislative season.  Lawmakers enter their capitols ready to lead their states in a new and better direction, without the jaded cynicism that seems to seep in by the end of session as looming deadlines approach.

Of course, it is also a time for anti-choice legislators to see how far much damage they can do in a session.  Here’s a quick look around the country at how these legislative bodies are trying to control our, well, bodies.

Ultrasound bills have been all the rage recently, and West Virgina doesn’t want to be left out.   They are attempting to add mandatory ultrasounds to their current 24 hour Women’s Right to Know Act, because apparently women don’t understand they are actually pregnant unless they see a picture. 

West Virginians for Life President Karen Cross said the measure would
give women complete information. Many women change their minds about
abortion when they see an ultrasound image, she said.

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"It’s very abstract when she finds out she’s pregnant," she said. "When
she can see a living human being . . . , then [she is] more likely to
choose life."

You can’t help but wonder if maybe Cross herself needs to look at a few more ultrasounds, too.

In most cases, Cross said, the mental image of an unborn child is
fuzzy, since she is told it is nothing more than mass of tissue.

is dispelled when the woman sees an ultrasound depicting “a living,
human baby with fingers and toes, and arms and legs,” Cross said.

“We know that at eight weeks, they have fingerprints, little fingers and toes and even begin to develop fingernails,” she said.

“When she sees that, she’s more likely to choose life. She should know that before the abortion and not find out later.”

I still have the picture of my ultrasound from my daughter at 10 weeks. I can tell you that there is nothing on that picture that shows fingers or toes, much less little developing fingernails.  But I suppose that doesn’t mesh well with the romantic notions of ittybitty perfectly formed mini-preborns that the Right to Life have in mind.

Meanwhile, in Kansas, as Rachel pointed out yesterday, the state legislature debated having abortion removed from ALL insurance plans, both public and private.  The amendment was quickly chocked full of so many poison pill clauses like "smoker riders" and "viagra riders" that it was sent back into committee where it will likely suffer a lingering death.

Apparently it was as hard to watch inside Kansas as it was for those of us tracking the bills from outside the state.  As The Pitch Put it:

all of this was finally over, this once innocuous measure was sent back
to committee so loaded with bullshit it’s likely nothing will ever get

Credit to the Star‘s Topeka correspondent, David
, for not stabbing anyone in the throat with his pen
while covering this.

In Utah, "stricter rules" were proposed for "abortions not performed by a doctor through medical procedure."

Abortions not performed by a doctor
through a medical procedure would be illegal under a measure that
passed the Utah Legislature Thursday.

The Senate voted 24-4 to pass House Bill 12, advancing it to the Gov. Gary Herbert’s office.

The bill sponsored by Herriman Republican Rep. Carl Wimmer was
prompted by a case in Uintah County in which prosecutors alleged a
pregnant 17-year-old girl paid a man $150 to beat her in an effort to
induce a miscarriage.

Those who voted against the bill feared that women who suffer a
natural miscarriage or one caused by domestic violence could find
themselves open to prosecution

Of course, in this case, it would be more helpful to consider addressing anti-abortion laws that would cause a 17 year old to be so desperate to have an abortion that she would pay someone to beat her just to not be forced to have a baby.  When being severely beaten looks like a better option than having a baby, it’s time to discuss why she is unable to access an abortion safely rather than just write a law forbidding beating her.

Finally, there is Oklahoma, who today will have its next hearing regarding its ridiculously intrusive Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act, a 30+ question document a woman must answer in order to receive an abortion in the state. The questionaire, which many claim is an additional attempt to intimidate women out of having an abortion, could also potentially identify, or, as some point out, misidentify a woman seeking to have an abortion.  Should the blocked law pass today, the repercussions could be huge.  And no, I’m not just talking about the blow to women’s right to control her own body.  

It’s a possible worldwide boycott of the musical "Oklahoma."

Consider yourself warned.

Mini Roundup: While one doctor fights to keep his license after an undercover sting that actually proved his innocence, another doctor welcomes the 40 days protesters, joking they might help advertise the clinic’s services.


February 19, 2010

leader predicts passage of ultrasound bill
Beckley Register-Herald

Senate backs measures on
adoption records access

changes not on Canada’s G8 plans

Concerns Deserve a Prominent Place at Health Care Summit
Politics Daily

Want Planned Parenthood Defunded

refuses to pull doctor’s license
Los Angeles Times

It’s Complicated

role in a united Ireland
The Guardian

Abortion is
death plan
Bay Press Gazette


February 18, 2010

New Frontier in
Pro-Life Stem-Cell Research

Coalition Questions 2nd CCHD Official’s Ties with Pro-Abort Group

Affirmed Safe in HIV

Parliament: Women Must Have Access to Abortion and

won’t change plans on improving child, women’s health despite Liberal pleas
The Canadian Press

Catholic college: Contact Planned Parenthood for emergency
Catholic Culture

‘will allow schools to teach that homosexuality is wrong’
The Guardian

intrusive abortion law heads to court

such thing as ‘safe sex’

missionaries: Lessons from Haiti
adoption or ‘child kidnapping’ case
Christian Science Monitor

lawmakers debate abortion costs, contest pissing abilities
Pitch Weekly

Birth Control
Drug Cause Death?

Should Drop
Birth Control Out
of Airplanes"
Portland Mercury

family planning is
bad idea

Cabral clash on condoms

US Bishops and Torture
American Spectator

House May Unveil Pro-
Abortion Health Care Proposal Before Summit

Legislature passes stricter
abortion rules

Government Refuses Liberal Leader’s Demand to Promote

Zealand Herald

on illegal
heads to governor
Lake Tribune

Manchin supports ultrasound-viewing bill
Charleston Gazette

Doctor Welcomes Protesters
KHBS-KHOG Northwest Arkansas

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?

News Politics

Rep. Steve King: What Have People Of Color Contributed to Civilization?

Ally Boguhn

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Monday questioned what “contributions” people of color have made to civilization while appearing on an MSNBC panel during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

King’s comments came during a discussion on racial diversity within the Republican Party in which fellow panelist Charles P. Pierce said, “If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.”

“That [convention] hall is wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people,” Pierce added.

“This ‘old white people’ business though does get a little tired, Charlie,” King responded. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

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“Than white people,” Hayes attempted to clarify.

“Than Western civilization itself,” King said. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

Another panelist, reporter April Ryan, countered “What about Asia? What about Africa?” before the panel broke out into disarray. Hayes moved to cut off the group, telling them, “We’re not going to argue the history of civilization.”

“Let me note for the record that if you’re looking at the ledger of Western civilization, for every flourishing democracy you’ve got Hitler and Stalin as well,” Hayes said. “So there’s a lot on both sides.”

Hayes justified abruptly ending the conversation about King’s comments in a series of tweets, saying that he had been “pretty taken aback by” the comments.

“The entire notion of debating which race/civilization/ ‘sub group’ contributed most or is best is as odious as it is preposterous,” Hayes tweeted. “Which is why I said ‘we’re not debating this here.’ But I hear people who think I made the wrong call in the moment. Maybe I did.”

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk. King, speaking with Iowa talk radio host Jeff Angelo, defended keeping the flag in his office.

“This is a free country and there’s freedom of speech,” King said, according to Right Wing Watch. “And, by the way, I’d encourage people to go back and read the real history of the Civil War and find out what it was about. A small part of it was about slavery, but there was a big part of it that was about states’ rights, it was about people that defended their homeland and fought next to their neighbors and their family.”

As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump explained in a report on King’s comments, “there have been a great number of non-white contributions to human civilization.”

“Civilization first arose in cities in Mesopotamia, in what is now Iraq and Syria. Arabic and Middle Eastern inventors and scientists brought astronomy to the world, which in turn aided innovations in navigation,” Bump wrote. “Critical innovations in mathematics and architecture originated in the same area. The Chinese contributed philosophical precepts and early monetary systems, among other things. The specific inventions that were created outside of the Western world are too many to list: the seismograph, the umbrella, gunpowder, stirrups, the compass.”