Roundup: One Bill Struck Down, Four Rise in Its Place

Robin Marty

Much like a hydra that grows back two heads for every one removed, Oklahoma begins pushing a spate of anti-abortion laws to replace the ones ruled unconstitutional.

Victory over the ruling that the Oklahoma multi topic abortion bill was unconstitutional appears to be short lived.  State legislators have now begun the task of dividing both previously unimplemented abortion bills into multiple separate bills, each of which has now passed through committee.

In other action, the panel passed four separate abortion measures that previously had been declared unconstitutional because they had been combined in one bill.

Bills must deal with only one subject.

The panel passed HB 3290 by Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow. It would require a doctor to be in the room when the abortion pill RU486 is administered.

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The panel also passed HB 2780 by Rep. Lisa Billy, R-Lindsay, which would require women who seek an abortion to have an ultrasound and have its contents explained to them.

Rep. Ryan Kiesel, D-Seminole, said the Legislature should focus on preventing unintended pregnancies rather than bringing further disgrace and shame to women facing the most difficult decision of their lives.

Billy responded: “This bill is about choice for women. It is an opportunity for her to understand what is growing inside of her and the consequences.”

The panel passed HB 3110 by Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, which would allow health-care providers who object to abortion not to participate in the procedure.

Peterson’s other abortion bill, HB 3284, also passed.

It would require women who seek abortions to provide a host of information about themselves to be posted on a public Web site.

The four bills now through committee are a broken down combination of previously unconstitutional multi topic bills.  The ultrasound, RU486 and conscience clauses came from one earlier 2008 bill, and the statistical reporting act is derived from the bill declared unconstitutional last week.

Still not reintroduced is a bill regarding abortion for gender of the fetus, although it is expected to be in the works.

Perhaps the only thing really shocking about the laws being sent back through so quickly is that lawmakers didn’t take more advantage of being in the limelight by spreading them out a bit, according to Tulsa World.

The judge’s action means Oklahoma lawmakers will now have multiple opportunities to preen and posture for the voters — all without accomplishing anything useful.

Oklahoma County District Judge Daniel Owens last week ruled that the new law, which would have banned abortions based on gender, violated the state’s rule that legislation address a single subject.

Owens noted that the gender-selection ban took up only two paragraphs of the entire bill, which also included requirements that doctors obtain extensive personal information from patients for placement on a state-sponsored Web site. Names would not be revealed but opponents still believe women could be identifiable.

The ban on gender-based abortions is unnecessary. Even lawmakers who pushed the bill admitted they didn’t know of any cases of abortions being performed here based on gender. But, hey, this was a great way to get some headlines and trumpet a candidate’s moral superiority at election time.

The reporting section of the bill similarly gave lawmakers the opportunity to lovingly insist they’re only looking out for the welfare of women. With lots more data on why abortions are sought, they insisted, they could take steps to prevent them.

But what they really want is to make abortion more difficult to obtain, to harass and intimidate women contemplating the decision, and to engage in political grandstanding. Now that a judge has ruled the measure in question had too many elements, the politicians can have a heyday passing separate new bills containing those elements.

Nothing of much value will have been accomplished, but of course that’s not the objective, is it?

The reporting of abortion act is expected to cost the state $250,000 to implement, according to some reports.  Legislators are also claiming that the data compiled will not give away the identity of the woman pursuing an abortion.

Rep. Ryan Kiesel, D-Seminole,
who voted against all four measures, questioned the cost of
implementing the report. Last year’s bill said it would cost more than

Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa,
the author of the bill, said a cost estimate still is being prepared.
It’s possible, she said, a private firm may be contracted to do the
work, which would be cheaper. Hospitals often use a private firm to
handle records.

She told Kiesel that only data would be on the report.

"There is absolutely no way anyone could find out the identities of these women,” she said.

Of course, once you fill out a form that can list among other things where you work, if you were assaulted, who you may have filed a police report with, and how many children you have, it may become much easier to narrow it down.


February 23, 2010

figures show teen births hit a record low in California
Los Angeles Times

Voters Weigh in on Abortion Sonograms


pro-life billboard uproar
The Week Magazine

at Hollins supports Planned Parenthood

bishops call for sacking over condoms


to end the abortion dilemma
Capital FM

bill moves forward with slight bipartisan support
Iowa Independent

bills fail to pass committee, while individual
abortion bills approved
Tulsa World

regulations pass through Senate committee
Columbia Missourian

probe exposes

measures receive Oklahoma House panel’s approval

will for slain Mich. activist as trial nears
Washington Post

New abortion
bills expected

backing for TV adverts for
unplanned pregnancy services


February 22, 2010

bill prompts much debate
The Spokesman Review

Speaks At Right To Life Forum In Warsaw
Times-Union Newspaper

to change sex education dead on arrival
Salt Lake Tribune

linked to poor fertility
BBC News

Legislature: One sex ed bill goes down, others in the wings
Deseret News

education ‘U-turn’ set to be debated by ministers
BBC News

Growing Over Cuts to
Family Planning Services, Teen Clinics
California Healthline

lifers trying to stop women having sex life’ – claim
Derry Today

it comes to Latina teen pregnancies, California’s doing something right
Latina Lista

language in proposed health reform

Spero News

Group Unhappy With New Health Reform Proposal

Catholics Defend Vatican Archbishop from
Pro-life Critics

health care proposal comes up short for
pro-life leaders
Catholic News Agency

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Conscience Rights of
Pro-Life Medical Workers

Starts Tuesday for Michigan Man Accused of Killing
Pro-Life Advocate

3200 Names Submitted in Support of ‘Censored’ Canadian
Pro-Life Ad

conservatism ended before
birth control pill arrived, says researcher
University of Florida

says disabled kids punishment for previous abortions

Local News Judge rules Oklahoma
abortion law unconstitutional

Leaders Rally to De-Fund
Abortion Provider
Christian Broadcasting Network

No Longer Evangelical Left Messiah?

Christian News Wire

Reid Promises Democrats Will Push Through Pro-
Abortion Health Care Bill

House Releases Health Care Plan
New York Times

Unveils Health Care Plan, Violates Pledge by Keeping

enters GAMC funding debate
Minnesota Independent

Groups Blast Obama for Funding
Abortions in His Health Care Plan

continue to harm maternal mortality

Ghana News Agency

will for slain Mich. anti-
abortion activist as trial nears
Lansing State Journal

‘Conscience’ Bill
Spokesman Review

Health Bill Would Become Even More Expansively Pro-
Abortion If Modified
Christian News Wire

State Delegate: Disabled Children A ‘Vengeance’ From Nature For
TPM LiveWire


Presents a Health Care Plan But
Abortion Issue Remains Unsettled

health care plan likely to dominate the week
USA Today

Group Opposes Increased Oversight of Premiums
New York Times

official dismisses calls for resignation
Washington Post

Lawmaker: Disabled Kids are God’s Punishment for

CBS News

Strikes Down Oklahoma’s ‘Unconstitutional’ Ban on Sex-Selective

Marshall says
remark misconstrued, apologizes
Washington Post

lawmakers OK state health plan
abortion ban
The Times and Democrat

proposal would end state
abortion coverage

latest plan provides more perks for
abortion industry
Kansas Liberty

for foreign
Free Press

agency ends foster,
adoption services in District of Columbia
The Catholic Review

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 Law and Policy

Anti-Immigrant Bill Advances in North Carolina

Tina Vasquez

The bill may become law by the end of the legislative session Saturday, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston told Rewire.

North Carolina’s HB 100, a bill that targets undocumented communities and aims to penalize cities not complying with local immigration laws, was sent to the house rules committee this week after passing the senate.

The bill could become law by the end of the legislative session Saturday, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston told Rewire.

HB 100 expands on HB 318, the Protect North Carolina Workers Act, signed into law last year, which requires employers doing business with a “public entity” to use the federal E-Verify system to authenticate the citizenship status of job applicants, and bars government agencies and local law enforcement from verifying a person’s identity or residence using consular or embassy documents.

HB 100 will prohibit an exception in HB 318 that allows law enforcement to accept identification provided through local programs such as the FaithAction ID Initiative, which provides identification for any resident in the community “who may not have access to government issued forms of ID.”

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As ThinkProgress reported, these local ID programs were created “in partnership with law enforcement officials precisely because police wanted to make cities safer … FaithAction International House realized that undocumented immigrants were afraid to call the police when crimes occurred, fearing officers would arrest them instead because they lacked identification.”

Another bill introduced in May, SB 868, aims to prohibit law enforcement officials from being able to accept these IDs and under HB 100, these programs, popular in larger cities like Greensboro, would be illegal.

“Removing the ability to use these community IDs makes undocumented immigrants more likely to be targets of crime, because it makes them fearful to come forward and interact with law enforcement,” said Preston. “People who want to take advantage of the community know this community has very little recourse.”

What’s “incredibly troubling,” Preston said, is the reporting piece of the bill. The law allows anonymous tipsters to call the attorney general’s office and make complaints against their city, town, or local law enforcement alleging it is not following local immigration laws. As CityLab reported, a second reporting measure allows any person to “file a lawsuit asking a court to decide whether a city or county is non-compliant with state law.”

If the attorney general confirms a report that a city is not complying with the state’s anti-immigrant policies, whether these violations are intentional or inadvertent, the city’s transportation and education funding will be withdrawn for the year.

“These complaints would be anonymous and confidential and could take shape in many different ways, like someone at the county clerk’s office helping an undocumented person access records or seeing an undocumented person in court that a North Carolina resident doesn’t think is being treated as badly as they should be,” Preston said.

The attorney general would investigate “no matter how frivolous or incomplete it may be,” Preston told Rewire.

HB 100 comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s split ruling on Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which would have provided an estimated 3.6 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident children with a renewable work permit and exemption from deportation for two years. At a time when advocates are calling on cities to provide more local protections for undocumented immigrants in light of the ruling, Preston said this measure represents the “unnecessary targeting” of a community that has already been under attackboth nationally and in North Carolina—for years.

A recent series of immigration raids hit North Carolina’s undocumented communities, which comprise 7.6 percent of the population, hard. The state doesn’t have any sanctuary cities, which are regions that do not work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the detainment and deportation of undocumented community members.

HB 100 would actually make sanctuary cities illegal, explained Preston. And the inability by undocumented community members to access any form of identification would erode any relationship local law enforcement has been able to build with this community.

“I can’t answer why the state is going after such a vulnerable population,” Preston said. “I think it’s wrong and misguided, but I don’t have an answer. I wish I knew.”