Roundup: April Fools? Could Be.

Robin Marty

It's April Fool's day, but these people aren't joking when it comes to pushing anti-choice ideals.

It may be April Fool’s day, but sadly I think the people in these articles are not joking…

Some conservative Christian authors are attacking Susan B. Anthony list, a national anti-choice fundraising group for supporting Susan Lowden, a candidate for Nevada senate who isn’t “anti-choice enough.”

Gregg Jackson, blogger and author of “Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies”, and David Jeffers, blogger and author of “Understanding Evangelicals: A Guide to Jesusland”, are not surprised that the SBA List is once again backing a faux conservative and misleading its members.

Jackson and Jeffers are amazed that the SBA List would consider Lowden as pro-life just because “she championed a parental notification bill through committee to the floor of the Nevada State Senate.” What SBA List fails to consider is that the law does not stop the murder of unborn babies, at least not if parents give their consent. Jeffers asks, “Is that really pro-life?”

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Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois is being praised by anti-choice advocates for breaking from the Stupak block and voting against healthcare reform.  His justification?  That Obama’s executive order is going to be overturned by the courts.

“It was rather lonely, yes,” Lipinski told the Chicago Tribune this weekend about voting against the pro-abortion health care bill after other pro-life Democrats compromised. “But I could not vote for a bill that would change the status quo on funding for abortion.”

Lipinski also indicated he thinks the executive order Obama signed will eventually be overturned in court and that it won’t truly ban abortion funding.

“People have asked me, ‘If it was good enough for Stupak, why wasn’t it good enough for you?'” Lipinski said. “The executive order most likely will be overturned by the federal courts. The order does not trump the law.”

Of course, that’s exactly what the anti-choice folks are claiming, too.  Including a batch from Michigan, Rep. Stupak’s home state.

The lawsuit alleges that the pro-lifers are being forced to contribute to the funding of abortion, which, according to their deeply held religious beliefs and convictions, “is a grave moral disorder since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being,” the complaint reads.

Robert Muise, senior trial counsel for the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based legal group, said the Health Care Reform Act violates the fundamental rights of conscience and free exercise of religion of pro-lifers — rights protected by the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment, which bars Congress from creating any law “prohibiting the free exercise” of a particular religion.

One thing they don’t seem to be complaining about is the $250 million in abstinence only education being created by the healthcare bill, despite the fact that it’s unproven in curbing sexual activity in youth.

The health care reform legislation that President Obama signed recently isn’t only about insurance coverage — there’s also a renewal of $50 million per year for five years for abstinence-focused education.

Programs that receive this funding must “teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. To qualify, they must also teach that sex before marriage is “likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.” These are part of the “A-H definition,” requirements for programs to receive abstinence funding under Title V of the Social Security Act.

“Title V is trying to make sure that kids are being given a message that saving sex and childbearing for marriage is the safest, healthiest, best choice,” said Scott Phelps, executive director of Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership. Public schools hire educators from this organization to teach abstinence, and may use Title V funding for it, he said.

In Phelps’ experience — he started his abstinence education work in Chicago, Illinois, 10 years ago — the abstinence message is embraced by kids, even some who have already become sexually active. “They didn’t realize they could stop,” he said.

Organizations promoting evidence-based sex education say it’s troubling that this $250 million will go to state programs that have not been shown to work.

“Just the fact that we continue to pour money into programs that have no evidence of effectiveness at all just doesn’t seem to us to be good evidence-based health policy,” said Heather Boonstra, senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive and sexual health research firm.

Finally, is this a joke? New birth control for men!


March 31, 2010

Restraining Order Stamped on Abortion-notification LawWJBD Online

Obama signs order affirming ban on federal funds for abortionsLos Angeles Times

Neb. lawmakers to debate abortion restrictionsNTV

Kan. lawmakers to consider abortion law rewriteCNBC

Baltimore Archdiocese Sues City over New Law Targeting Pregnancy

Obama Signing Reconciliation Health Care Bill With No Fixes for Abortion

Illinois judge upholds abortion parental notification lawJURIST

Health Care Reform: Women blogging against 

Personhood measure makes ballotColorado Springs Independent

Senate tightens rules on late-term

When will Catholic church learn the virtues of full disclosure?Baltimore Sun

Legislature Pushing for National Abortion FightWatchdog

SoCal schools drop parental OK for medical leavesSan Jose Mercury News

Kansas bill tightens late-term

Abortion Restriction Closer to EnforcementCourthouse News Service

Health-care reform foes still getting it wrongDelaware County Daily Times

Christian Authors Say Susan B. Anthony List Endorsing Wrong Pro-Life CandidateChristian News Wire

Oberstar says claims that health care bill allows federal abortion funding …Minneapolis Star Tribune

Boy faces adult trial in death of woman, fetusChicago Sun-Times 

Family Planning, Access To Safe, Legal Abortion Key To Maternal, Child Health …Kaiser Family Foundation

Crisis pregnancy centers sue for discriminationSalon

Tenn. Senate OKs abortion anti-coercion signsJackson Sun

Catholic bishops intervene in British electionWashington Post

Missouri House Passes Abortion LegislationKCUR

San Diego Teens Waive Parental

Nebraska Abortion Bill Gets First Round ApprovalKPTM-TV

Canada embarrassed by Harper stand on abortion for Third World: IgnatieffThe Canadian Press

Killer of Kan. abortion doctor faces life sentenceThe Associated Press

Setting the record straight on health careEscanaba Daily Press

Hillary Clinton’s awkward Canadian vacationTrue/Slant

Cook County Judge Tosses Abortion Lawsuit, But Calls Parental Notification Law …Huffington Post

Maternal health includes family planning, access to abortion: ClintonNational Post

MP to observe 2010-11 as ‘family planning year’Zee News

South Africa: Female Students Bear the Brunt of HIV

Novel stem cell therapy to tackle HIVDaily News & Analysis 


April 1, 2010

Legislation Requires “Anti-Coercion” Signs In Abortion ClinicsNashville Public Radio

Pro-Life Democrat Who Split With Stupak Pans Obama Abortion Executive

Parental Notification Law Won’t Go Into Effect ImmediatelyChicago Public Radio

Abortion protest set at Aurora clinic following settlement with cityChicago Tribune

Abortion Restriction Closer to Enforcement  Courthouse News Service

Bishops, cardinals have lost all their credibilityEvansville Courier & Press

Stop attacking pro-life, StupakDaily Caller

Choice at home and abroadGlobe and Mail

Kansas abortions down – killer to be sentencedSan Francisco Chronicle

Four Michigan Pro-Lifers File Federal Lawsuit Saying Health-Care Bill Makes …

Letter: Thank you to Rep. StupakWorthington Daily Globe

Teen gets legal abortion, parents in the darkOneNewsNow

Health clinic helped 15-year-old girl get abortionSeattle Times

A needed rebukeOttawa Citizen

Lawmakers again try to tighten late-term abortion laws in KansasKansas City Star

Anti-abortion activist to be sentenced in doctor’s slayingCNN

$250 million for abstinence education not evidence-based, groups sayCNN International

Clinton’s tough diplomacy stings Ottawa  Globe and Mail

New Health Care Reform Provides Funding for Abstinence-Focused EducationModern Mom

Bill Donohue: Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal Is Not A Pedophilia Crisis But A Homosexual Crisis …Huffington Post

New Male Contraception OfferedPR Newswire

Haiti quake may be major setback for HIV

‘Faithful’ women at risk of HIVJakarta Post

Louisville Courier-Journal Examines Efforts To Reduce Gynecological Cancer …Medical News Today

Voice of the Day Midwifery can help Missouri’s bottom

Health Care Fact Check: Will abortion be covered?Plain Dealer

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 Abortion

Pennsylvania’s TRAP Law Could Be the Next to Go Down

Teddy Wilson

The Democrats' bill would repeal language from a measure that targets abortion clinics, forcing them to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities.

A Pennsylvania lawmaker on Wednesday introduced a bill that would repeal a state law requiring abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities (ASF). The bill comes in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a similar provision in Texas’ anti-choice omnibus law known as HB 2.

A similar so-called targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law was passed in Pennsylvania in 2011 with bipartisan majorities in both the house and state senate, and was signed into law by former Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

SB 1350, sponsored by Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) would repeal language from Act 122 that requires abortion clinics to meet ASF regulations. The text of the bill has not yet been posted on the state’s legislative website.

The bill is co-sponsored by state Sens. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia), Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), and Judy Schwank (D-Berks).

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Leach said in a statement that there has been a “nationwide attack on patients and their doctors,” but that the Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy.

“Abortion is a legal, Constitutionally-protected right that should be available to all women,” Leach said. “Every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly swore an oath to support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States, so we must act swiftly to repeal this unconstitutional requirement.”

TRAP laws, which single out abortion clinics and providers and subject them to regulations that are more stringent than those applied to medical clinics, have been passed in several states in recent years.

However, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that struck down two of the provisions in HB 2 has already had ramifications on similar laws passed in other states with GOP-held legislatures.

The Supreme Court blocked similar anti-choice laws in Wisconsin and Mississippi, and Alabama’s attorney general announced he would drop an appeal to a legal challenge of a similar law.