Roundup: When Anti-Choice Bills Go Badly For Activists

Rachel Larris

South Carolina anti-choice legislators can't seem to get together for a bill to add a 24-hour waiting period while the Georgia House Speaker doesn't seem to be onboard with the Georgia Right to Life's goal for a constitutional challenge to Roe v Wade.

There is probably some joke one could make about South Carolina Republican legislators who are trying to craft a bill that would require a 24-hour waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion but then can’t get to the committee meeting on time. The Greenville News has the details:

Lawmakers appointed to work out differences between House and Senate versions of a bill to require women to wait longer before getting an abortion will try to meet again next week after House members cancelled a meeting Tuesday.

Senate members later took to the floor to express their frustration, while House members argued the no-shows were due to a scheduling conflict, not opposition to the Senate’s position.

“I think there is some kind of game being played,” Sen. Kevin Bryant, an Anderson Republican chairing the conference committee, told The Greenville News. “And this is the most serious issue this Legislature could deal with, if not this year, this session.”

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Yes there is a “game” being played — with South Carolinian women’s healthcare. It’s also great to know that a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion is the “most serious issue” facing South Carolina.

Meanwhile in Georgia the bill to criminalize abortions performed due to the race or sex of the fetus has hit a couple of snags. First the bill lost the endorsement of the NAACP. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has their statement:

Earlier this month, the Georgia NAACP submitted a letter to support Senate Bill 529. We now fully understand the intention of this legislation and wish to retract our support for it.

At the time, we were of the understanding that this bill would work to benefit the women in our community. However, after many conversations with membership and constituents, we now realize that this is nothing more than using women’s health as a political tool.

Women of color in Georgia need more than divisive messages and deserve better access to health care.

We look to the Georgia General Assembly to support initiatives that benefit the community including education and prevention services and working to reduce health care disparities. SB 529 does nothing to address these goals.

Even though Georgia Right to Life has said they want to the bill to be unconstitutional so they can take it to the U.S. Supreme Court with the goal of rolling back Roe v. Wade, it seems like the Georgia House Speaker isn’t on board with that idea —  at least not in deliberately drafting a constitutional challenge. So the Speaker is trying to water down the “controversial” aspects.  Not sure what parts you could take out that would remove just the “controversial” parts — maybe just the entire bill? The AJC has the story:

House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) will make a final-hour push on Thursday to pass a revamped abortion bill that removes many of the original proposal’s most controversial elements, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

Ralston told the AJC on Tuesday that the abortion bill now before the House, Senate Bill 529, is unacceptable as written. On Thursday, he will propose an alternative that is more constitutionally sound and not designed to encourage a court fight.

“I’m working with pro-life House members and House members who feel very passionately, and have supported SB 529, by suggesting to them that I’m interested in protecting the unborn,” Ralston said. “I’m not interested in the agenda of a special interest group, and I believe what we have done is craft a bill that has done that.”

If you would like to know what Ralston thinks is not controversial here is what his bill would do:

Ralston’s new version eliminates the criminal penalties for doctors and uses a more traditional definition of coercion. It also:

  • Allows for exception in the case of rape, incest or medical necessity.
  • Says a doctor must not perform an abortion if he learns that the woman was being coerced into the abortion or that she wants an abortion due to objection to the race or gender of the fetus.
  • Clinics must post a sign that says they will not perform an abortion unless they “know you have freely and voluntarily consented to having an abortion.”
  • Doctors must inform the patient that no one can force her to have an abortion and the patient must certify in writing that she was so informed.
  • Also, the bill would ban federal funds from paying for abortion services under health insurance exchanges created by the federal health care legislation.

In Other News: A Senate Judiciary Committee voted to reject a bill that would have expanded gay adoption in Louisiana.

Senate Bill 129, which ended up as a combination of two measures by Sens. Ed Murray and J.P. Morrell, would have allowed unmarried couples to jointly adopt and allow an existing parent to petition a court to add a second adult as a legal parent. The bill would have applied regardless of the adoptive parents’ sexual orientation, but the debate centered on the rights of gay parents and their children.

Louisiana law restricts adoption to married couples or single individuals, meaning gay couples or unmarried heterosexual couples can adopt but must choose which adult has parental rights.

Bonus item: A 60-year-old law that requires the state of California to seek cures for homosexuality has finally been dropped in a bill passed by the State Assembly.

April 28, 2010

Two Convicted of Denying Access to Abortion Clinic New York Times

New Oklahoma abortion law faces battle

State Abortion Law Immediately Challenged Courthouse News Service

Oklahoma Passes Two Laws Intended to Curb Abortions Wall Street Journal

Exclusive: Ralston scraps ‘special interest’ abortion bill; crafts his own Atlanta Journal Constitution

SC House members may meet soon to work on abortion bill Greenville News

SC senators expect debate on abortion in budget The State

At Supreme Court: Privacy for those who sign petitions to curb gay rights? Christian Science Monitor

Nassau University Medical Center Apologizes to Nurses over Abortion Decision 1010 Wins

McDonnell finally makes pro-choice plate official Daily Press (blog)

The Tories’ maternal health initiative is the mother of bad policy Globe and Mail

Sex education curriculum for Ontario elementary schools could be ready by Sept. Winnipeg Free Press

Harper defends abortion decision Ottawa Citizen

British Foreign Office apologises over ‘Benedict’ condoms slur Irish Post

Testing for cervical cancer virus could detect more cases of disease

Parents, if you don’t have The Talk with your kids, someone else will Plain Dealer

Nebraska legislation aimed at undoing Roe v. Wade Lexington Herald Leader

How to Choose an OB-GYN Los Angeles Times

‘No Baby!’ rally for girls will discourage teen pregnancy Dallas Morning News

Ethiopia to benefit from new cervical-cancer diagnostic tool Ethiopian News Journal

Acupuncture does not relieve childbirth pain, says study The Guardian

How Parents Became Cool Wall Street Journal

Home births on rise Tulsa World

China Lifts Ban on Visitors Who Are HIV Positive New York Times

April 27, 2010

Fiorina endorsed by major anti-abortion group in California Senate race The Hill (blog)

Abortion wanes as issue The Hill

SC legislators to try again on abortion bill Lake Wylie Pilot

South Carolina Legislators No Shows for Hearing on Pro-Life Abortion Bill

Senate panel rejects gay adoption expansion

Gay ‘cure’ law finally repealed in California

Girl Goes To Congress To Talk About Teen Pregnancy WJZ

Calgary university students face expulsion for provocative anti-abortion display Toronto Star

Simon Institute polls on abortion, gay rights The Southern 

Mississippi Legislators Want Bill to Opt Out of Abortion Funding in Health Care

National anti-abortion group announces “pro-life freedom rides” (blog) 

Protesting Abortion Rights: There’s An App For That! The Frisky

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The Silent Epidemic Ithaca Journal

People with HIV living longer, study shows Montreal Gazette

We Know the Way to End Prison Rape. Is It Too Expensive? Washington City Paper

Officials, residents attend forum to combat teen pregnancy Northern Virginia Daily

Do Gay Couples Give Up Their U.S. Citizenship? New York Times (blog)

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (R-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

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?