Roundup: Republicans Keep Pushing Against Abortion Funding

Robin Marty

Republicans are pushing even harder against abortion funding, to the point where one state has opted out of the high risk insurance pool all together.  And Operation Rescue thinks ten year olds should have babies.

Hey, did you hear the one about how federal money will be used to pay for elective abortions in the federal high risk insurance pool?  If you didn’t, I’d be pretty surprised, since, even though the administration has repeatedly said it will not happen, someone seems to be determined to keep spreading the rumor.

And that “someone” appears to be Republican congresspeople.

From The Hill:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday called on the Obama administration to “act immediately” to prohibit federally funded state high-risk pools from covering elective abortions.

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The request from 13 Republican senators comes after the Congressional Research Service last week said that the high-risk pools would not be prohibited from covering the procedure by the healthcare reform law, the president’s executive order that no federal monies would be used to fund abortion or the Hyde amendment.

Of course, it makes absolutely no difference that the administration has been saying for two weeks now that it is not in any way allowing elective abortions to be covered.  After all, they have a report! The Washington Times reports:

The senators’ request came on the heels of a Friday memo by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which concluded that the health care law was vaguely written in regard to abortion funding. The question of whether Mr. Obama‘s plan would open the door to federal funding of abortions proved one of the most politically difficult issues of the health care debate endgame for congressional Democrats.

CRS researchers said that, under certain situations, the law could permit elective abortions in the new, federally funded “Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans,” which will provide coverage in the states for high-risk uninsured people who have been turned away by private insurers.

CRS confirms our concern that [federal legislation] lacks any restrictions prohibiting states from using federal funding to pay for abortions” in the new high-risk insurance pools, the GOP letter said.

So what sort of victories are really won with this type of blustering and bravado?  Well, if nothign else, the Republicans have already managed to scare one state out of offering health care to high risk individuals all together.  Via Medical News Today:

West Virginia last week announced that it would not administer its own high-risk insurance pool because GOP members of the state’s House of Delegates said the program might fund abortion care, the Charleston Gazette reports (Knezevich, Charleston Gazette, 7/22). The pools — created under the new health reform law (PL 111-148) — are intended to provide insurance coverage to residents with pre-existing conditions. They will expire in 2014 when provisions take effect to prohibit insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions (Lillis [1], “Healthwatch,” The Hill, 7/23).

The health reform law did not spell out how to address abortion care in Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans. Antiabortion-rights groups voiced concern when two states — New Mexico and Pennsylvania — initially allowed abortion coverage in their pools. In response, HHS announced last week that PCIPs can cover abortion only in cases currently covered under federal law — rape, incest or to save the life of the woman.

Think this isn’t that big of a deal?  Americans United for Life has already drafted the legislation to get all states to opt out of abortion coverage, and is spreading it across the country.  Can the “opt out of high-risk pools” opt out draft be far behind?

So congratulations, Republicans.  You still managed to find a way to block the ability to provide for the country’s most vulnerable.  You should be proud.

Mini Roundup: A doctor associated with Dr. George Tiller is facing discipline over medical cases that are over seven years old.  All because Operation Rescue thinks it’s in a 10 year old’s best interest to carry a baby to term.

July 28, 2010 blogger said Nathan Deal voted to fund abortion – PolitiFact

Abortion Coverage Concerns Prompt West Virginia To Decide Against Running High … – Medical News Today

Kenyan doctors defend abortion clause – Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

Supporters Of Colo. ‘Personhood’ Initiative Unveil Strategy To Gather Support – Medical News Today

Susan B. Anthony List targets California’s pro-life Hispanics in Senate race – Catholic News Agency

Abortion veto war begins in NJ –

Republicans demand HHS issue regulations restricting abortion coverage in high … – The Hill

Colorado Personhood Amendment Supporters to Join National Leaders to Defend … – Christian News Wire

Judicial Watchdog Wants Elena Kagan Disbarred Over Abortion Distortions –

Anti-Abortion Rally At MLK’s Grave Held By Catholic Pro-Life Group (VIDEO) – Huffington Post

2010 crop of new Ariz. laws takes effect Thursday – Forbes

Coalition of Pro-Life Groups Tell FDA to Not Approve Ella Abortion Drug –

Study Shows Abortion Funding Rules Would Not Apply to High-Risk Pools – FOXNews

KRAJACIC: Put a stop to tax-funded abortion – Washington Times

Kan. Sen. hopeful defends anti-abortion cred – NTV

Greg Abbott asked if state can deny Planned Parenthood funding – Dallas Morning News

Man pleads guilty to abortion threat – Seattle Post Intelligencer

Alaska Planned Parenthood Reworks Ads Against Parental Notification on Abortion –

US Senate Candidate Defends Anti-Abortion Stance – WCBD

Petition filed against doctor who worked with Tiller – KWCH

Spokane man pleads guilty to threatening abortion provider – The Spokesman Review

GOP senators target abortions – Washington Times

Abortion initiative attracts big donations on both sides – Alaska Dispatch

2010 crop of new Ariz. laws takes effect Thursday – BusinessWeek

Parental consent makes sense – Press & Sun-Bulletin

Family Planning welcomes contraceptive funding – New Zealand Doctor Online

Abortion veto war begins in NJ –

Iran offers cash incentive for new babies –

NJ Abortionists Push for Veto Override of “Family Planning” Cuts – The New American

Migraines and the Menstrual Cycle – New York Times

New gel protects women against HIV – KSN-TV

The Kids Are All Right – New York Times

Warren Buffett’s wise words about women –

New CDC Report Shows Strong Link Between Poverty and HIV Infection – Afro American

Bill Clinton Was Right About Wasted HIV/AIDS Funding – Huffington Post

Research Offers New Insight, Hope in the Fight Against HIV – BET

Most women die needlessly when giving birth- Aboagye – Ghana News Agency

July 29, 2010

Abortion emerges as election issue – Chattanooga Times Free Press

Kansas medical regulatory board files 11 complaints against doctor in abortion … – Kansas City Star

Pro-Life Groups Seek Probe Into Kagan’s Clinton-Era Role in Partial Birth … – CNSNews

Come To School Ball – Have Sex – Voxy

States Seek Using Obamacare to Cover Abortions – Human Events

UK govt ‘increasing contraception’ to developing countries – International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Drugs giant in new bid to tackle HIV curse – Yourthanet

DC pushes female condoms to fight HIV epidemic – The Associated Press

$38 million awarded for TB and HIV/AIDS fight in Uganda – The Independent

Nigeria: Make Maternal Health Priority, African Leaders Told –

In Haiti, a Lesson for US Health Care – New York Times

Missouri’s Child Well-Being Rank Improves, Kansas’ Holds Steady – KCUR

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?