I am long past the point of hoping for some semblance of truth from the anti-woman, anti-life, anti-choice movement. Still, the length to which they use blatant lies and distortions--and the failure of most media outlets to call them on it--remains breathtaking.
I am long past the point of hoping for some semblance of truth from the anti-woman, anti-life, anti-choice movement. Still, the length to which they use blatant lies and distortions–and the failure of most media outlets to call them on it–remains breathtaking.
The most recent example is a video circulating on Amendment 62, the so-called Personhood Amendment on the ballot in Colorado, which seeks to imbue fertilized eggs with the same rights as living, breathing, born human beings.
A similar referendum effort failed in 2008.
Now, it appears, with an infusion of “tea party” money from who knows where, anti-choice forces are pulling out all the stops, including the video which spreads additional lies, references Nazi Germany, and features grotesque caricatures of President Obama as the angel of death and as the Joker from Batman.
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The lies are evident to anyone who knows facts. The video, for example, makes the claim that the Obama Administration is spending “$457 million on abortion internationally.” Under current U.S. law, the United States government is not able to fund abortions anywhere outside the states, so this is patently false.
It then goes on to say that the new health care reform law “contains massive funding for abortion…” in the form of kickbacks to contributors. That would be somewhat difficult given that the law clearly states that no federal funding will be spent on abortion care anywhere, and that even private funds of private individuals buying private policies can not cover abortion care if even one penny of federal funding is allocated to that same insurance plan for any other person in the system. Again, patent lie.
What is the truth? The Tea-Party-Far Right-Anti-Choice-Republican candidates pushing for Amendment 62 and running for office in Colorado (Ken Buck for one), don’t want you to know. But here it is:
Beyond making such everyday things like birth control pills and IUDs illegal, the Amendment, if passed, would of course outlaw all abortions and make it virtually impossible for women to obtain them even in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, if they could at all, but would also outlaw in vitro fertilization and stem cell research, would make it virtually impossible for pregnant women with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses to obtain treatment they would need to save their own health and lives, and potentially turn miscarriages into homicide investigations.
Increasing unintended and unwanted pregnancies in Colorado
The most effective forms of birth control like the pill, injectibles like Implanon and Depo-Provera, NuvaRing, the patch, and IUDs work primarily by inhibiting release of an egg into the womb. They also alter the lining of a woman’s uterine wall in a way that makes the uterus inhospitable to fertilized eggs, thereby inhibiting implantation of a fertilized egg if fertilization does occur — preventing a pregnancy from occurring. By giving rights to fertilized eggs, Amendment 62 would make it illegal to use these forms of birth control.
Severely restricting medical research & advances in reproductive technology One of the most common forms of assisted reproductive technology is in-vitro fertilization, where several fertilized eggs are created in a lab environment. Once created, some of these fertilized eggs are injected into a woman’s body with the hope that implantation will occur and the woman’s body will begin producing the hormones necessary to sustain a pregnancy. Because of the cost of this procedure, more fertilized eggs are usually produced than are used. Giving legal rights to fertilized eggs could ban in-vitro fertilization — as well as some stem cell research that is being used to find cures for chronic diseases and disabilities.
Ignoring the reality of miscarriages and non-implantation Amendment 62 fails to recognize the prevalence of miscarriages (both when a woman is aware of being pregnant and when she is not) and nonimplantation – even when a woman is not using a contraceptive method that can inhibit implantation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that between one-third and one-half of all fertilized eggs never fully implant. Amendment 62 would open the door for criminal investigations into miscarriages or situations where a woman’s body rejected implantation of a fertilized egg.
Subjecting women facing ectopic pregnancies to intrusion by politicians and the courts Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube or cervix. Because the location of implantation is not large enough to allow full gestation of the developing fetus, an ectopic pregnancy could result in the rupture of the fallopian tube, cervix, or other organ where implantation occurred if the pregnancy is not removed. Amendment 62 could be used to deny live-saving medical care to a woman because it could endanger a fertilized egg.
Such laws truly turn women into breeding cows. Moreover, experts estimate that thousands of laws regarding property, legal rights and other aspects of standing law would have to be changed to recognize the “rights” of fertilized eggs.
Finally, the vague language would make one religious viewpoint the law of the land when it comes to reproductive health care.
It would seem that if there were a rational, truthful argument to be made in support of this law, it would be made. It has yet to be made. Instead, its proponents have to resort to lying and scare tactics reminiscent of the very societies they reference in their fear-mongering to attempt to frighten people into voting for something so clearly against human rights and the public interest.
What is most frightening is that so many people are so comfortable spreading lies for political gain.
Darryl Glenn, an anti-choice Colorado Springs County Commissioner, defeated a pro-choice GOP rival and three other anti-choice Republicans in the race to take on pro-choice Sen. Michael Bennet in November.
In Colorado’s Republican senatorial primary Tuesday, Darryl Glenn, a conservative county commissioner from Colorado Springs, scored a decisive victory over Jack Graham, a former Colorado State University official, who stood out from the GOP field of five candidates for his atypical pro-choice stance.
Asked about the speech by conservative radio host Richard Randall, Glenn said, “Well, that wasn’t me. That was the Holy Spirit coming through, just speaking the truth.”
“Seriously?” replied the KVOR radio host.
“Absolutely,” Glenn replied on air. “This campaign has always been about honoring and serving God and stepping up and doing the right thing.”
Political observers say Glenn’s position on abortion, coupled with his other conservative stances and his promise never to compromise, spell trouble for him in November’s general election against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
“Glenn’s stance on abortion isn’t necessarily disqualifying,” Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report, which offers non-partisan election analysis, in Washington D.C., told Rewire via email. “Colorado has sent pro-life Republicans to the Senate. But, the cumulative effect of all Glenn’s conservative positions on social, economic, and foreign policy, as well as his association with Tea Party-affiliated groups and his lack of funding make it very, very difficult to see a path to victory for him.”
Glenn’s ties to the right wing of the Republican Party drew criticism during the campaign from GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He criticized Glenn for accepting the endorsement of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which gave Glenn $500,000.
“Darryl Glenn’s support for ‘personhood’ puts him on the wrong side of Colorado voters’ values, including many pro-choice Republicans and unaffiliated voters,” said Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, in an email to Rewire. “Support for reproductive freedom crosses party lines in Colorado, as demonstrated by the landslide losses by three ‘personhood’ ballot measures. Glenn’s chances of beating pro-choice champion Michael Bennet were already slim. This puts it closer to none.”
Glenn did not immediately return a call for comment.
Gardner threw his support behind Glenn Wednesday, reportedly saying to Roll Call that Glenn has fundraising challenges ahead of him but that he’s “winning when nobody expected him to.” And that, Gardner was quoted as saying, “bodes well for November.”
Representatives from radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue praised Trump’s commitment to its shared values during the event. “I’m very impressed that Mr. Trump would sit with conservative leaders for multiple questions, and then give direct answers,” said the organization's president, Troy Newman, who was in attendance at a question-and-answer event on Tuesday.
Making a play to win over the evangelical community, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump met with more than 1,000 faith and anti-choice leaders on Tuesday for a question-and-answer event in New York City and launched an “evangelical advisory board” to weigh in on how he should approach key issues for the voting bloc.
The meeting was meant to be “a guided discussion between Trump and diverse conservative Christian leaders to better understand him as a person, his position on important issues and his vision for America’s future,” according to a press release from the event’s organizers. As Rewire previously reported, numerous anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ leaders—many of them extremists—were slated to attend.
Though the event was closed to the media, Trump reportedly promised to lift a ban on tax-exempt organizations from politicking and discussed his commitment to defending religious liberties. Trump’s pitch to conservatives also included a resolution that upon his election, “the first thing we will do is support Supreme Court justices who are talented men and women, and pro-life,” according to a press release from United in Purpose, which helped organize the event.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, told the New York Times that the business mogul also reiterated promises to defund Planned Parenthood and to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a 20-week abortion ban based on the medically unsupported claim that a fetus feels pain at that point in a pregnancy.
In a post to its website, representatives from radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue praised Trump’s commitment to their shared values during the event. “I’m very impressed that Mr. Trump would sit with conservative leaders for multiple questions, and then give direct answers,” said the group’s president, Troy Newman, who was in attendance. “I don’t believe anything like this has ever happened.” The post went on to note that Trump had also said he would appoint anti-choice justices to federal courts, and repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Just after the event, Trump’s campaign announced the formation of an evangelical advisory board. The group was “convenedto provide advisory support to Mr. Trump on those issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith in America,” according to a press release from the campaign. Though members of the board, which will lead Trump’s “much larger Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee to be announced later this month,” were not asked to endorse Trump, the campaign went on to note that “the formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of those diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians, and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders as needed.”
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Much like the group that met with Trump onTuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee’s advisory board roster reads like a who’s-who of conservatives with radical opposition to abortion and LGBTQ equality. Here are some of the group’s most notable members:
Though former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann once claimed that “women don’t need anyone to tell them what to do on health care” while arguing against the ACA during a 2012 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, her views on the government’s role in restrictingreproductive health and rights don’t square away with that position.
During a December 2011 “tele-town hall” event hosted by anti-choice organization Personhood USA, Bachmann reportedly falsely referred to emergency contraception as “abortion pills” and joined other Republican then-presidential candidates to advocate for making abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. During the event, Bachmann touted her support of the anti-choice group’s “personhood pledge,” which required presidential candidates to agree that:
I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,” and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.
Such a policy, if enacted by lawmakers, could outlaw abortion and many forms of contraception. A source from Personhood USA told the Huffington Post that Bachmann “signed the pledge and returned it within twenty minutes, which was an extraordinarily short amount of time.”
Televangelist Mark Burns has been an ardent supporter of Trump, even appearing on behalf of the presidential candidate at February’s Faith and Family Forum, hosted by the conservativePalmetto Family Council, to deliver an anti-abortion speech.
In March, Burns also claimed that he supported Donald Trump because Democrats like Hillary Clinton supported Black “genocide” (a frequently invokedconservative myth) during an appearance on the fringe-conspiracy program, the Alex Jones show. “That’s really one of my major platforms behind Donald Trump,” said Burns, according to the Daily Beast. “He loves babies. Donald Trump is a pro-baby candidate, and it saddens me how we as African Americans are rallying behind … a party that is okay with the genocide of Black people through abortion.”
Burns’ support of Trump extended to the candidate’s suggestion that if abortion was made illegal, those who have abortions should be punished—an issue on which Trump has repeatedly shifted stances. “If the state made it illegal and said the premature death of an unborn child constituted murder, anyone connected to that crime should be held liable,” Burns told the Wall Street Journal in April. “If you break the law there should be punishment.”
Kenneth and Gloria Copeland
Kenneth and Gloria Copeland founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM), which, according to itsmission statement, exists to “teach Christians worldwide who they are in Christ Jesus and how to live a victorious life in their covenant rights and privileges.” Outlining their opposition to abortion in a post this month on the organization’s website, the couple wrote that abortion is wrong even in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. “As the author of life, God considers an unborn child to be an eternal being from the moment of its conception,” explained the post. “To deliberately destroy that life before birth would be as much premeditated murder as taking the life of any other innocent person.”
The article went on to say that though it may “seem more difficult in cases such as those involving rape or incest” not to choose abortion, “God has a plan for the unborn child,” falsely claiming that the threat of life endangerment has “been almost completely alleviated through modern medicine.”
The ministries’ website also features Pregnancy Options Centre, a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) in Vancouver, Canada, that receives “financial and spiritual support” from KCM and “its Partners.” The vast majority ofCPCs regularly lie to women in order to persuade them not to have an abortion.
Kenneth Copeland, in a June 2013 sermon, tied pedophilia to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, going on to falsely claim that the ruling did not actually legalize abortion and that the decision was “the seed to murder our seed.” Copeland blamed legal abortion for the country’s economic woes, reasoning that there are “several million taxpayers that are not alive.”
Copeland, a televangelist, originally supported former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) in the 2016 Republican primary, claiming that the candidate had been “called and appointed” by God to be the next president. His ministry has previously faced scrutiny about its tax-exempt status under an investigation led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) into six ministries “whose television preaching bankrolled leaders’ lavish lifestyles.” This investigation concluded in 2011, according to the New York Times.
James Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family (FoF), previously supported Cruz in the Republican primary, releasing an ad for the campaign in February praising Cruz for defending “the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage.” As Rewirepreviously reported, both Dobson and his organization hold numerous extreme views:
Dobson’s FoF has spent millions promoting its anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ extremism, even dropping an estimated $2.5 million in 2010 to fund an anti-choice Super Bowl ad featuring conservative football player Tim Tebow. Dobson also founded the … Family Research Council, now headed by Tony Perkins.
Dobson’s own personalrhetoric is just as extreme as the causes his organization pushes. As extensively documented by Right Wing Watch,
A Fox News contributor and senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Jeffress once suggested that the 9/11 attacks took place because of legal abortion. “All you have to do is look in history to see what God does with a nation that sanctions the killing of its own children,” said Jeffress at Liberty University’s March 2015 convocation, according to Right Wing Watch. “God will not allow sin to go unpunished and he certainly won’t allow the sacrifice of children to go unpunished.”
Jeffress spoke about the importance of electing Trump during a campaign rally in February, citing Democrats’ positions on abortion rights and Trump’s belief “in protecting the unborn.” He went on to claim that if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Hillary Clinton were elected, “there is no doubt you’re going to have the most pro-abortion president in history.”
After Trump claimed women who have abortions should be punished should it become illegal, Jeffres rushed to defend the Republican candidate from bipartisan criticism, tweeting: “Conservatives’ outrage over @realDonaldTrump abortion comments hypocritical. Maybe they don’t really believe abortion is murder.”
As documented by Media Matters, Jeffress has frequently spoken out against those of other religions and denominations, claiming that Islam is “evil” and Catholicism is “what Satan does with counterfeit religion.” The pastor has also demonstrated extreme opposition to LGBTQ equality, even claiming that same-sex marriage is a sign of the apocalypse.
Richard Land, now president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, was named one of TimeMagazine‘s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005 for his close ties with the Republican party. While George W. Bush was president, Land participated in the administration’s “weekly teleconference with other Christian conservatives, to plot strategy on such issues as gay marriage and abortion.” Bush also appointed Land to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2002.
According to a 2002 article from the Associated Press, during his early academic career in Texas, “Land earned a reputation as a leader among abortion opponents and in 1987 became an administrative assistant to then-Texas Gov. Bill Clements, who fought for laws to restrict a woman’s right to an abortion” in the state.
Land had previously expressed “dismay” that some evangelicals were supporting Trump, claiming in October that he “take[s] that [support] as a failure on our part to adequately disciple our people.”