Afternoon Roundup: CBS News Correspondent Sexually Assaulted in Egypt

Amie Newman

Maine's newest anti-choice legislation; Mike Huckabee wants you to forget you don't have a job or health care and that the value of your house is plummeting - because the most important issue we face is legal abortion for women; CBS News correspondent is sexually assaulted while covering Egyptian protetsts and more.

Maine’s newest anti-choice legislation; Mike Huckabee wants you to forget you don’t have a job or health care and that the value of your house is plummeting – because the most important issue we face is legal abortion for women; CBS News correspondent is sexually assaulted while covering Egyptian protetsts and more.

  • Republican, male legislators in Maine don’t want to feel left out of the full, frontal assault on women, happening around the country! A host of anti-women’s health bills have been introduced mandating governmental intrusions into the physician-patient relationship, specifically when it comes to abortion care. From imposing a 24-hour waiting period before accessing abortion care to forcing a physician to read an anti-abortion, government-written script to a woman before she receives abortion care, the invasive nature of these laws are evident. 
  • CBS News correspondent Lara Logan became the victim of “a brutal and sustained sexual assault” while in Egypt covering the protests over the reign of President Hosni Mubarak for a “60 Minutes” segment. Though very little information has been provided, thus far, CBS News offered a statement which noted that Logan was surrounded by a crushing mob of protestors, separated from her crew and then sexually assaulted before being saved by “a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.” 
  • Todd Heywood writes for the Michigan Messenger that anti-gay activists won’t give up on attempting to repeal a U.S. District Court decision that the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. hate-crimes law is, in fact, constitutional as stands. They’ve now filed an appeal in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Right Wing Watch examines the growing support for Personhood laws. Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council is the lastest anti-choice extremist to prop up the movement. Personhood Amendments around the country have notoriously failed to win approval from voters and even faced the disapproval of other extreme anti-choice organizations. The movement is gaining traction now with new amendments being offered in states like Georgia and Florida and more prominent supporters being welcomed into the fold. 

Roundups Politics

Trump Taps Extremists, Anti-Choice Advocates in Effort to Woo Evangelicals

Ally Boguhn

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 “convened to 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.”

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

Much like the group that met with Trump on Tuesday, 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:

Michele Bachmann

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 restricting reproductive 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.”

Bachmann has also claimed that God told her to introduce a measure to block marriage equality in her home state, that being an LGBTQ person is “ part of Satan,” and that same-sex marriage is a “radical experiment that will have “profound consequences.”

Mark Burns

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 conservative Palmetto 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 invoked conservative 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 its mission 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 of CPCs  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

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 Rewire previously 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 personal rhetoric is just as extreme as the causes his organization pushes. As extensively documented by Right Wing Watch,

Dobson has:

Robert Jeffress

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

Richard Land, now president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, was named one of Time Magazine‘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.”

News Politics

Clinton Wants Sanders to Join Unsanctioned Debate Sponsored by Anti-Choice News Outlet

Ally Boguhn

The event, moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, would allow local reporters to ask questions of the Democratic candidates.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to allow for an unsanctioned Democratic debate pitched by MSNBC and an anti-choice news outlet, the New Hampshire Union Leader.

“What I’ve said to my campaign is that I would look forward to another debate. I am, you know, anxious, if we can get something set up, to be able to be there. And so let’s try to make it happen,” Clinton said during a phone interview Wednesday on MSNBC’s Hardball in which she addressed news that that the network had planned a new unsanctioned debate.

“I would like the chairman of the party and the campaigns to agree that we can debate in New Hampshire next week. That is what I’m hoping will happen,” Clinton went on before calling on Sanders to “change his mind” and join the debate.

Sanders leads by 13 points in New Hampshire, according to Real Clear Politics’ polling average.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

The Union Leader announced Tuesday that it would team up with MSNBC for a prime-time debate on February 4, five days prior to the polls opening for the state’s influential primary. The event, moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, would allow local reporters to ask questions of the Democratic candidates.

The Union Leader has a history of publishing stringently anti-choice editorials attacking reproductive health and politicians who champion it, according to an analysis conducted by Rewire.

“Our readers have demanded a debate to help them see who is most fit to be the Democratic nominee for President,” Joseph W. McQuaid, Union Leader president and publisher, said in a statement. “We were always concerned that this would have been the first time in 32 years without a Democratic debate before the New Hampshire primary. We are glad to partner with MSNBC to ensure Granite Staters have the information they need to make a critical decision on Feb. 9.”

The Democratic Party has “no plans” to formally sanction the new debate, meaning that candidates who attend may be penalized for breaking party rules stipulating that those who participate in unsanctioned debates would face “forfeiture of the ability to participate in the remainder of the debate process,” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Wasserman Shultz has faced criticism for allowing the DNC to partner with the Union Leader for a December Democratic debate, in part because of the Leader’s anti-choice viewpoints.

Sanders’ campaign explained that the senator would sit out the event because the campaign did not want to “jeopardize our ability to participate in future debates,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in a Tuesday statement, according to the New York Times.

Martin O’Malley is the only candidate to have accepted the invitation to participate so far.

John Bivona, O’Malley’s New Hampshire state director, called the move to have a new debate a “big victory not only for our campaign and our supporters that championed this effort, but it is also a victory for voters across New Hampshire and the United States,” in a Tuesday statement after the debate’s announcement. 

Clinton’s calls for the DNC and Sanders to “make” the Union Leader and MSNBC’s debate happen come despite the candidate’s efforts to make reproductive rights a key part of her platform. Clinton recently spoke out about her opposition to the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, and has advocated on behalf of organizations such as Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America after receiving endorsements from those groups.