News Religion

Anti-Choice Propaganda Film Showed In High School Classrooms in Oklahoma

Robin Marty

Teachers "accidentally" showed an anti-choice film comparing abortion to the Holocaust and distributed free copies of the dvd without waiting for parents to give consent.

Oklahoma is a hotbed of anti-choice activism, with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, multiple attempts to define a person at the point in which an egg is fertilized by sperm, and abortion opposition so strong even the anti-choice politicians have had to demand that overly zealous anti-choicers just back off.

So, obviously, it’s just a coincidence that a high school in Wagoner, Oklahoma, happened to “accidentally” show viewings of the new anti-choice documentary “180,” a film created to “change the mind of every pro-choice person who views it” by comparing abortion to Holcaust of World War II. And that free dvds happened to be passed out to students, both incidents occurring without parental permission.

Via Fox News 23:

[Parent Marty] Angus was furious after his step-daughter came home and told him she had seen it in class.

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“She said well, we went to our lockers on break and there was a note that said come pick up your free DVD,” says Angus.

We did some checking with the district who tells FOX23 that a local family asked the principal at the school if they could give the DVD to students. The answer was yes, but only if the students got parental consent first.

Superintendent Marte Thompson told FOX23 that a student aide had accidentally handed out the movies before the school got the needed consent. Once they realized the graphic nature of the movie, they confiscated all the DVD’s and returned them.

They confiscated the dvds, but couldn’t unplay the movie for the two classrooms that had already been shown the film — on school time. 

Obviously, just another case of public schools forcing their liberal indoctrination on impressionable children.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Trump Weighs in on Supreme Court Decision, After Pressure From Anti-Choice Leaders

Ally Boguhn

The presumptive Republican nominee’s confirmation that he opposed the decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt came after several days of silence from Trump on the matter—much to the lamentation of anti-choice advocates.

Donald Trump commented on the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion decision this week—but only after days of pressure from anti-choice advocates—and Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed explaining how one state’s then-pending decision on whether to fund Planned Parenthood illustrates the high stakes of the election for reproductive rights and health.

Following Anti-Choice Pressure, Trump Weighs in on Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision

Trump finally broke his silence Thursday about the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week, which struck down two provisions of Texas’ HB 2 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

“Now if we had Scalia was living, or if Scalia was replaced by me, you wouldn’t have had that,” Trump claimed of the Court’s decision, evidently not realizing that the Monday ruling was 5 to 3 and one vote would not have made a numerical difference, during an appearance on conservative radio program The Mike Gallagher Show. “It would have been the opposite.” 

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“So just to confirm, under a President Donald Trump-appointed Supreme Court, you wouldn’t see a majority ruling like the one we had with the Texas abortion law this week?” asked host Mike Gallagher.

“No…you wouldn’t see that,” replied Trump, who also noted that the case demonstrated the important role the next president will play in steering the direction of the Court through judicial nominations.

The presumptive Republican nominee’s confirmation that he opposed the decision in Whole Woman’s Health came after several days of silence from Trump on the matter—prompting much lamentation from anti-choice advocates. Despite having promised to nominate anti-choice Supreme Court justices and pass anti-abortion restrictions if elected during a meeting with more than 1,000 faith and anti-choice leaders in New York City last week, Trump made waves among those who oppose abortion when he did not immediately comment on the Court’s Monday decision.

“I think [Trump’s silence] gives all pro-life leaders pause,” said the president of the anti-choice conservative organization The Family Leader, Bob Vander Plaats, prior to Trump’s comments Thursday, according to the Daily Beast. Vander Plaats, who attended last week’s meeting with Trump, went on suggest that Trump’s hesitation to weigh in on the matter “gives all people that are looking for life as their issue, who are looking to support a presidential candidate—it gives them an unnecessary pause. There shouldn’t have to be a pause here.”

“This is the biggest abortion decision that has come down in years and Hillary Clinton was quick to comment—was all over Twitter—and yet we heard crickets from Donald Trump,” Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, said in a Tuesday statement to the Daily Beast.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, expressed similar dismay on Wednesday that Trump hadn’t addressed the Court’s ruling. “So where was Mr. Trump, the candidate the pro-life movement is depending upon, when this blow hit?” wrote Hawkins, in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. “He was on Twitter, making fun of Elizabeth Warren and lamenting how CNN has gone negative on him. That’s it. Nothing else.”

“Right now in the pro-life movement people are wondering if Mr. Trump’s staff is uninformed or frankly, if he just doesn’t care about the topic of life,” added Hawkins. “Was that meeting last week just a farce, just another one of his shows?”

Anti-choice leaders, however, were not the only ones to criticize Trump’s response to the ruling. After Trump broke his silence, reproductive rights leaders were quick to condemn the Republican’s comments.

“Donald Trump has been clear from the beginning—he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, and said he believes a woman should be ‘punished’ if she has an abortion,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which has already endorsed Clinton for the presidency, in a statement on Trump’s comments. 

“Trump’s remarks today should send a shiver down the spine of anyone who believes women should have access to safe, legal abortion. Electing Trump means he will fight to take away the very rights the Supreme Court just ruled this week are constitutional and necessary health care,” continued Laguens.

In contrast to Trump’s delayed reaction, presumptive Democratic nominee Clinton tweeted within minutes of the landmark abortion rights decision, “This fight isn’t over: The next president has to protect women’s health. Women won’t be ‘punished’ for exercising their basic rights.”

Clinton Pens Op-Ed Defending Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire

Clinton penned an op-ed for the Concord Monitor Wednesday explaining that New Hampshire’s pending vote on Planned Parenthood funding highlighted “what’s at stake this election.”

“For half a century, Planned Parenthood has been there for people in New Hampshire, no matter what. Every year, it provides care to almost 13,000 people who need access to services like counseling, contraception, and family planning,” wrote Clinton. “Many of these patients cannot afford to go anywhere else. Others choose the organization because it’s the provider they know and trust.”

The former secretary of state went on to contend that New Hampshire’s Executive Council’s discussion of denying funds to the organization was more than “just playing politics—they’re playing with their constituents’ health and well-being.” The council voted later that day to restore Planned Parenthood’s contract.

Praising the Supreme Court’s Monday decision in Whole Woman’s Health, Clinton cautioned in the piece that although it was a “critical victory,” there is still “work to do as long as obstacles” remained to reproductive health-care access.

Vowing to “make sure that a woman’s right to make her own health decisions remains as permanent as all of the other values we hold dear” if elected, Clinton promised to work to protect Planned Parenthood, safeguard legal abortion, and support comprehensive and inclusive sexual education programs.

Reiterating her opposition to the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal funding for abortion care, Clinton wrote that she would “fight laws on the books” like it that “make it harder for low-income women to get the care they deserve.”

Clinton’s campaign noted the candidate’s support for repealing Hyde while answering a 2008 questionnaire provided by Rewire. During the 2016 election season, the federal ban on abortion funding became a more visible issue, and Clinton noted in a January forum that the ban “is just hard to justify” given that restrictions such as Hyde inhibit many low-income and rural women from accessing care.

What Else We’re Reading

Politico Magazine’s Bill Scher highlighted some of the potential problems Clinton could face should she choose former Virginia governor Tim Kaine as her vice presidential pickincluding his beliefs about abortion.

Foster Friess, a GOP mega-donor who once notoriously said that contraception is “inexpensive … you know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly,” is throwing his support behind Trump, comparing the presumptive Republican nominee to biblical figures.

Clinton dropped by the Toast on the publication’s last day, urging readers to follow the site’s example and “look forward and consider how you might make your voice heard in whatever arenas matter most to you.”

Irin Carmon joined the New Republic’s “Primary Concerns” podcast this week to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt on the election.

According to analysis from the Wall Street Journal, the popularity of the Libertarian Party in this year’s election could affect the presidential race, and the most likely outcome is “upsetting a close race—most likely Florida, where the margin of victory is traditionally narrow.”

The Center for Responsive Politics’ Alec Goodwin gave an autopsy of Jeb Bush’s massive Right to Rise super PAC.

Katie McGinty (D), who is running against incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) in Pennsylvania, wrote an op-ed this week for the Philly Voice calling to “fight efforts in Pa. to restrict women’s access to health care.”

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled against an attempt to restore voting rights to more than 20,000 residents affected by the state’s law disenfranchising those who previously served time for felonies, ThinkProgress reports.

An organization in Louisiana filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of the almost 70,000 people there who have previously served time for felonies and are now on probation or parole, alleging that they are being “wrongfully excluded from registering to vote and voting.”

News Law and Policy

Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill to Create Anti-Choice Public Education Campaign

Teddy Wilson

HB 2797 directs the Oklahoma State Department of Health to develop materials that “provide public information through public service announcements, media and otherwise for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) Monday signed into law a bill authorizing the state’s health department and local schools to provide “educational materials” to the public that “clearly and consistently teach that abortion kills a living human being.”

HB 2797 directs the Oklahoma State Department of Health to develop materials that “provide public information through public service announcements, media and otherwise for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.” 

The so-called Humanity of the Unborn Child Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Ann Coody (R-Lawton), also creates an optional instructional program for school students. Coody said the intent of the bill is to instruct teenagers that life begins at conception, reported the Tulsa World.

Joe Thai, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Oklahoma Law School, told the local NBC affiliate there are significant concerns about HB 2797.

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“There certainly would be a question whether or not mandating that teaching from one point of view of a hot political button issue is really where state public schools should be going rather than teaching math reading and writing and leaving abortion and other hot button issues to parents and to the pulpit,” Thai said.

Democrats also criticized proponents of the bill for their focus on abortion without any focus on sex education.

“You’re starting a book at the end,” Rep. Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City) said, reported the Tulsa World. “A student in Oklahoma would learn about abortion and gestational cycles, but there would be no guarantee that they would learn about sex and pregnancy.”

House Democrats attempted to amend the bill during the house floor debate in March.

Rep. Emily Virgin (D-Norman) offered an amendment to the bill that would include a requirement that comprehensive sex education also be taught as part of the anti-choice curriculum. Dunnington also offered an amendment to “provide family planning services, including all forms of contraceptives.”

Both amendments were voted down by the Republican majority.

The GOP-dominated state legislature, in which Republicans hold a 70-31 majority in the house and a 39-9 majority in the senate, easily passed the measure. The house voted in May to pass the bill with a 69-15 vote, and it was then passed by the senate with a 42-1 vote.

The new law will take effect on November 1; however, the bill’s implementation is “contingent on the provision of appropriated funds or revolving funds designated for the State Board of Education for such purpose.”