News Politics

Obama Campaign TV Ad Targets Romney’s Pledge to Support Fetal Pain Ban With No Exceptions for Rape, Incest

Robin Marty

The presidential campaign has diverted from Bain for a bit to note Romney's lack of support for women's reproductive rights.

The President’s reelection campaign must be trying to increase its lead once again among women voters. President Barack Obama’s campaign team has released a new television ad, and, unlike recent pieces, this one is focusing on what a Mitt Romney presidency would mean for women. Including his support of a law that “that outlaws all abortion — even in cases of rape and incest.”

In response, Romney’s campaign is claiming the ad “mischaracterizes” his positions.

According to ABC News:

Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said the ad egregiously mischaracterizes the Republican candidate’s position on abortion, noting that in a 2011 National Review op-ed Romney wrote that abortion should be allowed in “instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.”

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Although he did state in the op-ed that he allowed those exceptions, technically the Obama ad is true. Romney has stated that he would push for a federal “fetal pain” bill, which would outlaw all abortions after 20 weeks based on the medically-disproven claim that a fetus feels pain at that stage of gestation. Fetal pain bans that have been proposed and passed so far have included no exceptions for rape or incest.

It’s the support of this ban that is one of the reasons that the anti-choice political group the Susan B. Anthony List eventually came around to throwing their support to Romney after their original pick, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, dropped out of the race. SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser reiterated his position on that ban, as well as their support of his candidacy, in a recent column in the National Review Online just a few days earlier, and encouraged “all Pro-Lifers” to “unite behind Romney” as well.

If elected president, Governor Romney has pledged to advocate for a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This law, a version of which covering the District of Columbia is currently being considered by Congress, would stop abortions past 20 weeks gestation (nearly the sixth-month mark), the point at which the latest medical research shows the unborn child has the capacity to feel pain. Governor Romney stands for this commonsense, lifesaving legislation that affirms the dignity of women and protects unborn children capable of suffering at the hand of the abortionist’s deadly instruments.

The new ad, called “Troubled,” is below.

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.”

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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.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Fiorina’s Anti-Abortion Story Changes

Ally Boguhn

Fiorina's personal story has changed during the GOP primary, while Sen. Lindsey Graham tells fellow Republicans that their abortion rights stances make them unelectable.

This week, Carly Fiorina made an addition to her personal anti-abortion story to attack Planned Parenthood and pushed debunked statistics. Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Ben Carson compared abortion to slavery and Lindsey Graham told his Republican rivals that their extreme anti-abortion stances could make them unelectable.

Carly Fiorina’s Personal Anti-Abortion Story Suddenly Includes Planned Parenthood

Carly Fiorina has long utilized personal narrative in explaining her opposition to abortion rights, pointing to a story in which she accompanied a friend to an abortion clinic in the 1970s and encountered the procedure firsthand.

This week, during an appearance in Texas hosted by the Prestonwood Baptist Church and the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Fiorina added to her personal anti-abortion story: It transpired at a Planned Parenthood clinic, as reported by the Washington Post.

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“It is a story that Fiorina told to small groups but did not emphasize during her candidacy for the Senate in California five years ago, according to multiple operatives who worked on that campaign,” reported the Post.

Fiorina has worked to position herself as a fierce opponent of state and federal funding for Planned Parenthood. During the second GOP primary debate, she went as far as to cite a nonexistent scene from one of the deceptively edited videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

Fiorina claimed she watched a video showing “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” Yet even these misleading videos, fact-checkers pointed out, don’t contain a scene like the one Fiorina described. It simply doesn’t exist.

Fiorina Pushes Debunked Claim That Women Accounted For “92 Percent of the Jobs Lost” in Obama’s First Term

During Wednesday night’s GOP Debate on CNBC, Fiorina claimed that the overwhelming majority of jobs lost during Obama’s first term were jobs held by women.

Seizing on Sen. Ted-Cruz’s (R-TX) comments about women in poverty, Fiorina claimed that “every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women.”

“Ninety-two percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women,” Fiorinia continued.

Fact-checkers traced Fiorina’s assertion to an outdated Republican talking point made by Mitt Romney during his failed 2008 presidential bid, noting that even at the time the statistics were “misleading.”

Calling her claim “flawed,” the New York Times explained that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among both men and women rose during Obama’s first term in office, as the economy hemorrhaged jobs in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse during the final months of the George W. Bush administration.

Ben Carson Makes Another Slavery Comparison

During Sunday’s edition of NBC’s Meet the Press, Ben Carson compared pregnant people seeking an abortion to slave owners who “thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave.”

Speaking with host Chuck Todd, Carson said, “During slavery—and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it—during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do.”

“And, you know, what if the abolitionist had said, you know, ‘I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong,” Carson said. “But you guys do whatever you want to do’?  Where would we be?”

After expressing that he would “love” to see Roe v. Wade overturned, Carson went on to call himself a “reasonable man” who may consider exemptions before asserting that cases of rape and incest would not be valid reasons to terminate a pregnancy.

“Rape and incest, I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way,” Carson said.

Carson, following the interview, faced widespread criticism for the analogy, with many noting the candidate’s long history of using both slavery and the Holocaust to discuss a host of issues he disagrees with, including the Affordable Care Act, political correctness, and gun control.

Carson went on to bypass Donald Trump in the polls for the first time during the primary season. Carson pushed Trump from his spot atop the polls, capturing 26 percent of Republican primary voters, according to a Tuesday New York Times/CBS News national poll.

Lindsey Graham Tells Fellow Republicans Their Extreme Abortion Stances Make Them Unelectable

During a Monday interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned other Republicans running for president that their stances on abortion without exemptions for rape and incest went too far and made them unelectable.

“Anybody with that position will get creamed,” Graham told host Joe Scarborough. “I appreciate your passion for the pro-life issue but you’re outside the mainstream and you cannot get elected.”

Pointing to the large majority of Americans who support such exemptions, Graham went on to note that “83 percent of the American people feel like that goes too far.”

Graham’s comments came just one day after Ben Carson told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he did not support such exemptions. When asked about past anti-choice measures that included exemptions for rape and incest during the first Republican primary debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also voiced his opposition to them.

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