Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Ted Cruz Promises to ‘Sign Any Legislation’ That Opposes Abortion

Ally Boguhn

This week on the campaign trail, Ted Cruz released a five-minute-long ad trying to convince voters he is the Republican presidential candidate most opposed to abortion, Ben Carson found a way to fit crisis pregnancy centers into his poverty platform, and John Kasich spoke out against campus sexual assault.

This week on the campaign trail, Ted Cruz released a five-minute-long ad trying to convince voters he is the Republican presidential candidate most opposed to abortion, Ben Carson found a way to fit crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) into his poverty platform, and John Kasich spoke out against campus sexual assault.

Ted Cruz Vows to “Sign Any Legislation” Opposing Abortion, Regardless of Exceptions for Rape and Incest

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) released a video on Tuesday embracing extreme “personhood” legislation in South Carolina and vowing to “sign any” anti-abortion legislation that comes across his desk should he be elected—even if it does not contain exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

“I enthusiastically support that resolution,” Cruz said of the South Carolina bill, which proposes giving fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses full constitutional rights and, among other possible implications, could ban abortion as well as birth control pills, IUDs, and emergency contraception.

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“And as president of the United States, I pledge to you that I will do everything within my power to end the scourge of abortion once and for all. That I will use the full constitutional power and the bully pulpit of the presidency to promote a culture of life. That I will sign any legislation put on my desk to defend the least of these, including legislation that defends the right of all persons, without exception other than the life of the mother from conception to natural death,” Cruz continued before vowing to defund Planned Parenthood.

The video goes on to attack Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, claiming he is “playing games with the sanctity of life.” Pointing to Trump’s shift from pro-choice to anti-choice, Cruz criticized his rival by falsely claiming he would not pledge to defund Planned Parenthood should he be elected. However, Trump asserted in November that he is “very strongly in favor” of doing just that.

Cruz’s allegations that Trump leans to the left when it comes to abortion are just the latest moves in an ongoing feud between the two on the topic. As Trump and Cruz lead in the polls heading into the influential South Carolina primary on Saturday, the candidates have competed to capture the votes of evangelicals in the state by highlighting their conservative stances on abortion and other issues.

John Kasich Discusses Campus Sexual Assault During GOP Town Hall

Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich spoke out against campus sexual assault during Thursday night’s Republican town hall.

During the event, hosted by CNN in South Carolina ahead of the state’s primary, an audience member asked Kasich, “What steps will you take to address the high rates of violence against women in this country.”

Kasich replied by naming both sexual violence on college campuses and human trafficking as major issues he would address should he become president, pointing to his own record tackling the topics during his tenure in Ohio.

“We put a lot of time into those kinds of issues in our state,” Kasich said. “I’ll tell you another thing we worry about, sexual violence on a campus—and I’ve noticed that time ago—and I said, there has got to be a place for young students, young women to be able to go where they can do things in confidentiality, where there can be a rape kit that can last because sometimes women don’t want to move right away, but after a month or two they might want to move forward with some type of a prosecution.”

Suggesting that violence against women would be primarily addressed “at the state level,” Kasich claimed that as president he would “use a bully pulpit” to “speak out” on the topic and push “legislatures to begin to pay attention to these issues.”

Thursday’s statements were not the first time the governor has addressed the issue of sexual violence on campus. Kasich’s proposed Ohio state budget for fiscal year 2016 included $2 million to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault.

Other Republican presidential candidates have largely failed to engage voters on the issue of campus sexual assault while on the campaign trail. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), however, co-sponsored the Campus Accountability and Safety Act in 2015 to “secure landmark reforms for how colleges and universities address and report incidents of sexual assault that occur on their campuses.”

“Combating sexual assaults on college campuses is fundamental to the goal of ensuring that all Americans have access to higher education in the 21st century,” Rubio said in a statement about the legislation.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) used the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum, hosted by Fusion in January, to address campus sexual assault, calling for a “serious national discussion” on the topic. Hillary Clinton has also released her own platform on the issue, calling for increased prevention efforts and resources for survivors.

Ben Carson Plugs Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Anti-Poverty Pitch

During CNN’s series of Republican town halls this week, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Wednesday included crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) as part of his platform for addressing poverty.

When asked by an audience member about how he reconciled “the differences between traditional Christian values, specifically caring the least of these and current GOP stances on social issues such as welfare and subsidies for the poor,” Carson pointed to CPCs during part of his pitch for expanding government support for parents after the birth of a child.

“Look at all of the out-of-wedlock births that are going on, particularly in our inner cities,” Carson said. “I have been speaking at a lot of the nonprofit organizations that support organizations that support these women so that they don’t have an abortion, so that they have the baby,” he continued, seemingly pointing to the organizations that regularly misinform and lie to patients in order to persuade them not to obtain an abortion.

The presidential candidate went on to note that these organizations discontinue helping people who seek their services after they give birth, suggesting that adding additional support after birth could help “break the cycle of the dependency.”

Carson is not the first Republican vying for the White House in 2016 to signal their support for CPCs. Last week, Jeb Bush suggested that Congress fund these organizations instead of Planned Parenthood, and he has previously called for the expansion of both state and federal dollars to CPCs.

Prior to dropping out of the race, Carly Fiorina also championed CPCs, going as far as to campaign at one in September.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: ‘If You Don’t Vote … You Are Trifling’

Ally Boguhn

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party's convention.

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party’s convention.

DNC Chair Marcia Fudge: “If You Don’t Vote, You Are Ungrateful, You Are Lazy, and You Are Trifling”

The chair of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), criticized those who choose to sit out the election while speaking on the final day of the convention.

“If you want a decent education for your children, you had better vote,” Fudge told the party’s women’s caucus, which had convened to discuss what is at stake for women and reproductive health and rights this election season.

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“If you want to make sure that hungry children are fed, you had better vote,” said Fudge. “If you want to be sure that all the women who survive solely on Social Security will not go into poverty immediately, you had better vote.”

“And if you don’t vote, let me tell you something, there is no excuse for you. If you don’t vote, you don’t count,” she said.

“So as I leave, I’m just going to say this to you. You tell them I said it, and I’m not hesitant about it. If you don’t vote, you are ungrateful, you are lazy, and you are trifling.”

The congresswoman’s website notes that she represents a state where some legislators have “attempted to suppress voting by certain populations” by pushing voting restrictions that “hit vulnerable communities the hardest.”

Ohio has recently made headlines for enacting changes that would make it harder to vote, including rolling back the state’s early voting period and purging its voter rolls of those who have not voted for six years.

Fudge, however, has worked to expand access to voting by co-sponsoring the federal Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act that were stripped by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.

“Mothers of the Movement” Take the National Spotlight

In July 2015, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had been found dead in her jail cell that morning due to “what appears to be self-asphyxiation.” Though police attempted to paint the death a suicide, Bland’s family has denied that she would have ended her own life given that she had just secured a new job and had not displayed any suicidal tendencies.

Bland’s death sparked national outcry from activists who demanded an investigation, and inspired the hashtag #SayHerName to draw attention to the deaths of Black women who died at the hands of police.

Tuesday night at the DNC, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, and a group of other Black women who have lost children to gun violence, in police custody, or at the hands of police—the “Mothers of the Movement”—told the country why the deaths of their children should matter to voters. They offered their support to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during a speech at the convention.

“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine. I watched as my daughter was lowered into the ground in a coffin,” said Geneva Reed-Veal.

“Six other women have died in custody that same month: Kindra Chapman, Alexis McGovern, Sarah Lee Circle Bear, Raynette Turner, Ralkina Jones, and Joyce Curnell. So many of our children are gone, but they are not forgotten,” she continued. 

“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis. “His life ended the day that he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn’t.” 

McBath said that though she had lost her son, she continued to work to protect his legacy. “We’re going to keep telling our children’s stories and we’re urging you to say their names,” she said. “And we’re also going to keep using our voices and our votes to support leaders, like Hillary Clinton, who will help us protect one another so that this club of heartbroken mothers stops growing.” 

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, called herself “an unwilling participant in this movement,” noting that she “would not have signed up for this, [nor would] any other mother that’s standing here with me today.” 

“But I am here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who is in heaven, and … his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, who is still here on Earth,” Fulton said. “I did not want this spotlight. But I will do everything I can to focus some of this light on the pain of a path out of the darkness.”

What Else We’re Reading

Renee Bracey Sherman explained in Glamour why Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s position on abortion scares her.

NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue told Cosmopolitan why she shared her abortion story on stage at the DNC.

Lilly Workneh, the Huffington Post’s Black Voices senior editor, explained how the DNC was “powered by a bevy of remarkable black women.”

Rebecca Traister wrote about how Clinton’s historic nomination puts the Democratic nominee “one step closer to making the impossible possible.”

Rewire attended a Democrats for Life of America event while in Philadelphia for the convention and fact-checked the group’s executive director.

A woman may have finally clinched the nomination for a major political party, but Judith Warner in Politico Magazine took on whether the “glass ceiling” has really been cracked for women in politics.

With Clinton’s nomination, “Dozens of other women across the country, in interviews at their offices or alongside their children, also said they felt on the cusp of a major, collective step forward,” reported Jodi Kantor for the New York Times.

According to Philly.com, Philadelphia’s Maternity Care Coalition staffed “eight curtained breast-feeding stalls on site [at the DNC], complete with comfy chairs, side tables, and electrical outlets.” Republicans reportedly offered similar accommodations at their convention the week before.

News Politics

Tim Kaine Clarifies Position on Federal Funding for Abortion, Is ‘for the Hyde Amendment’

Ally Boguhn

The Democratic Party voiced its support for rolling back the restriction on federal funding for abortion care in its platform, which was voted through this week.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton’s running mate, clarified during an interview with CNN on Friday that he still supports the Hyde Amendment’s ban on federal funding for abortion care.

During Kaine’s appearance on New Day, host Alisyn Camerota asked the Democrat’s vice presidential nominee whether he was “for or against” the ban on funding for abortion. Kaine replied that he had “been for the Hyde Amendment,” adding “I haven’t changed my position on that.”

Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, told CNN on Sunday that Kaine had “said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment.” Another Clinton spokesperson later clarified to the network that Kaine’s commitment had been “made privately.”

The Democratic Party voiced its support for rolling back the restriction on federal funding for abortion care in its platform, which was voted through this week.

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“We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment,” reads the platform.

Kaine this month told the Weekly Standard that he was not aware that the party had put language outlining support for repealing Hyde into the platform, noting that he had “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”

Clinton has repeatedly said that she supports Hyde’s repeal, calling the abortion care restriction “hard to justify.”

Abortion rights advocates say that Hyde presents a major obstacle to abortion access in the United States.

“The Hyde amendment is a violent piece of legislation that keeps anyone on Medicaid from accessing healthcare and denies them full control over their lives,” Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, said in a statement. “Whether or not folks believe in the broken U.S. political system, we are all impacted by the policies that it produces. … Abortion access issues go well beyond insurance and the ability to pay, but removing the Hyde Amendment will take us light years closer to where we need to be.”