Fetal Pain, Obamacare, and Ohio’s Anti-Abortion Attacks

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Jehmu Greene blasts Fox’s lies about Planned Parenthood

Hannity demands government shutdown to prevent low-income people from getting health care

Sarah Palin continues lying

Ginormous Obamacare lie

Toledo is set to lose all their abortion clinics

Bill O’Reilly suggests that transgender protections are a “con”


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be talking to journalist Katie McDonough about why the claims that fetuses feel pain don’t hold up. Conservative attacks on health-care reform ramp up as the exchanges are due to open soon, and Ohio starts to shut down abortion clinics for not adhering to impossible to follow laws.

Jehmu Greene is so awesome. She went on Fox during a segment that was dishonest and implied that the GAO is investigating Planned Parenthood for supposedly sneaking money earmarked for contraception into its abortion side. Greene blasted their lies.

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Simply starting an investigation because of partisan pressure doesn’t mean squat. Like Greene said, they didn’t turn up anything the last six times, and they won’t this time.


The health care exchanges, which are state or federal run marketplaces where various insurance companies sell plans that meet federally established minimum care requirements, start up on October 1, 2013. The exchanges are one of the most important parts of the health care reform act that was signed into law in 2010 and has been gradually rolled out since then. They’re a big deal for a couple of reasons: 1) Upfront, they’re going to make health insurance easier and more affordable for Americans who are currently uninsured. In some states, the premiums for independently purchased plans are expected to go down as much as 50 percent. 2) The exchanges will become a clearinghouse for other information on how to better afford health insurance. For instance, if you apply to the exchange, you’ll be informed if you are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP, discounts on insurance, or federal subsidies to pay for it. The possibility that millions of Americans might be able to start getting affordable health-care coverage has sent the right wing media into a frenzy, and there’s been a lot of screaming and carrying on that implies that the apocalypse will begin on October 1. The recommendation offered by a lot of conservatives is to, and I’m not kidding, shut down the federal government if that’s what it takes to prevent these health-care cost savings from going into effect. Sean Hannity basically said Republicans should be willing to sacrifice anything, presumably even a functioning government, to keep the exchanges from opening.

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He gives the game away at the end by admitting that if the health-care law is implemented, it will be impossible to get rid of it. This is because it will be incredibly popular. It’s true that people aren’t going to suddenly, 15 years from now, be warm to the idea of doubling their health-care prices for half the coverage just to satisfy the conservative desire to price low-income people out of accessing health care. The reason conservatives want to shut this down now is because they understand that it will be easier to do as long as people don’t have direct experience of what health-care reform really means, and therefore are easier to deceive regarding what this exchange actually does. In that spirit, the lies about the Affordable Care Act have been escalating lately. Sarah Palin trotted out a long-discredited lie on Fox.

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Just on its surface, this claim she’s making is clearly a lie: Quote-unquote “rationing” of health care is not the same thing as these mythical death panels where old people are forced to beg for their lives from some kind of cold bureaucracy. But it goes deeper than that. The health-care plan is there to end rationing, specifically the preventing of people from getting health care because they can’t afford the soaring out of pocket expenses. The underlying argument that Palin is tapping into is the fear that if they let poor people have health care, there won’t be enough left over for wealthy people, and so Palin is functionally saying we have to cut off over 40 million people from health care to protect against an unproven worry there’s not enough to go around. But this fear is basically ridiculous. The people who already use up the bulk of our health care system are the elderly and they’re all on Medicare, and all this bill will do is pump more young and healthy people paying into the system, which will likely mean a rising standard of care for everyone. More importantly, the claim that there will be rationing is based on the very slim evidence that the bill does standardize coverage, mainly to eliminate wasteful spending on treatments that are scientifically demonstrated not to work. That means cost savings and helps patients, in no small part by not wasting their time pursuing treatments that don’t work.

Another lie was the claim that Congress somehow exempted itself from Obamacare.

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This is a zombie lie that won’t die and it depends on another lie to work. It starts with the false assumption, promoted in right wing media, that Obamacare is some kind of single payer national health service like the NHS in England, and that people are going to be “forced” onto it. Nothing could be further from the truth: In reality, it’s mostly a bunch of tweaks to the existing private insurance system, plus some funding help and mandates to buy insurance. There’s no way to be “exempted” from it—all Americans will be expected to have insurance or pay a fine. And that’s not happening for congressional staffers. Like the rest of Americans who are currently insured through employers, they will get to keep their current insurance. That’s it. That’s what conservatives are trying to call an “exemption”, which is like saying you’re exempted from earning money because you have a paycheck. It’s not even stretching the truth, but just a big, fat lie. Their desperation is serious, but hopefully it won’t amount to anything.


insert interview


This summer, there’s been a lot of attention paid to the passage of various targeted regulations of abortion providers that are meant to shut down abortion clinics, but now the laws are starting to go into effect. As expected, things are getting ugly and fast. Ohio’s new anti-abortion law practically slipped under the radar with all the attention being paid to Texas and even North Carolina. But Ohio’s law has a little something special in it, and not just because it was passed, like Texas and North Carolina, outside of the normal legislative processes to make it easier to slip in. No, this law actually requires clinics to meet a standard and then forbids them from meeting it. No, really. Rachel Maddow reported.

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Now the law is going into effect, and clinics are already being shut down, even clinics that had long-standing transfer agreements in the first place. In Toledo, one clinic was shut down a couple of months ago, and now the last remaining clinic is about to be shut down, all because of this damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t law. This will reduce the number of overall clinics in the state from 13 to 11, and by the time this is all over, it’s expected that half the existing clinics will be gone. Rachel has the details:

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One of the most telling and constant factors in the anti-choice movement is their utter and complete sleaziness, their willingness to do anything, no matter how dishonest or unfair, to get their way. This shouldn’t be a big surprise; they’re attached to the larger conservative movement and that’s just how things go on the right. Right after Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed the sleazy, unfair law that will use back channels to basically ban most abortion clinics in the state, he turned around and signed an overtly racist voter suppression law, one that basically banned early voters from voting on Sunday for no other reason than it’s known that black voters disproportionately vote on Sundays.

In Wichita, Kansas, anti-choicers have gotten so bold about being sleazy that they’re petitioning to have a clinic shut down by claiming to the city that it’s a nuisance. Why? Because of the protesters. No, seriously, the claim is that they can’t help but protest a clinic, so it’s the clinic’s fault for existing. That’s high level sleaze.

Will these sleazy tactics work? Rachel brought on an Ohio representative, who seemed not to be too optimistic.

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That said, these things are going to have to go to lawsuits, and the undue burden standard has not, despite right wing hopes to the contrary, been overturned. So while things are bad, the game is not over.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Fox News thinks boys are lining up to be treated like girls edition. No, really, that’s the excuse Bill O’Reilly trotted out in protest of a new California law to protect the rights of transgender students: That now the cisgender boys are going to start insisting on being able to use girls’ stuff.

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This is how you know the pundits on Fox News are knowingly lying to their audience. They know as well as we do that the a bunch of cisgender boys are not going to, for no real reason, try to be on girls’ teams or use girls’ bathrooms, and that fear of this very unlikely possibility is no reason to remove protections from transgender students.