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Posts Tagged ‘MICHIGAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’

THE POLITICS OF DISCRIMINATION

In Business, History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on February 3, 2015 at 12:05 am

Christmas was fast approaching in 2014.  So Republicans in the Michgan House of Representatives decided to honor the spirit of “peace on earth, good will toward men” in their own special way.

They passed a bill legalizing religious discrimination.

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act” passed on partisan lines–59 Republicans to 50 Democrats–on December 4, 2014.

It next goes to the Senate, and, if passed there, to Republican Governor Rick Snyder. It isn’t known if he would sign it.

The bill would allow anyone to refuse service to anyone under the claim that their “religious beliefs” had been affronted.

And the State government would be legally prevented from intervening if a person claimed that his/her “deeply-held religious beliefs” was the reason for acting–or not acting–in a certain way.

Thus:

  • An emergency room doctor could refuse service to a gay or lesbian needing medical care.
  • A pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control, or HIV medication.
  • A DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver’s license to someone who’s divorced.
  • A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple.
  • An employer could deny equal pay to women.

The bill seems modeled on a proposed law that the Republican House and Senate in Arizona sent to Governor Jan Brewer in 2014.

Under threat of a nationwide boycott of Arizona if the bill became law, Brewer vetoed it.

Supporters of the bill claim they aren’t seeking a license to discriminate, only to live by the tenets of their religious beliefs withouot government interference.

But opponents see it differently.  Among these is Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan.

“The idea that we need to ‘restore’ religious freedom–rights that are already enshrined in the U.S. Constitution–is a farce created by conservative lawmakers for the sole purpose of appeasing their far-right donors and the religious-right.

“This extreme bill attempts to solve a problem that does not exist, promotes discrimination and does nothing to make Michigan a better place to live,” Scott said in a statement.

This is certainly not the first time Right-wing zealots have sought to enshrine religious discrimination in law.

On September 15, 1935, the Nazis–who had taken power in Germany in 1933–introduced a series of anti-Semetic laws at their annual Nuremberg rally.

Adolf Hitler addressing a Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party

Under the Nuremberg laws:

  • Marriages between Jews and German citizens were forbidden.
  • Extramarital relations between Jews and German citizens were forbidden.
  • Jews were forbidden to employ female German citizens under the age of 45 as domestic workers.
  • Jews were banned from employment as attorneys, doctors or journalists.
  • Jews were forbidden to use state hospitals.
  • Jews could not be educated by the state past the age of 14.
  • Jews were forbidden to enter public libraries, parks and beaches.
  • The names of Jewish soldiers were to be expunged from war memorials.

With anti-Semitism now codified in German law, the foundations for the coming Holocaust were firmly laid. The “Religious Freedom Act” introduced in 2014 to Arizona would have:

  • Expanded the state’s definition of the exercise of religion to include both the practice and observance of religion.
  • Allowed someone to assert a legal claim of free exercise of religion regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceedings.
  • Expanded those protected under the state’s free-exercise-of-religion law to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution or other business organization.”
  • Allowed any business, church or person to cite the law as a defense in any action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination.
  • Allowed the business or person to seek an injunction once they show their actions are based on a sincere religious belief and the claim places a burden on the exercise of religion.

Advocates often cited the case of a New Mexico wedding photographer who was sued after refusing to take photos of a same-sex couople’s commitment ceremony due to the photographer’s religious beliefs.

“We are trying to protect people’s religious liberties,” said Representative Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park.

“We don’t want the government coming in and forcing someone to act against their religious sacred faith beliefs or having to sell out if you are a small-business owner.”

Arizona Representative Steve Montenegro

Republicans have introduced similar “right-to-discriminate” legislation in other states as well:

  • In Kansas, lawmakers voted to exempt individuals from providing any service that was “contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
  • That bill passed the state’s House chamber on February 11, 2014, triggering national backlash.  It stalled in the Senate didn’t advance beyond that body.
  • In January, 2014, South Dakota Republicans introduced a bill to allow businesses refuse to serve same-sex couples on the grounds that “businesses are private and that their views on sexual orientation are protected to the same extent as the views of private citizens.”
  • The bill–which was killed in February, 2014–would have made it illegal for a gay person to file a lawsuit charging discrimination.

Ironically, many Right-wingers who support the right of Christians to discriminate fear that they will become victims of religious persecution if Islamic Sharia law comes to the United States.

FETUS FANATICS: PART THREE (END)

In History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on January 23, 2013 at 1:40 am

So what’s responsible for all this fetus fanaticism?

Several factors.

First, there is an energized constituency for politicians willing to wave this red flag.  Almost every major Republican Presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan has tapped into this voting bloc.  And each has found plenty of votes to be gotten from it.

Second, many fetus fanatics simply dislike women.  They fear and resent the women’s movement, which has given women the right to enter the workforce and compete directly with men.

And what they hate most is the legal right of a woman to avoid becoming pregnant via birth control–or to abort the result of a male’s sperm if they do.  They see this as a personal rejection.

Perhaps it reminds many of them of their own failures in romance/marriage.

The Right is made up overwhelmingly of white males.  And many of these men would feel entirely at home with a Christianized version of the Taliban.  They long for a world where women meekly cater to their every demand and believe only what their male masters approve for them to believe.

The trouble for these men is they don’t speak Arabic.

Third, many fetus fanatics are “pro-life” when it comes to fetuses, but hypocritically refuse to support the needs of children from low-income families.

Fourth, many fetus fanatics are “family values” hypocrites.  For example: Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), an anti-abortion, “family values” doctor, had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion.  He also agreed that his wife should have two abortions.

People like this subscribe to a philosophy of: “Do as I say, not as I do.  And if I do it, it’s in the service of a Higher Cause and therefore entirely justified.”

Fifth, many fetus fanatics feel guilty about their own past sexual transgressions–especially if these resulted in pregnancy. And they want to prevent others from living the same life they did.

Some of these people are well-intentioned.  Even so, they usurp unto themselves a God-like right to intrude on the most intimate decisions for others–regardless of what those people may need or want.

Sixth, many fetus fanatics embrace contradictory goals.  On one hand, most of them claim they want to “get government off the backs of the people.”  That usually means allowing corporations to pollute, sell dangerous products and treat their employees as slaves.

On the other hand, they want to insert the government into the vagina of every woman.  That means empowering State and Federal authorities to prevent women from getting an abortion–even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

Seventh, many leaders of the fetus-fanatics movement are independently wealthy.  This means that even if abortion could be outlawed for the vast majority, they could always bribe a willing doctor–here or abroad–to perform such an operation on their wife, daughter and/or mistress.  For them, there is always an escape clause.

Eighth, many fetus fanatics are not truly “pro-life.”  They totally oppose abortion under most–if not all–circumstances.   But they also fully support:

  • making military-style assault weapons available to nutcases;
  • capital punishment;
  • going to war for almost any reason;
  • wholesale massacres of wildlife;
  • despoiling of the environment; and
  • even nuclear war.

And many of those who fanatically defend the right of a fetus to emerge from the womb just as fanatically oppose welfare for those mothers who can’t support that newborn.

Lucy, the famous cartoon character in Charles Schultz’ “Peanuts” series, once said: “I love humanity.  It’s people I can’t stand.”  With fetus fanatics, the line runs: “I love fetuses.  Everything else is expendable.”

Ninth, many fetus fanatics believe that since their religion teaches that abortion is wrong, they have a moral duty to enforce that belief on others.

This is especially true for evangelical Christians.  These are the same people who condemn Muslims–such as those in Saudi Arabia–for segregating women, forbidding them to drive and forcing them to wear head scarfs or chadors–loose, usually black robes.

Taliban: Islam’s version of the “Right-to-Life” movement

But while they condemn Islamics for their general intolerance of others’ religious beliefs, they lust to impose their own upon those who belong to other churches.  Or who belong to no church at all.

Tenth, many fetus fanatics are just as opposed to birth control as they are to abortion. Thus, when Georgia University law student Sandra Fluke asked Congress to require insurance companies to cover birth control, Rush Limbaugh branded her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

* * * * *

It’s time to face the blunt truth: A “Conservative Victory,” as Sean Hannity put it, would impose an anti-women Taliban on America.

Thus, a woman who seeks to control her own destiny would be insane to vote for a right-wing candidate.  Just as it would have been insane for a Jewish citizen to give his vote–and his life–to Adolf Hitler.

FETUS FANATICS – PART TWO (OF THREE)

In History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on January 22, 2013 at 12:16 am

Republicans–at state and Federal levels–hate welfare for mothers too poor to support their families.

But they love fetuses.

And to make sure there are plenty of them available, Republicans have launched an all-out war against a woman’s right to abortion–and even birth control.

On June 13, 2012,, the Michigan House of Representatives, by a 70-39 vote, approved sweeping legislation to add regulations and restrictions to abortion practices in the state.

Specifically, the omnibus bill:

  • Criminalizes all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • No exceptions are made for rape victims, the health of the woman or in cases where there is a severe fetal anomaly.
  • Permits a narrow exception when a doctor determines that the mother’s life is at risk.
  • Requires health centers that provide abortions to have surgery rooms, even when they don’t provide surgical abortions.
  • Requires doctors to be present for medication abortions and to screen women for “coercion” before providing an abortion.
  • Creates new regulations for the disposal of fetal remains.
  • Bans “telemedicine” abortions, or the use of technology to prescribe medication for abortion services and the morning-after pill.

The Michigan State Senate hasn’t yet ruled on the measure, though it is expected to ultimately approve it.

Republicans not only oppose abortion, they oppose free speech when this is used to defend a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.

During debate on the above-mentioned bill in June, Michigan House members Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum were forbidden to speak on the House floor about this legislation.

The women were silenced based on a trumped-up charge of “lack of decorum” after Brown told her colleagues, “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina, but no means no.”

On August 19, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) justified his opposition to abortion by claiming that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.

“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare.  If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

“But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, and not attacking the child,” said the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate from Missouri.

“Don’t worry, Wonder Woman. You can’t get pregnant if it’s legitimate rape.”

Earlier, on August 8, he had said during a radio interview: “As far as I’m concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn’t have abortion in this country.”

On November 6, “Mr. Legitimate Rape” lost to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Nine days later, on August 28, the official Republican platform demanded a total ban on abortions when the party assembled to nominate Mitt Romney as its Presidential candidate in Tampa.

Specifically, the platform:

  • Stated that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
  • Called for the passage of a Human Life Amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade and thus ban all abortions.
  • Supported “the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.”
  • Opposed using public revenues to promote or perform abortion.
  • Opposed funding organizations that perform or advocate abortions.
  • Stated that the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.

On October 18, Rep. Joe Walsh, (R-IL) running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinoi against Democrat Tammy Duckworth, said that abortions should not be allowed even when the mother’s life is at risk because of advances in medicine.

“This is an issue that opponents of life throw out there to make us look unreasonable,” Walsh told reporters about the “saving-the-life-of-the-mother” exception.

“There’s no such exception as life of the mother.  And as far as health of the mother, same thing. With advances in science and technology,” he said that it’s almost impossible for a woman to need an abortion to save her life.

“Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions anytime under any reason.”

Walsh had been sued by his ex-wife, Laura, who claimed he owed more than $100,000 in overdue child support and interest.

On November 6, Tammy Duckworth defeated Walsh 55%-45%.

Yet another Republican to embrace the fetus fanatics cause was Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer who pined to be that state’s U.S. Senator.

On October 23, he declared: “The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God.

“I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock was defeated at the polls on November 6.

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, both supported abortion rights–and demanded their repeal.

During his 2002 campaign for Governor of famously liberal Massachusetts, he promised to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

But as a Presidential candidate in 2012, he had to appeal to a different–and fascistic–constituency.  So he supported a “Human Life Amendment” to overturn Roe v. Wade and promised to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.

FETUS FANATICS – PART ONE (OF THREE)

In History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on January 21, 2013 at 12:05 am

Republicans have no shortage of pet hatreds:

  • Socialists (by which they mean Communists)
  • Gays
  • Business regulations
  • Taxes (on the rich)
  • Obama Care” (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)
  • Protecting the environment

But there’s one group they absolutely love: Fetuses.

January 22, 2013, will mark the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion throughout the United States.

Undoubtedly, Washington, D.C. will be Ground Zero for both pro-  and anti-abortion demonstrations on that date.

Congressional Republicans have already signaled their position on the issue.

Tennessee Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R) and Diane Black (R) each reintroduced an identical bill during the first two days of the 2013 legislative session to deny Title X family planning grants to any organization that performs abortions.

The target of that legislation: Planned Parenthood, which receives about $340 million a year in Title X funds for non-abortion health and family planning services.

This is simply the latest in an endless series of Republican attempts to overturn or undercut the right of a woman to control her reproductiver organs.

In 2011, the Kansas legislature, Republicans sponsored a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would:

  • Levy a sales tax on women seeking abortions, including rape victims;
  • Exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withheld medical information to prevent an abortion;
  • Take away tax credits for abortion providers;
  • Remove tax deductions for the purchase of abortion-related insurance coverage; and
  • Require women to hear the fetal heartbeat.

The bill remains stalled in the Kansas State Senate.

In Florida, despite Governor Rick Scott’s campaign promise to focus on job creation, the 2010-2011 session of the Florida legislature passed no job-creation bills.  But it did pass five bills restricting abortion rights.

The bills:

  • Force women to undergo ultrasounds prior to having an abortion
  • Prohibit private insurance coverage of abortion care in the new state health-insurance exchange
  • Require young women to prove the medical necessity of their abortions before a judge in order to bypass parental permission
  • Establish state-sanctioned license plates that funnel money to anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” and
  • Starts the process of amending the state constitution to prohibit the government funding of abortion.

Florida Republicans filed a total of 18 anti-abortion bills during the 2010-2011 session, the third most in the country, according to the ACLU.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said:

  • “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies are “the choice of the women”
  • who should learn “that this is a mistake.”

Grothman recently introduced Senate Bill 507, which, if passed, would formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse.

Additional Republican efforts to ban abortion in 2011 included:

  • State legislators introduced more than 1,100 anti-abortion provisions and had enacted 135 of them by year’s end.
  • Seven states either fully defunded or tried to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides basic health care, contraception, breast cancer and STD screenings to millions of low-income women each year.
  • In Congress, Republicans sponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notifcation Act, making it illegal for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines to seek an abortion–even if her parents are absent or abusive.
  • Used attacks on abortion and Planned Parenthood funding to extort Democratic concessions during budget negotiations and threatened to shut down the government.
  • Introduced mandatory ultrasound bills.
  • Tried to narrow the definition of rape to include only “forcible rape.”  Under this change, a woman who was coerced, drugged or otherwise incapacitated by a rapist, would not be legally counted as a rape victim.
  • Republicans barred the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to help low-income women pay for abortions.

During just the first two months of 2012:

  • At the state level, Virginia Republicans introduced a bill whose original language required women to undergo an invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedure 24 hours before having an abortion.
  • Following widespread outrage, a modified version of the bill–requiring women to receive trans-abdominal ultrasounds, was signed into law instead.
  • With the connivance of House Republicans, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, tried to pull cancer-screening grants from Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics provide abortions.  Upon huge public outcry, this decision was quickly reversed.

  • The House Oversight Committee convened a hearing to deny contraceptive insurance coverage under the guise of “protecting religious liberty.”  The Democrats’ one female witness, Sandra Fluke, a third-year Georgetown University law student, was forbidden to speak at it.
  • Right-wing broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and Foster Friess–Rick Santorum’s chief financial backer–publicly equated birth control use to sexual promiscuity.

On March 8, 2012–International Women’s Day–U.S Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) marked the occasion by asking his Twitter followers to join him in celebrating National Agriculture Day.

Blunt had sponsored an amendment that would have allowed employers to refuse health care coverage of any kind for “moral reasons.”

It was voted down in the Senate on March 1.

Many Republicans are still trying to revive the Blunt amendment.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has promised to continue the fight in the House.

FETUS FANATICS – PART THREE (OF THREE)

In Law, Politics, Social commentary on October 29, 2012 at 12:31 am

So what’s responsible for all this fetus fanaticism?

Several factors.

First, there is an energized constituency for politicians willing to wave this red flag.  Almost every major Republican Presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan has tapped into this voting bloc.  And each has found plenty of votes to be gotten from it.

Second, many fetus fanatics are more than a little obsessed with sex.  These are the same people who, in Victorian times, used “white meat” when ordering a chicken breast and “dark meat” when ordering a chicken thigh.

If fetuses weren’t produced by sex, a lot of these people wouldn’t care about this issue.

Third, many fetus fanatics are flat-out hypocrites.  For example: Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), an anti-abortion, “family values” doctor, had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion.

People like this subscribe to a philosophy of: “Do as I say, not as I do.  And if I do it, it’s in the service of a Higher Cause and therefore entirely justified.”

Fourth, many fetus fanatics feel guilty about their own past sexual transgressions–especially if these resulted in pregnancy.  And they want to prevent others from living the same life they did.

Some of these people are well-intentioned.  Even so, they usurp unto themselves a God-like right to intrude on the most intimate decisions for others–regardless of what those people may need or want.

Fifth, many fetus fanatics embrace contradictory goals.  On one hand, most of them claim they want to “get government off the backs of the people.”  That usually means allowing corporations to pollute, sell dangerous products and treat their employees as slaves.

On the other hand, they want to insert the government into the vagina of every woman.  That means empowering State and Federal authorities to prevent women from getting an abortion–even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

Sixth, many fetus fanatics simply dislike women.  They fear and resent the women’s movement, which has given women the right to enter the workforce and compete directly with men.

And what they hate most is the legal right of a woman to avoid becoming pregnant via birth control–or to abort the result of a male’s sperm if they do.  They see this as a personal rejection.  Perhaps it reminds many of them of their own failures in romance/marriage.

The Right is made up overwhelmingly of white males.  And many of these men would feel entirely at home with a Christianized version of the Taliban.  They long for a world where women meekly cater to their every demand and believe only what their male masters approve for them to believe.  The trouble for these men is they don’t speak Arabic.

Seventh, many leaders of the fetus-fanatics movement are independently wealthy.  This means that even if abortion could be outlawed for the vast majority, they could always bribe a willing doctor–here or abroad–to perform such an operation on their wife, daughter and/or mistress.  For them, there is always an escape clause.

Eighth, many fetus fanatics are not truly “pro-life.”  They totally oppose abortion under most–if not all–circumstances.   But they also fully support capital punishment, going to war for almost any reason, wholesale massacres of wildlife and despoiling of the environment, and even nuclear war.

And many of those who fanatically defend the right of a fetus to emerge from the womb just as fanatically oppose welfare for those mothers who can’t support that newborn.

Lucy, the famous cartoon character in Charles Schultz’ “Peanuts” series, once said: “I love humanity.  It’s people I can’t stand.”  With fetus fanatics, the line runs: “I love fetuses.  Everything else is expendable.”

Ninth, many fetus fanatics believe that since their religion teaches that abortion is wrong, they have a moral duty to enforce that belief on others.

This is especially true for evangelical Christians.  These are the same people who condemn Muslims–such as those in Saudi Arabia–for segregating women, forbidding them to drive and forcing them to wear head scarfs or chadors–loose, usually black robes.

But while they condemn Islamics for their general intolerance of others’ religious beliefs, they lust to impose their own upon those who belong to other churches.  Or who belong to no church at all.

Tenth, many fetus fanatics are just as opposed to birth control as they are to abortion.  Thus, when Georgia University law student Sandra Fluke asked Congress to require insurance companies to cover birth control, Rush Limbaugh branded her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

 * * * * *

It’s time to face the blunt truth: A “Conservative Victory,” as Sean Hannity put it, would impose an anti-women Taliban on America.

Thus, a woman who seeks to control her own destiny would be insane to vote for a right-wing candidate.  Just as it would have been insane for a Jewish citizen to give his vote–and his life–to Adolf Hitler.

FETUS FANATICS – PART TWO (OF THREE)

In Law, Politics, Social commentary on October 26, 2012 at 12:00 am

Republicans–at state and Federal levels–hate welfare for mothers too poor to support their families.

But they love fetuses.

And to make sure there’s always an ample supply of them on hand, Republicans have launched an all-out war against a woman’s right to abortion–and even birth control.

On June 13, the Michigan House of Representatives, by a 70-39 vote, approved sweeping legislation to add regulations and restrictions to abortion practices in the state.

Specifically, the omnibus bill:

  • Criminalizes all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • No exceptions are made for rape victims, the health of the woman or in cases where there is a severe fetal anomaly.
  • A narrow exception is permitted when the mother’s life is at risk, as determined by a physician.
  • Requires health centers that provide abortions to have surgery rooms, even when they don’t provide surgical abortions.
  • Requires doctors to be present for medication abortions and to screen women for “coercion” before providing an abortion.
  • Creates new regulations for the disposal of fetal remains.
  • Bann “telemedicine” abortions, or the use of technology to prescribe medication for abortion services and the morning-after pill.

The Michigan State Senate has yet to rule on the measure, though it is expected to ultimately approve it.

Not only do Republicans oppose abortion, they stand foursquare against free speech when this is used to defend a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.

During debate on the above-mentioned bill in June, House members Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum were forbidden to speak on the House floor about this legislation.

The women were silenced based on a trumped-up charge of “lack of decorum” after Brown told her colleagues, “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina, but no means no.”

On August 19, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), justified his opposition to abortion by claiming that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.

“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” said the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate from Missouri.

“But let’s assume maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Earlier, on August 8, he had said during a radio interview: “As far as I’m concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn’t have abortion in this country.”

Nine days later, on August 28, the official Republican platform demanded a total ban on abortions when the party assembled to nominate Mitt Romney as its Presidential candidate in Tampa.

Specifically, the platform:

  • States that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
  • Calls for the passage of a Human Life Amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade and thus ban all abortions.
  • Supports “the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.”
  • Opposes using public revenues to promote or perform abortion.
  • Opposes funding organizations that perform or advocate abortions.
  • States that the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.

On October 18, Rep. Joe Walsh, (R-IL) running for U.S. Senator from Illinoi against Democrat Tammy Duckworth, said that abortions should not be allowed even when the mother’s life is at risk because of advances in medicine.

“This is an issue that opponents of life throw out there to make us look unreasonable,” Walsh told reporters about the “saving-the-life-of-the-mother” exception.

“There’s no such exception as life of the mother.  And as far as health of the mother, same thing. With advances in science and technology,” he said that it’s almost impossible for a woman to need an abortion to save her life.

“Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions anytime under any reason.”

The latest Republican to enter the abortion wars is Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer who pines to be that state’s U.S. Senator.

On October 23, he declared: “The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God.

“I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for President, has both supported abortion rights–and demanded their repeal.

During his 2002 campaign for Governor of famously liberal Massachusetts, he promised to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Running for President in 2012, he had to appeal to a different–and entirely fascistic–constituency.  So he supported a “Human Life Amendment” to overturn Roe v. Wade and promised to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.

FETUS FANATICS – PART ONE (OF THREE)

In Law, Politics, Social commentary, Uncategorized on October 25, 2012 at 12:15 am

Republicans have no shortage of pet hatreds:

  • Communists
  • Liberals (by which they mean “communists”)
  • “Uppity” women
  • Gays
  • Business regulations
  • Taxes (on the rich)
  • Obama Care” (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)
  • Banking regulations
  • Protecting the environment

But there’s one group they can’t get enough of: Fetuses.

Consider:

In 2011, the Kansas legislature, Republicans sponsored a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would:

  • Levy a sales tax on women seeking abortions, including rape victims;
  • Exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withheld medical information to prevent an abortion;
  • Take away tax credits for abortion providers;
  • Remove tax deductions for the purchase of abortion-related insurance coverage; and
  • Require women to hear the fetal heartbeat.

In Florida, despite Governor Rick Scott’s campaign promise to focus on job creation, the 2010-2011 session of the Florida legislature passed no job-creation bills.  But it did pass five bills restricting abortion rights.

The bills:

  • Force women to undergo ultrasounds prior to having an abortion
  • Prohibit private insurance coverage of abortion care in the new state health-insurance exchange
  • Require young women to prove the medical necessity of their abortions before a judge in order to bypass parental permission
  • Establish state-sanctioned license plates that funnel money to anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” and
  • Starts the process of amending the state constitution to prohibit the government funding of abortion.

Florida Republicans filed a total of 18 anti-abortion bills during the 2010-2011 session, the third most in the country, according to the ACLU, and twice the number of anti-choice laws introduced last year in the state, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.

In Congress, Republicans are sponsoring the Child Interstate Abortion Notifcation Act, which would make it illegal for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines to seek an abortion–even if her parents are absent or abusive.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said:

  • “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies are “the choice of the women”
  • who should learn “that this is a mistake.”

Grothman recently introduced Senate Bill 507, which, if passed, would formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse.

On March 8–International Women’s Day–U.S Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) marked the occasion by asking his Twitter followers to join him in celebrating National Agriculture Day.

Blunt had sponsored an amendment that would have allowed employers to refuse health care coverage of any kind for “moral reasons.”

It was voted down in the Senate on March 1.

Many Republicans are still trying to revive the Blunt amendment.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has promised to continue the fight in the House.

Republicans spent much of 2011 challenging women’s reproductive rights.  At the state level:

  • State legislators introduced more than 1,100 anti-abortion provisions and had enacted 135 of them by year’s end.
  • Seven states either fully defunded or tried to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides basic health care, contraception, breast cancer and STD screenings to millions of low-income women each year.

At the Congressional level, Republicans

  • Used attacks on abortion and Planned Parenthood funding to extort Democratic concessions during budget negotiations and threatened to shut down the government.
  • Introduced mandatory ultrasound bills.
  • Tried to narrow the definition of rape to include only “forcible rape.”  Under this change, a woman who was coerced, drugged or otherwise incapacitated by a rapist, would not be legally counted as a rape victim.
  • Republicans barred the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to help low-income women pay for abortions.

During just the first two months of 2012:

  • At the state level, Virginia Republicans introduced a bill whose original language required women to undergo an invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedure 24 hours before having an abortion.
  • Following widespread outrage, a modified version of the bill–requiring women to receive trans-abdominal ultrasounds, was signed into law instead.
  • With the connivance of House Republicans, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, tried to pull cancer-screening grants from Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics provide abortions.  Upon huge public outcry, this decision was quickly reversed.
  • The House Oversight Committee convened a hearing to deny contraceptive insurance coverage under the guise of “protecting religious liberty.”  The Democrats’ one female witness, Sandra Fluke, a third-year Georgetown University law student, was forbidden to speak at it.
  • Right-wing broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and Foster Friess–Rick Santorum’s chief financial backer–publicly equated birth control use to sexual promiscuity.

On July 24, House Republicans voted on a bill, centered on Washington, D.C., that would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“We will stand for a commitment to protect little babies that have no other people to protect them,” shouted its author, Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). “By the grace of God, we’re going to do that!”

The bill was defeated on a vote of 220 to 154.

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