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How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion

ATLANTA — The pin was small, and rusted on the back. Sharon Wood had packed it away in 1973 as a relic of a battle fought and won: the image of a black coat hanger, slashed out by a red line.

Then this spring, her home state, Georgia, joined a cascade of states outlawing abortion at the earliest stages of pregnancy. Ms. Wood did what she never imagined she would need to do again. She dug it out, and pinned it on.

“Don’t ask me how it all happened,” Ms. Wood, 70, a retired social worker northeast of Atlanta, said one Sunday afternoon, the pin on her dress. “I know so many people who said they woke up when Trump was elected. Well, they shouldn’t have been asleep.”

For years, abortion rights supporters like Ms. Wood believed the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling had delivered their ultimate goal, the right to reproductive choice. Now, they are grappling with a new reality: Nationwide access to abortion is more vulnerable than it has been in decades.

In a six-month period this year, states across the South and Midwest passed 58 abortion restrictions. Alabama banned the procedure almost entirely. Lawmakers in Ohio introduced a similar bill shortly before Thanksgiving. And in March, the Supreme Court will hear its first major abortion case since President Trump added two conservative justices and shifted the court to the right; how it rules could reshape the constitutional principles governing abortion rights.

For abortion opponents, this moment of ascendancy was years in the making. Set back on their heels when President Barack Obama took office, they started methodically working from the ground up. They focused on delivering state legislatures and gerrymandered districts into Republican control. They passed abortion restrictions in red states and pushed for conservative judges to protect them.

And then unexpectedly, and serendipitously, Mr. Trump won the White House. Ending legal abortion appeared within their reach.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164983881_f3dce501-2691-4cd2-bb5f-cd3f48488180-articleLarge How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion Women's Rights Women and Girls Wen, Leana United States Politics and Government Richards, Cecile Presidential Election of 2020 Planned Parenthood Federation of America Naral Pro-Choice America McGill Johnson, Alexis Law and Legislation Democratic Party Birth Control and Family Planning Alabama Abortion

Sharon Wood supported abortion rights in the early 1970s. Now she worries that those rights are vanishing across the country.Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Times

As Planned Parenthood and its progressive allies have rallied the resistance, the shift in fortunes in the abortion wars has been mostly attributed to the right’s well-executed game plan. Less attention has been paid to the left’s role in its own loss of power.

But interviews with more than 50 reproductive rights leaders, clinic directors, political strategists and activists over the past three months reveal a fragmented movement facing longstanding divisions — cultural, financial and political. Many said that abortion rights advocates and leading reproductive rights groups had made several crucial miscalculations that have put them on the defensive.

“It’s really, really complicated and somewhat controversial where the pro-choice movement lost,” said Johanna Schoen, a professor at Rutgers University who has studied the history of abortion.

National leaders became overly reliant on the protections granted by a Democratic presidency under Mr. Obama and a relatively balanced Supreme Court, critics say, leading to overconfidence that their goals were not seriously threatened. Their expectation that Mr. Trump would lose led them to forgo battles they now wish they had fought harder, like Judge Merrick B. Garland’s failed nomination to the bench.

Local activists in states like Alabama, Georgia, North Dakota and Missouri where abortion was under siege say national leaders lost touch with the ways that access to abortion was eroding in Republican strongholds.

“Looking at the prior presidential administration, there was a perception that everything is fine,” said Kwajelyn Jackson, the executive director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center, an independent clinic in Atlanta that has provided abortions since 1976. “We were screaming at the top of our lungs, everything is not fine, please pay attention.”

Discord at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest and most influential abortion provider, exacerbated the problem. In July the group’s new president, Dr. Leana Wen, was forced out in a messy departure highlighting deep internal division over her management style and how much emphasis to place on the political fight for abortion rights.

Planned Parenthood’s acting head, Alexis McGill Johnson, said that Mr. Trump’s election, new abortion restrictions and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court provided a wake-up call to many national leaders, including herself, that forced them to confront the entrenched challenges of class dividing their movement.

“A lot of us are awakening to the fact that if you are wealthy, if you live in the New York ZIP code or California ZIP code or Illinois ZIP code, your ability to access reproductive health care is not in jeopardy in the same way that it is in other states,” Ms. McGill Johnson said in an interview.

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The right is pouncing on this moment of tumult, threatening to wield abortion politics to its favor in the 2020 presidential race. A leading anti-abortion political group, the Susan B. Anthony List, has more than doubled its campaign budget, from $18 million in 2016 to $41 million this cycle. Its goal is to reach four million voters, up from 1.2 million in 2016. The group says surveys it has conducted in swing states like Arizona and North Carolina show that portraying Democrats as supporters of infanticide — an allegation the left says is patently false — can win neutral voters to their side.

“They have fallen from that pinnacle of power to this,” Penny Nance, president of the Concerned Women for America, a conservative group that opposes abortion, said of the abortion rights movement.

“I hope they continue doing what they are doing,” she said of the left’s political strategy. “We’ll run the table in 2020.”

On the campaign trail, national Democrats have responded by making unqualified support for abortion a litmus test to shore up a progressive base, boxing in moderate candidates in red states and leaving little room for the complex views on the issue that most Americans hold.

In June, when Joseph R. Biden Jr. reaffirmed his decades-long support for the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions, he was harshly criticized by supporters of abortion rights, including from within his own campaign; within a day he had changed his stance. In November, the Democratic Attorneys General Association announced it would support only candidates who support abortion rights and access.

Amid the high political maneuvering, there are fundamental internal divisions that the abortion rights movement has not resolved, especially between Planned Parenthood and the independent clinics that perform most abortion procedures.

This past summer, for instance, after Alabama passed its near-total abortion ban, celebrities and liberal donors opened their checkbooks en masse to support Planned Parenthood. The founder of Tumblr gave $1 million. The pop star Ariana Grande held a benefit concert.

At the same time, Gloria Gray, who heads the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, said she couldn’t afford to give her staff raises or pay for a $20,000 fence to keep the daily protesters off the property. Her crowdfunding effort produced about $4,000.

Ms. Gray’s clinic performed about 3,300 abortions last year, more than half of all the procedures in Alabama. Planned Parenthood’s two clinics performed none.

“With the national organizations,” she said, “we seem to be left out.”

The cultural and financial disconnect between regional clinics and national leaders in the abortion rights movement has been brewing for years. Tammi Kromenaker, who runs the only remaining abortion clinic in North Dakota, said she saw the national crisis coming in 2013, when North Dakota became the first state to enact a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

At an annual working group meeting with abortion rights leaders — “folks from the coasts,” she recalled — the conversation centered not on the challenges to abortion rights in her state but on whether artwork conveying female power in a New York clinic’s waiting area was too provocative and would alienate its changing patient base.

A short time later at a different annual meeting, an activist from California suggested North Dakota advocates should have had a better messaging strategy to prevent the ban. “You don’t think we have the right message?” Ms. Kromenaker remembered in exasperation. “We have given every message.”

“They are never threatened, so they never have to think the way we do,” she said, referring to national leaders.

Independent clinics like Ms. Kromenaker’s and Ms. Gray’s in Alabama — unaffiliated with Planned Parenthood — perform about 60 percent of the country’s abortion procedures, according to groups that track the data. Those clinics have essentially no lobbying or political power.

Few state activists want to question Planned Parenthood or its strategy publicly, especially when they are allies in court and some receive financial support from the national organization. Planned Parenthood affiliates, with plaintiffs like the American Civil Liberties Union, have sued to block the restrictions this year in eight states, offering legal muscle many independent clinics cannot provide for themselves. Some laws have been temporarily blocked from going into effect in the lower courts, though they could end up being decided by the Supreme Court.

Many people interviewed acknowledged the unique pressures Planned Parenthood faced, especially as conservative activists made defunding the group a top policy objective in recent years.

Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion rights organization NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that independent clinics “absolutely” needed to be better funded, but that ultimately protecting the clinics depended on bigger changes.

“I don’t think they will be able to continue to operate at all if you don’t shift the culture and politics,” she said. “The trajectory we are on will outlaw service.”

Still, some worry that Planned Parenthood and other national groups have overly prioritized politics and power instead of patients and providers. Though Planned Parenthood is perhaps best known as the nation’s largest abortion provider, it provides a range of health services across more than 600 centers across the country, including contraception; testing for sexually transmitted infections; and hormone therapy for transgender patients.

The tension between Planned Parenthood’s political goals and its mission as a health provider was one of the main reasons Dr. Wen, with a background as a physician, had such a stormy tenure as president.

Pamela Merritt, who co-founded a reproductive rights group called Reproaction in 2015, compared Planned Parenthood’s legal priorities to a lobbyist for a commercial enterprise like McDonald’s, focused on protecting its own business needs. Activists refer to the organization and its outsize influence, she said, as “the big pink elephant in the room.”

“The movement needs independent providers that provide most abortions to be loud and out front,” said Ms. Merritt, who described herself as an “unapologetic lefty.”

For many of those independent providers, the problem extends well beyond politics.

In Alabama, Ms. Gray’s biggest challenges are practical. Drug prices for medical abortions are high, she can’t find a physician to replace her aging medical director, and an electrician recently refused services because he opposed abortion, she said.

Amid these pressures her client base has grown, especially because Planned Parenthood has not provided abortions in Alabama since March 2017, according to state department of heath data, though it advertised the service. Critics say that Planned Parenthood has been more focused on using the political climate in Alabama to raise money than on providing health care services.

After multiple inquiries over several weeks from The New York Times about when and why Planned Parenthood clinics stopped providing abortions in Alabama, the regional affiliate president, Staci Fox, said the group planned to resume providing abortions later this year. The group also removed web pages advertising the procedure in Birmingham and Mobile.

Planned Parenthood health centers are all 501(c)(3) nonprofits, but 85 percent of independent clinics are not, according to the Abortion Care Network, the national association for community-based abortion providers, which has 13 staff members and no political advocacy arm. Clinics like Ms. Gray’s are for-profit businesses that rely on payments for services to stay open.

The financial challenges are daunting. In Arizona, independent clinic leaders are expanding the Abortion Fund of Arizona, a NARAL project that provides direct assistance to abortion patients; it has received about $50,000 in donations this year, said Donna Matthews, the fund’s treasurer. In Arkansas, the Little Rock Family Planning Services, a small for-profit that offers the only surgical abortion services in the state, received a $30,000 grant from the National Women’s Law Center.

Ms. McGill Johnson of Planned Parenthood pushed back against criticism that her group was inattentive to the needs of small abortion providers. The broader reproductive rights ecosystem, she said, was crucial. “We recognize that Planned Parenthood is one small piece of the work to defend access,” she said.

“Pitting us against each other makes it impossible to provide health care,” Ms. McGill Johnson added. “The only way we survive is by building the strongest network possible.”

Still, the fragmentation in the movement has persisted. In Alabama, that was evident in the growing popularity of the Yellowhammer Fund, a nonprofit started in 2017 that covers medical, travel and other costs for low-income abortion patients. After Alabama’s ban was enacted, prominent national groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, as well Democrats like Senator Bernie Sanders, rushed to support the group.

The Yellowhammer Fund raised $4 million in 10 weeks, and its director, Amanda Reyes, said about $500,000 was budgeted to cover abortion procedures. Ms. Gray and the two other independent clinic directors in the state had hoped more resources would be directed to meet their needs. But Ms. Reyes has put forth a different vision to address broader challenges that women of color and low-income families might face, like access to financial and health care resources to care for additional children.

Yellowhammer is planning to support other aspects of reproductive rights, like doula care, she said, and hopes to build new “reproductive justice centers” designed to compete with anti-abortion pregnancy centers by providing things like diapers and pregnancy tests.

Their efforts are a sign that the left knows it needs new strategies, but also of the wide disagreement over what they should be. In describing her vision, Ms. Reyes used language some say is similar to the rhetoric frequently deployed by abortion rights’ fiercest opponents.

“If all we do as an organization is pay for abortions for low-income people, we are eugenicists,” Ms. Reyes said. “That is not transformational work. That is slapping a Band-Aid on a huge problem.”

At a NARAL town hall event with Bernie Sanders this summer, Karina Chávez rallied a crowd in a Des Moines ballroom by describing how she had an abortion at age 14. The father, her boyfriend, would become a drug addict, and her Catholic parents fiercely opposed abortion. The procedure itself, she said, was the easier part.

“Making a decision about your reproductive health doesn’t need to be a traumatic life experience,” Ms. Chavez, a Sanders supporter, told several hundred voters.

Her position reflects a wing of the reproductive rights movement that encourages women to “Shout your abortion,” and that believes building cultural support for the procedure depends on destigmatizing it.

“Going moderate, it is not a winning strategy,” said Jessica González-Rojas, who leads the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Politically, that means mirroring the right’s successful tactic of doubling down on a firm position — and using energy from the liberal base instead of building bipartisan, cultural support.

This has led to close alignment with the Democratic Party. In recent years, Planned Parenthood has become one of the biggest sources of volunteer power for Democratic campaigns. In 2018, the group’s political arm gave more than $1.1 million to Democrats and just $5,735 to Republicans, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Democratic Party has rejected the message that drove its politics since President Bill Clinton’s administration — that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” — and embraced abortion rights with few stipulations. Every leading Democratic presidential candidate has fallen in line.

But unlike support for same-sex marriage, which rose drastically before it was legalized nationwide, Americans’ views on abortion have remained relatively consistent since 1975. A majority of Americans believe the procedure should be legal — but only in certain cases, according to Gallup’s long-running tracking poll.

Some abortion rights supporters worry that establishing abortion rights as a Democratic litmus test is too inflexible for Americans conflicted over abortion. They fear that it could hurt the party in rural areas and the more moderate, suburban districts that may hold the key to regaining the White House, and where many of the remaining vulnerable abortion clinics are.

Only five Democrats who oppose abortion rights remain in Congress, according to congressional votes tracked by NARAL, and at least two are facing primary challenges from women who have made support for abortion rights a key part of their campaign. In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards, a rare Democratic officeholder in the South, won re-election last month after campaigning on his support for a state law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.

J.D. Scholten, a Democrat running to replace Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican, said that about 60 percent of voters in his culturally conservative district considered themselves “pro-life.”

“Where I’m from, we have a pretty big tent,” he said. “We can’t be writing off people. I need all the votes I can get.”

But many activists dispute the notion that compromise with abortion opponents constitutes a success. Appealing to the middle prioritizes the views of white moderates at the expense of the health care needs of women of color, critics like Ms. Merritt of Reproaction say.

“You have to change the structures,” she said. “We have ceded ground we didn’t need to about the power of our ideas.”

Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood and the woman most associated with the reproductive rights movement under President Obama, has shifted her efforts and formed a new organization, Supermajority, that casts abortion as part of a wide range of issues affecting women.

Over a breakfast of eggs and biscuits in Birmingham, Ms. Richards and two of her co-founders said they saw an opening to talk about female empowerment instead of narrower debates like when pregnancy termination should be allowed. That means building an interracial alliance with activists working on issues like immigration, economic justice and gender equality.

“Look, movements ebb and flow, it does not mean that movement was a failure,” Ms. Richards said. “We can learn things from the past, and we can also do things differently.”

All of these efforts will be tested in the coming months, as both parties move into the pressure cooker of a general election and a series of court battles, where abortion politics will be front and center. For Ms. Wood, the woman with the rusted pin, the conflict feels familiar.

As she waited for the kickoff event of the Supermajority tour, she compared the moment to the pre-Roe years. Abortion rights advocates must rebuild their grass-roots power, she said, or risk suffering the consequences.

“I’ve stayed politically active,” Ms. Wood said as she stood in the half-empty hall. “But without a movement around you, it’s hard to feel empowered.”

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A sign of the times. The remarkable quiet that follows Labour’s commitment to decriminalise abortion up until birth

The Labour Party was clearly disturbed by the Catholic Herald‘s recent account of its election abortion policy.  It wants to stress that “abortion procedures and those performing them must be properly regulated” and that there would be  “wide public consultation on the detail of new laws and regulations”.

And the party’s manifesto does not say in terms what the Herald reports – that “the Labour Party would decriminalise abortion in Britain, making it legal to have an abortion for any reason up to the birth of a child”.

However, the Herald‘s reading of the manifesto is undoubtedly correct.  It says that “we will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions”.  Some will find it deeply disturbing to see it proposed that state healthcare provision could thus simultaneously provide for the delivery of some babies and the abortion of others up to birth under the same roof as a matter of usual course – this site included.

But what is striking is the lack of comment and debate about Labour’s proposed policy, whatever one’s view of it.  After all, it is not only pro-lifers who might jib at the United Kingdom acquiring one of the most permissive abortion laws in the world.  (The most common time limit among EU member states is twelve weeks.) Some of those who back the current legal settlement would do so.

One might expect the Catholic Church to object vociferously.  But this is not the way of the bishops of England and Wales who tend for a series of reasons to keep their heads down.  An election statement released yesterday by the church in effect asks election candidates to commit themselves to “the innate dignity of every human being; defending both the child in the womb, the good of the mother and an understanding of the immeasurable good of a child not yet born”.

This is the first of nine such requirements, and the church is unlikely either to prioritise it above the others or to single out Labour’s policy.  The Archbishop of Westminster did not join the Archbishop of Canterbury in displaying public solidarity earlier this week with the Chief Rabbi over anti-semitism.  The Church of England does not take quite the same view of abortion as the Catholic Church, but it is likely to be unhappy about Labour’s policy.

So too will be members of other faiths and of none. It will be said that Labour isn’t going to win the election, so why bother getting worked up about this policy?  But the same principle applies to, say, the party’s tax approach – and many of us spend a lot of time poring over that.  It’s worth noting that the one like the other would presumably be whipped.  And there would be a big push within Labour to legislate for the abortion policy.

This site is not repeat not advising the Conservaties to weigh in.  The party has traditionally taken the view that abortion is a conscience issue and therefore should not be whipped.  But it should get across the details of abortion policy – including the polling on it which, when this site last looked, found that women have a more restrictive attitude to it than men.

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Abortion Is New Litmus Test for Democratic Attorneys General Group

Westlake Legal Group 18ABORTION-AG-facebookJumbo Abortion Is New Litmus Test for Democratic Attorneys General Group United States Politics and Government United States Endorsements Elections, Attorneys General Democratic Attorneys General Association Attorneys General Abortion

WASHINGTON — An association of Democratic state attorneys general will become the first national party committee to impose an explicit abortion litmus test on its candidates, announcing on Monday that it will refuse to endorse anyone who does not support reproductive rights and expanding access to abortion services.

To win financial and strategic backing from the group, candidates will be required to make a public statement declaring their support of abortion rights. The group, the Democratic Attorneys General Association, recruits candidates and helps their campaigns with financial support, data analysis, messaging and policy positions.

The decision comes as a series of state legislatures have approved restrictive laws designed to provoke a renewed legal battle over abortion rights, with the aim to reach the United States Supreme Court and topple Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

“Attorneys general are on the front lines of the fight for reproductive freedom,” Letitia James, the New York attorney general, said in a video promoting the group’s decision, which featured news media coverage of the new state laws. “They have the power to protect your rights.”

The new standard is unlikely to have an immediate impact on incumbents: Of 27 Democratic attorneys general currently in office, just one — Jim Hood of Mississippi — describes himself as a “pro-life Democrat.” But officials believe it could have a ripple effect through the Democratic ecosystem, reflecting the changing mores of a national party that has moved sharply to the left in the Trump era and embraced a set of purity tests on divisive social issues.

“State attorneys general are now on the map as taking the lead when it comes to Democratic values,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon, who is a co-chair of the committee and seeking re-election next year. “We are going to be the ones to be right out in front and hopefully the other committees will follow right along.”

Attorneys general have emerged as one of the strongest points of resistance to President Trump’s conservative agenda, crafting joint lawsuits that challenge his efforts to deport immigrants, undo the Affordable Care Act, roll back environmental regulations and limit funding for family planning programs.

But the new litmus test worries some Democrats who fear it could hurt their party in rural areas and the more moderate, suburban districts that won Democrats control of the House last fall and may represent their path back to the White House.

Former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who served two terms as her state’s Attorney General, described the decision as “wrongheaded.” She lost her seat representing her deep red state after voting against the confirmation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh last year.

Ms. Heitkamp cited the example of Gov. John Bel Edwards, of Louisiana, a rare Democratic officeholder in the South, who won re-election on Saturday, after campaigning on his opposition to abortion and support for a state law barring abortion after the pulsing of what becomes the fetus’s heart can be detected.

“There are very principled people, who are Democrats, who feel very strongly about this issue for religious reasons and when you say you’re not welcome in our party I think it is exclusionary,” she said. “You have to look at the totality of a candidate.”

While the group’s executive committee began discussing their new standard three years ago, the conversations accelerated after Georgia passed a law in May that would effectively ban abortions as early as six weeks. A federal judge in the state temporarily blocked the statute last month as a lawsuit challenging it proceeds.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association is not dictating how Democratic attorneys general deal with laws restricting abortion rights, should they win office. So far, Democratic attorneys general have adopted a series of approaches when those laws have been challenged in court.

In Iowa, Tom Miller, the longest serving Attorney General in the country, has refused to defend a state abortion law that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy, saying the statute is a violation of his “core belief.” But in Minnesota, Attorney General Keith Ellison, a staunchly liberal Democrat, is defending a slate of state laws restricting abortion access, despite his personal views on the issue.

Earlier this year, Democratic attorneys general in Michigan and New Mexico pledged not to prosecute people seeking abortions or providers should Roe be overturned. Both states have laws that would criminalize abortion if the Supreme Court upends the ruling.

“We trust in our Democratic attorneys general once they are in office to study their own laws and determine what their strategy will be,” said Ms. Rosenblum. “We’re not asking commitments for how they will handle a specific case.”

Officials at the organization believe their new policy will help attract more diverse candidates and increase the number of women who run for the office. Two years ago, they pledged that by 2022 at least half the party’s attorneys general would be women.

Traditionally, the attorney general position is a steppingstone for higher offices, including governorships and congressional seats.

Sean Rankin, DAGA’s executive director, said of the new policy: “It’s actually increasing the size of the tent.”

“Even in states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona, we’ve run pro-choice candidates who’ve done extraordinarily well, ” he said.

The committee has grown from a part-time operation to a robust organization during the Trump era, moving into new offices and expecting to raise nearly $35 million this cycle, about a third more than it raised for the 2018 races. A dozen attorneys general seats will be on ballots next year.

Public opinion on abortion rights is notoriously difficult to gauge because so much depends on how the question is phrased to voters. But according to Gallup, Americans have remained relatively consistent since 1975: Slightly more than half think abortion should be legal only in certain cases; about a quarter think it should be legal in any case; and just under a quarter think it should never be legal.

Democrats have been steadily moving to the left on abortion since the 2016 election, largely dispensing with the message that drove their politics for decades — that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”

When Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was asked in the first primary debate if there was any restriction on abortion she supported, she didn’t name one. No other candidate on the stage did, either.

“We’ve been on defense for 47 years, ever since Roe was decided. And year by year, in state after state, the ground has crumbled under our feet,” Ms. Warren told Marie Claire magazine this fall. “I think it’s time to go on offense.”

Even former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a practicing Catholic who has struggled with the question of abortion over his entire political career, reversed his decades-long support earlier this year for a measure that prohibited federal funding for most abortions, after facing immense pressure from Democrats.

Only five Democrats who oppose some abortion rights remain in Congress. At least two of those lawmakers — Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas and Representative Dan Lipinski of Illinois — are facing primary challenges from women who have made their support for abortion rights a key part of their campaign message.

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Abortion Clinic Asks Ambulance to Drive With No Sirens to Not Draw Attention to Botched Abortion

Westlake Legal Group Abortion-20-week-old-fetus Abortion Clinic Asks Ambulance to Drive With No Sirens to Not Draw Attention to Botched Abortion Texas hospital healthcare Front Page Stories Featured Story Clinic Botched Abortion austin ambulance Allow Media Exception Abortion

If an abortion goes wrong, patients must be taken to an actual clinic or hospital where the patient can then be worked on by actual medical staff. This usually means an ambulance ride, but for an abortion clinic in Austin, Texas, presenting the idea that abortions are the safest and healthiest thing any woman can do must be maintained.

According to LifeNews.com, records of a 9-1-1 call show that the Austin abortion clinic “Whole Woman’s Health” messed up an abortion procedure in August and requested an ambulance come and retrieve a patient. The clinic requested that the ambulance nix the sirens so as not to draw attention according to the call transcript:

WWH: “So, we’re transporting a patient.  She was having a surgical procedure here with us for termination services, and unfortunately she’s having some type of an infection that makes us unable to continue with the procedure, so the doctor wanted to transfer her to the hospital.”

911: “How old is the patient?”

WWH: “She is 31.”

. . .

WWH: “Yes, and if you could request that they come without the sirens?”

911: “Yeah, they do come with their sirens, but they usually shut them down when they get close.”

The abortion clinic was reportedly going through a multi-day procedure that involves opening the cervix over the course of one or two days then dismembering the baby within the womb. It’s unclear if the clinic was the cause of the infection, but the clinic had to halt the procedure and allow the hospital to finish it according to records.

“Calling for an ambulance to run with no sirens shows that Whole Woman’s Health is trying to hide their medical emergencies from the public,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman according to LifeNews.  “Women have the right to know what they face when they walk into an abortion facility, and that is one of the reasons we publish these incidents. The public needs to understand just how dangerous abortions really are.”

The current narrative from the pro-abortion advocates is that abortion is incredibly routine and safe, however, botched abortions happen more often than they’d like to tell you. According to Fox News, babies are actually born alive during botched abortions more often than the media is likely to discuss:

The most recent information comes from Minnesota, which reported in June that three infants were born alive in 2018 after induced termination of a pregnancy. That brings the state total to 11 since 2016. Arizona reported 10 in 2017 and Florida had 19 such instances since 2017. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 143 cases between 2003 and 2014 of infants born after attempted abortions, though those figures may be incomplete.

Over the past three years alone, 40 babies were born alive during failed abortions.

Abortion is not as routine and foolproof as abortionists like to portray.

 

The post Abortion Clinic Asks Ambulance to Drive With No Sirens to Not Draw Attention to Botched Abortion appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Abortion-20-week-old-fetus-300x175 Abortion Clinic Asks Ambulance to Drive With No Sirens to Not Draw Attention to Botched Abortion Texas hospital healthcare Front Page Stories Featured Story Clinic Botched Abortion austin ambulance Allow Media Exception Abortion   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

To Date Almost 900 Abortion Clinics Have Lost Their Federal Funding Due To Trump’s Abortion Rules

Westlake Legal Group planned-parenthood-tx2-300x209 To Date Almost 900 Abortion Clinics Have Lost Their Federal Funding Due To Trump’s Abortion Rules Title X funding prolife pro-abortion planned parenthood Front Page Stories defunding clinics Allow Media Exception Abortion

As promised, President Trump recently guided his administration to move toward a more pro-life (or at least neutral) stance on federal abortion funding. The new rules strip Title X funding of any “reproductive healthcare” centers that provide abortion referrals. It was a response to the decades-long argument that pro-life taxpayer should not be required to fund abortions with their tax dollars.

Now comes a report that close to 900 abortion clinics across the nation have closed their doors or are struggling to stay afloat as a result of the loss of federal funding.

Powertodecide.org released a breakdown of the impact of the ruling, lamenting the loss of “healthcare” services nationwide. The impact of just one simple rule change is stunning, no matter what side of the fence you sit on.

Already, more than 8.7 million women in 390 counties across the nation are at risk of losing affordable access to the birth control they need because the clinic they depend on has lost its Title X funding. To date, 876 clinics have been forced out of the program. Since the rule began to be enforced in August, stories of increased costs, shorter hours, and fewer services being offered have flooded in.

The report itself is framed from a pro-abortion stance. It paints the ruling as oppressive, but it should be noted that all the clinics that have so far chosen to close their doors or limit services did precisely that…they chose to close rather than comply. When pro-life pregnancy centers in California were forced to adapt to new state laws requiring they offer information about abortion services or lose state funding, they didn’t close. They chose to stay open in order to provide the myriad of services they offered to single mothers and low-income families.

Trump called the bluff of Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion lobby who constantly scream about “cancer screenings” and “birth control”. The common refrain is that less than 3% of what Planned Parenthood does involves abortion. If that is truly the case, removing federal funding from abortion-specific services shouldn’t have had much of an impact. With the celebrity class pretty much in lockstep on abortion those funds could be raised privately within days. In fact, we’ve watched it happen several times since Trump took office. Celebrities like Sarah Silverman and Debra Messing have spearheaded very successful campaigns to donate to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in the name of Mike Pence or Trump. No one seemed to see the irony of being able to do themselves what they are asking the taxpayer to do.

If the new ruling denies federal funding for this one thing, but these clinics are saying women will literally die in the streets without the important care they provide wouldn’t an organization committed to women’s health simply comply and keep their doors open? All of the referral stuff can be offloaded to private organizations and activist groups.

But abortion is the sacred cow, and to admit that they are really only interested in providing abortions rather than actual healthcare would be to admit that the pro-life movement has been right about them all along. They are not committed to healthcare, only abortion.

The other leg of this issue is that there are still plenty of women’s health clinics being funded…they just aren’t abortion providers. Pro-life pregnancy centers that offer aid from the first test through to kindergarten have been seeing an increase in their funding access as the logjam at the top of the funding food chain finally begins to shake loose. Women still have options. Abortion is still legal. All that has changed is where the money is coming from.

The pro-abortion lobby feels entitled to tax dollars even though they boast the wealthiest donor base in politics.

It doesn’t make sense unless you can see the bigger picture.

For now, pro-lifers count this as a victory. Will we continue to see the tide turning? Will more clinics begin to comply rather than shut down or will the pro-abortion movement remain committed to the cause of women in name only?

The post To Date Almost 900 Abortion Clinics Have Lost Their Federal Funding Due To Trump’s Abortion Rules appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group planned-parenthood-tx2-300x209 To Date Almost 900 Abortion Clinics Have Lost Their Federal Funding Due To Trump’s Abortion Rules Title X funding prolife pro-abortion planned parenthood Front Page Stories defunding clinics Allow Media Exception Abortion   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

San Francisco Refuses To Do Business With 22 States Over Anti Abortion Laws That Protect Babies.

Westlake Legal Group AP_1602261913331116-300x192 San Francisco Refuses To Do Business With 22 States Over Anti Abortion Laws That Protect Babies. progressives pro-abortion political correctness Patriotism Liberal Elitism Hollywood healthcare Government Gender Issues Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture & Faith Courts Conservatives Congress California Allow Media Exception Abortion 2019

A city worker uses a power washer to clean the sidewalk by a tent city along Division Street Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in San Francisco. Homeless people have until the end of Friday to vacate a rambling tent city along a busy San Francisco street declared a health hazard by city officials earlier this week. The mayor’s office says about 40 tents remain, down from a high of 140 tents this winter. The tents have lined both sides of a street under a freeway overpass for months, drawing complaints from residents and businesses. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

As you can see from the photo above, San Francisco and California have no other problems to deal with so this state ban does take precedence.

As it has been previously written everywhere, we all know that California and her cities are a bit of a hot mess. San Fran, home of Nancy Pelosi, always makes sure to be one of the cities leading the charge of creating havoc. That, of course, gives them the right to dictate how other cities or states should be run.

Now they want to export their craziness by refusing to spend money in states that they disagree with about abortion. That’s right, states that are moving to protect children shall not benefit from San Francisco and it’s an influence.

How sad.

According to Fox News

City employees in San Francisco are now forbidden to take work trips or do business with companies in 22 states that have “restrictive abortion laws.”

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown announced the measure last week.

“Every day in this country, women’s reproductive rights are threatened, and we have to fight back. Just as we restricted spending with states that have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people, we are standing up against states that put women’s health at risk and that are actively working to limit reproductive freedoms,” Breed said in a statement.

She added: “By limiting travel and contracting with certain states, we are sending a clear message to states that disregard the right to abortion.”

The only clear message you are sending is that you are griding an ax about states moving to protect the unborn and you look moronic doing it. Do you think the homeless person you are ignoring and letting suffer on the street gives a flying you know what about your moral preening Mayor Breed?

So what states are they planning on banning?

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

I’m disappointed that Michigan is not on there.

With the technology of saving and improving life in all stages advancing, this is a big problem for the pro-abortion crowd. They yell CHOICE at any cost but frequently it is becoming clear that life inside the womb can also live outside the womb weeks before previously thought.

So why would you snuff out that life at 18 weeks when it can thrive at 24 weeks? This is becoming more and more obvious for people with a conscious that actually care about human life and don’t just pay it lip service like the politicians in San Francisco.

I look forward to the day where these people are only allowed to travel within California and nowhere else. What a glorious day that will be.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

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Leftist Group is DEMANDING That Democrats Name Who They Would Appoint To Supreme Court

Westlake Legal Group SCOTUS-300x200 Leftist Group is DEMANDING That Democrats Name Who They Would Appoint To Supreme Court white house washington D.C. the washington post Supreme Court Special Counsel Social Media Social Justice SCOTUS republicans progressives President Trump Politics Policy Morning Briefing Media Liberal Elitism law Impeachment of President Trump Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Culture & Faith Criminal Justice Reform Courts Constitution Conservatives Congress Bipartisanship Allow Media Exception Academia Abortion 2019

The Left wants a list of who POTUS candidates would put in this building. 

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, even if it involves progressives copying Donald Trump.

Ripping a page right out of Donald Trump’s election playbook from 2016, the group Demand Justice has called for all the Democrats running for President declare publicly who that would nominate out of the handy dandy list they provided.

How convenient and very copy cat-ish of Trump 3 years ago.

According to The Washington Post

Democratic presidential contenders are coming under increased pressure from their base to take a page from Donald Trump’s 2016 playbook and release a shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees — one part of a larger strategy from party activists to make the courts a central issue in the 2020 race.

Demand Justice, a group founded to counteract the conservative wing’s decades-long advantage over liberals in judicial fights, will release a list of 32 suggested Supreme Court nominees for any future Democratic president as they ramp up their push for the 2020 contenders to do the same.

The slate of potential high court picks includes current and former members of Congress, top litigators battling the Trump administration’s initiatives in court, professors at the nation’s top law schools and public defenders. Eight are sitting judges. They have established track records in liberal causes that Demand Justice hopes will energize the liberal base.

Seems like the progressives have FINALLY learned the lesson of paying some attention to the third branch of the government.

Now you can go ahead and take a look at that list and if you are like me, be absolutely puzzled by who all those people are. Lucky for us commoners, Carrie Severino from the Judicial Crisis Network just yesterday wrote a piece over at National Review called Demand Justice’s SCOTUS List Is Too Extreme Even for Obama that helps give us an idea of the backgrounds of these folks.

From the article…

Demand Justice’s list has 32 names on it. Only four of those are Obama-nominated judges. Shockingly, only eight have any judicial experience at all! While President Trump’s list of Supreme Court nominees currently includes 24 individuals, of whom 23 are experienced federal or state judges, the extremists at Demand Justice have clearly taken a different tack. Their list — which they are lobbying Democratic candidates to adopt — is wholly consumed by far-left activism and identity politics.

They see the courts as their ticket to implementing their radical policy agenda, which includes gutting the First and Second Amendments, establishing a right to illegal immigration and abortion on demand straight through birth, and destroying our economy by imposing burdensome regulations on everyone from Main Street to Wall Street.

When I first read this I thought, well maybe the Obama nominated judges that were confirmed don’t have enough seasoning yet. Then further on reading, I find out that 24 of them don’t have ANY JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE at all.

Did no one pay attention during the Harriet Miers fiasco under Bush 43?

So the left has put together a list of people that they want on the court that the vast majority have ZERO experience on the bench. They are straight-up activists. I actually admire Demand Justice brazen truthfulness here in trying to push this on the Dems.

Severino commented on twitter about how the candidates when finally asked ran from the subject and tried to change the subject like it was the plague.

What this tells me is that the left is organizing to do the same thing conservatives have done but the candidates are not focused on this at the stage of the game they are currently in. This might change after a nominee is picked but for now, it looks like they are more interested in impeachment than who they would put onto the court.

That works for me.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

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Westlake Legal Group SCOTUS-300x200 Leftist Group is DEMANDING That Democrats Name Who They Would Appoint To Supreme Court white house washington D.C. the washington post Supreme Court Special Counsel Social Media Social Justice SCOTUS republicans progressives President Trump Politics Policy Morning Briefing Media Liberal Elitism law Impeachment of President Trump Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Culture & Faith Criminal Justice Reform Courts Constitution Conservatives Congress Bipartisanship Allow Media Exception Academia Abortion 2019   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Planned Parenthood has Become Embedded in Hollywood to Promote Onscreen Abortions

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image by RedState

While claiming to downplay the importance of terminations, PPFA has become an entrenched fixture in entertainment.

There has always been a bond between Hollywood and Planned Parenthood. Abortion is something of a sacrosanct act with the celebrity set out there and there has been no shortage of vocal voices in support of the nation’s biggest abortion server. But now we learn that the alliance has developed into more of a professional partnership.

Meet Caren Spruch, who is an outreach liaison for Planned Parenthood working in conjunction with studios and content creators inside the entertainment industry. Caren’s official title is “Director of Arts and Entertainment Engagement”, which is a high-minded way of describing what is her actual position — Hollywood’s abortion lobbyist.

Spruch began her endeavor years ago with the intention of seeing to it that abortions are not only featured with more regularity but also portrayed in a positive light on screen. During her brief tenure Spruch has encouraged more productions to take on storylines in which characters opt for the choice to terminate their pregnancy, as well as to not have it portrayed as a detrimental process for them to go through.

By her own estimate in the five years since she has taken on this role Spruch says she has ushered through up to 150 instances of abortions shown on screen.

Hollywood has embraced her. When she initially began Spruch was in something of a door-knocking position, seeking out potential properties that could incorporate her desired activity and trying to convince others to include it. She would circulate in places like the Sundance Film Festival to begin developing alliances with actors and others in the industry.

Now she has grown in stature to the degree that she is the one sought out. Not only do writers and producers contact Spruch about details in a plot, for instance, but she is now actively working on screenplays, and serving as a script doctor for abortion-heady scenes. Says one writer-producer in an excitable fashion, “She’s like Planned Parenthood’s secret weapon!”

This of course flies in the face of the tired spin often heard from pro-aborts in the debate. It used to be that they tried to downplay the zeal behind their cause, saying things like no one is happy about getting the procedure, and how it is needed service for some. Nobody celebrates getting their abortion, has been the claim.

But nowadays the organization is looking to the glamour of Hollywood to elevate the status. One other program Spruch worked with is “Shrill”. That 30-minute comedy is written by Lindy West, and an abortion was a central aspect of the pilot episode, which launched the character into a new and improved version of her life. West is also the creator of the activist outfit “Shout Your Abortion”. This is all a decided turn in the language used by pro-abortion members, and there is a reason for this.

Despite all the talk of a Democratic Blue Wave last November there has been a noticeable turn politically in the abortion debate. Recently six states have undertaken tougher abortion legislation, and up to thirty have bills offered or have otherwise explored similar laws. Despite the Democrats taking control of the House what has been quietly overlooked is that during the Obama administration on the state and local levels the GOP experienced significant gains. The electorate has become decidedly conservative, and there is a push for these bills.

The tired argument of “old white males” forcing these laws falls apart under scrutiny. Most of the bills have been written or co-written by female politicians. In fact, in Louisiana its new 6-week abortion law was crafted by a black female in the state house, and signed into law by a Democrat governor.

So there is a need for Planned Parenthood to combat this groundswell of opposition to its pet service. Look at how they may try to claim that abortions amount to only 3% of the services the organization provides, but its actions defy that dismissive statistic. Tens of millions of dollars are poured into political donations to entirely pro-abortion Democrat politicians. Just last week PPFA announced it was sinking $45 million into anti-Trump efforts and its desire to see the Senate flipped to Democrats.

This expenditure, and the growing pressure to have Hollywood glamourize abortion defies logic in claiming it is such a minuscule component of its operations. Clearly Planned Parenthood feels this is an important enough procedure that it has embedded an activist into the studio system, with the hopes of altering the culture to a more approving stance.

Normalizing a procedure that polls continuously show is opposed by the public, and at a time when record lows are recorded of abortions being performed, is the needed effort to remain relevant. Just do not believe them any longer when they try to sell the idea of no one actively celebrating abortion – not when celebrities are marshaled to tout the procedure.

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Westlake Legal Group Abortionwood-1-300x169 Planned Parenthood has Become Embedded in Hollywood to Promote Onscreen Abortions Television Popular Culture planned parenthood Movies Hollywood Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Entertainment Allow Media Exception Abortion   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Court Is in Session – Part II

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FILE – This Jan. 25, 2012, file photo, shows the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington. The Supreme Court enters its final week of work before a long summer hiatus with action expected on the Trump administration’s travel ban and a decision due in a separation of church and state case that arises from a Missouri church playground. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Earlier, we highlighted the cases heard by the Supreme Court on Monday of this week (as well as the many delights of October!) Three more cases were heard by the Court yesterday, all on very “hot button” issues.  (READ: The Court Is in Session – Part I.)

First up was Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. This case examines the applicability of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to claims of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.  The pertinent portion of the Act prohibits discrimination in the employment context “because of [an] individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”  The law was first passed in 1964 and has not, to date, been construed (by SCOTUS) to encompass sexual orientation or transgenderism. Plaintiff Gerald Bostock was a coordinator for child welfare services in Clayton County, Georgia, for a number of years.  In 2013, he joined a gay recreational softball league and, according to Bostock, “from that point on, my life changed, ” he says. “Within months, I was fired for being gay. I lost my livelihood. I lost my medical insurance and at the time I was fighting prostate cancer. It was devastating.” Bostock filed suit in federal court in Georgia, alleging that his termination violated Title VII, in that his termination (ostensibly for being gay) was prohibited by the “because of sex” provision.

Bostock’s case was consolidated for oral argument with Altitude Express v. Zarda, a case filed in federal court in New York by Donald Zarda following his 2010 termination by his skydiving company employer.  Zarda had informed a customer that he was gay in order to allay her concerns about being strapped together with him during the jump.  The customer complained and Zarda was terminated. He asserted this was due to the customer’s homophobia (though the customer also contended that he had touched her inappropriately during the jump.) Zarda died in a base jumping accident in Switzerland in 2014 and his family continued the litigation in his name.  Similar to BostockZarda involves the question of whether discrimination based on sexual orientation is encompassed within the language of Title VII.

The consolidated cases were then followed by the case of Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC. This was another employment discrimination case, only Harris involves the question of whether the provisions of Title VII also prohibit discrimination based on an individual being transgender. In that case, Aimee Stephens, a Michigan funeral director, was terminated following her declaration in 2013 that she intended to live and dress as a woman. (Prior to 2013, Stephens was known as “Anthony” and dressed and lived as a man.) Stephens made a claim for discrimination with the EEOC, which then sued the funeral home, asserting that firing Stephens for being transgender violated Title VII.

ACLU attorney David Cole presented an interesting argument on behalf of Stephens:

Cole described the case in simple terms. Stephens is being treated differently because of the sex she was assigned at birth. If she had been assigned a female sex at birth, he argued, she would not have been fired for wanting to come to work dressed as a woman. But instead she was assigned a male sex, Cole continued, and so she was fired because she failed to conform to the sex stereotypes of her employer. It can’t be the case, Cole asserted, that Ann Hopkins – the plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s original case on sex stereotyping – couldn’t be fired or denied a promotion for being insufficiently feminine, but Stephens could be fired for being insufficiently masculine.

Once again, SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe provides an excellent analysis of Tuesday’s arguments.  The transcripts of the arguments can be found here and here.

We’ll provide additional overviews as to upcoming arguments, as well as some in-depth analysis, in the coming days. However, I also want to point out that the Court granted certiorari this past Friday on several more cases of interest: June Medical Serv., et al. v. Gee, Sec., LA Dept. of Health (consolidated with) Gee, Sec., LA Dept. of Healthv. June Medical Serv., et al. – cases involving a challenge to the Louisiana law which requires admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions; United States v. Sineneng-Smith (reviewing a 9th Circuit decision which found a federal law making it a felony to encourage or induce illegal immigration for financial gain unconstitutionally broad).  Look for these cases to be heard early in 2020. Additionally, on Monday, the Court opted to move forward with oral argument in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, New York, a case involving New York City’s since-repealed ban on transporting guns outside the city limits, despite the fact that the ban was subsequently changed.  This one is now scheduled to be heard in December.

 


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