A Setback in Texas, and the GOP Primary Heats Up


What’s going on with the Texas ultrasound law? A representative of the Center for Reproductive Rights explains. More on the now three-way battle between Romney, Gingrich and Santorum.

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Sh*t people say to feminists

Romney and Gingrich fight it out in ads about abortion

Santorum hopes extra backing helps him in South Carolina 

Fighting over the Texas meeting

Yeah, no

On this episode, Bebe Anderson from the Center for Reproductive Rights will explain the latest bad news in the case over the Texas ultrasound law. Gingrich and Romney battle it out over abortion, and Rick Santorum gets the backing of the religious right going into South Carolina….or does he?

By now the Bleep people say meme is completely out of control. I was over it before it happened, but even then, I think a couple actually make points that are meaningful, such as the bleep white girls say to black girls one, or this one, the bleep people say to feminists one that just came out.

  • feminists *

She did leave out two of my favorites: “But like, if women sleep with drunk men, do they have to go to jail for rape, too?” and “But what about women who get pregnant on purpose so they can get the child support? Don’t men have a right to abortion, too?” Maybe a follow-up is in order.

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NPR had a really great segment on recently about the attacks that Republican candidates are making on each other regarding abortion. In a way, you’d think that they’d just lay off the topic, because they’re all adamantly anti-choice, but in a primary season that many Republicans are hoping will be a retread of the drawn-out primary the Democrats had in 2008, some candidates are trying to outdo each other in the sport of who is more aggressive in laying claim to the uteruses of America. Which means head-to-head negative attacks from the Gingrich camp and the Romney camp.

  • abortion 1 *

I particularly like the whining about not having an anti-choice group on a medical board. That’s like having someone who opposes graven images sitting on an art museum board. The point of being anti-choice is to oppose women’s reproductive health care access. They differ by degree, with extremist religious nuts not only opposing abortion care, STD prevention, and contraception, but also professional medical assistance for women giving birth. Having someone on the board whose entire role is to fight women having full access to care and to push for medical misinformation is just silly. Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, where one can really conduct politics without doing that disingenuous conservative nonsense where you pretend a lie is equal to the truth.

What’s interesting, though, is that both these ads are incredibly misleading, and portray the men involved as more moderate on reproductive rights than they are.

  • abortion 2 *

In other words, the Hyde Amendment. This professor is exactly right: the legislation Gingrich supported is a bill banning federal funding of abortion. It has an exception carved out for rape or incest and for the health and life of the mother. It’s telling of how bad things have gotten that candidates are being portrayed as overly soft on the dirty sluts if they let a god-fearing housewife who has only slept with her husband but is dealing with a pregnancy that’s going to kill her have the money she needs to live. Well, she did touch a penis, and we can’t be letting women carve out these “but I’ll die” loopholes for themselves when they did something like that. I’m also going to guess that the Hyde Amendment excludes far more than 98% or 99% of abortions. The number of women who get abortions because they’re able to demonstrate they fit into the narrow exception numbers in the dozens every year, out of hundreds of thousands of abortions that could be covered if the Hyde Amendment wasn’t in place. So it’s more like 99 point something percent.

Romney claimed to be pro-choice during some of the period that the attack ad against him covers, but somehow the ad still manages to get it all wrong.

  • abortion 3 *

This, as you can imagine, is particularly infuriating. It’s a clear demonstration of how anti-choicers, when they have no other choice, will just simply lie. There is no definition by which you can call the morning after pill an “abortion”, even if you’re flailing around and trying to get on a technicality. Unless you think pregnancy begins at ejaculation, it just isn’t. And if you believe that, you’re unbearably stupid. It’s also worth noting that Massachusetts isn’t the only state that mandates abortion coverage as a matter of equal rights. The courts in many states have done that. The reason is that they’re right—barring women from full coverage because they can get pregnant is very basic discrimination.

Of course, while I’m listening to this, I’m thinking, “Huh, it actually might not hurt Romney in the general if people are misled into thinking he’s moderate on reproductive rights.” And NPR’s professor interviewee agrees!

  • abortion 4 *

Actually, I don’t think that she’s right about that. Yes, the challengers to Romney’s throne would very much like to beat him in the primary. But it doesn’t follow that they wouldn’t want him to pick up a little of that moderate vibe in the general, if he wins the nomination. Most Republicans still prefer Romney to Obama, and while they aren’t in love with him, they’ll probably be glad if voters think Romney is more moderate than he actually is on reproductive rights.

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insert interview

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The growing antagonism against Mitt Romney on the religious right is no joke, despite the fact that he’s run hard to the right on their two biggest issues, gay rights and reproductive rights. Part of it is that they just don’t trust him, because he really did pander to the left in the 90s when he needed to in order to get elected in Massachusetts. The problem for the religious right is that there were so many candidates competing for the not-Mitt Romney vote that it was really hard for them to get behind a single candidate as a group, and exert some power. Michele Bachmann was the most overt culture warrior, but you know, female. Rick Perry had that prayer rally but he also was on the record disagreeing that women who have sex should pay for it by losing their lives to cancer. Ron Paul is solidly on their side, I believe, but he’s so used to demanding that he be allowed to have it both ways, that it’s not surprising they’re confused about how serious he is about banning abortion. Plus, he was a doctor, and as the anti-choice movement starts getting more radical, they’re starting to see doctors as softies who support stuff like contraception rights, which Paul does. And Santorum has the stench of a loser on him.

So, with all this vote-splitting in New Hampshire and Iowa, the religious right realized they had to, and pardon me for undoubtedly screwing up a sports metaphor, throw a Hail Mary.

  • evangelicals 1 *

 To my mind, this is actually the best choice if ideological purity is their main thing. While all the candidates left are hostile to reproductive rights and mostly hostile to gay rights, Santorum has a certain something when it comes to his approach. He’s more extreme, with his comments supporting restrictions on contraception access. He’s more unapologetic. He’s weirder, and that’s something that actually plays well with the Christian right, since they like to imagine themselves as outsiders. Santorum was thrilled, as you can imagine, to get this endorsement going into South Carolina.

  • evangelicals 2 *

Since Rick Santorum means “against sex” when he claims America is a “moral enterprise”, I have to point out that by every conceivable measure, he’s just wrong. Santorum believes sex before marriage is wrong, and 95% of Americans have sex before marriage. Santorum believes contraception is wrong, but 99% of women have used it at some point. Santorum’s own family doesn’t live up to his ideals. A recent story in The Daily Beast chronicled how Santorum’s wife, Karen, spent much of her 20s living in sin with her much-older boyfriend. Believe it or not, her boyfriend was…..wait for it…. an abortion provider. Yeah. We already know that the Santorums are do as we say not as we do people, but it’s just really comical hearing Santorum go on about his sexual morality when it’s so far out of step with America that even his American family couldn’t stick to their own rules.

But the endorsement should be a good thing for Santorum. Or will it be? Unfortunately, while the point of the whole Texas meeting of Christian conservatives was to get everyone behind a single candidate, that’s not what really happened at all, as Rachel Maddow reports.

  • evangelicals 3 *

In sum, there’s a war between the Protestant and Catholic factions over who to back, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich. Yes, both candidates are Catholic themselves, but I can see why this is occurring. Gingrich really suits the Protestant religious right more, with his enthusiasm for making students in poor schools clean toilets if they want the right to attend school. Santorum occasionally ventures into using rhetoric that suggests that he would like less poverty, which is the sort of thing that plays better with the fundie Catholic side of the fence than the fundie Protestant side. So, in their efforts to topple the Mormon, the Protestants and Catholics may have been too distracted fighting each other. I wish they could just keep it up, so they’d have less time and energy to be fighting their common enemy, women who want to have full reproductive rights.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, yeah, no, that’s just not possible edition. Right Wing Watch taped Amber Haskew on Liberty Council’s “Faith and Freedom” program talking about the supposed financial benefits of not having sex before marriage. Warning: like a lot of abstinence-only fanatics, she speaks in that breathy voice that’s supposed be all sexy and submissive, but is just annoying.

  • heritage *

If you go to the link at Right Wing Watch, you’ll see that stat came from the Heritage Foundation, and they quite literally made it up out of nothing. They claim to be able to assume all these things about abstainers, and then extrapolate and yeah…. It’s the worst statistics-crunching I’ve seen. Ever. In real life, people who abstain until marriage are such a small portion of the population that you can’t actually generate meaningful statistics about them compared to other populations, since there’s no way to control for extraneous factors. I mean, at this point, it seems that pretty much all of them are professional virgins, so already, you can’t compare them to the public at large. 


Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • donnag

    I cannot stand that vocal affectation. It’s a voice that simply does not exist in nature. I used to have a friend (who happened to be a conservative Republican) who used the breathy baby voice around men and completely dropped it and used her normal voice when she was only among women.