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Tag: anti abortion

Ginni Thomas Linked To Anti-Abortion Groups That Sought To Influence Justices

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City hasn’t been shy about calling for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to either be impeached or resign, arguing that the activism of his wife — far-right MAGA Republican and conspiracy theorist Ginni Thomas — presents a major conflict of interest. After the 2020 presidential election, Ginni Thomas was heavily involved in MAGA efforts to get the election results overturned and promoted the Big Lie in a series of text exchanges with Mark Meadows (who served as White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump). Justice Thomas, AOC has argued, has no business serving on the High Court in light of his wife’s unwillingness to accept democratic election results.

Another conflict of interest for Justice Thomas, according to abortion rights activists, is his wife’s extensive involvement in the anti-abortion movement. That involvement goes way beyond attending or helping to organize anti-abortion rallies. In an article published by The Guardian on September 9, journalist Ed Pilkington reports that Ginni Thomas was extensively involved in lobbying efforts to get the High Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

On June 24, those lobbyists got their way when the High Court’s radical-right majority overturned Roe v. Wade with its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Clarence Thomas was one of the Republican-appointed justices who voted to overturn Roe, along with Samuel Alito and all three of Trump’s High Court appointees: Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

“Ginni Thomas, the self-styled ‘culture warrior’ and extreme right-wing activist, has links to more than half of the anti-abortion groups and individuals who lobbied her husband Clarence Thomas and his fellow U.S. Supreme Court justices ahead of their historic decision to eradicate a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy,” Pilkington reports. “A new analysis of the written legal arguments, or ‘amicus briefs,’ used to lobby the justices as they deliberated over abortion underlines the extent to which Clarence Thomas’ wife was intertwined with this vast pressure campaign. The survey found that 51 percent of the parties who filed amicus briefs calling for an end to a federal abortion right have political connections to Ginni Thomas, raising concerns about a possible conflict of interest at the highest levels of the U.S. judiciary.”

Pilkington notes that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization “attracted an almost unprecedented 130 amicus briefs from both sides of the legal argument.” The analysis of those amicus briefs was carried out by the group Advance Democracy, Inc. and shared with The Guardian.

“Of those, 74 were filed in favor of overturning the right to an abortion, enshrined in 1973 in Roe v Wade,” according to Pilkington. “In turn, the new analysis shows that 38 of the 74 anti-abortion amicus briefs — 51 percent — were produced by entities and individuals with links to Ginni Thomas. They included right-wing groups, religious interests, prominent conservative individuals and lawyers…. The revelation that there is substantial overlap between Ginni Thomas and the anti-abortion lobbying effort focused on her husband and the other conservative justices will intensify the growing sense of unease surrounding her hyper-energetic conservative activism.”

Pilkington continues, “In recent years, she has placed herself in the thick of some of the most bitterly contested political controversies that have come — or could come — before the Court…. Thomas has been dubbed a ‘radical insurrectionist’ for her role in backing Trump’s attempt to subvert the 2020 presidential election. Yet her husband has refused to recuse himself from cases relating to the insurrection, including one in January in which he became the only justice to dissent in an 8-1 decision over allowing hundreds of documents held by the National Archives to be reviewed by the House committee investigating the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.”

Melissa Murray, a New York law University law professor and co-host of the Supreme Court-related podcast “Strict Scrutiny,” believes that there is a major conflict of interest where the Thomases are concerned.

Murray told The Guardian, “The Thomases are normalizing the prospect of too close an association between the Supreme Court and those who litigate before it. This isn’t the first time that Mrs. Thomas has had dealings with those who come before the Court and seek her husband’s vote.”

When the Dobbs ruling was handed down, Justice Thomas urged the High Court to “reconsider” rulings that offered protections for contraception and gay rights — and the cases he specifically mentioned were 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut, 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges.

“Ginni Thomas’ ties with groups responsible for the whirlwind lobbying campaign over abortion could have serious ramifications in future cases that come before the Court,” Pilkington notes. “Clarence Thomas made it clear, in his concurring opinion in Dobbs, that he intends to use exactly the same arguments that were deployed in overthrowing Roe v. Wade to challenge the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, same-sex relations and contraception. Many of the interests to which Ginni Thomas was connected who filed anti-abortion amicus briefs have a parallel track record of anti-LGBT agitating.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Anti-Abortion Politicians Confront Harsh New Reality

For decades, conservative politicians had a free ride on the abortion issue. They could tell their "pro-life" base that they were doing all they could to ban the procedure — while not scaring the pro-choice majority. As long as Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion, the talk about outlawing it was just talk.

Now that Roe is gone, unwanted pregnancies have become enshrined in the law. Parents, for example, face the possibility that their tenth grader could be forced into becoming an unwed mother at 16. There are real world consequences here, and that's why voters in generally conservative Kansas showed overwhelming support for abortion rights.

Republicans genuinely opposed to abortion should accept the political repercussions of their "success." But those who were simply opportunists and are now trying to dodge blame for ending a basic reproductive right have a hard climb.

You hear the trimmers say, look, we've made exceptions for rape and incest. That's blatant hypocrisy. If they believe that the embryo or fetus is an innocent baby, then the circumstances surrounding the conception should not matter at all.

The advantage of Roe was that anyone could obtain an early abortion without politicians demanding to know the reason. States that have made carveouts for rape and incest are going to see a lot of creepy intrusion into the lives of women — and their families.

Only the truly gullible would believe any of that sweet talk from abortion-banning states about how they'll help the women and their unplanned families. Mississippi will "take every step necessary to support mothers and children," said Gov. Tate Reeves.

Oh, sure. This is a state that couldn't summon the humanity to sign onto the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, which would have extended health coverage to 43,000 women of reproductive age. Its welfare program limits payments to poor women with two children to a maximum $260 a month.

States severely restricting abortion will soon face the demographic realities of compelling women to have children they don't want and can't afford. Their affluent residents will go elsewhere for an abortion while the dysfunctional or poorer women will stay home and have children they can't care for. (A study found that after abortion became legal in Washington, D.C., in the early '70s, the percentage of girls who became mothers in their teens fell by a third.)

As the country divides into states that defend reproductive rights and states that attack them, the latter are bound to suffer economically as a result. Indiana, for example, just passed a strict anti-abortion law, quickly signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb. That day, Eli Lilly, one of the state's biggest employers, announced that the abortion ban would make it hard to recruit workers — and that it would look elsewhere to expand its business.

When Texas virtually banned abortions — while letting any ghoul try for a cash prize if he thinks one was illegally performed — 50 major employers signed a letter in protest. The list was heavy with the tech companies that Gov. Greg Abbott brags about attracting.

Richard Alm at Southern Methodist University says that this sort of social policy "also has a labor market component." With the likes of Apple and Google moving in, he said, "you need enough labor and the right kind of labor."

Thus, these places will have to deal with the loss of top employers to states and countries guaranteeing reproductive rights. And almost everywhere else guarantees reproductive rights.

With the end of Roe, politicians must now take responsibility for harsh new intrusions into families' ability to plan for their future. This is not a hypothetical concern, and offering free baby clothes is not going to allay the public's anger.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Spurred By Anti-Abortion Website, Death Threats Hit Indiana Doctor (And Her Child)

The Indiana abortion doctor at the center of the report involving a procedure performed on a 10-year-old rape victim is reportedly facing an onslaught of threats, according to The Guardian.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) previously warned Planned Parenthood that it had received intel about a potential threat against Dr. Caitlin Bernard and her child. The nonprofit organization, in turn, warned Bernard of the threats. The bureau indicated that Bernard had been called out on a website run by the anti-abortion group Right to Life Michiana.

Bernard was one of several doctors listed under the site's Local Abortion Threat section. Last year, Bernard testified that she was forced to "stop providing first-trimester abortions at a clinic in South Bend."

The latest development comes months after the initial report back in January. That report included a detailed explanation of Barrett's ties to the site. Back in 2006, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was employed as a Notre Dame professor at the time, reportedly endorsed one of the group's advertisements opposing abortion.

"Barrett, who voted to overturn Roe v Wade last month, signed a two-page advertisement published by the group in 2006, while she was working as a professor at Notre Dame. It stated that those who signed 'oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death,'" The Guardian reported.

"The second page of the ad called Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion, 'barbaric,'" the news outlet added. "The advertisement was published in the South Bend Tribune by St Joseph County Right to Life, which merged with Right to Life Michiana in 2020."

According to the report, "Bernard is still listed on the Right to Life Michiana website," with the Guardian's Stephanie Kirchgaessner adding, "It is a common tactic employed by anti-abortion groups that supporters of abortion rights have said invites threats of violence and intimidation against abortion providers."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Top Anti-Abortion Group Would Force Raped Child To Carry Pregnancy

The top attorney for the far-right anti-abortion group National Right to Life Committee says the 10-year old Ohio girl forced to travel to Indiana to obtain an abortion after being raped should have given birth to her rapist’s baby.

James Bopp, Jr., who worked to help overturn the 2020 election results by filing lawsuits favoring Donald Trump, is general counsel for National Right to Life. He tells Politico the model legislation he drafted and is attempting to have states pass would have banned the child rape victim from being able to have an abortion – adding he would hope she understands.

“She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” Bopp said.

Bopp “told Politico on Thursday that his law only provides exceptions when the pregnant person’s life is in danger.”

That comes as some experts are noting that “life of the mother” restrictions may be even more draconian – and subject to interpretation of law enforcement authorities or others – than previously understood.

Referring to the case of the 10-year-old child, attorney Ken White says “some people suggest that they’re relying on the exception for protecting the life of the mother,” to allow her to have an abortion in her home state of Ohio.

“But that strikes me as a grave risk for anyone involved in the abortion,” he adds, “in that it relies on prosecutors agreeing that the abortion is ‘necessary’ to prevent the death of ‘risk of serious and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function’ of the 10 year old.”

“Since some heartbreakingly young children do, in fact, give birth and survive,” White continues, “are we really going to trust prosecutors, in THIS environment, with plenty of ‘medical experts’ out there ready to take money to testify however prosecutors want, not to charge doctors over this? The doctor is supposed to take that risk?”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Far-Right Activist Boasts Of Praying With Justices In Supreme Court Building

Peggy Nienaber may provide her own downfall thanks to hubris. Rolling Stone revealed on Wednesday that the far-right activist, who serves as vice president of the nonprofit anti-abortion group Faith & Liberty and serves as Liberty Counsel’s executive director of D.C. Ministry, was caught bragging about praying with Supreme Court justices. While appearing on a livestream she didn’t realize was being recorded, Nienaber confirmed that she prays with some of the justices inside the Supreme Court itself.

“They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them,” Nienaber said, adding with a laugh, “Some of them don’t!” This claim was backed up by the founder of the ministry that ultimately got absorbed into Liberty Counsel, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a "hate group."

Rob Schenck, who used to work alongside Nienaber, has since renounced his actions. From the late 1990s onward, he says he prayed with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court itself.

The prayers never directly mentioned cases, but clearly worked their manipulative magic, though Schenck seems shocked by this. “I was sure, while we were doing it, it would be a positive contribution to our public life,” Schenck told Rolling Stone. “It didn’t have the effect I thought it would. In some ways, it set the stage for the reversal of Roe, which I now think of as a social catastrophe.” Rolling Stone also points out the conflict of interest in this practice that Nienaber has continued, as her group, Liberty Counsel, “frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court.” An amicus brief from the group was even cited in the majority opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

Liberty Counsel, a 501 tax-exempt organization allegedly dedicated to litigating cases regarding religious freedom and the so-called sanctity of life, has already been cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group pushing an anti-LGBTQ agenda. It’s clear from its website that abortion is the cause du jour for the organization, which pushes outlandish talking points that reproductive rights somehow, say, constitute eugenics. And Liberty Counsel’s influence isn’t just a Supreme Court problem, either. Nienaber’s influence in politics cannot be understated: Per Rolling Stone, she’s been seen with Republicans like Sen. Lindsay Graham and former vice president Mike Pence, along with—of course—justices like Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Virginia GOP Official Parrots Anti-Abortion Conspiracies

Last Friday, the United States Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed Americans' constitutional right to have abortions. On Tuesday night, the conservative Family Foundation of Virginia hosted a Zoom event to celebrate the court's decision.

At the event, Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears rejected abortion rights entirely and claimed that after conception, "The baby isn't even [the mother's] body, she's got her own body. The blood running through the veins of the baby don't belong to her, it's not her blood."

This claim is false. Until birth, a fetus' blood is not oxygenated and receives everything necessary for survival from the mother's blood. The fetus is sustained by nutrients and oxygen passed through the placenta, which the mother grows. While in the womb, the fetus' liver and lungs are not fully formed, and the mother's body performs those life-sustaining functions.

Sears also referenced a widely debunked conspiracy theory, saying that "abortuaries sell baby parts" — a relatively common talking point in the anti-abortion movement, which originates in claims from 2015 that Planned Parenthood sells and profits off of the sale of post-abortion fetal tissue. Even Republican-led investigations found no substance to the claim, but the idea persists. A number of Planned Parenthood clinics do donate fetal tissue to medical research institutions, but never for a profit.

"Let's come back to, we're talking about two lives, not just one, because the mother is not having a lizard, she's having a human being who's half part of her. And the baby has its own body and the blood that is running through the baby isn't even her blood, so there's two separate bodies," Sears said.

The Family Foundation of Virginia is a Christian nonprofit that opposes abortion and LGBTQ rights.

Other speakers at the virtual event included Virginia Delegate Nick Freitas, state Sen. Steve Newman, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who called the Court's decision an "amen moment" and reiterated his stance as a "pro-life governor" who believes that "life begins at inception."

A Youngkin spokesman clarified to the Washington Post that the governor meant to say "conception."

At present, Virginia allows abortion until the end of the second trimester, or 26 weeks, and in the third trimester only if three physicians certify that the mother’s health is at serious risk.

Youngkin, who, as previously reported by The American Independent Foundation, was caught on a hidden camera during his campaign saying that he had to hide his anti-abortion views for fear of alienating moderate voters, announced his administration would push for a 15-week abortion ban the day the Court overturned Roe.

While Republicans control the House of Delegates, Democrats have a one-vote majority in the state Senate. However, one member of the Democratic caucus — Sen. Joe Morrissey — could break with his party to pass an abortion ban. Morrissey, a Roman Catholic, has said he would consider a ban on the procedure starting around the 20th week of pregnancy. At that point, Sears, as the lieutenant governor, would cast the tie-breaking vote.

The Jamaican-born Sears, the first Black woman to hold statewide office in the Commonwealth, previously scrubbed her positions from her campaign website, including her view that abortion rights are "wicked" and that "gun control laws DO NOT deter crime." After the May 28 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and three adults dead, Sears rejected the idea that guns were to blame, and argued that the root cause was that "we have emasculated our men."

Abortion rights are still broadly popular in Virginia. Polling conducted in the wake of the leaked draft decision overturning Roe found that 59% of residents did not support the Court's decision.

But Sears was quick to reject popular opinion on Tuesday night. "The fight has only just begun," she said. "I am on the side of right. This is the right thing ... and God is pleased, so it doesn't really matter."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Anti-Abortion Extremist Abby Johnson Urges Vaccine Boycott

Anti-abortion activist and 2020 Republican National Convention speaker Abby Johnson posted a video Tuesday evening urging her followers to boycott the COVID-19 vaccine, falsely claiming it props up abortion because it contains "dead children" and slamming political and religious leaders for promoting the vaccine.

"I'm here to punch a hornet's nest," she announces at the top of the video. "I'm about to speak about this vaccine issue and aborted babies being used, being tested in vaccines."

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What Judge Barrett Has Been Hiding From The Senate

Senate Democrats are attempting to delay a floor vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation in light of significant disclosures she failed to make to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

CNN reported that Barrett failed to disclose at least seven public talks she gave between 2004 and 2013. These events were listed on the University of Notre Dame's public calendars.

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