Tag: roe v wade
Tim Scott

Huh? Tim Scott Responds To Abortion Question With 'Word Salad'

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) is unsure about his stance on the issue of abortion bans.

Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, Republicans have suffered losses in major elections — including the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race — partly due to GOP candidates' restrictive proposals around abortion bans.

While visiting voters in New Hampshire Thursday, the GOP senator was asked by Newsmax if he would support a federal ban on abortions.

Journalist Aaron Rupar shared a clip of Scott's response to Newsman's question, writing, "this is quite the word salad from Tim Scott on a national abortion ban."

"I'm very pro-life," Scott replied. "I never walked away from that. But the truth of the matter is, when you look at the issues on abortion, I start with a very important conversation I had in a banking hearing when I was sitting in my office and listening to Janet Yellen, the secretary of the treasury, talk about increasing the labor force participation rate for African American women who are in poverty by having too many abortions."

WMRU9 Political Director Adam Sexton also recently interviewed Scott on the issue of abortion and shared a clip of his conversation with the senator, writing, "In a 1-on-1 interview with @WMUR9, Sen. Tim Scott @votetimscott says the Dobbs decision left abortion policy to the states, but if he's President he says he would sign a 20-week federal abortion ban into law."

The senator announced the launch of his presidential exploratory committee Wednesday, April 12.

Social media users tactfully teased Scott for stumbling on his stance.

Kaz Weida: "When you want to say yes but know it's political suicide."

Jordan Klepper: "Hell of an argument for having better conversations around abortions through perhaps the most confused conversation around abortion, I've heard."

Sarah Longwell: "Tim Scott seems to think he can run for President of the United States and never have to tell anyone his position on abortion."

Paul Waldman: "'Abortion is an issue about which people have said many things. In conclusion, America is a land of contrasts. Look over there!' [turns and runs away]."

@PrettyLupone: "Reporter: Do you support a fed ban on abortions? Tim Scott: Janet Yellen's banking summit made me anti-choice."

Charlotte Clymer: "Tim Scott gives an answer that sounds like a 9th grader trying to stretch that essay just 100 more words to meet the assignment requirements but without actually answering the question."

Ray Suarez: "Begins with 'I would simply say...' then, doesn't."

Sean Illing: "This is like popping a helium balloon and watching it fly aimlessly across the room."

Keith Boykin: "It's a yes or no question."

Watch the video below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Abortion Pills

Trump-Appointed Judge Blocks Sales Of Safe, Effective Abortion Drug

Large scale testing has shown the the drug mifepristone is actually safer than many medications that are given out millions of times a year—including such common antibiotics as penicillin and “male enhancement” drugs like Viagra. In addition to supporting a medically safe abortion, the drug has been used used for over two decades in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and Cushing syndrome. An analysis of all available data by CNN put the odds of dying from mifepristone at 0.0005 percent.

That extreme level of safety is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved prescription use of mifepristone in 2000, and why in January the FDA changed regulations around it to make it readily available in pharmacies. It’s also used safely by millions in other countries.

But on Friday, Trump-appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed to a seat on the Northern District of Texas bench straight from the ultra-conservative First Liberty Institute, made an extraordinary and unprecedented ruling, ignoring the safety data presented by the FDA and others, and “suspending” that FDA approval. The ruling could potentially block the sale of mifepristone not just in states that have outlawed abortion following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, but in every state, including those where abortion remains legal.

Currently, mifepristone is used in over half the abortions performed in the United States.

As The Washington Post reports, Kacsmaryk has a long history of anti-abortion views. In fact, this isn’t the first abortion-related case to drop onto Kacsmaryk’s docket. That’s because anti-abortion groups know that he’s a guaranteed win, that they have engaged in “forum shopping,” contriving ways to file their case so that it will be heard in Kacsmaryk’s court.

In this case, the group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has taken part in several other lawsuits aimed at ending abortion rights, including the Mississippi case that led to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, filed suit in Amarillo claiming unspecified damage by four doctors who has prescribed the drug to patients. That suit claimed that “FDA lacked the authority to approve the drug, did not adequately study the medication and that the drug is unsafe.”

Kacsmaryk chose to accept the unsupported claims by Alliance Defending Liberty rather than the raft of studies showing mifepristone’s safety. In his 67-page ruling, he went out of the way to berate the FDA and to claim that the agency had “acquiesced on its legitimate safety concerns—in violation of its statutory duty” because of political pressure.

The Biden administration will certainly appeal the ruling, but one of the reasons abortion groups love to go to Kacsmaryk is that any appeal from him ends up in the Fifth Circuit. That court was described inEsquire as “the blown fuse of American jurisprudence.” Or, as The Washington Post explains.

The arrival of a half-dozen judges picked by President Donald Trump—many of them young, ambitious and outspoken—has put the court at the forefront of resistance to the Biden administration’s assertions of legal authority and to the regulatory power of federal agencies. Their rulings have at times broken with precedent and exposed rifts among the judges, illustrating Trump’s lasting legacy on the powerful set of federal courts that operate one step below the Supreme Court. Even some veteran conservatives on the court have criticized the newcomers for going too far.

The next step from there is the Supreme Court … the same court that tossed five decades of rights out the window in 2022.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

With 'Death For Abortion' Bill, South Carolina Is Becoming Atwood's Gilead

With 'Death For Abortion' Bill, South Carolina Is Becoming Atwood's Gilead

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On Monday, 21 lawmakers in South Carolina proposed a bill that would punish any woman having an abortion with the death penalty. The bill would define as a “person” a woman’s egg that has been fertilized by sperm and apply to “an unborn child at every stage of development from fertilization until birth.”

That wasn’t enough for them, however. The bill goes on to state that enforcement of the law should “be subject to the same presumptions…as would apply to the homicide of a person who had been born alive.” That means they are proposing to treat an abortion as murder, and the woman who has an abortion as a murderer. Incredibly, having proclaimed that a fertilized egg is a “person,” they cite the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and its provision that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” that protection presumably applying South Carolina’s newly created right to life for the fetus.

They finally went there, as the saying goes. The right to life of the fetus now gives the state of South Carolina the right to kill a mother if she aborts one.

They leave an exception for a mother under “threat of imminent death or great bodily injury,” but there is no exception for an abortion performed because a mother has been raped or been the victim of incest with a parent, sibling, or close relative. So, if your father raped you, and you’re carrying your father’s baby – in effect, your own sister – you can be given the death penalty if you abort the resulting fetus.

According to The Hill, “The bill in South Carolina continues a trend of laws in Republican-led states to limit access to abortions and punish it under law after the fall of Roe v. Wade. At least 18 states have imposed near or total abortion bans.”

The South Carolina legislation will provide a roadmap for other states wishing to threaten women with death if they have an abortion. Already in the state of Texas, a man has filed a wrongful death suit against three women for helping his ex-wife get the pills necessary to abort her own fetus last year. He is seeking $1 million in damages.

Already the lack of access to safe abortions in red states is forcing women who want to end a pregnancy to give birth to unwanted children. Which raises the question of what could possibly be next? Will they arrest women seeking abortions who cross state borders and put them in a birthing camp, releasing them only after they have given birth? Will they put surveillance in drug stores to identify women buying home pregnancy tests and then issue warrants against the pregnant women, allowing the state to open their private mail to prevent them from receiving abortion pills through the mail?

They should give Margaret Atwood the Nobel Prize for literature for having alerted us to the dystopian world of the “Handmaid’s Tale” that is no longer in her sharply imagined future but actively upon us. South Carolina is just the first shiver of an earthquake that will strip women not only of the right to abortion, but of other rights as well. Will the laws surrounding consent to the sex act be next, making a conviction for rape harder to prove? The word chattel comes to mind.

Yesterday, several of the original signatories on the bill withdrew their sponsorship, apparently after having read (1) the bill they signed onto, and (2) the tsunami of negative coverage it generated. This doesn’t mean that the belly-slithering chickenshits who pulled their sponsorship won’t vote for the bill if it reaches the House floor. My bet is they will, because who controls women’s bodies in South Carolina, anyway? Women, or white male politicians? I give you one guess.

Having a womb within your body may soon be as dangerous as walking around carrying a bomb.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

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He Got Rich By Pushing America's Judiciary Toward the Far Right

He Got Rich By Pushing America's Judiciary Toward the Far Right

The religious right movement, which gained considerable momentum during President Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign, has had a complex relationship with Catholicism over the years. The religious right is dominated by far-right white evangelical Protestant fundamentalists, who are vehemently critical of Catholic practices (the confessional, physical images of Jesus). Yet Republican evangelicals will work with the Catholic right when it comes to fighting abortion or same-sex marriage.

The Catholic right is by no means universally loved by American Catholics. President Joe Biden and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for example, are both known for being devout Catholics, but they are also major critics of the Religious Right and its influence on the U.S. Supreme Court — which the Catholic right now dominates. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Amy Coney Barrett are all hard-right Catholics and GOP appointees who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling of 2022.

In contrast, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Democratic Barack Obama appointee, is a Catholic who was a dissenter in Dobbs and has been a scathing critic of the High Court's current direction. She even used the word "stench" to express her disdain. Sotomayor is to the left of the Vatican, while Thomas, Alito ,and Barrett are to the right of the Vatican.

One of the Catholic right's most influential figures is judicial activist Leonard Leo, former executive vice president of the Federalist Society. Leo has spent decades lobbying to push the federal courts to the far right. And according to Politico's Heidi Przybyla, he has made a fortune in the process.

In an article published by Politico on March 1, Przybyla reports, "A network of political nonprofits formed by judicial activist Leonard Leo moved at least $43 million to a new firm he is leading, raising questions about how his conservative legal movement is funded. Leo's own personal wealth appeared to have ballooned as his fundraising prowess accelerated since his efforts to cement the Supreme Court's conservative majority helped to bring about its decision to overturn abortion rights. Most recently, Leo reaped a $1.6 billion windfall from a single donor in what is likely the biggest single political gift in U.S. history."

According to Przybyla, Politico's analysis of "dozens of financial, property and public records dating from 2000 to 2021" shows that Leo's "lifestyle took a lavish turn beginning in 2016." And his fortunes grew considerably during the Trump years, Przybyla reports.

The Politico journalist explains, "The spending by Leo-aligned nonprofits on his for-profit businesses coincided with changes in his personal lifestyle and finances. IRS and other public records between 2016 and 2020 show a major expansion of Leo's personal wealth that coincided with the start of his work for Trump and the creation of his own for-profit entity called BH Group. Both happened in 2016."

The former Federalist Society vice president forcefully lobbied for many of the severe social conservatives who are now on the Supreme Court, including Barrett. In 2016, he encouraged then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to do everything he could to derail then-President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia (a far-right Catholic social conservative). It worked; that seat stayed open until 2017, when then-President Donald Trump appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch — another justice who voted to overturn Roe in 2022. Gorsuch was raised Catholic but has more recently attended an Episcopal church.

Trump was very specific about the type of justices he wanted: hardcore social conservatives. Former Justice Anthony Kennedy was a right-wing fiscally conservative 1987 Reagan appointee, but he was much more of a libertarian than Scalia, Alito or Thomas and often voted with Democratic justices when it came to abortion or gay rights. And that wasn't the type of justice that Trump and Leo wanted.

Przybyla notes, "The Court’s 2022 decision overturning half a century of the federal right to abortion was widely seen as a victory for the conservative legal movement led by Leo. Trump picked his Court nominees from a list drawn up by Leo, who then served as his unofficial adviser in the White House. A constellation of outside groups affiliated with Leo poured tens of millions of dollars in anonymous donor funds into promoting those nominees — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — thereby cementing a new conservative majority for the next generation."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.