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UPDATED: The GOP’s War On Women And Children

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From breast pumps to Big Bird, and from food stamps to family planning, the GOP is waging a war on America’s women and children. Full-fledged Republican battles against women now include anti-abortion bills, anti-contraception efforts, bills that literally would allow women to die in hospitals across America to protect “conscience rights” of doctors, attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, and GOP-sponsored bills that reduce, hamper, or even attempt to eliminate women’s constitutional rights to abortion and reproductive health services.

Yes, despite the fact that 64% of Americans say unemployment and the economy in general are “the most important problems facing this country today,” the GOP has chosen to focus on effectively eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.

The New York Times reports, “A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it,” and adds, “the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely.”

The Times quotes Dr. Paul Van Look, director of the W.H.O. Department of Reproductive Health and Research, as saying, “What we see is that the law does not influence a woman’s decision to have an abortion. If there’s an unplanned pregnancy, it does not matter if the law is restrictive or liberal.” Van Look adds, “Generally, where abortion is legal it will be provided in a safe manner… And the opposite is also true: where it is illegal, it is likely to be unsafe, performed under unsafe conditions by poorly trained providers.”

Not satisfied at attempting to end abortion, however, Republicans are attempting right now to end entire programs that provide food and health services to five million low-income Americans.

Republicans are even proposing “personhood” bills, which declare as a full-fledged human the two cells joined at the instant of conception – effectively outlawing abortion. Eliminating abortion is so far ahead of everything else on the Republican agenda — despite Speaker of the House John Boehner’s promise to focus on jobs — that they’re even willing to pass legislation that might make it legal to murder an abortion provider. And all this on the heels of the GOP’s attempt to redefine rape. And like something out of The Onion, or “Saturday Night Live,” there is even a Republican battle on breast pumps.

Yes, breast pumps. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has decided to attack First Lady Michelle Obama, the government’s role in health care, the President’s policies, and the needy, by saying, “I’ve given birth to five babies and I breast-fed every single one of these babies,” Bachmann said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show. “To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies. I mean, you want to talk about the nanny state?”

But even her own state residents disagree. “The government isn’t buying nursing women breast pumps (nor telling them they must buy them),” writes Susan Perry in the Minnesota Post. “The IRS is simply permitting women to purchase a pump and other breast-feeding supplies with their flexible spending accounts — as they can now buy other health-related items, such as hearing aids, contact-lens solution and over-the-counter pain relievers.”

Read: “Sarah Palin’s Breast Pump Problem

Children are not exempt from the GOP wrath either. Right now, a Republican lawmaker in Missouri has proposed a bill “eliminating the prohibition on employment of children under 14.” Marcus Baram in The Huffington Post says that state Senator Jane Cunningham “defends the bill, saying that it’s important to cultivate a work ethic in young people.”

Shameful. If parents want to “cultivate a work ethic” in their young children, let them cut the grass, get a paper route, volunteer at the local library, walk the neighbor’s dog, or babysit.

Of course, after gutting child labor laws, what do you think is the next logical move? Yup. Repealing minimum wage laws. There are currently Republican-led attempts to repeal minimum wage laws now in (at least) Nevada and Missouri, as well as a national conversation taking place across America.

Citing an op-ed in a local Massachusetts newspaper that the “free market” should determine wages, a letter to the editor titled, “Where’s GOP concern for US workers?,” sarcastically mocks the idea. “He suggests that the federal minimum wage law be eliminated and that the free market determine that wage, which he feels could be $7 per hour rather than $8 and therefore create more jobs. But why stop there? Just think how many jobs could be created if minimum wages fell to $5 or even $3. And, as he implies, if we cut back or eliminate paid sick days and some paid time off for personal needs, employers would be able to hire more workers.”

A New York Times editorial this week calls the GOP’s focus “out of control,” and asks, “Are there any adults in charge of the House?

“On Tuesday, the House began debating the list of proposed cuts, and more than 500 amendments were filed, mostly from Republicans trying to cut still more out of — or end — programs they dislike. One would stop paying dues to the United Nations. Others would cut all financing for the health care reform law, or Planned Parenthood, or any foreign aid to a country that regularly disagrees with the United States at the United Nations.”

The United Nations is one of the most important institutions women and children have. Whatever its shortcomings, the United Nations helps provide food to millions of women and children, specifically. It is unconscionable for the GOP to attempt to deny them the small amount of funding we do.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, last week called these efforts by the GOP “short-sighted.” The American Foreign Press writes, “According to the ambassador, out of every dollar paid in tax by Americans 34 cents goes to Social Security and Medicare, 22 cents to national security and just one tenth of a cent on UN dues.”

But taking food out of the mouths of women and children is not the only overseas mission Republicans have. The GOP is attempting to “eliminate the $440 million in funding for the State Department, foreign operations, and related programs “for international population control, family planning, and reproductive health.”

Typical. Republicans time and again want to do something and ignore the consequences. But taking money out of the mouths of women and children, and taking money out of family planning services is a one-two punch that adds up to insanity.

Back here in the U.S., Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, took Republican Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, to task. Writing an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, “We can’t afford to cut education,” the former First Lady cited Texas’ embarrassing statistics, including ranking “49th in verbal SAT scores, 47th in literacy and 46th in average math SAT scores,” and “36th in the nation in high school graduation rates.” She adds, “An estimated 3.8 million Texans do not have a high school diploma.”

Mrs. Bush then asks, “In light of these statistics, can we afford to cut the number of teachers, increase class sizes, eliminate scholarships for underprivileged students and close several community colleges?”

Gail Collins of The New York Times picked this up and wrote in response, “You may not be surprised to hear that Governor Perry has rejected new taxes. He’s also currently refusing $830 million in federal aid to education because the Democratic members of Congress from Texas — ticked off because Perry used $3.2 billion in stimulus dollars for schools to plug other holes in his budget — put in special language requiring that this time Texas actually use the money for the kids.”

Collins continues, writing, “the Perry government is a huge fan of the deeply ineffective abstinence-only sex education. Texas gobbles up more federal funds than any other state for the purpose of teaching kids that the only way to avoid unwanted pregnancies is to avoid sex entirely,” and reveals that Texas “refused to accept federal money for more expansive, “evidence-based” programs.”

Calling House Republican leaders’ cuts “draconian,” and “devastating to women and girls at every stage of their lives,” Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, writing in The Hill, says, “The same House Republican leaders who voted to extend lavish tax breaks for the very wealthiest are now insisting that those who can least afford it sacrifice the most.”

She details some of the cuts Republicans want to make to the federal budget this year, and she’s kind when she calls them “draconian.”

Many Americans aren’t aware of a forty-one year-old federal program called Title X, which House Republicans want to scrap. Why? Because it provides funding to five million low-income women and children in the form of family planning (which Republicans hear solely as “abortion,”) contraception, and health care.

The Republican bill in the House, according to Campbell, “gouges key federal early learning investments—Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant,” and “slashes funding for programs that promote the health of pregnant women, infants and young children,” including programs that provide “food, counseling and other supports to millions of low-income pregnant women, new mothers and infants.”

Those new mothers and infants may be mighty surprised to learn that the GOP is also waging war on Big Bird. Yes, the GOP wants to pull the plug on PBS. Claiming, “public broadcasting’s furry friends are political animals,” ultra-conservative Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina says that in Washington, D.C., “Sesame Street turns into K Street and Elmo is a lobbyist.” DeMint exposes his irrational fears. “At this rate, Americans can expect Big Bird to start filming commercials to hype ObamaCare.”

DeMint and the rest of his Republican friends have a plan to prevent that too. The House is doing everything it can to repeal “Obamacare.” And if they can’t repeal health care reform, they can sure defund it. And they’re trying.

Yes, the Republicans have gone overboard, and are attacking women and children, and those least able to help themselves. Ironically, and sadistically, the fact is that Republican efforts will lead to even more needy women and children, literally left out in the cold, un-fed, un-educated, without health care, or a future.

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Democrats Discredit GOP Claims on IVF as Republicans Try to Regain Ground After Fallout

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One week after the Alabama State Supreme Court ruled frozen human embryos are “children,” causing several medical institutions to pause their in-vitro fertilization (IVF) programs, Alabama and the GOP have seen tremendous nationwide anger, upset, and confusion from the left and the right over the decision, the Christian nationalist chief judge, and the Republican Party that set this in motion.

Now, GOP lawmakers and political groups are trying to regain ground after some Republicans quickly embraced the decision that, as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre predicted Tuesday, would cause “exactly the type of chaos that we expected when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and paved the way for politicians to dictate some of the most personal decisions families can make.”

“As a reminder,” Jean-Pierre added, “this is the same state whose attorney general threatened to prosecute people who help women travel out of state to seek the care they need.”

President Joe Biden condemned the Alabama ruling: “The disregard for women’s ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families is outrageous and unacceptable.”

But U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) cheered his state’s Supreme Court, while appearing to not fully grasp what IVF is.

READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism Plans

“I was all for it,” he said of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, calling young people “our number one commodity.”

But when pressed, Tuberville declared, “I’d have to look at the entire bill, how it’s written, I have not seen it,” referring not to legislation but the ruling.

And when told that women will now not be able to have IVF treatments, Tuberville repeatedly replied it was “unfortunate.”

On Thursday night, speaking to a group of religious broadcasters, Donald Trump denounced the Alabama ruling and vowed to protect IVF. On Friday, the beleaguered Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) issued a memo directing Republicans to defend IVF. Also Friday, the Attorney General for the state of Alabama, mentioned earlier by the White House Press Secretary, effectively suggested he would ignore the state supreme court’s ruling, promising to not prosecute IVF families, as ABC News reported.

But Democrats are making clear that despite whatever claims or promises Republicans make, the IVF ruling is the direction conservatives are taking the Republican Party.

READ MORE: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

“First Republicans banned abortions so women couldn’t terminate a pregnancy. Now they are coming for IVF so women can’t begin a pregnancy. The GOP agenda is about one thing: government control of women,” observed U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (photo).

CNN congressional correspondent Lauren Fox reports a new NRSC memo “instructs [GOP] candidates to reject clearly and concisely government attempts to restrict access to IVF.”

Just hours later, Sen. Murphy responded, saying, “umm the chairman of the NRSC sponsored the bill to ban IVF.”

He added, “newsflash: no matter what they tell their candidates to pretend, when they get power they use it to control women.”

The NRSC’s goal is to help get Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate. It is chaired by Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, a MAGA Republican and member of the Senate’s Pro-Life Caucus.

As Bloomberg’s Matthew Yglesias notes, Senator Daines is an original co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act.

The Center for American Progress’ Colin Seeberger adds, Daines “quite literally has been a longtime co-sponsor of the Lifetime at Conception Act, which would establish legal protections for the unborn just as the Alabama Supreme Court ordered and has led to the suspension of fertility care across AL.”

Meanwhile, Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz notes that the “text of GOP‘s most recent platform claims that ‘the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed’ and calls for a constitutional amendment that would ban all abortions — and jeopardize IVF — by granting 14th Amendment rights to fetuses.”

READ MORE: Why Was GOP’s Star Witness Re-Arrested? He May Have Been Trying to Flee the Country: Report

Indeed, as The New York Times reported, far-right Christian conservative Tony Perkins, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ extremist group Family Research Council, called the Alabama Supreme Court ruling a “beautiful defense of life and the Alabama Constitution.”

Friday afternoon Donald Trump followed up his vow to protect IVF with a social media post that claims in part, “Under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families. We want to make it easier for mothers and fathers to have babies, not harder! That includes supporting the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America. Like the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of Americans, including the VAST MAJORITY of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, and Pro-Life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby.”

Former Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer responded, asking: “Why would anyone believe this? In 2016, Trump pledged no cuts to Medicaid and then spent four years trying to gut the program.”

And as Axios reports, “House Democrats’ main super PAC is promising to pour money into attacking Republicans on fertility treatments in the wake of a controversial, first-of-its-kind Alabama Supreme Court ruling, Axios has learned.”

“Trump’s call came a day after President Biden’s re-election campaign blamed him for the ruling, noting his appointment of conservative justices to the Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade,” Axios adds. House Majority PAC, in a memo set to be released Friday, listed nearly a dozen current and former House Republicans in competitive districts who have co-sponsored at least one version of the Life at Conception Act between 2021 and 2023.”

See the social media posts and video above or at this link.

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Why Was GOP’s Star Witness Re-Arrested? He May Have Been Trying to Flee the Country: Report

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The re-arrest of Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who allegedly may have provided House Republicans with Kremlin propaganda that was the basis for their efforts to impeach President Joe Biden and attack his son Hunter, raised some eyebrows on Thursday.

Smirnov, once considered House Republicans’ Jim Comer and Jim Jordan’s star witness, was re-arrested even after a magistrate judge ordered him released, and at his attorneys’ offices, raising eyebrows from even national security experts, insisting there had better be a good reason for it.

Now, according to a noted legal expert, it appears there was.

“A California judge seems to be suggesting [Smirnov’s] lawyers are complicit in his efforts to flee, in a remarkable line ordering detention for the FBI source whose lies propelled Biden impeachment efforts,” writes professor of law and MSNBC legal contributor Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney.

READ MORE: ‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts

U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II in his order wrote on Thursday: “It has come to this Court’s attention that counsel for defendant has sought an emergency hearing in the District of Nevada to arrange the release of Defendant Smirnov, likely to facilitate his absconding from the United States.”

After detailing Smirnov’s arrest and release, Judge Wright ordered his re-arrest, adding: “The U.S. Marshal Service is advised there is to be no deviation from this Order.”

Just Security’s Adam Klasfeld calls Judge Wright’s order “wild,” and adds that Smirnoff’s lawyers released “a terse statement about the extraordinary order.”

“They did not respond to questions about the language in the judge’s order suggesting a ‘likely’ aim to ‘facilitate’ their client ‘absconding from the United States.'”

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Vaccine-Laced Lettuce and Tomatoes? Tennessee GOP Lawmaker Worried

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A Tennessee Republican state lawmaker says he’s worried Tennesseans might overdose on vaccines if they eat too many tomatoes.

State Rep. Scott Cepicky claims vaccines can already be added to foods like lettuce and tomatoes, and to tobacco products, so he has filed legislation to require grocery store items containing vaccines to be labeled.

“University of California Riverside has already perfected the ability to put human vaccines into our lettuce right now,” Rep. Cepicky told his fellow lawmakers Wednesday while discussing his legislation. “Also, tomatoes, has the ability to do that also per UC Berkeley. And then big tobacco, RJ Reynolds and stuff has perfected the ability to put a human vaccine in tobacco products.”

NCRM could find no evidence supporting his claims, although researchers starting in 2021 were studying if it is possible to do so.

Cepicky, who has been endorsed by U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), warned, “there is no law, deeming those that when you go into a grocery store, you should know as a consumer, this head of lettuce is a head of lettuce. The head of lettuce right next week could contain a vaccine in it. All we’re saying is if it does have the vaccine in it, make sure it’s listed as a pharmaceutical so people can get the proper dosage.”

READ MORE: ‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts

Facing some pushback from Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Cepicky went on to say, “This is more of a consumer protection bill right here, is to make sure that if you’re going in to buy tomatoes, and there’s a polio vaccine in there, that you are aware of what you’re buying has a polio vaccine. The problem you have is if it’s not treated as a pharmaceutical, being the size and difference between you and me, how many tomatoes do I have to eat to get the proper dosage versus how many tomatoes that you have to eat? And if you eat too many do you get a overdose?”

Asked if his legislation was necessity, Cepicky added, “Well, if you’d have a child that is allergic to a certain vaccine, and it’s not disclosed, when you go to buy that, that vegetable, whatever it is, and your child dies from that, I would think that having place is going to make sure that that is treated as a pharmaceutical so that the consumers know exactly what they’re buying.”

Anti-vaxers gained a foothold during the COVID pandemic, spreading false claims about vaccines. Last year the fact-checking website Snopes deemed it “false” that “mRNA from COVID-19 vaccines has entered the food supply via genetically modified plants bred to contain it or through the consumption of vaccinated livestock.”

“Claims regarding COVID-19 vaccines ‘in your salad‘ have persisted on the internet and recirculated due to misreadings or misinterpretations of several press releases or scientific research,” Snopes added, “Mike Flynn, during a September 2021 podcast appearance, referenced this research, describing it as ‘putting the vaccine in salad dressing.'”

READ MORE: Kremlin Infiltration of Congress Alleged by Ex-Trump Prosecutor: Republicans ‘Duped or in on It’

Flynn, the former Trump U.S. national security advisor, is a far-right Christian nationalist and Trump MAGA activist.

Tennessee lawmakers voted to move Rep. Capicky’s forward.

Watch Rep. Capicky’s remarks below or at this link.

 

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