Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week directed the state’s Department of Family Protective Services to investigate gender-affirming health care as “child abuse” and the parents of children who receive such care as perpetrating it. The directive, which was met with alarm by LGBTQ groups, was applauded by Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project, who took credit for Abbott’s directive on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast last Thursday and thanked the War Room for aiding its pressure campaign on Abbott.
“We put together a $750,000 grassroots advocacy campaign with the War Room support, and we put pressure on him right before the election,” Schilling said. “It wasn’t a coincidence that he did this. And Abbott basically instructed all of his state agencies to treat this as child abuse, and it’s now criminal to do this.”
Abbott, a champion of the conservative movement, has been accused of not being right wing enough by the Republican Party’s extreme fringes. Such attacks escalated ahead of Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary, which Abbott easily won.
In Schilling’s telling, Abbott has been insufficiently harsh on the LGBTQ community. Under Schilling’s leadership, APP—a religious-right organization that has made discriminating against trans kids its main endeavor—launched a Texas state chapter last year and targeted Abbott and other Republicans for not going far enough with the anti-trans legislation they passed. In February, APP released two ads attacking Abbott for failing to “protect our children.”
“Gov. Greg Abbott promised to protect our children from dangerous sex-change procedures and hormone therapies,” a voice narrates in one ad released Feb. 4. “Given the opportunity to protect Texas children, Greg Abbott chose not to bring up legislation.”
The legislation in question was an extreme bill from the Texas state legislature that would have criminalized gender-affirming health care for youth, redefining “child abuse” to include puberty suppression drugs, hormone replacement therapy, or surgical or medical procedures “for gender transitioning purposes.” (It’s worth noting that trans youth rarely, if ever, undergo surgery, and medical professionals say puberty blockers, which provide trans youth time to better understand their identity, are reversible.)
On Bannon’s podcast, Schilling accused Abbott of using “all of these backroom legislative maneuvers to keep it from getting a vote.”
However, when the state legislature did not pass that bill, Abbott asked his attorney general, Ken Paxton, to determine whether such gender-affirming health care could be considered “child abuse” under current Texas state law. Paxton issued an opinion on Feb. 18 that such care constitutes as “child abuse.”
Four days later, Abbott issued the directive to investigate gender-affirming care as “child abuse.” The order also called on teachers, doctors, and other professionals to report to child and protection services parents who provide their kids gender-affirming care, adding that there would be consequences for those who don’t report.
Schilling called the directive a “victory for the War Room posse,” and he applauded Paxton, who was a guest earlier in the program, for his opinion.
“It doesn’t happen without two things: It doesn’t happen without Ken Paxton and his leadership and what he came out with; and it also doesn’t happen without the War Room posse and everything they’re doing to help us really make this pro-family movement more muscular,” Schilling said.
Bannon, however, remained dissatisfied with Abbott’s directive. “You gotta get the law passed,” he said. “What does the cadre need to do to have your back and the folks down in Texas to get this on the books as a law?”
“So the first thing we have to do is we have to help Gov. Abbott and AG Paxton enforce the law,” Schilling said. “And what I mean by that is we have to start making reports when we find out about something bad happening to kids when it comes to gender transition. I don’t care if it’s top surgery where they’re doing mastectomy to healthy young girls or even just the counseling. We have to start making reports because it is child abuse. These guys can’t enforce the law and criminalize bad guys if they don’t know when and where and who is doing it.”
“Number two is you have to hold your politicians accountable, and you have to demand that they pass this,” Schilling said. “Abbott actually could call a special session in order to pass this legislation.
“We’ve got to force this,” Bannon said, urging his listeners to call on Abbott to call for a special session.
This isn’t the first time that Bannon and Schilling have teamed up to attack trans youth. Schilling’s group, APP, is also a member of A Promise to America’s Children, a coalition of right-wing and religious-right groups that formed last year to oppose so-called “gender ideology.” In reality, the coalition targeted trans youth through model legislation and misinformation. Pulling a page from religious-right attacks on gay men, these groups have fearmongered about trans people, claiming they need to “protect kids.”
Instead, these attacks have devastating effects on trans youth. The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, saw a 150 percent increase in crisis calls and messages in Texas between 2020 and 2021 when the state considered dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills. The group condemned Abbott’s directive, stating, “Access to gender-affirming medical care, like gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT), has been found to be significantly linked to lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth.” Major medical organizations, including American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Medical Association, also support gender-affirming medical treatment.
Although LGBTQ groups say Abbott’s directive is unlikely to hold up in court, many see the directive as a political move made before both Paxton and Abbott’s primary elections. Speaking about the legislative attacks on trans youth last spring, LGBTQ writer and author Charlotte Clymer told Right Wing Watch, “For about a decade now, Republicans, specifically social conservatives, have been looking for a way to weaponize transphobia for elections.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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‘Heist’: Ginni Thomas Tells J6 Committee Election Was Stolen, Says She Never Discussed Efforts to Overturn With Spouse
Appearing behind closed doors in person for four hours with investigators from the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, far right wing activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas reiterated her false claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen, calling it a “heist.” Thomas also insisted she has never discussed her work to overturn the election results with her husband, the person she publicly refers to as her “best friend,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who has resisted calls to recuse himself from any cases surround the January 6 insurrection.
The 2020 president election was not stolen, there has never been any proof to support that false contention, more than 60 court cases claiming fraud brought by the Trump team or their supporters have been thrown out or lost, and even Donald Trump’s own Attorney General and Dept. of Homeland Security officials have said there was no significant fraud, with the later issuing a statement that reads: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”
And yet, despite mountains of evidence President Joe Biden won the election, despite the election being certified with him winning 81,268,924 votes against Trump’s 74,216,154 votes – a margin of more than 7 million, and despite him winning the Electoral College 306 to 232, Ginni Thomas for hours on Thursday insisted Donald Trump was the rightful president.
“During her interview, Ms. Thomas, who goes by Ginni, repeated her assertion that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald J. Trump,” The New York Times reports, citing remarks made by the Committee’s chairman, Bennie Thompson. The Times called it “a belief she insisted upon in late 2020 as she pressured state legislators and the White House chief of staff to do more to try to invalidate the results.”
And yet to reporters Thomas’ attorney called her actions merely “minimal and mainstream activity focused on ensuring that reports of fraud and irregularities were investigated.”
“Beyond that, she played no role in any events after the 2020 election results,” he added, despite press reports that Thomas held a months-long text message exchange with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, urging him to find a way to overture the election.
“As she wrote in a text to Mark Meadows at the time, she also condemned the violence on Jan. 6, as she abhors violence on any side of the aisle.”
“Ms. Thomas,” The Times adds, “exchanged text messages with Mr. Meadows, the White House chief of staff, in which she urged him to challenge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the 2020 election, which she called a ‘heist,’ and indicated that she had reached out to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, about Mr. Trump’s efforts to use the courts to keep himself in power. She even suggested the lawyer who should be put in charge of that effort.”
Despite earlier reports Thomas did appear in person, but refused to answer reporters’ questions.
NEW: Ginni Thomas met with Jan 6 committee IN PERSON. She did not answer my questions pic.twitter.com/5z6pypr0S9
— Annie Grayer (@AnnieGrayerCNN) September 29, 2022
Watch: Democrat Delivers Fiery Rebuke to House Republicans Trying to Deprive Veterans of Abortion Rights
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan, blasted congressional Republicans on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday, accusing them of turning a basic, bipartisan bill to help the nation’s veterans into “a cold heartless, violent” referendum on the right to abortion.
“In terms of making decisions on behalf of women, if you want to take a veterans’ bill and make it about abortion, then let’s do it,” Slotkin dared her Republican colleagues. “What you are saying – and you’re saying in front of the American people – is that you believe a veteran who has been raped, who was the victim of incest, or who is having a dangerous miscarriage, does not deserve access to abortion.”
Slotkin was referring to the Solid Start Act, her legislation designed to help veterans transition into civilian society. Republicans tried to block the bill after learning it includes a “requirement that the Department of Veterans Affairs provide female veterans with information ‘tailored to their specific health care’ needs, which would adhere to a new VA policy providing abortion access for women vets who are victims of rape, incest or whose life is jeopardized,” HuffPost reports.
“If you can’t state it, then be clear you believe in no exceptions for women — a cold heartless, violent approach to women’s health,” said Slotkin, whose stepdaughter is a female Army officer. “You want to ban all abortions. That is your goal. Many of you have been open about that, and if you flip the House, we know that you will put forward a full ban on all abortion for all states.”
Slotkin, a military spouse and military step mother, is correct. House GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s plan for Republicans to take back control of the House, his Newt Gingrich-endorsed “Commitment to America” says it very clearly. In the section called “Preserve Our Constitutional Freedoms,” he says Republicans will “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.”
But GOP opposition to the abortion provisions in the veterans’ bill is even more extreme than McCarthy’s message – and does not protect the life of the mother.
“We are all, on this floor, elected officials and not medical professionals,” Slotkin added in her more-then two-minute rebuke. “If it was your wife, your daughter who was suffering through a miscarriage, are you going to tell her she can’t until her fever gets high enough and until she’s bleeding harder?”
“If that’s what you want for veterans, shame on you! Shame on you!”
Watch below or at this link.
Slotkin: What you are saying and saying
in front of the American people is you believe a veteran who has been raped, who is a victim of incest or who is having a dangerous miscarriage does not deserve access to abortion.. Who do you think you are? pic.twitter.com/44kbO7EAJU
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 29, 2022
Ginni Thomas Testifies Today Before J6 Committee
Far-right-wing activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, who held a months-long pressure campaign with Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to force him to somehow overturn the 2020 election, and sent numerous emails to GOP lawmakers in multiple states also trying convince them to overturn the election, will testify today before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Were Thomas merely a far-right wing extremist, or even a wealthy and powerful lobbyist, her actions would have received less scrutiny, but given she is married to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, who was the sole vote opposing the release of January 6 documents to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection, many see her actions as concerning and deserving of investigation.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney broke the news Thomas will testify before the Committee today. Her testimony will be virtual. The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell adds, it is “voluntary.”
Calling Thomas “one of the panel’s most high-profile outstanding witnesses,” Politico reports, “Lawmakers took interest in her connections to John Eastman, a legal architect of former President Donald Trump’s last-ditch plan to subvert the 2020 election. She’d invited Eastman to speak to an activist group in the aftermath of the election, though Eastman has denied ever discussing Supreme Court-related matters with Thomas.”
In a March opinion piece on MSNBC, Wayne Batchis, associate professor of political science at the University of Delaware, examined the Supreme Court’s “Clarence Thomas (and Ginni Thomas) problem.”
“It turns out that Thomas not only sat on the board of an organization that promoted the dangerous fiction that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from former President Donald Trump through fraud, she also attended the rally attempting to vindicate this paranoid propagandistic fantasy (and said she left before Trump took the stage),” Batchis wrote.
” All the while, in what might resemble the coordinated efforts of synchronized swimmers, husband and wife seemingly sought to thwart the investigation into the democratically perilous events of Jan. 6. Ginni Thomas signed on to a letter seeking the expulsion of Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the Republican conference for joining the House Jan. 6 investigation committee; Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter — standing in opposition to the rest of the court, including its three Trump appointees — in a decision allowing for the release of Jan. 6-related documents to said committee.”
“Without trust in the courts,” he warns, “American democracy does not stand a chance.”
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