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Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

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Democratic Senators led by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) will ask unanimous consent on Wednesday to pass legislation to protect in-vitro fertilization (IVF), after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled frozen embryos are “children.” Immediately following that ruling, some medical facilities that offer IVF services paused those practices over fear they could be prosecuted.

“I warned that red states would come for IVF, and now they have. But they aren’t going to just going to stop in Alabama,” Senator Duckworth said Tuesday during a press conference announcing the legislation, The Hill reported. “Mark my words. If we don’t act now, it will only get worse.”

Many House and Senate Republicans quickly came out to claim they support IVF after the Alabama ruling, some at the direction or urging of Donald Trump and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), despite having voted for legislation that claims human life begins at conception. Because IVF can involve discarding frozen embryos, discarding them could put fertility clinics and physicians at risk, under the Alabama ruling.

Senator Duckworth has a PhD in human services and is the first U.S. Senator to give birth while serving in office. She “had her two daughters via IVF,” Axios reports, and “says that under Alabama’s ruling, her doctor’s decision to discard her non-viable embryos with her consent would’ve potentially been considered manslaughter or murder.”

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Over the past two years Sen. Duckworth has supported or sponsored legislation to protect IVF and “other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services.”

On Tuesday Duckworth announced “she’ll seek unanimous consent tomorrow in Senate on her bill to protect the right to IVF nationwide,” reports CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane. “She is quite noticeably daring Republican US Senators to attempt to block it.”

CNN reports, “The Life at Conception Act – which was introduced in January 2023 by GOP Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia and has 125 total Republican sponsors in the House, including House Speaker Mike Johnson – defines the term ‘human being’ to include ‘all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.'”

In one of numerous examples of incongruence between their stated claims and voting record, CNN adds that “GOP Rep. Michelle Steel of California, who represents a Biden-won swing district, was one of the Republicans who came out quickly on social media to express support for IVF and share her own struggles with infertility. She also said she opposes any federal restrictions on the procedure.”

“But Steel is also a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act — which Democrats have been quick to point out. Steel’s office has not yet returned a request for comment on how she squares those two positions, nor have other House Republicans who expressed support for IVF while being co-sponsors of the House bill.”

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Republicans have been “scrambling to contain the fallout” after the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, Reuters reported.

“Recent polls conducted by Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, who worked in the Trump White House, and shared with Reuters showed widespread support for IVF and fertility treatments, even among those who oppose abortion,” Reuters added. “According to Conway’s firm, 85% of all respondents and 86% of women support increasing access to fertility-related procedures and services for individuals facing challenges in conceiving, including 78% of people who consider themselves anti-abortion and 83% of evangelicals.”

In 2022, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) killed Sen. Duckworth’s legislation to protect IVF, after objecting to it being passed by unanimous consent.

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‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

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Wisconsin’s Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Board of Education postponed a scheduled public event to share with the community its narrowed-down list of candidates to become the next superintendent of schools after a former schools superintendent raised concerns about the process. The school board cited a “shift in the timeline” as the reason for the delay.

Retired St. Francis Superintendent Carol Topinka pointed out the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s job posting listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for candidates to be considered by the board, as Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reports.

“Help me understand how a public school district can legally limit its hiring to people who are Christians?” Topinka wrote in an email to the Illinois-based firm hired to conduct the search for the schools superintendent, WPR reported. A friend of Topinka who applied for the job pointed out the “desired characteristics.”

“My mentee is not a Christian and is frankly gobsmacked that a public school district can blatantly and prejudicially flout the law,” Topinka wrote.

“Thanks for your email,” responded Mike Richie of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. “That was a comment made during the focus groups and you are correct that should not have been in the report. It will be removed. Thanks.”

School Board President Chad Hoopman “said as part of the process of hiring the superintendent focus groups met and ‘any characteristic mentioned by any participant in attendance is recorded and appears on the list of traits for that particular focus group for complete transparency to any potential candidates to review.'”

An undated post on the school district’s website announcing the search states, “base salary range expected to be $140,000-$180,000 (based on experience).”

It adds, “As the district looks ahead, it seeks a leader who aligns with its values and shares a commitment to preserving the traditional principles that have made Cedar Grove-Belgium a unique and cherished educational community.”

The ACLU is raising concerns.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in the recruitment phase,” Ryan Cox, legal director with ACLU of Wisconsin told WPR. “The ACLU of Wisconsin is extremely concerned that a public body might be attempting to apply a religious test as a condition of employment, or even as a preferred ‘qualification.’”

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan called it, “a complete disregard for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t hire based on religion for a public position.”

Meanwhile, the chair of a Wisconsin chapter of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-government extremist group, falsely claimed Christians are now being excluded from the search.

“In the era of woke ‘inclusive’ paganism, everyone is welcome… except for Christians,” Scarlett Johnson wrote on social media. Stating the ACLU “plans to investigate” the district “for their heresy,” Johnson added, “Imagine stating that ‘Christian Values’ in a superintendent might be good! How dare this community in Sheboygan, WI, stray from the qu-er gender-bending multicultural god to whom leftist wing radicals worship and sacrifice!”

Johnson also claimed ACLU attorneys “will investigate and deconstruct whiteness wherever they find it and look into past actions taken by the board as well.”

“Don’t worry, folks,” Johnson continued. “Christians will not have a voice in YOUR public school. The WPR and ACLU will be sure to take appropriate action. Rest easy and watch a drag show with someone else’s kids.”

 

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‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

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Embracing polls and reports that claim independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could take more votes from President Joe Biden than from Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee is effectively “endorsing” RFK Jr., but only for Democratic voters.

“RFK Jr. is going to be taking away votes from crooked Joe Biden and he should because he’s actually better than Biden,” Trump says in a rambling nearly three-minute video posted to his Truth Social page. “He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats.”

Trump’s remarks come as multiple news reports and the DNC this week suggest RFK Jr. could be a “spoiler” to help Donald Trump, and as the Kennedy campaign announced it had fired a New York State staff member whose remarks suggested the goal was to “get rid” of President Biden, throw the election to the House, which, she said, would choose Trump. RFK Jr.’s campaign manager has denied that is their plan.

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In his video, Trump calls RFK Jr., “the most radical left candidate in the race,” while saying, “he’s a better man than Joe Biden,” “great for MAGA,” and, “I happen to like him.” He ends the video repeating his claim: “I do believe he’s going to take a lot of votes away from crooked Joe Biden.”

Noting that “RFK Jr. sounds like Trump as he courts MAGA voters,” Axios this week reported, “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is making targeted appeals to Donald Trump supporters, pledging to “seal the border” from undocumented migrants and investigate the prosecutions of pro-Trump rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”

UC Berkeley Professor of Public Policy Robert Reich warns, “Don’t be fooled: RFK Jr. has received funding from big Republican donors.”

“Steve Bannon urged him to run! Why? Because he’s there to play spoiler. The MAGA world knows that a vote for RFK Jr. is a vote to help Trump win, plain and simple,” he added.

Is RFK Jr. a threat to Biden?

“Election spoiler?” writes USA Today on Friday. “Seven months from the election, Kennedy has the support of 11.7% of likely voters, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. That doesn’t make him a serious contender to win the election. But Kennedy’s current double-digit standing is more than enough to swing outcomes in battleground states.”

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The Hill on Friday also asked, “Will RFK Jr. be a spoiler in November?”

“Kennedy and other independent candidates ‘certainly could be spoilers,’ conceded No Labels chief strategist Ryan Clancy, who cautioned that much could happen before November.”

Bloomberg Opinion‘s Patricia Lopez this week slammed No Labels and RFK Jr.

“Let’s Call No Labels and RFK Jr. What They Are: Spoilers,” Lopez wrote. “A rudderless third party and a nepo baby’s vanity run distort the dynamics of a pivotal election.”

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi points to a New York Times report from Wednesday: “Trump Allies Have a Plan to Hurt Biden’s Chances: Elevate Outsider Candidates.” Trippi writes: “Trump Allies, Trump Donors, MAGA Supporting Billionaire all in to make RFK Jr a Spoiler For Trump.”

The liberal Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century has repeatedly labeled RFK Jr. a “spoiler.”

“Trump is desperately trying to prop up RFK Jr.’s spoiler campaign after two straight weeks of negative headlines and zero polling bump after his running mate announcement last month,” the group said on Friday, posting a short clip of the Trump video.

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Pro-Trump RFK Jr. Campaign Staff Member Fired for ‘Misrepresentation’: Report

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Rita Palma, a Robert F. Kennedy Jr. presidential campaign New York State staffer and pro-Trump election denier who attended the pre-insurrection January 6, 2021 rally, has been terminated for “misrepresentation,” according to multiple news outlets and the campaign.

Palma made headlines earlier this week when unearthed video of her promoting a plan to “get rid” of President Joe Biden to help elect Donald Trump went viral.

Palma was identified as the campaign’s New York State director, but RFK Jr.’s national campaign manager, Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, on social media claimed Palma is “a ballot access consultant” and distanced the campaign from Palma’s remarks, saying she was “speaking as a private citizen and her statements in no way reflect campaign strategy.”

Fox Kennedy, CNN reports, “said on Wednesday that New York campaign staff member Rita Palma was fired after she told GOP voters in a meeting last week that preventing President Joe Biden’s victory was her ‘number one priority’ and encouraged them to volunteer for former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.”

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Fox Kennedy Wednesday night, in response to an RFK Jr. supporter angered by Palma’s remarks, wrote on X: “We terminated her contract for misrepresentation immediately upon seeing the longer video in which she gave an inaccurate job title and described a conversation that did not happen.”

Palma had told Kennedy supporters the goal is to use RFK. Jr. to block President Joe Biden from obtaining 270 Electoral College votes, throw the election to the Republican-majority House of Representatives, which she said would put Trump back in the White House. She also declared President Joe Biden the “enemy” of both the Trump voter and the “Bobby” Kennedy voter.

“We’re all on the same team right now, and we’ll be on the same team later, as long as Trump or Kennedy wins,” Palma said, CNN had reported. “If it’s Trump vs. Biden, Biden wins. Biden wins six days, seven days a week. With Bobby in the mix, anything can happen.”

Responding to the video, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison wrote: “As we have been saying… RFK Jr. = Trump,” and added, “They share the same donors… the same extremist agenda.”

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Earlier this week CNN’s KFile reported Palma “previously promoted false claims that the 2020 election was rigged and attended ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies after the election, including the rally on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC, that preceded the deadly riot at the US Capitol.”

She “also repeatedly called Trump her ‘favorite president,’ according to tweets along with comments she posted on the conservative social media site Parler that have since been made private.”

On Wednesday, Vanity Fair‘s Eric Lutz wrote, “The big question here is whether Kennedy is knowingly playing into Trump narratives, or if he’s actually buying into some of this as a noted conspiracy theorist himself.”

“But whether this is gullibility or bad faith, the effect in November could be the same: to create chaos in November that could ultimately help Trump, an aspiring authoritarian, reclaim the White House. ‘RFK Jr.’s campaign isn’t building a plan or a strategy to get 270 electoral votes,’ Matt Corridoni, spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, told CNN. ‘They’re building one to help Trump return to the Oval Office.'”

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