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Zoë Carpenter writes Pro-Choice Advocates Plan Offensive in the States:

Three years ago, when he was elected governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback promised to sign any anti-abortion bill that landed on his desk. He’s kept his word, signing a handful restrictive measures to force doctors to give medically unsound information to their patients, impose crippling licensing requirements on clinics and divert funds from health providers to crisis pregnancy centers, among other things.

Now, Brownback is facing a re-election campaign that looks decidedly tougher than most expected, and pro-choice activists are eyeing the race as they seek to reverse the momentum of anti-choice laws sweeping the states. Some early polls show Brownback trailing his Democratic challenger, a little-known state representative named Paul Davis who has voted against many of the anti-choice bills.

“Even if Governor Brownback is put on defense because of his abortion stance, that would matter significantly,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America (and ablogger for TheNation.com). “There’s a perception that because Kansas is deep red, he’s safe as an anti-choice politician.”

Zoë Carpenter of The Nation
Zoë Carpenter
Instead, pro-choice advocates will try to make positions like Governor Brownback’s a liability this year. NARAL plans to prioritize gubernatorial and states races where control of the legislature is closely contested, a decision that reflects that the decisive battles over abortion are now fought largely outside Washington. Nationally, the legal right to abortion remains intact. But women in many states are rapidly losing access on a practical level as state lawmakers force clinics out of business and require patients to jump through increasingly burdensome hoops.

States passed fifty-three laws restricting abortion last year, according to the twenty-third edition of NARAL’s report “Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States,” which was released Tuesday. They include outright bans on abortion after as little as six weeks of pregnancy, as well as measures to impose crippling restrictions on providers, defund family planning centers, prohibit insurers from covering abortion and force women to undergo biased counseling or delays. Since 1995, states have passed more than 800 anti-abortion measures.

In many recent cases, conservatives have concealed anti-choice provisions within unrelated bills, and then pushed them through at the last minute or in special sessions. In North Carolina, legislators cut insurance coverage for abortion and tightened rules on clinics by inserting the measures into a motorcycle safety bill on the final day of the legislative session. Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a slew of stringent provisions into law after they were attached to the state’s budget bill. Texas lawmakers needed multiple special sessions to pass a sweeping anti-abortion package that included a ban on abortions after twenty weeks and regulations that forced a third of the state’s clinics to close suddenly.

Concerted efforts to disguise anti-abortion measures partially accounts for their success even while Americans remain broadly supportive of the rights affirmed in Roe v. Wade, said Donna Crane, NARAL vice president for public policy, at a press conference this morning. “They’ve learned that their opinions are unpopular, so they obfuscate them,” said Crane. […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Blast from the Past – James Hansen, 1988:

In the hot summer of 1988—while Americans prepared to decide whether Vice President George H.W. Bush or the "Atari Democrat"—Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis—would replace Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, testified at a congressional hearing that he was convinced the earth’s atmosphere was warming up, that the warming was caused by human activity, and that severe shocks would result. A three-scenario graph accompanying his testimony sent a clarion warning.

The smears and propaganda began almost immediately from contrarians such as Patrick Michaels and a snake-oil salesman named S. Fred Singer. Eventually, it became known that both men (and others) were part of a well-financed campaign on the part of fossil-fuel companies to persuade Americans (and politicians) that global warming was a hoax and that Hansen and other scientists sounding the alarm were fools or worse.

The hearings in June 1988 weren’t the first time Hansen had said trouble was brewing. Nor were they the first time other scientists had publicly spoken of the potential crises warming might cause. But 1988 demarcated two periods. Before then, the science of climate change was tentative and the political opposition was mostly directly toward keeping data from being gathered in the first place, much less analyzed. Afterward, with the science ever more sure and cohesive, a cabal of petro-industrialists paid aggressive liars to attack the science and, sometimes, the scientists. Chief among those in the crosshairs were Hansen and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the research organization set up in that same watershed year by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program.

With the express purpose of casting "doubt on the theory of global warming," front groups with misleading names such as the Global Climate Coalition, the Global Climate Information Project, and the Cooler Heads Project (as well as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Consumer Coalition) spread fabrications while their corporate sponsors paid tens of millions of dollars for public relations campaigns, advertising, and contributions to Democratic and Republican politicians.


Tweet of the Day:

I take it back. Everything is like slavery except for slavery, which wasn't that bad and definitely didn't cause the civil war.
@AdamSerwer



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, the Chris Christie and WV stories aren't dead yet. Greg Dworkin brought us a round-up of the headlines on Christie and the latest on Obamacare, which is still a thing! Plus: new gun outrage out of FL. A retired police captain shoots a fellow movie-goer for texting during the previews. We return to the WV story for more on just what this spilled chemical is, how dangerous we should consider it to be, and whether or not Koch Industries really is connected to the situation. And just how did a relatively small spill end up contaminating the drinking water of nine counties? The answer, at least in part is privatization.


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