Time for Women’s Groups to Focus on States

It’s time for national women’s groups to shift their focus to state races.

With less than four weeks left until election day, Romney/Ryan’s disdain for women’s rights and support for forced births for rape victims are of understandable concern to national women’s health groups because of future Supreme Court appointments.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, national Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and EMILY’s List seem to be concentrated on the outcome in the presidential and congressional elections.  But races for governor, attorney general, and state legislature are arguably more important.

According to a recent report compiled by NARAL Pro-Choice America, states are ground zero of the War on Women.

State Abortion Restrictions

No matter how you look at it, anti-choice and anti-women measures at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. The Guttmacher Institute reports that “in the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from the 950 introduced in 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states.”

They aren’t just targeting abortion either. Access to birth control and preventative care, equal insurance prices, and equal pay for women are also under attack.

Many of these provisions are laws passed by wingnut legislatures and signed by anti-woman governors.  In Montana, legislators introduced a record number of anti-choice bills.  Thankfully, we had a democratic Governor who vetoed these bills.  Rick Hill meanwhile wants forced births for rape victims. He would sign it into law – along with dozens of other anti-woman bills – during his first few months in office.

Anti-choice attorney generals are now discovering they have an enormous amount of power over women’s rights and are ramping up their attacks.

Attorney General Ken Cucinelli is in the news  for forcing 20 new medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers – even though abortion is one of the safest and most regulated medical procedures. If Virgina’s AG has his way, most of the state’s abortion clinics could close.  In Wisconsin the War on Women’s foot soldiers are asking the attorney general to bar medical schools from teaching how to perform abortions.  Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is featured in GQ magazine in an article that labels him “the most aggressive abortion litigator in the land.” The nine-page article carries the headline, “This man will do anything to stop abortion.”

If Tim Fox, who supports forced birth for rape victims, is elected he’ll start implementing this garbage in Montana immediately.

Sure, there are some grassroots state organizations doing what they can to influence these races, but without much money. National GOP and corporate PACs meanwhile are dumping hundreds of thousands into state races at an alarming rate.  Clearly, the right knows where the fight is.  Unless national women’s groups  realize it–and shift their focus to states, now–it will be too late.


54 Comments on "Time for Women’s Groups to Focus on States"

  1. The last time Congress passed an anti-choice bill was a decade ago – in 2003. Ghat one that Bush signed surrounded by all men.


  2. This isn’t just for women’s groups. When it comes to the entire left-of-center movement, there is a ridiculous amount being wasted on federal races.

    No, Tester isn’t the most important candidate for Democrats. Whether he wins or loses, the Democratic senate caucus is sill going to suck and things in DC are going to keep getting worse. Testers won’t change that.

    Smart Dems realize Bullock is the most important race. But it is time for that thinking to go further, Democrats need to realize that every single Tier B race is more important than the senate race. Volunteer time and money need to follow that realization, not just for women’s groups, but for all progressive orgs. Every Dem activist needs to get wise to these facts.

  3. It’s not that hard to figure out that state officials – the legislature, Gov, AG etc have much greater power to impact people lives than federal races. Congress can’t even pass a budget, little alone any decent legislation- even when one party controls the White House and congress. Meanwhile hundreds of bills pass very session, and then there are the administrative decisions state agencies make–and of course the budget .

  4. I’m confused, which side does Obama take in this War on Women? His last major ruling on women’s reproductive rights was to ban Plan B contraception for teenagers.

    Or is limiting contraception okay when Democrats do it (…like everything else seems to be)?

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 14, 2012 1:51 PM at 1:51 PM |

      You’re right, dude. You ARE one confused little dude! You want the rightwing wacko site.

    • Brock, you are partially correct. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/us/politics/obama-expresses-support-for-plan-b-decision.html

      President Obama, noting that he was the father of two daughters, threw his wholehearted support on Thursday behind a decision by his health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, not to allow emergency contraceptives to be sold over the counter to young teenagers. ..

      Mr. Obama insisted that he was not involved in the decision, on a contraceptive pill known as Plan B One-Step. The decision by Ms. Sebelius, announced on Wednesday, was an extremely rare case of an administration official’s publicly overruling the Food and Drug Administration, which had concluded after extensive research that the medication was safe to be sold to teenagers 16 and younger without a prescription.

      The bluntly personal nature of the president’s response suggested that the White House is well aware of the political sensitivities, going into an election year, of allowing broader distribution of the contraceptive, whatever the Food and Drug Administration’s scientific arguments in favor of it.

      Dem president Obama following the politics over the science. Who would have thunk it?

  5. As to Cowgirl’s claim:

    …Romney/Ryan’s disdain for women’s rights and support for forced births for rape victims…

    Back in September Romney announced his position. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57501172/romney-my-views-on-abortion-rights-are-clear-/

    “My position has been clear throughout this campaign,” Romney said. “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

    As to Ryan he said the following in the VP debate:

    “the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother”

  6. Kenneth, overturning Roe v. Wade would return the matter to each individual state.

    As to keeping up with a candidates positions, I rely on where they are now. Not sure what flip flop means when a position evolves from A to B. For CG to represent Romney’s position completely opposite what he stated in Sept and repeated by Ryan in the debate, is either shockly incompetence or intentionally misleading. Heck, if a dumb know nothing like me can figure it out, why can’t CG?

    • First, overturning Roe VS Wade would NOT return the issue to the states. It would be a serious blow to our Constitutionally guarenteed rights. In that respect, anyone even discussing Roe VS Wade in terms of overturning it has no idea what A) Roe VS Wade was really about and B) has no concept of what the Constitution actually says.

      Second, you are welcome to try to convince others that Romney hasn’t flip flopped multiple times on the subject of abortion (or any other subject…) but reality is not in your favor. I can list at least four flip flops on just the subject of Abortion off the top of my head (and frankly, I am sure you are aware of at least that many). This is what makes your replies sad, because most of us that have seen you post for years know that you are smarter than that.

      It is you that is intentionally misleading and we don’t even have to ask why. You have made it clear that you will support a Republican ticket even in the clear situation where it against your own interests. What I don’t get is why…

      • Kenneth you are in error about the effect of overturning Roe: http://www.factcheck.org/2008/04/effect-of-overturning-roe-v-wade/

      • As to Romney’s abortion position, again I’ll state that it has evolved from A to B. See: http://2012.candidate-comparison.org/?compare=Romney&vs=Obama&on=Abortion

        As to your assertion that I was intentionally misleading, the facts argue otherwise.

        Romney previously supported a woman’s right to decide, but he is now adamantly opposed to abortions, unless it involves cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in mortal danger.

        During the 1994 Massachusetts senatorial debate against the incumbent Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Romney explained that he does not belief in imposing his personal beliefs unto others, and that, as a result of the death of a relative from an illegal abortion issue, his family has supported Roe V. Wade since 1970, and the right of a woman to choose. In 2007, Gov. Romney subsequently explained in an interview with USA TODAY that he no longer feels the same about the issue, and cites his earlier position as wrong.

        In 1994 Romney was pro-choice. In 2007 he stated he was wrong. Currently he says: “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.” He changed his position from A to B.

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | October 15, 2012 9:34 AM at 9:34 AM |

        The finest definition of insanity in today’s world are the attempts to prevent women from controlling their own fertility! And the biggest advocates for doing so are folks with partially functioning brains and fully functioning reproductive systems, the fundiwackmentalist religious zealots! These inbreds are quite determined to fill their quivers with as many little inbreds as theny can in the hopes that SOMEhow, God will provide! Talk about an undeserved sense of entitlement!

        Just WHO in the hell do these reetards think is gonna PROVIDE for all these little buggers if God don’t come through?! Bettin’ on the Rapture just don’t cut it!

  7. Some states have already passed abortion bans- so in terms of sending it back to the states it’s a moot point for the Mississippis, Alabamas of the world,

    • Actually no. Everything is on the table as laws on the book that predate Roe, and trigger laws that followed are several decades old in most instances. I expect all states would revisit the issue with their then constituted legislatures and governors. See: http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/states-probe-limits-of-abortion-policy2-85899387496

      Here is a rundown of state laws signaling intent on abortion:

      Trigger laws and statements of policy: Trigger laws ban abortion but avoid a federal lawsuit by delaying the effective date until the Supreme Court allows states to make abortion illegal again.

      In 2007, Mississippi and North Dakota enacted trigger laws.

      Illinois was the first to pass such a law in 1975. Louisiana followed in 1981 and Kentucky in 1982. South Dakota passed a trigger law in 2005 and, in 2006 Louisiana updated and added teeth to its 1981 trigger law.

      Legal experts differ on whether trigger laws would automatically take effect if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Some say the laws-in-waiting would be subject to approval by the incumbent governor and attorney general, if not lawmakers.

      Three states, Arkansas (1988), Missouri (1974 and 1986) and North Dakota (1975), passed similar but weaker laws, called statements of policy, that establish their intention to outlaw abortion if federal prohibitions are lifted. Experts agree these laws would have no legal effect if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

      Pre-1973 abortion bans: Statute books in 13 states still feature abortion bans that were passed before Roe v. Wade , though all except those in Alabama and Massachusetts have been enjoined by courts.

      In theory, if Roe v. Wade were overturned and state leaders wanted an invalidated abortion ban to take effect, a court injunction could be lifted. Similarly, if state leaders did not want a dormant abortion ban to take effect, the law could be voided, legal analysts say.

      In some states, the existence of pre-1973 bans may be merely a housekeeping error. For example, Vermont — among the most liberal states in the union and the only state that has failed to pass a single anti-abortion law since Roe v. Wade – still has a pre-1973 abortion ban on the books. Likewise, Massachusetts, with relatively liberal abortion laws and a Democratic Legislature, has retained the decades-old ban.

      Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wisconsin also have bans on the books that predate Roe v. Wade .

      Laws and constitutions protecting a woman’s right to an abortion: In 2006, Hawaii joined six other states that have passed laws ensuring a woman’s right to abortion, whether Roe v. Wade stands or falls.

      Nevada was the first to enact such a law in 1990, followed by Maryland (1991), Maine (1992), Washington (1992), Connecticut (1997) and California (2002).

      In at least 10 states, the highest court has interpreted the state constitution as protecting a woman’s right to abortion. Those states are Alaska, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to a pro-abortion research group, the Center for Reproductive Rights.

  8. OK.. I guess this bears saying again.

    Roe VS Wade was NOT about abortion. The conservative machine (and Craig) would very much like to lead you down that path, but the fact of the matter is that they are misleading you.

    Roe VS Wade was about our Constitutionally guarenteed right to choose what happens to our body. Yes, it does apply to abortion. It also applies to a whole lot of other things. It would prevent the state from deciding to sterilize all homeless people. It would prevent the state from harvesting organs from poor people to give to rich people. The list of things this simple decision prevents is endless.

    People…. this decision was about our basic civil rights as American Citizens. This is the thing that Craig, and those like him want you to forget. He can talk all day about trigger laws and how Romney hasn’t changed his stance (utter bullshit, BTW) but he would also rob you of your basic constitutionally guarenteed right to choose what happens to your body. I find him, and anyone like him to be beyond contempt.

    • Ken: “Roe VS Wade was NOT about abortion.”

      Me: Never said it was. What I did say was that the Roe issue would be decided by the states if Roe were overturned. Roe was about personal privacy and whether it exists in the Bill of Rights. The deciding S. Ct. said it was. A later court might revisit that decision and overturn it. Doing so would leave the issue of personal privacy, which includes abortion, to the states. Why are you having such a difficult time?

      Ken: “He can talk all day about trigger laws and how Romney hasn’t changed his stance…”

      Me: Huh? Did you read what I wrote as to how Romney’s abortion position has evolved (changed) from pro-choice in 1994 to pro-life today, with the abortion exception for rape, incest, life and health of the woman?

      • Wrong. Privacy is as constitutional right, as recognized by the United States Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut (pre-Roe).

        • Further more, I have to wonder what Craig’s interest in the SCOTUS overturning the right to privacy might be given this in the Montana Constitution:

          Section 10. Right of privacy. The right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest.

          (Thank you, Bob Kelleher.) It seems Montana has already decided to support Roe at the state level, just like we have strong protections concerning campaign finance … Whoops …

          • Good point about Montana Constitution. Montana Republicans were for constitutional rights before they were against them.

          • I have no interest in that digression. I took issue with CG misrepresenting
            Romney’s present abortion position which is favoring “… abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.” To represent otherwise is either the product of incompetent research or a lie. Take your pick.

            RJ, to the extent that Roe relies on Griswold regarding privacy, both would be overturned. IMHO, ain’t going to happen in our lifetimes no matter who is president and whomever they appoint to the court. All the discussion is about a hypothetical “if reversed” what would happen. Less likely than Derek Jeter returning to play in the WS this year “if” the Yankees get there.

            • OR … It could be exactly what ‘she’ said it was. Your false choice isn’t as rock-solid as you like to think. Are you actually beholden to the idea that Ryan has never voted for forced pregnancy for rape victims? Or did his stance “evolve” when he got picked for VP and that’s all you think anyone should care about now? (Not that you deserve a goddamned say about what anyone should care about.)

              No one needs to pick based on your false dilemma, Craig. Deal with it.

            • “IMHO, ain’t going to happen in our lifetimes no matter who is president and whomever they appoint to the court.”

              Kinda set yourself up for this but…

              I could not disagree more with your opinion. As you have already pointed out, many states are already setting themselves up to see Roe VS Wade overturned. You even provided examples.

              If the last two years have done nothing else, they should have proved to everyone that Supreme Court Appoints can and do make a HUGE difference in how law is intepreted in the United States. President Bush’s appointments to the court are the ONLY reason the Citizen United Decision was made. I cannot state this clearly enough… There is NO constitutional basis for Corporate personhood. In fact, Corporate Personhood was based on a mistake made by a clerk of the court over 100 years ago that some rather enterprizing people have taken advantage of.

              So yes, I will continue to harp on the sanctity of the Roe VS Wade decision, even though I am not a woman. I will not let anyone who can think forget that that decision was NOT about abortion but about basic Civil Rights and as such, those rights need to be protected if we are going to live in a free society.

              As an ancilary question… how do those people who argue that basic rights are “God Given” manage to selectively forget that an anti Roe VS Wade stance is going AGAINST those supposedly “God Given Rights”?

      • Yes, Craig, I did read the slanted analysis you posted. As usual, you are exceptional at finding sites that back up your misinformation. That is the wonder of the modern internet. You can find someone willing to write anything. That said, it doesn’t change the fact that Romney has flipflopped on almost every issue facing the US today just in the last four years. That is what defines Romney – he will say exactly what his audience wants to hear if he thinks it will get him what he wants. That is the mark of a successful business CEO – not the mark of a good President.

        As far as Roe VS Wade, Civil rights should NEVER be decided by either the voters or the states. Civil Rights are constitutionally protected for ALL Americans. Wake up and smell the bullshit you are shoveling. Roe VS Wade was a basic Civil Rights decision and as such CANNOT be decided by the States.

        • Careful now, Kenneth. Craig was only discussing what would happen if Roe were overturned. He wasn’t “judging it”, save by judging you for judging it as you rightly should. Why ever would you have a difficult time with that? Besides, next he’ll be sadly shaken by the partisan nature of your comments, you Democrat lover you …

          • Ok.. lets run with that. IF Roe VS Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, State Abortion laws would be the least of our worries. In effect, the Supreme Court would be saying that self determination is NOT a constitutionally guarenteed right and that the Government has the right to determine for you what you will or will not do with your own body.

            That is a far scarier thought to me than what individual states would do with Abortion. Remember, I am not a fan of Abortion as a birth control device. I am also someone that has personal experience with the need for Abortion. My personal feelings on Abortion aside, as I have pointed out clearly, Roe VS Wade is NOT about Abortion. It is about the basic Civil Right of Self Determination.

            • Please see my comment above about the Montana Constitution. (And raise a glass to Bob Kelleher, who was strongly anti-abortion but believed in the very same right of which you are concerned so much that he had it included in the Montana Constitution.)

        • Kenneth, by your measure Obama has flip flopped on gay marriage. Sometimes people change their opinions.

          • Really? How many times? Specifics, please …

          • I will echo Rob’s question because, to my knowledge, Obama didn’t take any kind of official stand on Gay Marriage until recently. He has skirted the issue for quite a while but when he did make an official stance, it was in support of equal rights for the GLBT community.

            There are plenty of areas where Obama has changed his stance, Craig. Why would you choose this one (where he really hasn’t)? Let me answer my own question… it is because you define a GLBT issue as a “Democrat” issue, when it should be an issue (again) of basic Civil Rights. I am NOT a Democrat (even though many think so), but I am a firm believer in actively protecting basic civil rights.

      • Since when has “evolved” begun to equal “regressed”, Craig? Since when has ‘changing one’s position’ been immune from claims of “flip-flopping’, especially when Romney (in between 1994 and today) has had his position “evolve” multiple times?

        It seems the one having a “difficult time” here is you, Craig. As Kenneth has more than adequately pointed out, Romney’s “evolved” stance on abortion shows a disdain for a basic right that affects all Americans, not just the female shells that cart around potential man-babies.

  9. Kenneth is 100% correct. Roe is about the right to medical privacy. Republicans want to overturn it so that they can access women’s medical history and tell women what medical treaemt thy can or can’t have.

    • Jennifer, this isn’t just about women’s rights. It is about the rights we all have – men and women – to determine what happens to our own bodies. Yes, it is a rallying cry for women’s rights, but it also applies to everyone. People need to realise that when they talk about Roe VS Wade.

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