One of the bad things about email is that it has become a huge money solicitation vehicle. However, every now and then in those solicitations are little nuggets of information that can pique an interest that can lead a person to explore an issue that was perhaps the furthest thing from your mind a few seconds before.
In this instance it was a solicitation from NARAL. If you are unfamiliar with NARAL (National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws) they are one of the oldest pro-choice groups in the country. The email was to point out Chuck Grassley shifting his excuses for refusing a hearing for Merrick Garland from their previous “we don’t have to so we won’t” to a new excuse of “he could be a liberal and might not overturn Roe v. Wade so we won’t even give him a hearing.”
Pique of interest – Grassley dragging out abortion to cover his ass on the SCOTUS refusal. Apparently holding his breath and throwing a tantrum like a 2 year old ain’t selling anymore. But anti-abortion is always a bogeyman that sells for Republicans. So it looks like Chuck has reached into the old Republican bag-o-fear and pulled out the abortion fear to shake around.
The email cited a story from a WHO-TV that included this piece:
“I believe it is vitally important that we don’t have another liberal Supreme Court Justice whose world view is that the Constitution is a living, breathing document,” Grassley said. “I can’t overstate what is at stake here. We know if another liberal is nominated to the Court that even the reasonable restrictions on abortion, that have been enacted into law through the Democratic process … these would be swept away. You heard that in the quotation from candidate [Hillary] Clinton. You all remember that a few years ago, the Court upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion by a 5 to 4 vote. Amazingly, four justices would’ve made partial birth abortion a constitutional right. So, you can multiply or add or subtract, we’re just one justice away from that being the case.”
“Partial birth abortion” even. One of the big hitters in the fear bag. Grassley must be in real trouble.
Oddly that very night, we watched our recording of “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.” Sam was doing a story on how abortion became the rights issue of perpetual importance. Something that has always eluded me. My recollection is that when Roe v. Wade was announced it was not a huge issue. Wasn’t a huge issue for quite a while except among Catholics. Catholics had always been anti-abortion and anti-birth control as well. But it seems that abortion as an issue for other religions and for the political right came quite a bit later.
And Sam Bee answered my curiosity with this little piece. Karmic, I would say. (about 7 minutes)
A politico.com article by Randall Palmer two years ago traces the beginnings of abortion as a major issue for the right. Not too surprising to find that abortion as an issue is an offshoot of racial issues in this country. In particular, IRS action against private segregated schools.
This is a fascinating read of how the masses can be manipulated. One of the most damaging but least known of right wing operatives, Paul Weyrich, is at the core of this one. Weyrich is also known for his push to suppress voters:
“Weyrich saw that he had the beginnings of a conservative political movement, which is why, several years into President Jimmy Carter’s term, he and other leaders of the nascent religious right blamed the Democratic president for the IRS actions against segregated schools—even though the policy was mandated by Nixon, and Bob Jones University had lost its tax exemption a year and a day before Carter was inaugurated as president. Falwell, Weyrich and others were undeterred by the niceties of facts. In their determination to elect a conservative, they would do anything to deny a Democrat, even a fellow evangelical like Carter, another term in the White House.
But Falwell and Weyrich, having tapped into the ire of evangelical leaders, were also savvy enough to recognize that organizing grassroots evangelicals to defend racial discrimination would be a challenge. It had worked to rally the leaders, but they needed a different issue if they wanted to mobilize evangelical voters on a large scale.
By the late 1970s, many Americans—not just Roman Catholics—were beginning to feel uneasy about the spike in legal abortions following the 1973 Roe decision. The 1978 Senate races demonstrated to Weyrich and others that abortion might motivate conservatives where it hadn’t in the past. That year in Minnesota, pro-life Republicans captured both Senate seats (one for the unexpired term of Hubert Humphrey) as well as the governor’s mansion. In Iowa, Sen. Dick Clark, the Democratic incumbent, was thought to be a shoo-in: Every poll heading into the election showed him ahead by at least 10 percentage points. On the final weekend of the campaign, however, pro-life activists, primarily Roman Catholics, leafleted church parking lots (as they did in Minnesota), and on Election Day Clark lost to his Republican pro-life challenger.”
Weyrich hooked up with young film maker Frank Shaeffer to produce the film featured in the video above. Slowly the movement took off. By 1980 it had big effects:
“By 1980, even though Carter had sought, both as governor of Georgia and as president, to reduce the incidence of abortion, his refusal to seek a constitutional amendment outlawing it was viewed by politically conservative evangelicals as an unpardonable sin. Never mind the fact that his Republican opponent that year, Ronald Reagan, had signed into law, as governor of California in 1967, the most liberal abortion bill in the country. When Reagan addressed a rally of 10,000 evangelicals at Reunion Arena in Dallas in August 1980, he excoriated the “unconstitutional regulatory agenda” directed by the IRS “against independent schools,” but he made no mention of abortion. Nevertheless, leaders of the religious right hammered away at the issue, persuading many evangelicals to make support for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion a litmus test for their votes.”
Now, in 2016 it looks like Chuck Grassley and his obstruction is sinking his reelection chances. To save his butt he is turning to the Republican life preserver known as anti-abortion and hooking it to his niche of refusing to do his job on the judiciary. Very interesting to know that that life-preserver was created in the service of keeping segregation.
Well, while we are on the subject, may as well arm yourselves with some facts on abortion and be prepared to debunk the myths that the right wing has created. Here is an excellent article that lays out the myth and the truth in a very straight forward way.