Last night, while Congress debated funding the health-care bill, Rep. Steve King couldn’t help also mentioning why he voted to defund Planned Parenthood: “Planned Parenthood is invested in promiscuity.”
Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline in 2006 (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
When Dr. Mila Means decided to begin offering abortions at her family practice in Wichita, Kansas -- the city where George Tiller practiced before he was murdered in 2009 by an anti-abortion crusader -- the clinic's landlord balked. Citing "a disruption and nuisance to other tenants and [the creation of] an unsafe environment," the company that owned the building brought a lawsuit against Means, seeking a temporary injunction to prohibit her from performing abortions. Dr. Means gave in and promised not to perform abortions.
Yesterday, Dave Weigel'sassessmnt of the politics behind legislative attacks on reproductive rights was on target until it went very awry. According to Weigel, House Democratic leadership sees anti-abortion extremism -- attempts to redefine rape or allow hospitals to deny women life-saving abortions -- as a political liability for Republicans, especially given that independent voters are more interested in the economy than in turning back to the culture wars. Fair enough, but Weigel’s piece takes a strange turn by protraying the pushback from women’s advocates as political theater, rather than as a serious response to attacks on women’s rights.
There's a lot of confusion over South Dakota's SB 1171, a law proposed by state Rep. Phil Jensen that would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include anyone attempting to harm an unborn child. Jensen claims his bill is not aimed at abortion providers, saying it is intended to apply to cases, for example, in which an angry ex-boyfriend is beating a woman's abdomen to kill the fetus. Yesterday, Slate's Dave Weigel made the argument, as did Jensen, that the bill only applies to "illegal" activity, and because abortion is legal, abortion providers would not be targeted.
On Friday, Shirley Sherrodfiled a libel and slander suit against Andrew Breitbart in D.C. Superior Court for his release of an edited video of her which resulted in her forced resignation from the USDA last summer. As I said last week in a column about why it's so hard to sue the media, the odds are stacked against victims. Sherrod will have to prove that Breitbart knowingly promulgated false information or recklessly disregarded the truth -- a feat that's so hard to do most libel cases get thrown out.