Pema Levy

Pema Levy is an assistant editor at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Attacking Romney's Abortion Credentials

Anti-abortion zealots do not trust Mitt Romney one bit. At the Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend, the Susan B. Anthony List, the organization nominally dedicated to electing anti-abortion women to office, announced the pledge they've convinced most of the major candidates to sign. But Mitt Romney refused to sign the pledge. Nevermind that the pledge asks candidates to commit to an overbearing and likely illegal agenda that includes defunding Planned Parenthood as well as codify fetal-pain laws even though they break with established law set by the Supreme Court. Or that Herman Cain didn't sign the pledge either. The far right of the Republican Party, both Tea Partiers and anti-abortion extremists, are going after Romney with all they've got. SBA List attacked Romney for not signing, with rival candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum piling on and questioning his anti-abortion credentials. Romney responded to the criticism with his own pledge in National Review ...

Could Republicans Self-Destruct in 2012?

Sahil Kapur has a good piece up at TNR about the Tea Party's plans to go after Mitt Romney because he's not the "rock-solid fiscal conservative" they want. According to Kapur, FreedomWorks, the Dick Armey -led Tea Party organization, is threatening to "uneash part of its $25 million treasure trove in an attempt to sink his candidacy." Meanwhile, Joe Miller , the Tea Party candidate who took on Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and lost last November, has his own political action committee dedicated to going after Mitt Romney where it matters most: New Hampshire. Last November, the Tea Party swept into state houses and the House of Representatives, but radical candidates like Sharon Angle , who crowded our more moderate Republicans for their party's nomination, cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate. The lesson seemed to be that in more local races the Tea Party was a Republican God-send, but for national office, it was often a curse. Now we're talking about the presidency -- the stakes...

Welcome Intervention

Yesterday night, the lawsuit over Indiana's law to defund Planned Parenthood got more complicated. As states go after abortion access and Planned Parenthood clinics in particular, the federal government has shied away from these state-level fights. But recently, states have begun to defund Planned Parenthood (and other abortion providers) by denying them Medicaid funds, making this a federal issue. For the second time, the Department of Justice has quietly weighed in. Last week, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood went to court, arguing that the Indiana law violated federal law regarding how states use Medicaid funds. They argue, among several points made in the complaint , that cutting funding to Planned Parenthood violates the freedom of choice provision in the Medicaid Act. The Department of Health and Human Services had sent a letter to Indiana that sided with Planned Parenthood. The state filed papers opposing this reading of the law. Now, the DOJ is backing up HHS: Justice...

Misinforming the Public

ThinkProgress reports on a rift between the Chamber of Commerce and many GOP freshmen over the debt ceiling. The Chamber wants the debt ceiling raised because they know the economic results of not doing so would be bad for businesses. The freshmen, who have sworn not to raise the debt ceiling, responded to the Chamber: "…But that’s what’s different about the freshman class. We don’t listen to folks inside the beltway, we listen to constituents across the country,” said freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS). Freshman Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) added, “as far as I am concerned, [the Chamber's] leadership forfeited its position as a voice for small business when it became comfortably entrenched in Washington’s status quo.” The message coming from GOP freshmen -- that they listen to their constituents rather than beltway consensus – is really strange. If the subject were Medicaid cuts, for example, then it would make sense for politicians to push back against the cuts citing polling data...

Vilifying Contraception

The most important way for conservatives to roll back access to family planning is to link it to abortion. To wit, at the Faith and Freedom Conference last week, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser declared : “Every year that contraception and family planning increases, the abortion rate also increases in direct proportion. … This is an undeniable fact.” SBA List will not support a candidate that does not want to defund Planned Parenthood because of this faux-causal relationship between contraception and abortion. Not only is this nonsensical, but there's evidence to the contrary. For example, a study released this week by the Guttmacher Institute reports that between 2000 and 2008, the U.S. abortion rate declined overall but went up for poor women. Poor women are less likely to have health care, meaning they have a harder time getting family planning services and rely more heavily on organizations like Planned Parenthood. According to the report's author: “That...

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