Womens Health

Your Vote Could Make or Break Abortion Issue Today

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Think you know every important race for reproductive health happening today? Well, it's more than just Amendment 62 or control over the Senate. Here are some of the races anti-abortion factions are focusing in on as key to their cause, and some feedback from LGBT advocates on both sides of the aisle as to how they will be effected by the election.

The Washington Examiner has a list of top races to watch that could make or break the abortion status quo.

California Senate–Boxer, the champion of legal abortion: Boxer is a favorite of the pro-choice movement. She led the fight to keep partial-birth abortion legal. The fact that she’s in danger this year — in California — has pro-lifers giddy.

Washington Senate–Murray, the champion of government-funded abortions: Murray’s is second only to Boxer in defending abortion. Her “Murray Amendment” is an attempt to begin performing abortions on military bases. Much more than Boxer, Murray is vulnerable this year.

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Michael Bennet vs. Ken Buck in Colorado Senate race: Democrats have decided the way to beat conservative Republican Ken Buck in Colorado is to attack him as an extremist on abortion — he opposes it in all cases, even when the child was conceived through rape or incest. If he goes down in a tight race, abortion could be part of it.

Keith Fimian, pro-life Catholic in a socially moderate wealthy district: Rep. Gerry Connolly attacks Fimian for his no-exceptions pro-life stance. Fimian stands firm.

Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill.: Hare is an unapologetic pro-choice liberal in a strong Democratic district, but he could lose to pro-life businessman Bobby Schilling.

Obamacare votes by pro-life Dems or those who claim to be: Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Steve Driehaus (Ohio), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) are pro-life Democrats voted in the end for ObamaCare, even though it contained abortion subsidies. This earned the ire of some pro-life groups, like the Susan B. Anthony List, which has spent money to try to defeat them. Sen. Harry Reid basically fits into this category, since he describes himself as pro-life.

 

And who would think that the race for Attorney General would make a huge difference in reproductive rights?  Well, that became more clear after Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli started pushing an anti-choice agenda. Now the anti-abortion groups have picked more AG races to concentrate on, in a chance to up the stakes.

"This is the most important election cycle ever for the issue of life," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "The lives of innocent children hang in the balance in many races across the nation where abortion."

Two races that have thus far garnered little attention, but have enormous implications for the future of abortion nationwide are the races for Attorney General in Iowa and Kansas.

In Iowa, incumbent Tom Miller is being challenged by Republican Brenna Findley, an attorney and former Congressional chief of staff who is a dedicated pro-life supporter. Miller, a 32-year Democratic incumbent is a rabid supporter of abortion with strong ties to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH).

Miller has actively worked to shield PPH from criminal investigation regarding their dangerous remote webcam abortion pill distribution scheme that denies women assess to physical examination by a licensed physician prior to an abortion, something that is considered a "standard of care" in nearly every state.

"The Miller-Findley race for Iowa Attorney General is critical because as long as Miller remains in office protecting his friends at Planned Parenthood, they will move forward with their plan to expand telemed webcam abortions into all fifty states. That would represent the largest expansion of abortion services since Roe v. Wade. The outcome of this race could literally affect nearly every community in the nation."

Another pivotal election with national implications is the Kansas Attorney General's race. Democratic incumbent Steve Six is an appointee of radical abortion promoter Kathleen Sebelius, who now serves as Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services. Six is opposed by pro-life Republican Derek Schmidt.

Six is known for helping to gag evidence in a case where a Kansas Planned Parenthood has been charged with 107 criminal counts, including 23 felonies, for illegal late-term abortions and manufacturing evidence. His actions caused a needless two-year delay in the case. As long as Six remains in control of the Attorney General's office, the prosecution of Planned Parenthood remains in jeopardy.

Since organizations must obey all laws to receive tax funding, a successful prosecution could endanger Planned Parenthood's ability to receive tax dollars nationwide. Taxpayer funds are what keep Planned Parenthood afloat. Defunding could cause the collapse of the abortion giant.

"These two attorney general races could be game-changers in the abortion issue. They are literally life and death votes for the people of Iowa and Kansas that will affect every state," said Newman. "Please join Operation Rescue in prayer over the next 24 hours for pro-life victories across the nation and especially in these two critical races."

 

Interested in what the LGBT community thinks this election could bring for the movement?  Poligot has statements from both conservative and progressive LGBT organizations on what they think could be the fallout come November 3rd.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans:

Log Cabin Republicans are expecting sweeping wins for our party on Tuesday, especially in the House of Representatives. From coast-to-coast, our members are currently coordinating with the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee (NRCC) on races of note for us, such as phone banking for Charles Djou in Hawaii or in person canvasing for Nan Hayworth in New York.

Like many voters, Log Cabin Republicans are primarily focused on the state of the economy, market growth for employment and reduction of government spending. As to Republican lead legislation in 112th Congress benefiting the gay community, we can expect the new majority leadership to include tax equity as their initial pro-equality measure. A better economy and job growth is beneficial to all Americans regardless of one's sexual orientation.

Michael Cole, press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign:

When anti-equality forces controlled Congress for a decade (1994-2005), they stymied any progress on LGBT issues and made attacks on our community part of their governing agenda. Among their efforts were attempts to: pass a federal marriage amendment; strip courts of jurisdiction to hear LGBT rights claims; block DC’s domestic partner benefits and needle exchange programs; cut HIV/AIDS funding; increase failed abstinence-only programs; and block openly LGBT appointees. A Congress controlled by anti-equality Republican leaders could very well return to this playbook, and even go further by cutting Justice Department funds for enforcement of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act or trying to roll back Obama administration advances for LGBT people, like benefits for the partners of Foreign Service officers or hospital visitation protections. 

Under a Republican Congress, key positions that control the fate of pro-LGBT legislation would be held by notorious anti-equality legislators. Potential House leaders Reps. John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence have consistently scored a perfect zero since they came to Congress. Other leadership positions are critical as well.

Christopher Barron, chairman of the board of GOProud:

If Republicans govern as true conservatives and stay focused on the issues that got them elected then I believe life will be better for average LGBT Americans. A conservative majority in the House could and should push for social security reforms, healthcare reforms, tax reforms and other pieces of legislation that will improve the lives of LGBT people in this country.

If, however, Republicans do not govern as conservatives -- if they forget why they are getting elected, then we will hold them as accountable as we have held Nancy Pelosi and the big government crowd of liberals running Congress now. Let's be honest though, the bar for success for LGBT Americans has been set fairly low after four years of Democratic control that has produced lots of partisan rhetoric and very little in the way of tangible results.

Michael Mitchell, executive director of Stonewall Democrats: It's not just Rep. John Boehner I'm concerned about; it's all the other Republicans that will be heading up committees. If our community thought it was hard to get LGBT legislation to a floor vote the last two years, I guarantee it will be much, much harder under the GOP, especially with extreme Tea Party members running some of the committees.

As one example, I'm very concerned what will happen in the committee that handles appropriations for the District of Columbia. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-3), the ranking Republican on that committee and likely committee chair if the GOP takes the House, is a vociferous opponent of marriage equality and is certain to do whatever he can to overturn marriage for same-sex couples in the nation's capital.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

Life will change for all Americans, including LGBT Americans, under this scenario. You can expect even greater gridlock on the Hill, meaning tougher challenges moving legislation, including LGBT rights legislation. We’ve all been frustrated with Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats dragging their feet on advancing equality for LGBT people. But, John Boehner is no Nancy Pelosi.

So, yes, it will be worse. Many people already view government as dysfunction on steroids. More political tug-o-war is bound to feed that sentiment even further. Also, divisiveness can lead to inaction. Is this good for America? We don't think so.

Robin McGehee, executive director, and Heather Cronk, managing director, of Get Equal:

Life for LGBT Americans should have changed the day that Barack Obama was sworn in. On the whole, it has not. With the Obama Administration continuing to defend "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts, we are still hunting for our fierce advocate and still living under the veil of discrimination. Obviously, if we lose the historic majority that we have enjoyed.

We will certainly not find fierce advocacy in a Speaker Boehner, so we will be forced to continue looking for a fierce advocate in President Obama. We hope that, should the White House lose its double-majority in the legislature, Election Day will be a wake-up call to act on behalf of LGBT Americans with the passion promised to us during the 2008 campaign. The targets will change, because power will shift, but our equality is a bi-partisan issue and all those who control our injustice should be held accountable, today and after this important election.

This post was originally published at RH Reality Check, a site of news, community and commentary for reproductive health and justice