It’s good to know that even though “pro-life” terrorism is real, dangerous, and deadly — self-described “warrior for the babies” Robert L. Dear shot up a Colorado Planned Parenthood last November, for “life” — threats against abortion providers are nothing to worry about.
Last week, a jury in Kansas decided threatening an abortion provider is no big deal; it’s just free speech is all.
Anti-choice activist Angel Dillard did not intend to intimidate a Kansas physician with a 2011 letter warning that the doctor would be looking under her car every day for bombs, an eight-person jury decided in U.S. District Court on Friday. […]
Presiding juror and Wichita native Adam Cox, 37, told Rewire the jury struggled to reach a verdict.
They finally came to a consensus after considering that the letter of the law said the memo had to constitute “a physical threat, a threat of physical bodily injury,” Cox said.
“The letter was intimidating, but it was a more spiritual threat, a more emotional threat,” Cox said. “It was not a threat of physical violence … and therefore it did not violate the law.”
If you haven’t been following along with the government’s case against Angel Dillard, let’s do a quick recap. In 2011, Dr. Mila Means decided she would provide abortion services to the women of Kansas, who’d been without any such service since Dr. George Tiller was assassinated by “pro-life” murderer Scott Roeder. Before Dr. Means even started her practice, she was bombarded by the usual harassment from the many anti-choice activists in the state because that is what they do, to intimidate health care providers in the hopes of keeping them out of business. The orchestrated campaign against Dr. Means included a letter from Angel Dillard, a “pro-lifer” and a big fan of Dr. Tiller’s assassin:
“Thousands of people are already looking into your background, not just in Wichita, but from all over the U.S. They will know your habits and routines. They will know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live. You will be checking under your car everyday–because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.” Later Dillard added: “We will not let this abomination continue without doing everything we can to stop it.”
In some parts of the known universe, that might seem sorta threatening. That might seem sorta like many other threats against abortion providers that have resulted in actual violence. But not in Kansas! Nope, in Kansas that’s merely a “spiritual threat,” not the kind of threat Dr. Mila Means was supposed to take seriously. Not the kind of threat that would make her worry about her safety. Not the kind of threat that might cause her to rethink her decision to provide abortion care in one of the most dangerous states for abortion providers. Silly doctor — don’t you know you have nothing to worry about when it comes to those “pro-life” activists until you’re actually dead?
As Rewire’s Jessica Mason Pieklo, who covered Dillard’s trial, wrote:
Wichita jurors sent a very dangerous message to the anti-choice movement where Dillard’s case was concerned: Present your threat to abortion providers as an attempt at spiritual salvation, and the law will look the other way.
If telling a doctor she will be stalked, harassed, investigated, and bombed to prevent her from practicing medicine — just like the doctor before her, who was murdered for the exact same reasons — doesn’t constitute a legitimate threat to her life, you really gotta wonder what does.
Here’s this week’s good, bad, and hideously ugly:
Has North Carolina repealed its hateful HB 2 bill yet?Not exactly. Even though the new law has already proven to be a dumb, enforceable, expensive disaster and is also, minor footnote, super unpopular with North Carolinians, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory decided to double down and go to war with the federal government. What could go wrong?In a statement on Monday, he called on other states to join him in this “national issue” to preserve the right to tell a woman, “Excuse me, ma’am, but you can’t use that potty. You weren’t born with the correct state-certified genitalia.”
McCrory might want to turn this into a national issue, but no one else is joining him. This ain’t 2004, when Republicans schemed to turn out their bigoted base with a bunch of state bans on marriage equality. Pretty much no one in America cares about who’s going to the bathroom and how, except for some conservative Christian organizations like the American Family Association, which is now encouraging dudes to go harass women in women’s bathrooms to make a point about how obnoxious and bigoted these conservative Christian organizations are. (Actually, that’s probably not the point they’re trying to make. And yet, point taken.)
The state also filed suit against the federal government seeking court protection for its “common sense bodily privacy law,” even though it’s unclear whose bodily privacy is being protected because it’s certainly not the trans women and men who are the target of this law. But it’s not discrimination, oh no. Check out this little nugget of “common sense” from the complaint:
North Carolina does not treat transgender employees differently from non-transgender employees. All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of gender identity, or transgender status.
Is that giving you a bad case of deja vu? Maybe it’s because you can remember wayyyyyyy back in the day, before marriage equality was the law of the land, when one of the many full-of-bull arguments dead-ender states used to defend their bans on marriage equality was that such bans weren’t really discriminatory because lesbians, like non-lesbians, can get married to any man they please!
Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded to the governor’s temper tantrum with a lawsuit of her own, as well as some tough talkin’, calling HB 2 “state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals,” comparing it to Jim Crow laws (oh yes, she SO went there), and promising transgender people, “We see you, we stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.”
Just a guess, but it seems like the state’s kamikaze mission to Protect Our Women And ChildrenTM from the scary boogeyladies supposedly hiding out in bathrooms to sneak a peek at your dropped drawers is not going to end well. For North Carolina.
- Hillary Clinton has another plan to help families. On Tuesday, Clinton introduced her latest in a series of policy proposals — the woman loves policy proposals — to help families with child care. You’d think she’d been a working mother herself, what with all her concern about how other working mothers manage!
The most concrete part of the agenda, the campaign aides say, will be the two narrow but potentially important proposals. One would bolster a highly regarded “home visiting” program designed to help low-income children at risk of emotional, intellectual, and physical harm. If Clinton has her way, the program, known as the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative, would reach twice as many children as it does today.
The other initiative Clinton plans to introduce Tuesday would seek to boost pay for child-care workers, as a way to improve retention and attract educators with stronger qualifications. Clinton will call this the RAISE initiative, for “Respect And Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators,” and it will be based on successful pilot programs now operating in several states.
Note to the family values crowd: This is what being pro-family looks like.
- What’s wrong with this picture? The Gianna House in Detroit is supposed to be a Christian-based “tangible alternative to abortion,” where pregnant teens can go to get a hot meal and a steaming heap of anti-abortion propaganda to “help” them with their pregnancy. So pro-lifey! But oh look at this!
The Archdiocese of Detroit barred Reverend Kenneth Kaucheck from public ministry in 2009, after a woman accused him of molesting her as a teenager in the 1970s, when he acted as her counselor. But Kaucheck’s ban hasn’t prevented him from working with teenagers. His new role as co-founder of the Gianna House has him leading an organization that advertises safety and guidance for pregnant teens and new mothers.
Nothing says loving the children like sexually abusing the children, right? You’ll be pleased to know that the organization is taking all reasonable steps to prevent this child molester from having further contact with the vulnerable pregnant teens who turn to Gianna House:
“He hasn’t been proven guilty,” [co-founder Mary Diane] Masson told the Macomb Daily. “Innocent until proven guilty.”
But the Gianna House appears to have taken some steps to scrub Kaucheck from their web presence. The “Board of Directors” page on the Gianna House website reads “The Board has been selected by Sister Mary Diane Masson to provide a wide range of ideas and skills.”
Until at least March, the page claimed “the Board has been selected by Father Ken Kaucheck and Sister Mary Diane Masson,” an archived version of the site shows. Kaucheck’s biography, which described him as the Gianna House’s “co-founder and Director of Development” was also removed from the site.
“We’d like to make no comment,” a Gianna House staffer told the Daily Beast, quickly hanging up.
- Women have it so easy. It’s like a rich white son of a millionaire can’t even catch a break in America anymore.
DONALD TRUMP: I mean, all of the men — we’re petrified to speak to women anymore. We may raise our voice. You know what? The women get it better than we do, folks. All right? They get it better than we do.
- Arizona’s whackadoodle former governor is also sick of women getting all the breaks. Asked whether her name should be on Donald Trump’s list of possible vice presidents, particularly since his numbers with women are pretty much terrible, Jan Brewer said she’d love to be his VP, of course, but she’s sick of all the girl talk:
“I don’t necessarily think you need to pick a woman,” Brewer insisted. “You know, this woman thing has gotten way out of control I believe.
“And I think it’s been driven by the left,” she remarked. “Because they think that it’s going to bring them over the end. But I think people, when they sit down to vote, they vote for the very best candidate. They want somebody that’s going to represent them.”
You gotta love how conservatives will always, always, ALWAYS find a way to blame the left, even for their own messes. If only those darned Democrats hadn’t forced Trump to have such a terrible reputation that even Fox News has called him out for his misogyny, he wouldn’t need to think about putting a broad on his ticket. THANKS, OBAMA. Or whatever.
- BREAKING: New York bartenders are not doctors. This might come as a surprise to you, because your bartender is probably the first person you talk to about all of your medical needs, but New York City’s Human Rights Commission disagrees. The Commission released new anti-discrimination guidelines last week, and just look at how the Commission is infringing on the right of bar employers to decide what’s best for unborn babies:
But the guidance also warns against bouncers refusing to let mothers-to-be into bars or restaurants refusing to serve them alcohol, which the US Surgeon General and major medical associations say women should avoid during pregnancy.
“Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions” in public venues, the new guidelines say.
So take note, New York ladies with child. If some dude takes it upon himself to tell you that gettin’ your freak on on the dance floor in this here bar while sipping a Shirley Temple is not good for you, according to his extensive education on pregnancy, you are legally permitted to tell him to kiss your pregnant ass.
Join us next Wednesday for another round of reporting. Unless we’ve won the war by then.