What do Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Congressman Todd Akin have in common? You might immediately think of the fact that they both belong to a political philosophy that is profoundly anti-woman, anti-science, and anti-choice.
But that’s not all. Like Akin before him, Cuccinelli also is backed by a group of intensely ideological women, each of whose roots in the anti-choice movement run very, very deep.
In a briefing memo released today, American Bridge, a progressive research and communications organization, offered a detailed list of the women who are a part of Women for Ken. We’ve excerpted some of that information below.
In a preface to the list, American Bridge notes that “one will find some of the same women who rushed forward to defend Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who called a pregnancy resulting from rape ‘something that God intended.’”
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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Many of these women have been affiliated with the organizations and candidates who are most adamant about denying women the opportunity to make decisions about their own body or curtailing their access to health care. The list also includes the sponsor of the Virginia legislation that would have required women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before they could have an abortion.
“‘Women for Ken’ have made clear … [Cuccinelli] shares their views on the treatment of Virginia women and families. It’s worth keeping in mind what he had to do to earn the support of people like this.”
Meet some of Ken’s lady friends:
Byron sponsored a Virginia bill requiring women to receive transvaginal ultrasounds before they could have an abortion.
According to the Times Dispatch:
The Virginia House of Delegates today gave preliminary approval to a measure requiring a woman to receive an ultrasound before having an abortion. Members advanced the bill to a final vote on Tuesday after rejecting an amendment proposed by Del. David L. Englin, D-Alexandria, to require a woman’s consent before undergoing a trans-vaginal ultrasound. “Most of us, when we think about an ultrasound, we think about what people refer to as the jelly on the belly ultrasound,” Englin said, adding that during the first 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, the only way to perform an ultrasound is a trans-vaginal. “What we’re simply trying to do is say that before a woman in this commonwealth is vaginally penetrated against her consent, she has to consent to that,” he said. “How difficult a moral concept is that to say before you perform an invasive procedure on our wives and our daughters, you have to get that woman who you’re going to use a probe inside, to sign a piece of paper saying, ‘yes I consent to having this done to my body’.” Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell, sponsored the bill and urged rejection of the amendment. “If we want to talk about invasiveness, there’s nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have,” Byron said.
Byron claimed that abortion was incompatible with “a nation founded with words proclaiming that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights.”
According to The Virginian-Pilot:
Anti-abortion Republicans marked the Roe v. Wade anniversary in their own way, denouncing the decision in General Assembly floor speeches. Del. Bob Marshall of Prince William County called Tuesday’s commemoration “a macabre celebration of the deaths of 55 million children” – a representation of the number of abortions that have been performed over the past 40 years. Abortion is incompatible with “a nation founded with words proclaiming that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights,” added Del. Kathy Byron of Campbell County.
Dannenfelser defended Richard Mourdock after he said that a pregnancy that comes from rape was “a gift from God”: “Richard Mourdock said that life is always a gift from God, and we couldn’t agree more.”
According to USA Today:
The Susan B. Anthony List, a conservative group that opposes abortion rights, restated its support for Mourdock and stressed its own ad campaign highlighting Donnelly’s abortion record. “Richard Mourdock said that life is always a gift from God, and we couldn’t agree more,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List. “To report his statement as an endorsement of rape is either willfully ignorant or malicious. Congressman Donnelly should not underestimate our ability to understand Mourdock’s meaning.”
Dannenfelser defended Todd Akin after his “legitimate rape” claim: Akin “has been an excellent partner in the fight for the unborn.”
According to the Washington Post:
Pro-life groups, however, have taken a decidedly different take. Both the Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council have stood by Akin. They don’t see him as a politician who has made a career ending gaffe. In their view, he’s a strong abortion right opponent who articulated a tenet of the pro-life movement: Abortion should be illegal in all situations, rape included. “Todd Akin … has a record of voting to protect human life,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, reaffirming her support in a statement. He “has been an excellent partner in the fight for the unborn.”
Dannenfelser said the Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Romney because he opposed abortions without any exceptions.
According to Right Wing Watch:
Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-choice group, in an interview with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association insisted that the Romney campaign told her that Romney does not in fact believe in exceptions for the health of the mother, contradicting what he said in the Monday interview. If he did, Dannenfelser said, he would not have received the endorsement of her anti-choice organization.
Pfotenhauer said that northern Virginia was not part of “real Virginia.”
According to the Washington Post:
Sen. John McCain headlined a boisterous outdoor rally in Woodbridge, Va., today, while his campaign took heat for suggesting the populous region was not part of ‘real Virginia.’ McCain senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer, a self-described “proud resident of Oakton, Virginia,” said on MSNBC that “Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into Northern Virginia, and that’s really what you see there. But the rest of the state, real Virginia, if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.”
Pfotenhauer received a “Pants on Fire” rating from PolitiFact for claiming that “hundreds of millions of people” will lose their current insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
According to PolitiFact:
In Pfotenhauer’s appearance on CNN, though, she said she understood the proposals but disagreed with them. Then she said — and this was not phrased as an opinion — that the plans will cause “most Americans to have their premiums increased, not decreased, and hundreds of millions of people to lose their current insurance coverage.” There’s not an independent, nonpartisan analysis out there on the current Democratic proposals that shows that. These are Republican talking points that have repeatedly been proven false, but they keep coming back. Pfotenhauer’s statement is not just false, it’s ridiculously so. Pants on Fire!
Pfotenhauer was the chief lobbyist for Koch Industries from 1996 to 2001.
According to Think Progress:
During the Clinton years, she rejoined the Koch Industries machine as “executive vice president for policy” of the Koch front group Citizens for a Sound Economy. With her then-husband Daniel Mitchell, a Heritage Foundation economist, she co-hosted the call-in show “Mitchells in the Morning” on National Empowerment Television, run by Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich. From 1996 to 2001, she was the top lobbyist for Koch Industries.
Buchanan served as director of the Susan B. Anthony List, which supported Todd Akin.
According to US News:
The ad released by the Susan B. Anthony List group shows Melissa Ohden explaining her disturbing story of being plucked out of a trash can by nurses who heard her crying after a botched abortion. “I was aborted, and my body discarded … like I didn’t exist,” Ohden, who survived the attempted abortion in 1977, tells the screen. “But a nurse heard me crying … and cared enough to save my life.” Ohden goes on to say that as state Senator, Obama voted four times to deny protections for babies who survived an abortion, a claim Factcheck.org found to be misleading. “Is this the kind of leadership that will move us forward?” Ohden continues. “Leadership that would discard the least and weakest among us?” Susan B. Anthony List Executive Director Emily Buchanan told Whispers that the ad–which is now running in Missouri where Republican Rep. Todd Akin is fighting for his political life to take the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Claire McCaskill –was a result of data that shows this issue can significantly move voters in the election. June polling from the anti-abortion Students For Life, for example, showed one-in-three young adults were less likely to vote for the president after hearing about his vote regarding abortion survivors while in the state Senate. Akin recently dealt a potentially fatal blow to his own campaign after explaining to a talk show host that women who were “legitimately raped” could prevent pregnancy. It’s unclear whether this aggressive anti-abortion ad will shift the debate away from Akin’s political misstep and potentially put voters in the win column for Mitt Romney, who many analysts believe must make a good showing in Missouri to win the White House. Buchanan said they decided to run the ad first in Missouri because it is “at the center of the debate on abortion,” though she did not refer to Akin’s comments specifically.
Kay Cole James
James said she wanted to outlaw all abortion.
According to the Washington Post:
Margaret Crow and her two young daughters made themselves comfortable yesterday on a small patch of grass on Western Plaza in downtown D.C., where more than 150 people, mostly women, gathered to hear the intimate stories of people who said their lives were, or could have been, made better because abortions are legal. At the same time, across the street in a crowded J.W. Marriott Hotel meeting room, officials and supporters of the National Right to Life Committee assailed the abortion rights activists’ letter campaign. Kay James, director of the antiabortion committee, said after a 90-minute press conference, “There are some things about which there ought to be no choice in a civilized society. One of those things is the killing of unborn children.” [Washington Post, 5/22/85]
James wanted to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
According to the Associated Press:
Two congressional Republicans launched a drive Wednesday to cut off federal family planning funds for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion referral and counseling. Rep. Jack Kemp of New York said he will offer an amendment mandating such a funding cutoff to the continuing resolution for fiscal 1986 when it comes before the Appropriations Committee, of which he is a member. It is expected that the resolution will contain about $142.5 million for Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Kay James, director of public affairs for the National Right to Life Committee, also present at the news briefing, said that Title X “is the largest single funding source for a nationwide network of organizations which aggressively promote abortion” as a method of family planning. She said some recipients of Title X funds promote abortion through counseling which presents abortion as a simple and often preferred option and through referral to abortion clinics. “In many cases, the abortion facilities are under the same roof, and are operated by the same corporation, as the Title X-funded clinic,” James said. She said Planned Parenthood-operated facilities performed 87,000 abortions in 1984.
Hawkins argued that the HHS contraception mandate violated religious freedom.
According to the Catholic Standard:
“The HHS Mandate … affects every single American, regardless of their religion or view on abortion-inducing drugs,” Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, said at the rally. “If the government can force Americans to choose between violating their consciences or paying steep penalties, what religious or ideological demographic will they target next?”
Hawkins argued that all abortion, regardless of circumstances, should be outlawed.
According to an op-ed written by Sharon Broussard for the Plain Dealer:
Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, argued that abortion for any reason, including rape – which she called uniformly “morally evil and morally wrong” – should be banned because of the “personhood of the child.” And the woman isn’t a person?
Hirschmann served as Tom Delay’s chief of staff.
According to Roll Call:
Susan Hirschmann, chief of staff to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and one of the most powerful women on Capitol Hill, will soon leave her post, according to GOPsources, setting off a scramble for the top position on DeLay’s staff. The 38-year-old Alabama native has been rumored to be departing for months, although she only confirmed her decision to DeLay himself late last week following several days of vacillating over whether to stay or go. She is not expected to step down until the end of the session. DeLay is seeking to replace Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas)in the No. 2 spot in the GOPhierarchy behind Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.)during the 108th Congress, if the Republicanskeep their majority in the House this fall. The Texas lawmaker had been pushing Hirschmann to make a decision on her status, said several sources familiar with the situation. [Roll Call, 6/17/2002]
Hirschmann worked for the Eagle Forum, advocated abstinence-only education.
According to the Miami Herald:
But conservative critics warned that the new federal approach would encourage more sexual activity and abortions among teens and do little to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. “Teenagers are just not reliable contraceptive users,” said Susan Hirschmann, a spokeswoman for the Eagle Forum, a group headed by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. “The answer is to teach the children to respect their bodies and to respect themselves and the only healthy solution for these kids is abstinence.” Hirschmann called Elders “the wrong person to be giving advice to teenagers. Her statement that every girl should take a condom in her purse when she goes out on a date contradicts the values of most parents in this country.” [The Miami Herald, 9/5/1993]
An Eagle Forum blog post said the influx of non-white immigrants to the U.S. was “not a good thing” because “the immigrants do not share American values.”
According to an Eagle Forum blog post:
For decades, the NY Times has been promoting immigration policies that heavily favored a huge influx of non-whites…The article goes on to quote experts who say that this is a wonderful thing, except for the facts that the Hispanic immigrants are uneducated and do not vote Democrat often enough. It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.
Mackey was president of the Family Research Council, an organization that supported “renewal of ethical monotheism and traditional Judeo-Christian standards of morality.”
According to the Telegraph Herald:
Three days before Iowa’s Republican straw poll in Ames, a large blue bus sporting “Votes Have Consequences,” and “Be A Values Voter,” on its side, sidled up to a curb at Washington Square, across from the 1932 Historic Federal Building on Sixth Street. Called the “Values Voter Bus Tour,” the bus, sponsored by the Faith Family Freedom Fund, Susan B. Anthony List, and the National Organization for Marriage, was on one of 22 stops on a four-day tour of the state. Connie Mackey, president of the Family Research Council political action committee, stepped from the bus and spoke to about 30 very attentive people in the park. FRC supports candidates who oppose abortion rights and candidates who believe in what are termed “family values,” i.e. heterosexual marriages, and Mackey’s committee supports the “renewal of ethical monotheism and traditional Judeo-Christian standards of morality.”
Mackey and the Family Research Council “strongly” defended Todd Akin after his “legitimate rape” remarks.
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
The Romney/Ryan campaign may have distanced itself from comments made about rape and abortion by Todd Akin, a Missouri congressman, but the Family Research Council isn’t. “The Family Research Council strongly supports Todd Akin,” said Connie Mackey, president of the Family Research Council political action committee. “This is a case of gotcha’ politics. Todd Akin is getting a very bad break here.” The conservative Christian advocacy group has a lot of influence on Republicans, and on Monday, its president, Tony Perkins, said he wrote specific planks in the platform that was being approved by a delegate committee this week at the Marriott Waterside. Akin is challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill for her U.S. Senate seat, which many political observers said leaned Republican. But that equation may have changed after Akin told a St. Louis TV host over the weekend that during cases of “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow prevent conception from taking place. Democrats pounced on the comments, and many Republicans, including the Romney/Ryan campaign, distanced themselves from the comments. Sen. Scott Brown, who is running for re-election in Massachusetts in a close race with Elizabeth Warren, denounced the comments, saying he found them “outageous, inappropriate and wrong.” [Tampa Bay Times, 8/20/2012]
Mackey said she didn’t “know the science” behind Akin’s remarks, but she knew “gotcha’ politics.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
During a Monday news conference Monday afternoon at the Marriott Waterside, Perkins and Mackey said they hadn’t heard the comments made by Akin, but nevertheless defended him. When told about what Akin said, Mackey replied, “I don’t know the science, I just know gotcha’ politics.” [Tampa Bay Times, 8/20/2012]