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The GOP’s Strange Turn Against Rape Exceptions

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Twenty-two states have abortion bans that would become law almost immediately if a leaked Supreme Court decision on abortion rights goes into effect. Many of these state bans contain no exceptions for rape or incest survivors. Not so long ago, such exceptions were regularly included in proposed abortion bans, in part because they’re popular: For decades, about 75 percent of Americans have consistently told pollsters that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest. But many of the measures now set to take effect do away with such exceptions.

President Ronald Reagan detested abortion but endorsed exceptions for rape in the 1980s; George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump all also indicated their support for the measures. The National Right to Life Committee supported legislation that included exceptions in the 1990s. Even the Hyde Amendment, the federal law that prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions, has long contained these exceptions.

In the past few years, though, the anti-abortion movement has moved in a different direction. In 2019, Alabama legislators passed an abortion ban that lacked rape and incest exceptions. Nine other states—Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas—have passed similar laws. Courts blocked all the laws but Texas’s; if Roe is overturned, it will be a felony for any Texas doctor to perform an abortion for a woman who was raped or impregnated by a family member. In March, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed an early-abortion ban without rape or incest exemptions.

It’s rare that a majority of Americans agree on anything, and parties cut against popular opinion at their own risk. Even some Republicans with anti-abortion views might feel squeamish about laws that take such a rigid stance when it comes to cases of rape and incest. Laws like these “probably [have] a cost,” former Republican Representative Tom Davis of Virginia told me. “On the margins, that probably is not the politically wisest course.” But Republicans have plowed ahead anyway, confident that they’re on the right side of this issue not only morally, but politically. Maybe a lack of exceptions for rape is not the poison pill it once was. “We’ve seen state legislatures adopt restriction after restriction and ban after ban, and these legislators remain in power,” Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, told me. “It doesn’t feel like there are any consequences for them.”

Some abortion-rights proponents argue that to focus on rape and incest exceptions in abortion bans is to miss the point. Obtaining an abortion under a rape or incest exception is difficult. Many states require rape survivors to file a police report to qualify. “These exceptions don’t do the job that people think they’re going to do,” Nash said. But the trend toward blanket abortion bans signals a clear shift in the anti-abortion movement. Banning all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, is ideologically consistent, the bans’ proponents argue: If abortion is murder, why would murder be acceptable in any instance? “We don’t issue birth certificates in the United States with a ratings system based on how someone was conceived,” Kristi Hamrick, a spokesperson for the anti-abortion group Students for Life, told me. “Clearly crimes must be fully prosecuted, and women [must be] helped. But we mourn as well for the preborn, who also suffer.”

Forcing rape and incest survivors to carry pregnancies to term is unpopular, but it’s no longer an unusual proposal. One taboo, though, has endured: The anti-abortion-rights movement still seeks to portray itself as advocating for pregnant women, rather than seeking to punish them, and leaps into damage-control mode if its allies suggest otherwise. During his primary campaign in 2016, for example, Donald Trump suggested in a town-hall interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that women should face “some sort of punishment” for obtaining an abortion. Republicans and leaders of the anti-abortion movement pushed back immediately. “No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion,” said Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.” Trump, realizing that he had entered politically iffy territory, retracted his statement. So far, all of the abortion bans that would take effect under the leaked SCOTUS decision seek to punish providers, rather than people who seek out the procedure. But this political third rail may be losing its charge too. Several women have recently been arrested and jailed in cases involving self-induced abortions. “If abortion is murder, then women are hiring the hitmen,” Carol Sanger, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies reproductive rights, told me. “It’s not logically impossible to get to that position.”

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Politics

Kellyanne Conway Takes Aim at Everyone But Trump

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Washington Post: “Part personal chronicle and part political journey, Conway’s book is filled with the sorts of barbed one-liners and bon mots that she dispensed on cable news on Trump’s behalf, becoming — depending on one’s perspective — increasingly famous or infamous.”

“Unlike many other Trump-focused tomes in the post-presidency era, Conway has not set out to pen a scathing tell-all, in which she distances herself from the president or administration she once served.”


Here’s the Deal: A Memoir

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Conway, Kellyanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages – 05/24/2022 (Publication Date) – Threshold Editions (Publisher)

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“You’re Probably as Demented as Biden!… You’re a Brainwashed A$$hole!” – EPIC! Rudy Giuliani Tells Off Stupid Leftist at Israel Day Parade (VIDEO)

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attended the Israel Day Parade on Sunday.

During the event, some witless Jew insulted Mayor Giuliani on his record of fighting crime in the Big Apple.

Rudy was not having it.  He stopped and confronted the uninformed leftist, “I reduced crime, you jackass…  You’re as demented as Biden…  You are a brainwashed a$$hole.”

You can hear someone else screaming, “You’re the best!” to Rudy at the same time.

TRENDING: Name Them and Shame Them: Glenn Greenwald Releases Video on ‘Typhoid Mary of Disinformation’ Nicolle Wallace

It is well known that Rudy Giuliani reduced crime significantly during this time as Mayor of New York City.

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Nuts & Bolts—Inside a Democratic campaign: Don’t let others redefine you

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Redemption and Love stories define our culture

I want you to sit back and think about all the great movies and films you’ve seen over your lifetime. Think about the driving forces within those stories. The majority were built around either the concept of redemption of a character or love for another character. These two forces are so profoundly built into the human experience that we seeing them, even fictionalized, motivates us. 

When we see them in a way we think is not fictionalized, like reality television, we can feel sucked in or emotionally involved with people we barely know. It isn’t that we have any great connection with them on real interpersonal grounds, it is our own understanding of a redemption story or a love story.

I’m now going to present an example in a fictional campaign. Sarah Flowers is running for a city council position in her mid-sized city. Let’s say 100k voters. At a certain point in the story, it becomes known that in the mid-1990s, while in high school, a nude photo of her circulated and is now in the hands of someone else. There will be people around who will tell her how terrible this is, how damaging it is to her campaign and some will ring their hands and say “it’s over”. I want to point out: I have seen exactly this situation happen with almost exactly this type of events, and Democratic support system come up with exactly this conclusion.

What should Sarah do? She has her own story, and her story is the truth. She was young, in love, and unfortunately, that was taken advantage of; she has never regretted falling in love, she learned a lot from her youth, and she feels sorry for those who want to traffick in kiddie pornography photos of her in order to harm her. This is enabling the vengeance of someone else, but she’s just sad that they are doing it. 

She can look at that photo now and say: yes, that’s me. It’s who I was then, and I don’t regret the love I had. I can’t regret the terrible actions taken by someone else, that is on them. We have all done things in our youth we wish we hadn’t done. 

You can own something, ask for redemption and point out that the redemption your asking for has limits. You aren’t asking to be redeemed for something that isn’t your fault. You can tell a love story where one side is broken-hearted. 

In other words: it is perfectly okay to have regrets. Everyone does. Share them with others and people will relate to you. Offer flat affect responses and people will wonder why you aren’t more emotionally in touch with who you were and who you are now.

When others define you, you lose.

One of the greatest failures of a campaign is to just assume that a story will “go away”. It is a Friday story and no one will care is something that was true in the pre-internet era and it is no longer true. Once a story is available, people will speculate, find interest, recirculate and continue to discuss it. They want to choose a side. They want to understand what is going on. People who were committed to vote against you have made up their mind before they read the first sentence. 

For everyone else, though, they are looking for a common ground that defines you. Let’s take another candidate. Billy is running for the state legislature. Billy is pressed by the fact that a few years ago he was divorced from his wife of 8 years and has since moved on. The advice given to Billy is “say as little as possible”. There is some value in that. Saying: “I think it is best to protect my children and my former spouse that I don’t want to speak to harm them, and I’d encourage people to keep them off limits, because I still love and care for what happens next.” Or any similar response. Billy might also respond by saying that he once loved his partner, things changed and they grew apart or whatever reasoning. 

People are OK with simple understandings. What Billy can’t do is get angry about the question, change the narrative to a challenge of his opponent or make demands of someone else as a response. The moment you try to go on the attack when you can shut something down through an answer, people will continue to ask the question. The press is not your enemy. They have inches to fill and columns to write, and if you give them content they will generally run it. If you stonewall instead, or if you let your own anger and dismissiveness take over, you are going to be in trouble. If anyone on your campaign advises you to stonewall the press, unless that press source is one you know specifically is already in the tank against you than that advice is generally bad advice, in my opinion and the opinion of the vast majority of campaign workers who have helped build this series.

In the end, when it comes down to conveying who you are to a voter the reality is simple: be yourself and don’t let others define who you are because you refuse to do so. If you can hold strong to that piece of advice you will already be ahead of a great number of candidates — ask soon to be ex-representative Cawthorn.

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