Posted on | February 28, 2011 | 6 Comments
Nothing is easier than to fool a liberal, and journalists do this all the time by claiming to have exposed the allegedly nefarious and secretive actions of conservatives when, in fact, (a) conservatives were doing more nefarious than the ordinary business of political advocacy, and (b) the “secrets” supposedly exposed were never secret at all. Such is the story behind this Mother Jones headline today:
Revealed: The Group Behind the Bills that
Could Legalize Killing Abortion Providers
Under that headline, Nick Baumann and Daniel Schulman write:
First, it was South Dakota. Then Nebraska and Iowa. The similarly worded bills, which have quietly cropped up recently in state legislatures, share a common purpose: To expand justifiable homicide statutes to cover killings committed in the defense of an unborn child. Critics of the bills, including law enforcement officials, warn that these measures could invite violence against abortion providers and possibly provide legal cover to the perpetrators of such crimes.
That these measures have emerged simultaneously in a handful of states is no coincidence. It’s part of a campaign orchestrated by a Washington-based anti-abortion group, which has lobbied state lawmakers to introduce legislation that it calls the “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” [PDF]. Over the past two years, the group, Americans United for Life, has succeeded in passing versions of this bill in Missouri and Oklahoma.
The article goes on to assert that the bills under consideration in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota “are far more sweeping” than the laws enacted in Missouri and Oklahoma, justifying the following criticisms:
The bills are so loosely worded, abortion-rights advocates say, that a pregnant woman could seek out an abortion and a boyfriend, husband — or, in some cases, just about anyone — could be justified in using deadly force to stop it.
A Planned Parenthood official testified last week at a hearing on Nebraska’s LB 232 that such legislation “authorizes and protects vigilantes.” . . . “This could be used to incite violence against abortion providers,” said Omaha’s deputy chief of police, David Baker.
Well, so they say, and I have no interest in refereeing this controversy. My point is that there is nothing at all secretive about Americans United for Life’s role in promoting these laws. The model legislation for the “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” is featured on AUL’s Web site, and providing model legislation and legal advice is a specialty that AUL proudly proclaims on its Web site:
AUL attorneys are highly-regarded experts on pro-life legal language and the Constitution, consulting on bills and amendments across the country. In addition, our model legislation enables legislators to easily introduce bills without needing to research and write the bills themselves, helping ensure that their efforts will have the desired impact and withstand judicial scrutiny. . . .
We are continually working to help legislators enact new pro-life laws that will go into effect and not be unnecessarily tied up in court . . . . To do that, we educate legislators on the issues and provide them with model legislation and legal advice on legislative language. We work hand-in-hand with legislators to minimize avoidable problems . . .
So it isn’t as if Baumann and Schulman had to go sleuthing around to figure out that AUL was advising state legislators on these measures. I’d dare say there isn’t a single piece of successful pro-life legislation anywhere in the United States that hasn’t had some imput from AUL. That’s what they do.
As to the claim that the pro-life bills in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska are a backdoor means of declaring “open season” on abortion providers, AUL denies any such intent:
“Research shows that pregnant women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse,” said Denise Burke, AUL’s vice president of legal affairs. “It is tragic that the pro-abortion lobby maligns efforts to protect these women.”
In a statement, Burke cited statistics about violence toward pregnant women, including a 1998 study that found “pregnant women are 60.6 percent more likely to be beaten than women who are not pregnant.” Burke said “a pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause. And case after case has demonstrated that husbands or boyfriends are often the perpetrators of pregnancy-associated violence and that this violence is often directed at the unborn child or intended to end or jeopardize the pregnancy.”
That’s from my article at The American Spectator, but unlike the Mother Jones writers, I don’t claim to that my reporting has ”revealed” anything — those quotes came from a press release on the AUL Web site.
Quick, somebody call the Pulitzer Committee!
Oh, and tell them I’m willing to share my award with Steve Ertelt, who got the same AUL press release.
UPDATE: Looks like it will be a three-way split on that Pulitzer: Bryan Preston got the same press release.