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This morning’s North Carolina news media “must read” comes from Greensboro News & Record  columnist Susan Ladd. In her column, Ladd explains exactly why the latest manufactured smear campaign against Planned Parenthood is just that:

“Because of its nationwide network of providers, Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion services in the country, but abortions amount to only 3 percent of the health services this group provides.

The most recent attacks on Planned Parenthood were videos purporting to show the group’s ‘procuring baby parts for profit.’

The Center for Medical Progress, which shot these heavily edited undercover videos, is not a medical organization but a political one, founded to create inflammatory ‘sting’ videos of Planned Parenthood.

David Daleiden, the project leader for the videos has a history of creating deceptively edited videos. One of CMP’s board members is Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who in 2003, called the murder of an abortion doctor “a justifiable defensive action.”

Abortion rights groups and some U.S. senators are asking that CMP be investigated for false representation and misleading the IRS when it applied for tax-exempt status….

But the smear campaign hasn’t abated. CMP continues to release more of its videos, and politicians continue to site them over and over in trying to sway opinion and public policy.

I’m sad to say that some of our local elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-Guilford) and Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) are among them.

Unfortunately, a lie repeated often enough still will persuade some of the people — especially those who want to believe it. And the truth, determined over time by impartial investigations, never has the shock value or leaves quite as much of an impression as those sensational videos.”

Fortunately, the lies aren’t achieving their intended objective -harming Planned Parenthood. As Ladd notes:

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Senate Republicans failed yesterday in their attempt to strip Planned Parenthood of more than $500 million in federal funding — a move prompted by videos released by anti-abortion activists purportedly showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the illegal sale of body parts from aborted fetuses. (Planned Parenthood has denied that the activity takes place and said the videos are edited and distort the truth.)

Before the vote, though, Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out her Republican colleagues, ripping them for a continuing campaign of disinformation and calling the measure what it was: More than just a publicity stunt in advance of the upcoming GOP presidential primary, the measure was an effort to build support for an all-out assault on women’s health care.

Warren, visibly angry, took to the podium in a fashion reminiscent of  Texas Rep. Carol Alvarado’s approach to the microphone in 2011 — just before ripping her colleagues over women’s health care legislation – as described in Texas Monthly’s recap, “Mothers Sisters Daughters Wives“:

As soon as Miller finished, Houston Representative Carol Alvarado strode up to the podium. There could have been no clearer contrast: her pink knit suit evoked all those Houston ladies who lunch, its black piping setting off her raven hair. Her lipstick was a cheery shade of fuchsia, but her disgust was of the I-thought-we’d-settled-this-in-the-seventies variety.

“Do you have any idea what year it is?” Warren asked

“Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s? Or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”

“Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015, the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s healthcare centers. On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. The Republicans have had a plan for years to strip away women’s rights to make choices over our own bodies.”

Warren then proceeded to discuss what Planned Parenthood means for millions of women in the United States and exposed what is perhaps the biggest public misconception about what any defunding of the program would accomplish.

“The government doesn’t fund abortions,” she said. “Period.”

” A vote today to defund Planned Parenthood is not a vote to defund abortions. It’s a vote to defund cancer screenings and birth control and basic health care for millions of women.”

Commentary

pv-423It didn’t take long for state lawmakers to fire up women’s health advocates with the anti-choice bill that was unveiled and rammed through the House Health Committee yesterday morning.

Advocates at NOW, Planned Parenthood and other organizations have announced a rally at the state Legislative Building this morning at 10:45. You can learn more at the Stand Up for Women North Carolina Facebook page by clicking here.

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CookiesUnless you read all the way to the bottom of Sarah Ovaska’s remarkable post below, you may have missed this amazing nugget Ovaska culled from the Guv’s interview with WFAE in Charlotte yesterday:

“When asked by [interviewer] Collins about whether, his July delivery of a plate of cookies to abortion rights protestors outside the Governor’s Mansion was a good idea in hindsight, McCrory remarked he didn’t care.

‘I don’t care, I felt like doing it,’ he said. ‘Who cares?’”

Good lord, is this man really serious?

Look, reasonable people can have differeing positions on the important and emotionally-charged matter of abortion and reproductive rights generally, but when the elected leader of nine-million people engages in such patently juvenile behavior and then doubles down on it with such a dismissive and downright lunkheadedly disrespectful statement as this, all a body can do is slap one’s forehead and get ready for the next round of jokes at our once-respected state’s expense.

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“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t take care of other women”  — tough words from former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, words she uses so often that she calls them her motto.

Last week, all 11 Republican women in the state House of Representatives — Marilyn Avila, Rayne Brown, Debra Conrad, Julia Howard, Pat HurleyLinda Johnson, Michelle Presnell, Ruth Samuelson, Jacqueline Schaffer, Sarah Stevens, Rena Turner — voted in favor of last-minute amendments to the Motorcycle Safety Act which, if accepted by the Senate and signed into law by the Governor, will restrict a woman’s access to abortion and other health care services offered at the 16 clinics licensed here in North Carolina.

“This is really all about protecting the health and safety of women,” Rep. Ruth Samuelson said. “We are not out here trying to shut down every abortion clinic in North Carolina.”

But experience  tells us that bills directed at health and well-being are typically preceded by public debate with input from those in the medical profession and reports from state agencies which reveal a problem in need of correction, and after some deliberation. Read More