Commentary

Rep. Pittman and his outrageous lie about Planned Parenthood

Larry PittmanRep. Larry Pittman is obviously not a powerful lawmaker or someone who will ever be taken very seriously — even in the strange, far right environment of the 2015 North Carolina House of Representatives.  That said, the Cabarrus County lawmaker needs to be called out loudly and repeatedly for his outrageous statement on the House floor last night that, as reported by WRAL.com,

“the nonprofit would ‘give out contraceptives that don’t work’ in order to increase the number of abortions done.”

Although Mr. Pittman describes himself on his campaign website as a “minister of the gospel,” he is someone best known for promoting the spread of guns and an especially virulent version of the far right social agenda. And while he is entitled to his opinions — however twisted they may be — he should not be entitled to tell malicious lies about good people who have dedicated themselves (often at great personal sacrifice) to saving the lives and health of millions of women. The representative needs to apologize for the one he told last night.

Those interested in reminding Rep. Pittman of his duty not to tell such monstrous untruths will find his official contact information by clicking here.

Commentary

Women’s health and reproductive freedom supporters to rally at General Assembly tomorrow

Planned ParenthoodAs the General Assembly gives approval today to legislation based in part on phony-baloney allegations against Planned Parenthood, advocates for women’s health and  reproductive freedom will rally at the General Assembly tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. as part of the national “I stand with Planned Parenthood” movement.

This is from local organizers:

“Here’s what’s going on in North Carolina.

Just last week, NC lawmakers attacked sex education although it’s proven to be effective – teen pregnancy rates are steadily dropping.

Our students need more than that and to let our legislators know, we are holding a People’s Assembly, complete with a sex-ed teach in on Tuesday, September 29.

We’re thinking, if they don’t support sex education, we’ll bring it to them!

Let’s show our legislators that our students deserve to learn what’s healthy.

So wear Pink, come to the legislative building and show our lawmakers that we are not backing down!”

Click here to RSVP and get for more information.

Commentary

Planned Parenthood provision in budget highlights Rep. Stam’s stunning hypocrisy

State Rep. Paul Stam

State Rep. Paul Stam

As noted in the post below, one of the myriad last minute additions to the state budget (i.e. the 400-plus page behemoth set to become law tomorrow) that was not present in either the House or Senate versions of the budget is a section added by anti-abortion crusaders to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

This is a clear violation of House Rules. House Rule 44(b) specifically forbids the addition of such new, out-of-whole-cloth provisions unless the House refers the matter to a standing committee for review — something that is clearly not going to happen today.

What makes this all the more outrageous is that Rep. Stam — the man repeatedly identified in the News & Observer editorial cited below as the driving force behind the Planned Parenthood amendment — has a long history of raising hell on the House floor about… you guessed it…the addition of last minute provisions like this in violation of Rule 44.

In 2009, for instance, Stam took to the House floor (click here at go to 1:42 in the audio) to castigate the budget conference report for making tax changes not included in previous versions of the budget bill. He called the addition of the new provision a “blatant, flagrant and obvious violation of Rule 44(b).”

Stam’s only conceivable excuse in all this is that the current version of Rule 44(b) only applies to the addition of provisions dealing with “significant matters.” Perhaps in the twisted worldview of a person with a demonstrated, career-long indifference to women’s health, the act of harming thousands of women by making it much harder for Planned Parenthood to provide them with essential health care is not a “significant matter.” And given the low to which politics in the General Assembly have sunk in recent years, he’ll no doubt get away with it.

In the real world of words and laws that mean something, however, Stam’s position on this matter can only be described as blatant, flagrant and obvious hypocrisy.

Commentary

Editorial blasts state budget attack on Planned Parenthood

Among the myriad new laws and budget items that appeared out of nowhere in the massive new state budget proposal this week is yet another dishonest and destructive attack on Planned Parenthood and the women’s health care the group provides. The lead editorial in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer tells the story:

“So, with a sneaky provision in the state budget, right-wing ideologues preoccupied with social issues such as Rep. Skip Stam of Apex have barred state funds for new or renewed contracts with groups that provide family planning or pregnancy prevention. That is, if those groups also provide abortions.

It’s true Planned Parenthood isn’t mentioned, but that’s what this bit of mischief is about. Two pregnancy-prevention programs dealing with teens would be affected, in Fayetteville and Wilmington. Planned Parenthood officials believe the loss of funding, about $135,000, will ultimately mean more teen pregnancies.

This action is outrageous on several counts. First, of course, it’s a bunch of heavy-handed legislators such as Stam interfering with women trying to deal with health issues. Second, as a budget provision it slipped into the final document without attention or debate. That is an abuse of the legislative process. It’s the use of the budget to attack an organization that does valuable work for women’s health care. Abortions represent only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services.

Stam and his mates are inflicting their ideological beliefs without regard to the many people don’t agree with them. And they’re doing it despite the fact that the health of young women could be affected.”

In short, it’s another par-for-the-course step from the ideologues on Jones Street. Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

Commentary

Why the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood is backfiring

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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