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Companies Cash in on Patriotism
Media War Without End
Anthrax, Drug Transnationals And TRIPs
Bioterror And Biosafety
Feminist Analysis and the Crisis
A Country Abandoned
Richard alan Leach
Are You A Patriot?
The New World Order Rule â€¦
The Politicization of Terror
Shake, Rattle, and Rolling Over â€¦
On Terror And War
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Shake, Rattle, and Rolling Over Roe v. Wade
Janet Folger, veteran leader of the highly publicized anti-gay conversion crusade a few years ago, is back with a new campaign aimed at overturning Roe v. Wade. Her newly formed coalition, made up of more than two-dozen anti-abortion groups, will soon gear up again to “Shake the Nation Back to Life.”
Since the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, the anti-abortion movement has operated on a number of fronts. Clinics have been bombed, abortion providers murdered, picket lines and demonstrations stymied services at countless clinics around the country, anti-abortion legislation has been introduced nationally and in dozens of states, hundreds of anti-abortion groups have been founded, dozens of media campaigns have been launched.
Over the past few months, there have been a number of new developments:
(1) A Conservative News Service report citing a Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds that one-year after RU-486 “debuted in the American marketplace, the drug combination that generated so much controversy in the first place has proved underwhelming in its number of users.” Kaiser reports, “Only six percent of gynecologists say they have prescribed it—far fewer than the 27 percent who say they perform surgical abortions. Only one percent of general practitioners said they prescribed RU-486.”
(2) In response to President Bush's stem cell decision, Neal Horsley's notorious Nuremberg Files website has added the president to its hit list, according to the Christian Gallery News Service. The site's staff say they are targeting Bush because he is a “living embodiment of the fact that a Christian might live on Earth in the here and now as an evil collaborator with baby-butchers whose conscience has been totally defiled by the wiles of Satan.”
(3) In late September, Fred Clarkson reported in Women's-e- News that Clayton Lee Waagner, the anti-abortion terrorist who “has threatened to kill Americans where they live and where they work, and anywhere he can find the targets he has selected,” has been added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. Waagner, who escaped from federal custody in February, “posted a manifesto proclaiming his intentions on the Web site of the anti-abortion Army of God (www.armyofgod. com/), in whose name numerous bombings, arson and assassinations have been committed against abortion providers over nearly two decades.”
(4) In early October, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals “ruled in favor of reproductive freedom,” said National Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy. “In NOW v. Scheidler, the Seventh Circuit upheld the first-ever nationwide injunction against Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League and his cronies in their network of violence and intimidation.” Against the backdrop of September 11, Gandy said that NOW “had won another victory in the long fight against domestic terrorism at abortion clinics.”
Scheidler is expected to appeal the decision and the case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court. “The possibility of NOW v. Scheidler reaching the Supreme Court reminds us that women's rights currently hang in a delicate 5-4 balance,” Gandy said. “Abortion rights advocates must stand firm in urging the Senate to reject judicial nominees—at all levels—who won't uphold our most basic freedoms” (see www.now.org).
(5) In early October the Associated Press reported that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to “reconsider a ruling in which it threw out a $107 million verdict against anti-abortion activists behind Old West-style wanted posters [on the Nuremberg Files web site] that branded doctors as ‘baby butchers.'” The AP report points out that “a Portland, Oregon, jury ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood and ordered the anti-abortion activists to pay $107 million in damages, but in March, the three-judge appellate panel overturned the verdict, saying the material was protected by the First Amendment. The panel decided that the activists could be held liable only if the website and posters authorized or directly threatened violence.”
(6) Missionaries to the Unborn's MTTU News reports that Father Frank Pavone, the high-profile national director of Priests for Life for the past eight years, “has been asked by Cardinal Edward Egan to resume full-time work within the Archdiocese of New York and leave his position” with the organization. Anthony DeStefano, executive director of the group said he was “shocked” by the decision. Priests for Life has become a major player in the international anti- abortion movement.
Shake the Nation Back to Life, was first launched in early September. It's a multi-million dollar campaign aimed at convincing President Bush and the U.S. Senate that it's time to repeal Roe v. Wade. The best way to do it? The president should appoint and the Senate must confirm only “pro-life” judges.
When Senators returned from summer vacation many of them found their mailboxes stuffed with unexpected gifts of dozens of baby rattles. The rattles are the signature item for the campaign. According to Conservative News Service (CNS), a letter to each Senator urging them to “please vote to confirm pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, and do everything within your power to protect children from all the brutal methods of abortion” accompanied the rattles.
This new effort is the brainchild of the Center for Reclaiming America, a division of Dr. D. James Kennedy's powerful Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM). Janet Folger, the Center's director who is best known for spearheading CRM's highly publicized 1998 gay-conversion campaign, said that the mailing of rattles is just the first stage in its multi-faceted campaign.
“The launch, the kickoff, and the first media buy, was over $2.2 million, and the first buy will run in the Washington, DC market,” Folger said. “That portion is over $70,000, which will take us through mid-October.” The campaign's mission, as spelled out at its website, is fourfold: “to be a voice for the voiceless”; “to encourage the president to nominate pro-life justices”; “to let the U.S. Senate know that millions of Americans support the confirmation of pro-life justices”; and “to take this message to the American people via nationwide TV, radio, and print ads.”
The Shake the Nation campaign is not restricted to potential Supreme Court nominees, says Richard Lessner, executive director of American Renewal, the legislative action arm of Family Research Council. “Millions of Americans want to see fair and impartial jurists,” he said, “not unelected and unaccountable oligarchs, appointed to the federal courts and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court.
According to Shake the Nation, the two other goals of the campaign are to “respond to the ad campaigns of NARAL and other pro-abortion organizations with our message of truth,” and to “depict the pro-life movement in a positive light and as a strong, unified, winning team.”
CNS reports that the first commercial “features numerous infants holding rattles and pro-life placards, super-imposed into a video of the National Mall and other landmark locations in Washington, DC.” The children are all “laughing and smiling until a gavel drops and viewers see a mock newspaper headline reading ‘Supreme Court Okays Abortion,'” and then the children begin crying, drop their rattles, and disappear from the screen.
The commercial voice- over says, “Tell your Senator to Shake the Nation Back to Life.”
Folger calls the coalition a “Who's Who” of the pro-life movement. Thus far, participants include American Renewal, the legislative action arm of the influential Family Research Council, the Rev. Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, American Values, Campaign for Working Families, Care Net, Beverly LaHaye's Concerned Women for America, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family, Heartbeat International, Life Education and Resource Network, Inc., Life Issues Institute, Lutherans For Life, National Life Centers, Inc., Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship/ Break Point, Pro-Life Communications, Pro- Life Action League, Roe No More Ministries, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition, and www.Catholic- Vote.org.
On its website Shake the Nation encourages supporters to sign up to have the campaign send baby rattles to senators. The Shake the Nation rattle order form says that “for a gift of $25 or more, personalized letters and baby rattles will be delivered to your two U.S. Senators, along with a personalized letter to President Bush.” As of this writing, more than 22,000 rattles have been sent.
The campaign was launched at a time when many have noted discord within the anti-abortion movement over President Bush's decision allowing a minimal amount of government-funded research on stem cells. In early September, the New York Times pointed out, “Those in favor included the National Right to Life Committee, the Rev. Jerry Falwell and James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family. But it was harshly criticized by other groups, including many Roman Catholic and evangelical organizations that maintain there can be no compromise of principles involving the sanctity of life.”
In the past Bush has voiced his opposition to legalized abortion, and, reports the Times, “has said that he considers the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to have been a ‘judicial reach'.” However, since his inauguration, while Bush has issued a few anti-abortion executive orders, appointed a number of so-called pro-life people to positions within the Administration, and courted Catholics with his “culture of life” mantra, he has not advanced any specific anti-abortion legislation.
In the next year or so it is conceivable that three members of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Rehnquist, and Justices Stevens and O'Connor, could step down. Justices Stevens and O'Connor have voted to uphold Roe, while the chief justice opposes it.
Friends In High Places
One factor in the campaign is the close relationship the Christian Right has with Attorney General John Ashcroft. Dr. D. James Kennedy's Florida-based Coral Ridge Ministries (CRM) is one of those lesser-known Christian Right organizations that have accumulated enormous wealth and power over the past two-dozen years. One of its projects, the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship, “is a spiritually based outreach to men and women in positions of influence and authority in our nation's capital.”
The July 2001 issue of the Center's Christian Statesmanship News reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft addressed the Center for Christian Statesmanship's Politics & Principle evangelistic luncheon. Greeted by a standing ovation, Ashcroft “shared openly about how his faith in Christ has impacted his life and his service to the nation. And he challenged those in attendance to carefully consider the claims of Christ.”
In addition, Janet Folger, head of the Shake the Nation campaign, recently met with Ashcroft, giving him petitions, gathered by the CRM's Center for Reclaiming America, with 130,000 names on it in order “to encourage him to reverse the previous administration's abysmal failure to enforce anti-obscenity laws.” Folger said that Ashcroft “seemed deeply moved…and [also] voiced his heartfelt appreciation for all those who supported him” in his conformation process.
Folger has yet to determine when the campaign will be resumed. Whether Attorney General Ashcroft will repay the Religious Right's support in the months to come remains to be seen. Z
Bill Berkowitz is an Oakland-based freelance writer covering right-wing movements.