Bucking Big Tony
The ostensible inspiration for Perkins' rant was Sally Jacobsen of Northern Kentucky University, a professor forced into early retirement after "inviting" some of her postgraduate students to exercise their own right to free speech by pulling up 400 crosses planted on the university campus by a "Right to Life" group.
[photo removed by request of copyright holder. -- moiv]
But more germane than Perkins's fake snit over a sexagenarian teacher's "lawlessness" is the map heading USA Today's story: 'Roe v. Wade': The divided states of America .
On the surface, things seem to be looking pretty good for Tony and his friends. But a 50-cent tour of some red state legislatures explains why Tony's collar is feeling a little tight these days.
Louisiana's abortion bills promise fireworks, but to what end?
Not this time around. Not in Louisiana, and not in several other places. In the weeks since the nation was rudely jolted awake over the South Dakota ban, an impressive number of previously reliable "pro-life" legislatures have allowed anti-choice bills to be put down without more than a token whimper.
Home to the fanatical Senator Tom Coburn, Oklahoma has one of the most rabidly anti-choice Congressional delegations in the country, but you'd never know it if you were sitting in the statehouse in Oklahoma City.
A series of House-passed anti-abortion bills deemed to be punitive by some Democratic state senators went unheard as a deadline expired today for hearing House measures in Senate committees.
Indiana Right to Life blames the longtime Republican Senate leader for killing a bill that would have compelled doctors -- in defiance of medical evidence -- to tell women seeking abortion care that life begins at conception and that a fetus probably feels pain.
The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee said Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton, R-Columbus, refused to ensure that a floor vote on the bill was taken before midnight on March 14, the deadline for the 2006 session to end.
But somehow, the time for that sure thing of an "Aye" vote just never came.
And other issues near and dear to the hearts of Tony Perkins and his "Values Voters" haven't even gotten that far. Kansans for Life - after heartily supporting a proposal to add graphic descriptions of abortion procedures and fetal pain misinformation to high school sex education classes - suddenly decided that it wasn't such a good idea after all.
The state's largest anti-abortion group is backing off on a proposal to require abortion education in Kansas classrooms.
That's the first adjective that comes to mind when one considers KFL's legislative agenda, all right -- non-controversial. The Kansas House added classroom antiabortion propaganda to what began as a Senate bill designed to help Attorney General Phill Kline harass Kansas doctors even more viciously, and then passed the amended bill back to the Senate - where Kansas senators thought twice about reaping a whirlwind of opposition from furious parents.
The Kentucky Legislature -- where earlier this year there was talk of a ban to rival South Dakota's - toughened Kentucky's "informed consent" law to require women to see a doctor in person for counseling 24 hours prior to an abortion, but its hard-line members failed in an attempt to impose restrictions that are now considered standard in many other states .
The Senate added provisions requiring women to sign a form certifying they had been offered the counseling, that they consented to the abortion "knowingly and willingly" and were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Nope, sorry, not this year.
And in Tennessee, a proposed constitutional amendment to remove any guarantees of a right to an abortion within the state's constitution just shriveled up and died in committee.
The friends of Tony Perkins had held high hopes for Mississippi this year. Mississippi was widely expected to follow on the heels of South Dakota, and indeed a state abortion ban was considered to be a fait accompli - with the only question being whether exceptions would be allowed for those twin bugaboos so loved by hypocrites everywhere: rape and incest. But something funny happened on the way to final passage. As usual, the official excuse was "we just ran out of time" - but as reported by the Jackson Free Press, Mississippi's solons were thrown for a loop when Rep. Steve Holland [D-Plantersville], who authored the ban language and appended it to a milder bill, decided that it was time for them to put up or shut up.
Republicans in Mississippi have repeatedly used support of abortion rights as a weapon against Democratic opponents, especially in competition for conservative voters.
The editors of the Clarion-Ledger summed the situation up nicely.
This was more of an exercise in politics than policy. Mississippi already has one of the most restrictive laws in the nation.
When put to the test, despite all their "pro-life" posturing, Mississippi's pandering politicians found themselves sitting on a bigger wedge than was comfortable.
If you've picked up on the general trend by now, rest assured that Tony Perkins has it engraved on his shriveled little soul. Maybe that's why last week's headlines blared "Flag burning, gay marriage, abortion top GOP election agenda."
Between now and the November elections, Republicans are penciling in plans to take action on social issues important to religious conservatives, the foundation of the GOP base, as they defend their congressional majority.
Tony Perkins to Republicans in Washington: "When you run a saloon in Chicago, you buy your beer from Big Al."
But it ain't necessarily so in Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Topeka, Frankfort, Nashville or Jackson.
[Capone image from Vernacular Photography]
Bucking Big Tony | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)
Bucking Big Tony | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)