In a repulsive attempt to use faith, fear and smears as political weapons, freshman Republican Congressman Francisco “Quico” Canseco of San Antonio is trying to persuade voters that he has Jesus on his side in his re-election campaign against a fellow Roman Catholic he says votes to kill babies.

Canseco’s campaign has been bombarding voters with mailers, printed in English and Spanish, attacking Democratic nominee Pete Gallego, a 22-year state legislator from the West Texas town of Alpine, on abortion, homosexuality and God. One mailer asks (on right; click to enlarge):

“If God gave Maria’s baby life, why does Pete Gallego vote to kill it?”

Another mailer (on right; click to enlarge) includes images of Jesus Christ, a baby and two men kissing and tells readers that Democratic leaders who support Gallego — President Obama, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — have “said no to God,” “want abortion for underage girls” and “want marriage to be between man & man.”

The mailers call on voters to “Let Pete Gallego know these are not our values.” They include the disclaimer: “Paid For By Canseco for Congress.”

This is… Read More

You might want to sit down for this one: Todd Akin’s claim that a raped woman’s body will somehow shut down a pregnancy before it even happens is not supported by science. (I know, you’re shocked.) And, ironically, one of the most prominent elected officials now calling for Akin to step aside is endorsed by a group that peddles such nonsense in Texas.

The New York Times explains that the claims have floated around in the anti-abortion movement for years, and other media outlets cite as its source a 1972 article from Dr. Fred Mecklenburg of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Leading experts dispute the article, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-abortion movement from running with it.

That includes Dr. John Willke, past president of the anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee. Among other things, Dr. Willke claims — get this — that a raped woman is under such stress that her fallopian tubes tighten.

Dr. Willke explains it this way:

“This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight. She is frightened, tight and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize.… Read More

Despite claiming to be a Bible-believing Christian, David Barton seems to have no qualms about breaking the biblical commandment against bearing false witness. Today, for example, Barton tweeted the following nonsense:

“Apparently protecting life makes you a terrorist now: Obama Admin Calls Pro-Lifers Terrorists Again”

Barton’s tweet then links to an article on the anti-abortion website LifeNews.com that criticizes a January 31 report for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008.” The report explores where terrorist attacks tend to occur in the United States and the ideologies that appear to have motivated the terrorists. Among the ideological categories noted by the report are “extreme right-wing,” “extreme left-wing,” “religious,” “ethno-nationalist/separatist” and “single issue.” The latter category includes “groups or individuals that obsessively focus on very specific or narrowly-defined causes (e.g., anti-abortion, anti-Catholic, anti-nuclear, anti-Castro). This category includes groups from all sides of the political spectrum.”

The latter description about “single issue” terrorists appears to have been enough for LifeNews.com to declare that ” the Obama administration has called ‘terrorists’ the majority of Americans who support the pro-life view… Read More

Does the religious right want to limit pregnant women’s access to modern medical care? It’s beginning to look that way.

This past weekend Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum — endorsed by religious-right leaders meeting at a Texas ranch in January — came out in opposition to requiring that health insurance cover prenatal testing at no cost to the patient:

Earlier in the day on Saturday, Santorum had also said that health insurance plans shouldn’t be required to cover prenatal testing, because that testing results in more abortions….

“Free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society,” Santorum told the Ohio Christian Alliance conference.

Asked by [CBS News’ Bob] Schieffer about his claims that prenatal testing leads to more abortions, Santorum insisted that this was “a fact.”

“We’re talking about specifically prenatal testing, and specifically amniocentesis, which is a procedure that actually creates a risk of having a miscarriage when you have it, and is done for the purposes of identifying maladies of a child in the womb. And in many cases — and in fact in most… Read More

UPDATE: A CBS News/New York Times poll released yesterday shows that a large majority of Americans — including 61 percent of Catholics — appear to support the new rule requiring insurance plans to cover contraception even for women working at religiously affiliated institutions.

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Some religious-right groups in Texas are eagerly entering the war on women’s access to contraception and reproductive health care. As usual, truth is an early casualty.

Liberty Institute, the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family, goes so far as to claim that the Obama administration is “mandating that Catholic institutions and other religious organizations must provide abortifacents and birth control in violation of their own teachings and consciences.” Of course, that’s not true. The policy would require that insurance companies provide, if religious institutions do not, coverage for contraceptive services for women.

Texans for Life Coalition, an anti-abortion and anti-sex education group based in Irving near Dallas, is also denouncing the new federal policy. The organization’s blog even argues that birth control is bad for women’s health:

“I am so sick of people lumping abortion and birth control together and calling it ‘women’s health.’ Neither one of… Read More