A controversial Republican legislator, infamous for his extreme anti-abortion views, is again making headlines after an interview on a conservative Christian talk show.
Glenn Grothman, a state senator from Wisconsin, told Jim Schneider of "Voice of Christian Youth America" that Planned Parenthood is "the most racist organization” in the nation and has a tradition of "not liking people who are not white." He also charged that the non-profit health services group aggressively targets the Asian-American community for "sex-selective abortions," a practice that Planned Parenthood has repeatedly condemned.
"Gender bias is contrary to everything our organization works for daily in communities across the country. Planned Parenthood opposes racism and sexism in all forms, and we work to advance equity and human rights in the delivery of health care," the organization wrote in a press release. "Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other."
In his interview, Grothman also cited as evidence "the historic comments" of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Grothman implies, as have others in the past, the founder was a racist. Yet Salon notes that in 1966, civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of "a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts."
Grothman, an aggressive anti-abortion crusader and proponent of the nuclear family in Wisconsin, has made no secret of his often controversial opinions in the past. In March, he drew widespread criticism after a proposing a bill that would have classified single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse.
He has also said that unwanted pregnancies are the fault of the mothers, and that many mothers lie about the circumstances of their pregnancies. "I think a lot of women are adopting the single motherhood lifestyle because the government creates a situation in which it is almost preferred," he said, according to Right Wing Watch.
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Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."
The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.
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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."
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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."