Memo: Speaker Tillis Calls In Extreme Right Wing Cavalry To Save Floundering Campaign

Memo: Speaker Tillis Calls In Extreme Right Wing Cavalry To Save Floundering Campaign
To: Interested Parties
From: Gwen Rocco, Communications Director, American Bridge
Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thom Tillis, North Carolina’s Republican Senate candidate, House Speaker, and notorious holder of anti-woman views, is calling in the cavalry to save his floundering candidacy in the final weeks before the election he’s about to lose. His latest backer? A shady front group for the extreme right wing Susan B. Anthony List, which despite its name has little to do with championing the rights of women and everything to do with ending women’s access to health care services. Much like…Speaker Tillis!

SBA List officially endorsed Tillis back in June, highlighting how he “led the charge” (their words) to curtail women’s access to health care in North Carolina. What could they have been talking about? Well, take your pick: Tillis tried to cut off all state and federal funding for Planned Parenthood; Tillis believes states should have the right to ban birth control; Tillis said private companies should not have to cover contraceptives; Tillis supports that birth control-banning Republican favorite – personhood. The list goes on and on, but it makes complete sense when you recall that SBA List once hired a lobbyist to try to defund Planned Parenthood. Why hire a lobbyist when you can elect Speaker Tillis to do your dirty work for you?

Now, SBA List’s Women Speak Out PAC is dumping a whopping $620,000 into the race to attack Tillis’s opponent for standing up for women’s rights. This, of course, is not the first time SBA List has dove into the water to try to save an extreme Republican Senate candidate. In the 2012 cycle, SBA List rushed to the defense of Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and Richard “Something God Intended” Mourdock – not exactly candidates whose views could be called “mainstream.”

American Bridge has everything you need to know about SBA List and its extreme agenda, and that of Speaker Tillis.

Background

Thom Tillis Was Endorsed By The Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund. According to a press release from the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, “Today the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, a national pro-life political action committee, announced its endorsement of Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate in North Carolina.” [Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, Press Release, 6/19/14]

  • Susan B. Anthony List Said Tillis Had “Led The Charge” To Enact Anti-Abortion Laws In North Carolina. According to a press release from the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, “‘As Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis has led the charge to enact compassionate laws that protect North Carolina’s women and unborn children,’ said SBA List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser. ‘Speaker Tillis’ strong pro-life record stands in stark contrast to that of Senator Kay Hagan, who has voted for taxpayer funding of abortion under Obamacare and even opposes legislation that would end late-term abortions. While Thom Tillis stands strong for unborn children and mothers, Kay Hagan stands with the deep-pocketed abortion lobby that fills her campaign coffers. Kay Hagan’s extreme views on abortion are out of step with the majority of North Carolinians and she must be defeated.'” [Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, Press Release, 6/19/14]

Susan B. Anthony List Launched $620,000 Ad Campaign Against Kay Hagan. According to the Hill, “Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is the target of a $620,000 ad campaign that’s against late-term abortion rights painting the vulnerable incumbent senator as ‘too extreme.’ … The ad, part of a broader attack on Democrats who do not support the legislation, is backed with $620,000 and runs Sept. 7-17 in the Raleigh area. Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of the Susan B. Anthony List, spent $100,000 on the ad in Raleigh over the summer, part of an overall $1 million budget.” [The Hill, 10/2/14]

Tillis Believed States Should Have The Right To Ban Contraceptives. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “At a GOP forum last month, candidates also said they thought states had the right to ban contraceptives. Tillis, who skipped the event, later said he agreed.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 1/31/14]

Tillis Said That Private Company Health Plans Should Not Be Required To Cover Contraceptives. According to McClatchy, “Tillis has said that company health plans shouldn’t be required by the government to cover contraceptives. Shaw said that Tillis’ views had not changed.” [McClatchy, 7/2/14]

Tillis’ Budget Included A Provision To Cut Off State And Federal Funding For Planned Parenthood. According to the News & Observer, “It appears that Tillis is willing to spend some time during the coming session revisiting at least one budget provision that is the subject of litigation. One of the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates is suing over the provision that cuts the group off from state and federal funding for family planning. A federal judge recently ruled that the state must keep the group’s funding intact until the lawsuit is resolved. Tillis told the Associated Press that lawmakers could consider rewriting the provision when they meet in September to avoid further litigation while retaining the law’s original purpose.” [News & Observer, 8/30/11]

Federal Judge James Beaty Jr. Blocked The North Carolina Family Planning Funding Cut Because It Was Adopted Specifically To Penalize Planned Parenthood For The Organization’s Stance In Favor Of Abortion Rights.According to the Associated Press, “North Carolina cannot withhold funding from Planned Parenthood until a lawsuit over that provision of the state budget has been resolved, a federal judge ruled late Friday. The ruling by Judge James Beaty Jr. gives at least a temporary reprieve to Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina while they seek to invalidate the portion of the state budget that would withhold funding for non-abortion services. The group, one of two Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state, said the injunction should allow them to keep operating until the lawsuit over the provision known as Section 10.19 is resolved. ‘Based on the evidence before the court, it appears that Section 10.19 was adopted specifically to penalize Planned Parenthood’ for the organization’s stance in favor of abortion rights, Beaty wrote, even though the law bars the group from using public money for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. Planned Parenthood in North Carolina provides a range of other services, from tests for diabetes and high cholesterol to screening for sexually transmitted diseases.” [Associated Press, 8/19/11]

  • In 2012, U.S. District Judge James Beaty Struck Down The 2011 Ban Prohibiting Planned Parenthood From Receiving State And Federal Funds. According to a Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina press release, “Planned Parenthood of Central NC (PPCNC) applauds U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty, Jr’s decision today to strike down the 2011 ban prohibiting Planned Parenthood from receiving state and federal funds. The 2011 North Carolina budget contained a special provision that banned Planned Parenthood from receiving funds to provide teen pregnancy prevention programs as well as preventative health care services such as cancer screenings and birth control to low-income women.” [Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina Press Release, 6/28/12]

Tillis Supported A Personhood Amendment. According to McClatchy, “Shaw also said that Tillis would support a ‘personhood amendment,’ an initiative in some states that would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person under certain conditions. It would have to be consistent with his view that abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger, and it would have to be in line with his view that women should have access to contraceptives, he said. The personhood movement, however, holds that embryos should have legal rights. The position could ban abortion in all cases and forms of birth control that prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus.” [McClatchy, 7/2/14]

  • New York Times: Personhood Amendments “Would Essentially Deem Abortion And Some Types Of Birth Control Murder.” According to the New York Times, “The Democratic offensive is built around statements by Mr. Romney that some have linked to a proposed constitutional amendment in Mississippi, which among other things would effectively make illegal certain types of birth control. Under the measure, known as a ‘personhood’ amendment, a fertilized human egg would be declared to be a legal person. The amendment, which would essentially deem abortion and some types of birth control murder, represents perhaps the furthest front in the anti-abortion movement.” [New York Times, 11/3/11]
  • Personhood Amendments Prohibited Some Common Forms Of Birth Control, Including IUD’s And Morning-After Pills. According to the New York Times, “Specifically, personhood amendments bar some forms of birth control that prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted in a uterus, like IUD’s and ‘morning-after pills.’” [New York Times, 11/3/11]

SBA List Network Comprises Five Connected Organizations With A Combined Budget Of $7 Million. According to a donor letter from Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, “Today, we have four organizations allied with the Susan B. Anthony List, including the Women Speak out PAC, the SBA List Candidate Fund, the SBA List Legal Defense Fund and the Charlotte Lozier Institute, all of which play different and vital roles. The SBA List’s budget remains by far the largest. But the combined budget for all our allied organizations is just over $7,000,000. [Dannenfelser Letter, 5/8/13]

SBA List Launched “Women Speak Out PAC” In October 2012. According to Susan B. Anthony List press release, “Today the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced the launch of the Women Speak Out PAC, a super PAC aimed at amplifying the voices of women opposed to President Obama and his extreme abortion record. The super PAC’s first expenditure will be a $500,000 television ad buy concentrated in key media markets in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, featuring spots entitled ‘How will you answer?’ and ‘Abortion Radical.’” [SBA List Press Release, 10/2/12]

SBA List Has A “Six Point Mission.” According to its website, “The SBA List’s Six Point Mission” is to: “1. Elect pro-life women or pro-life men who oppose pro-abortion women to Congress through our SBA List Candidate Fund. 2. Educate voters on critical pro-life issues and on upcoming legislation. 3. Train and equip pro-life activists nationwide to run successful political and grassroots campaigns. 4. Promote positive responses in both traditional and new media to dispel the myths and distortions of the abortion lobby. 5. Advocate passage of pro-life legislation in Congress, directly with legislators and through mobilizing direct citizen lobbying. 6. Connect legislative and electoral consequences through our Votes Have Consequences Program.” [SBA-List.org, accessed 4/19/13]

SBA List’s Legislative Priorities: “Defunding Planned Parenthood,” “Ending All Federal Funding Of Abortion.” According to its website, “SBA List has two main legislative priorities: ending all federal funding of abortion and ending taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.” The “Pro-Life Legislation” section of the website includes individual pages for “Defunding Planned Parenthood” and “H.R. 3 No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” [SBA-List.org, accessed 4/18/13]

  • SBA List Hired A Lobbyist For The First Time To Support Defunding Of Planned Parenthood. According to The Hill, “The Susan B. Anthony List recently hired a lobbyist to keep the pressure on lawmakers to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, lobbying records show. The anti-abortion group hired Brian Duggan during the spring recess, lobbying records show, suggesting that the group hopes such legislation can pass. It did not immediately return a call for comment. The House voted largely along party lines, 240-185, to defund Planned Parenthood in February. The Senate rejected the measure, 42-58, just before the spring recess. […] Planned Parenthood is barred from using the more than $75 million it gets every year from the federal government to provide abortions. The organization says 90 percent of the care it provides to 3 million women every year is preventive. This is the first time the Susan B. Anthony List has hired a lobbyist, according to records.” [The Hill, 5/3/11].

SBA List Defended Todd Akin Following His “Legitimate Rape” Comments. According to the Washington Post, “Republican leadership has a not so-subtle-hint for Todd Akin: They would like the Missouri Senate candidate, who remarked that ‘legitimate rape’ rarely results in pregnancy, out of the race — and sooner rather than later. […] Pro-life groups, however, have taken a decidedly different take. Both the Susan B. Anthony List and Family Research Council have stood by Akin. They don’t see him as a politician who has made a career ending gaffe. In their view, he’s a strong abortion right opponent who articulated a tenet of the pro-life movement: Abortion should be illegal in all situations, rape included. ‘Todd Akin … has a record of voting to protect human life,’ said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, reaffirming her support in a statement. He ‘has been an excellent partner in the fight for the unborn.’” [Washington Post, 8/21/12]

SBA List Defended Richard Mourdock After He Said Pregnancy From Rape Is “Something God Intended To Happen.” According to USA Today, “Asked whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, Mourdock said duringTuesday’s debate, ‘I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.’ […] The Susan B. Anthony List, a conservative group that opposes abortion rights, restated its support for Mourdock and stressed its own ad campaign highlighting Donnelly’s abortion record. ‘Richard Mourdock said that life is always a gift from God, and we couldn’t agree more,’ said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List.” [USA Today, 10/24/12]