Dems Question Ashcroft’s Ability to Enforce All Laws
The Senate confirmation hearing in John Ashcroft’s bid for Attorney General continues today, with protestors again crowded outside the Russell Senate building, opposing the nomination of this anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-civil rights politician. At yesterday’s hearing, Ashcroft faced a barrage of questions from Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) regarding Ashcroft’s poor record on civil rights. Today, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) questioned Ashcroft on his commitment to upholding Roe v. Wade and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). When Feinstein asked whether Ashcroft would prioritize investigating and prosecuting cases of violence against abortion clinics and staff, Ashcroft hesitated before giving his answer, saying that he would uphold the law as it stands. He did not testify as to what he would actively pursue as attorney general in regards to clinic violence and abortion rights.
Yesterday, several Democratic Senators expressed concern over Ashcroft’s ability to enforce laws that conflicted with his personal and religious views, despite the fact that Ashcroft argued that, as Governor and as Attorney General of Missouri, he did uphold laws on abortion. Ashcroft’s voting record on abortion is overwhelmingly anti-choice; he is opposed to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, and is opposed to most forms of contraception. He has repeatedly used his political position to further an extremist conservative view.
Yesterday, New York Senator Charles Schumer asked, “When you have been such a zealous and impassioned advocate for so long, how do you just turn it off? This may be an impossible task.” Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) stressed that the hearing would focus not on Ashcroft’s beliefs alone, but on how his beliefs would color the choices he will have to make as attorney general. “We will want to know what changes he will seek in the constitutional rights that Americans currently enjoy. These include what positions he would urge upon the Supreme Court; in particular, whether he’d ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade or to impose more burdensome restrictions on a woman’s ability to secure safe and legal contraceptives,” Leahy said.
Scheduled to testify today is Ronnie White, a black, pro-choice nominee for the Missouri Supreme Court. Ashcroft vehemently opposed his confirmation.
Media Resources: Transcript of Confirmation Hearing, eMediaMill Works and Associated Press and Washington Post - January 17, 2001 and C-SPAN Live Broadcast
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .