Abortion Extremism Becomes New Litmus Test for Republicans

30 Jun

For Republican candidates and lawmakers, abortion extremism is becoming the norm, not the outlier. Every single Republican has to make clear their position on the right to an abortion.

For MAGA Republicans, it is a race to be the most extreme as Republicans make clear that they’ll push to expand restrictions on reproductive health care.

Axios: “Pence has called for a nationwide abortion ban after the Dobbs ruling and Dannenfelser has vowed to help limit abortion ‘in every state and in every legislature, including the Congress’”

Politico: “DeSantis says Florida will ‘expand pro-life protections’ after Supreme Court ruling”

While some Republicans try to hide their records, as Mike Pompeo said, every single Republican will have to make clear where they stand on the right to choose.

Washington Examiner: “Mike Pompeo, who was Trump’s CIA director, tweeted on Wednesday that in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ‘We will see which politicians supported the pro-life cause to win elections, and which actually believed it.’”

Washington Post: “After reversal of Roe, many Republicans want to change the subject”

Washington Post: “While Democrats have leaned heavily into elevating the concerns over the court ruling and the new limits that will be imposed on abortion, many Republicans have been avoiding questions on the topic or taking pains to shift the subject.”

New York Post: “GOP hopeful abortion dies as midterm issue after SCOTUS ends Roe v. Wade”

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Hong Kong 25 Years After Handover

30 Jun

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On July 1, we mark the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China.  This date was envisioned as the halfway point of 50 years of promised autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.  Yet it is now evident that Hong Kong and Beijing authorities no longer view democratic participation, fundamental freedoms, and an independent media as part of this vision.

In 2019, millions of Hong Kongers joined public protests to oppose controversial extradition legislation.  Beijing’s response – the National Security Law – set the stage for an erosion of autonomy and dismantling of the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents over the last two years.  Authorities have jailed the opposition, with many imprisoned for more than a year.  Hong Kong’s leaders have raided independent media organizations, shuttered museums and removed public works of art, weakened democratic institutions, delayed elections, prevented vigils, disqualified sitting lawmakers, and instituted loyalty oaths.  Government officials have spread disinformation that grassroots protests were the work of foreign actors.  They have done all of this in an effort to deprive Hong Kongers of what they have been promised.

We stand in solidarity with people in Hong Kong and reinforce their calls for their promised freedoms to be reinstated.

The Harsh Sentencing of Human Rights Defenders in Cuba

30 Jun

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States is deeply concerned by the ongoing harsh sentencing of political protesters in Cuba, and we will continue to work with our partners around the world to demonstrate our collective support for the rights of Cubans who are unjustly detained.  Cuban judges have sentenced over 550 Cuban protesters to more than 4,000 combined years.  Protesters are sentenced to prison, forced labor, or other punitive measures.  These numbers include more than 20 protesters arrested as minors.

Meanwhile, the Cuban government continues to hold in detention more than 700 protesters who took to the streets nearly one year ago, on July 11, 2021, to criticize the government’s failure to respect their human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Hundreds of protesters languish in jails on arbitrary charges because they criticized the regime and its leaders.  Despite video and photographic evidence to the contrary, the Cuban government attempts to justify their detentions, prosecutions, and draconian sentences by falsely claiming the protests were largely violent.  Today’s class of political prisoners are made up of Cubans from across Cuba and from all walks of life.

State prosecutors chose to make examples of protesters from Havana’s impoverished neighborhoods of La Guinera and 10 de Octubre, with significant Afro-Cuban populations, charging them with sedition and issuing the harshest sentences up to 26 years in prison.  Six defendants from these neighborhoods, ages 16 or 17 at the time of their arrest, received up to five years forced labor.  Cuban government officials continue to detain, harass, and threaten mothers of detained protesters who dare speak publicly about their children.

These injustices have clear aims:  to prevent Cuban citizens from asserting their rights and create fear of reprisals. Cubans have a right to freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly under Cuba’s constitution and as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The Cuban government must allow its people to freely express their hopes and aspirations, rather than rule through fear and intimidation.

DNC Statement on Florida’s Abortion Ban Ruling

30 Jun

As Ron DeSantis and Florida Republicans’ extreme abortion ban will be blocked by Judge Cooper’s ruling, DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa released the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a small victory for reproductive rights in Florida, despite Ron DeSantis and Florida Republicans’ relentless efforts to make abortion a crime with no exceptions for rape or incest, force women into dangerous situations, and throw their providers in jail. Now that DeSantis has confirmed his administration will not stop fighting for this attack on women’s health care, he should answer what he means when he says he will ‘expand’ anti-choice restrictions and what’s next on his extreme and dangerous agenda.”

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DNC on Supreme Court Decision in West Virginia v. EPA

30 Jun

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA:

The Court’s decision today privileges profit and pollution over the ability of the EPA to fight climate change and protect people’s health. It is another extremist decision from a far-right majority intent on setting our nation back decades.

Despite the Court’s ruling, the Biden-Harris administration and Democrats across the country remain committed to fighting climate change and we will continue to use every tool available to ensure a safe, livable future for generations to come.

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Secretary Blinken’s Call with Kenyan President Kenyatta

30 Jun

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken called Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta today to discuss the government of Kenya’s efforts to address the continued violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Secretary Blinken expressed his appreciation for the Nairobi Process, which has brought together the leadership of the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan, and Tanzania.  The Secretary noted these heads of state meetings are instrumental for facilitating the de-escalation of regional tensions, and in particular between the DRC and Rwanda.

The Secretary underscored the importance of free and fair Kenyan elections that are peaceful and reflect the will of the Kenyan people.  He also engaged on other regional issues, including U.S. efforts to support African countries suffering from food insecurity as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the historic drought in the Horn of Africa.

Designation of Former Colombian Senator Luis Alberto Gil Castillo for Involvement in Significant Corruption

30 Jun

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States is designating former Colombian Senator Luis Alberto Gil Castillo for his involvement in significant corruption.  Gil Castillo solicited and accepted monetary bribes from a subgroup of the then-U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO) known as the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). The bribe was accepted in exchange for exercising undue political influence in his official capacity as a member of the Colombian Senate. In addition, Gil Castillo later attempted to bribe a witness in a criminal case against him.  These actions undermined the stability of Colombia’s democratic institutions and the security of the United States against transnational crime and terrorism.

This public designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022. Under this authority, designated officials of foreign governments involved in significant corruption and their immediate family members are generally ineligible for entry into the United States.  The Department is also designating Gil Castillo’s spouse Doris Clemencia Vega Quiróz.  These designations follow the U.S. designation under Section 7031(c) in December 2021 of Gil Castillo’s associate, Carlos Julián Bermeo Casas, a former Colombian prosecutor, for engaging in significant corruption.

Today’s actions reinforce Colombia’s own law enforcement and judicial actions against Gil Castillo and reaffirm the commitment of the United States to combat corruption.  The United States continues to stand with all Colombians in support of democracy, the rule of law, and will continue to hold accountable those who abuse public power for personal gain.

ICYMI: DNC Launches Ads Highlighting GOP Plans to Ban Abortion

30 Jun

In case you missed it, the Democratic National Committee launched new digital ads this morning in battleground states highlighting Republicans’ plans to escalate attacks on abortion rights after their decades-long war to overturn Roe v Wade. The ads come as Republicans in some states have implemented abortion bans with no exceptions for rape or incest and federal Republican lawmakers are making clear that if they gain power, they could work to ban abortion nationally.

See some coverage of the ads nationally and in the states where they’re airing:

National: The Hill: DNC launches digital ad campaign hitting Republicans on abortion

  • “The ad buy will target 18 to 55-year-old women on Facebook and YouTube in a number of battleground states. The ad cites comment​s from former Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.), and House Minority Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggesting they would be in favor of a nationwide abortion ban.”

Arizona: AZ Mirror: Dems: Republicans won’t stop at overturning Roe if they win in 2022

  • “In order to detail what the DNC says is a ‘wildly out of touch … dangerous and deadly’ agenda from Republicans, the party on Wednesday began a week-long ad blitz on Facebook and YouTube focusing on GOP zeal for a national abortion ban.”

Florida: Florida Politics: National Democrats target Florida voters with abortion-themed ad buy

  • “‘Now that Republicans have succeeded in their decades-long war to overturn Roe v. Wade, they’re telling voters what they have planned next: banning abortion across the country,’ said DNC States Communications Director Brooke Goren.”

Georgia: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Jolt: Democrats’ new ad warns: Republicans won’t stop until abortion is banned.

  • “Republicans aren’t done yet. That’s the message from the Democratic National Committee that will greet many Georgia voters in a new digital ad blitz unveiled this morning. The 30-second spot is part of the DNC’s ‘MAGA Hot Mic’ campaign to tie Republican officials to calls by anti-abortion advocates to pass an outright ban on abortions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s watershed ruling that reversed the Roe v. Wade decision.”

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Capital-Star: ‘Believe Them’: In new Pa. ad, Dems warn GOP wants national abortion ban | Wednesday Morning Coffee

  • “‘Republicans aren’t stopping at overturning Roe,’ the 30-second spot paid for by the Democratic National Committee warns, after the voices and images of such senior Republicans as former Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, play throughout. ‘They want to go further and ban abortion,’ the ad, which will run for a week on Facebook and YouTube, concludes. ‘Believe them.’”

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LOCAL HEADLINES: As GOP Pushes Abortion Bans, Dems Fight For Choice

30 Jun

Following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Democratic state parties and local leaders across the country held events yesterday blasting Republicans for their decades-long campaign to strip Americans of their reproductive rights and ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. 
 
Here’s a look at what they’re reading in the states:
 
In Georgia: 

In Indiana:

In Michigan: 

In Nebraska:

In New Hampshire: 

In Pennsylvania:

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DNC On The Swearing In Of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

30 Jun

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison issued the following statement regarding the swearing in of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson:

“Today, history has been made. With her swearing in, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes the first Black woman to serve as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. 

The Court will greatly benefit from the insight she will provide: as a Black woman, a public defender, and a judge who has served at the district and appellate levels and clerked at the Supreme Court. 

For over 200 years, the Court has heard cases that affect Black women — cases like Plessy v. Ferguson, Shelby County v. Holder, Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — without the perspective of a Black woman. That changes now.

Judge Jackson has shown girls — especially girls of color — how big they can dream and just how profound an impact they can have on our nation. Her story is uniquely American. We are grateful to President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the senators who confirmed Justice Jackson’s nomination for helping build a government that looks like America.

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