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  • The most extreme right-wing reactions to Cecile Richards' departure from Planned Parenthood

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE TULBERT

    On January 24, BuzzFeed reported that Cecile Richards plans to step down as president of Planned Parenthood. Richards confirmed the news on January 26, saying she is departing the organization some time this year. Immediately, anti-abortion and right-wing media and groups took the opportunity to smear Richards and Planned Parenthood in a number of outlandish ways.

    • The Federalist inaccurately claimed that Richards was leaving “amid an ongoing federal investigation.” The story pointed as evidence to the Department of Justice’s procedural request to the Senate judiciary committee in December 2017 for documents related to the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress’ (CMP) discredited videos, which purport to show Planned Parenthood engaged in illicit practices.
    • Anti-abortion outlet LifeSiteNews published a piece that quoted CMP’s founder David Daleiden who alleged that Richards was leaving because “the secret is out that Planned Parenthood is a taxpayer-sponsored crime syndicate of industrial-scale child killing."
    • On One America News’ Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler, host Liz Wheeler said that although some might refer to her as "a conspiracy theorist,” her previous segment “about the legacy of Cecile Richards” was “666 words exactly.” She made the same point on Twitter.
    • Anti-abortion group Operation Rescue’s Senior Vice President Cheryl Sullenger -- who served two years in prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic -- posted on social media a series of photoshopped images of Richards wearing an orange jumpsuit in a prison cell and used a variety of hashtags, such as #ReleaseTheMemo and #Qanon. Sullenger’s use of the hashtags was likely an attempt to connect Richards’ departure to the right-wing campaign against special counsel Robert Mueller and the conspiracy theory thread on 8chan message board, respectively.

    • The Stream, an outlet founded by televangelist James Robison, posted a story titled “Can Cecile Richards Live With All the Ghosts?”

    • The Daily Wire called Richards “Planned Parenthood’s chief maniacal ghoul” and stated that “we can only hope Cecile Richards returns swiftly to the obscurity of whichever cavern of Hell spawned her.” The image accompanying the article -- titled “3.5 Million People Are Dead Today Because Of Cecile Richards” -- depicted Richards with devil horns and tail, photoshopped on an ultrasound image of a fetus with a halo.

    • Fake news purveyor Conservative Tribune responded to news of Richards’ departure, commenting, “It takes a special kind of evil to go to sleep at night knowing babies are being killed under your watch.”
    • Catholic newspaper National Catholic Register published a blog post that asked, “Does Richards sleep well at night, or are sleeping pills required to stop the nightmares of babies’ souls that come to visit?”
    • After Hillary Clinton tweeted at Richards thanking her for her work, far-right blog The Gateway Pundit published a piece titled, “Hillary Clinton Thanks Planned Parenthood Pres Cecile Richards For Overseeing the Murder of Millions of Babies - Twitter Responds.”

  • Right-wing media react in disgust after openly transgender candidates win historic elections

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH & BRENNAN SUEN

    Right-wing media reacted in disgust to the historic November 7 win by Danica Roem -- one of a number of openly transgender candidates, including Andrea Jenkins in Minnesota, to take races that day. Anti-LGBTQ websites The Federalist and LifeSite News joined a handful of white nationalists in attacking Roem, a transgender woman who is set to be the first openly transgender candidate elected and seated in a state legislature in U.S. history, after her win in Virginia. Right-wing figures called her "transgendered" and a man, compared her to a Nazi, and said her “claim to fame is transgenderism.”

  • “Tinker Bell’s Torrid Lesbian Affair”: Right-Wing Media React To LGBTQ Diversity In Disney

    ››› ››› KATHERINE HESS

    On March 1, Attitude Magazine reported that the upcoming live-action remake of the film Beauty and the Beast would feature Disney’s first LGBTQ character, and the following day, Mashable reported that Disney’s digital cable channel had showed its first same-sex kiss on the children’s cartoon Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Right-wing and white nationalist media organizations responded by blaming the “faggot agenda,” creating a “boycott petition” against the film, and saying Disney is attempting to “indoctrinate American children.”

  • Right-Wing Media Attack Teen Vogue For Taking On Abortion Stigma

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    After Teen Vogue published an article about gifts to buy for a friend who has had an abortion, right-wing and anti-choice outlets lashed out at the young women’s magazine for “normalizing” the procedure. Although right-wing media have frequently claimed that women pathologically regret their abortions -- and these media have attacked providers and clinics accordingly -- in reality, it is a safe and common medical practice. This wasn’t Teen Vogue’s first attempt at challenging abortion stigma and the myth of abortion regret, and the magazine’s collective efforts provide a useful model for other outlets.

  • The Inspiring Transgender Child And The Fox News Doctor Who Would Prescribe Anti-Psychotic Medication

    Blog ››› ››› LUKE BRINKER

    Fox News "Medical A Team" member Dr. Keith Ablow assailed the parents of a transgender child whose story has gone viral on the web, suggesting that six-year-old Ryland Whittington would have been better served by "anti-psychotic medication" than by having his parents affirm his gender identity.

    On May 27, Jeff and Hillary Whittington shared Ryland's story in a seven-minute YouTube video. The video, which has been viewed more than 4 million times, describes Ryland's discovery of his gender identity and the family's acceptance of his gender transition:

    The Whittingtons' support for Ryland was spotlighted at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast last month, where they received the Inspiration Award for 2014.

    According to a June 3 article on right-wing website LifeSiteNews.com, Fox's Ablow wasn't moved by Ryland's story of self-discovery. LifeSiteNews - which misgendered Ryland throughout its story - reported that Ablow opposes parents helping their children transition to the genders with which they identify (emphasis added):

    Massachusetts psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, an author and Fox News contributor, told LifeSiteNews that the video paints a happy picture while consciously ignoring the risks of early transition - which often involves genital plastic surgery and large doses of hormones.

    "I am not convinced that the best option for children who are uncomfortable with their gender is to rapidly transition them to the opposite gender," he said. "I believe that on reflection, it will be shown that other paths may be the wiser paths."

    [...]

    "I believe that it is possible that developing secondary sexual characteristics that match one's DNA may actually be part of someone becoming more comfortable with his or her God-given gender," he said.  He added that allowing a child to undergo transition at an early age may prevent them from ever becoming reconciled to their biological sex.

    [...]

    "From a personal, not a professional standpoint, were my daughter to assert that she were a boy, not a girl, there is no chance we would be headed to a surgeon's office without a trial of anti-psychotic medication," Ablow said.

    Ablow said that transgender activists have made it more difficult for therapists to do their jobs because they have turned gender dysphoria into a political issue instead of a medical one.

    While Ablow has no expertise in gender or sexuality issues, actual experts contradict his transphobic talking points. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, gender identity is usually established by the age of four. Medical professionals note that denying medical treatment to transgender children can be harmful; Dr. Norman Spack of Children's Hospital Boston, for instance, states that many children who don't receive treatment resort to self-mutilation in an attempt to change their anatomies. According to Spack, the earlier children deemed to need treatment start receiving it, the easier of a time they'll have passing as the gender with which they identify and the less likely they'll be to require more radical treatments later in life.

  • LifeSiteNews Praises Accused War Criminal For Opposing LGBT Rights

    Blog ››› ››› LUKE BRINKER

    With polls showing record levels of support for marriage equality, opponents are looking for all the backing they can get - including, it appears, from accused war criminals.

    In a July 1 article, right-wing website LifeSiteNews.com highlighted Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto's "rebuke" of President Barack Obama for calling for African nations to affirm the rights of LGBT people:

    A second African president has rebuffed President Barack Obama's promotion of homosexuality in foreign relations during his $100 million tour of the continent.

    Obama said he respects "people's personal views and their religious faith, et cetera," but "when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people," he believes the equality of homosexuality and the traditional family is"a principle that I think applies universally."

    Deputy President of Kenya William Ruto responded during Sunday Mass that Kenya is committed to the nuclear family as taught by the Scriptures.

    "Those who believe in other things, that is their business," Ruto said at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Maili Kumi. "We believe in God."

    "This nation, the nation of Kenya," he said, is "sovereign and God-fearing."

    In promoting Ruto's comments, LifeSiteNews.com failed to note that he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in stoking Kenya's post-election violence after the 2007 election. Beginning September 10, Ruto will be tried in abstentia on charges including crimes against humanity, murder, and the forcible removal of persons leading to civilian deaths. That anti-marriage equality forces appear to find an ally in Ruto says a great deal about their increasing desperation for support.

  • The Right's Latest Attack On Planned Parenthood

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

    Glenn Beck's The Blaze and a number of anti-abortion rights outlets are highlighting audio of a 9-1-1 call made by Planned Parenthood employees after a patient who had received an abortion apparently began bleeding.

    Here's The Blaze's inflammatory headline:

    REPORT: RECORDING REVEALS PLANNED PARENTHOOD INJURED WOMAN IN BOTCHED ABORTION

    Aside from invading the patient's privacy, it's unclear what the point of this particular anti-Planned Parenthood frenzy is.

    It's not exactly news that abortion -- like any other legal medical procedure -- can occasionally lead to complications, as apparently happened in this case. Abortion obviously has well known risks, but those risks are rare. According to a frequently cited 1999 article, less than 0.3% of abortion patients developed complications that required hospitalization: