The word “liberal” was once considered a compliment. It meant fair, principled, and thoughtful. The Age of Enlightenment was birthed by “classical liberals” with their then-fantastical notions about government by consent of the governed, legal equality of all, and individually owned rights.
Later as ideologies like collectivism and class oppression gained favor among the intelligentsia, the word “liberal” was hijacked and mangled beyond recognition. It was used to describe almost anything from well-meaning do-gooders to hard-bitten class warriors, from big government socialists to tyrants who silence and ostracize their opponents, for the good of society.
With time, “liberal” lost favor. When the label became a political epithet, Leftists dropped it like a hot potato, moving on to “progressive” as their new favorite label, even though “socialist” and “Marxist” are also accurate.
Here’s the point: in the unceasing war of democratic persuasion we call politics, what you say often matters less than how you say it and the phrasing you use. Somehow, the Left always seems ahead in the game of word messaging.
Take abortion. Since the heyday of the eugenics movement, Democrats have generally been for abortion and Republicans not. The two sides were labeled pro-abortion and pro-life.
Eventually Democrats, realizing that “pro-abortion” was off-putting to many, changed their label to “pro-choice” which made the decision to terminate a pregnancy seem more like a normal consumer transaction. “Pro-life” came to mean that Republicans demanded all babies must be carried to term.
Most Americans are abortions centrists, willing to support legal abortion up to 12 weeks or so. Yet Gallup polls reveal that 60% of “pro-choice” Democrats believe abortion should be legal at any time until the moment of birth, while less than a quarter of “pro-life” Republicans believe all abortions should be prohibited. Thus the Left, by the adroit use of labels, is able to obscure the fact that their views on abortion are much further from the mainstream than are Republicans’.
“Racist” might be the most abused word in the language. During the civil rights movement, there was a broad consensus that “racism” meant the practice of judging fellow humans by their skin color rather than by the “content of their character.”
But even as race relations broadly improved, for race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, that definition wasn’t good enough. They denied that color blindness was a positive goal in itself. They insisted instead that racial identity was our defining, inherent attribute that explained virtually all human behavior.
In support, the media and the Left subtly changed the language around racial equality. Equality before the law is a precious right bequeathed to all Americans under the Constitution. As a substitute, the Left devised a new definition for “equity,” now meaning equality of outcomes, a supposedly superior goal that assures permanent employment for the professionals in the field.
Nevertheless, the SAT, welfare reform, legitimate law enforcement, and anything smacking of merit were all deemed racist. Consequently, today the charge of “racism” has lost much of his coherence. “Playing the race card” is recognized as being bereft of real arguments for your point. Worse, if all racial discrepancies are blamed on “racism,” then the hard work of addressing the real causes of racial inequality can be deflected.
Institutions typically don’t like to admit that they use gender and racial discrimination in personnel decisions. Rather than come clean about their practices, however, they adopted the term “affirmative action” which did exactly the same thing. A majority of Americans are neither fooled nor amused.
There is obviously a world of difference between the legal immigration that has nurtured and defined America and the tsunami of lawlessness now plaguing us. Yet media commentators use “immigrant” to describe lawbreakers and lawful immigrants alike, as if only bigots believe there are real differences.
Finally, congressional bills are often given intentionally deceptive names. The Inflation Reduction Act was a recent laughable example. The bill was actually a package of green subsidies still chasing the climate chimera and other outrageous handouts that had zero possibility of reducing inflation.
Words can be powerful tools in the pursuit of truth or falsehood. Classical liberals should call out those who deliberately use words to lie.
Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.
Pro-life activists have launched a new campaign to oppose a constitutional amendment that would legalize abortion up to birth in Arizona.
The campaign, “It Goes Too Far” (IGTF), aims to prevent the Arizona Abortion Access Act from qualifying for the ballot this November. In a press release, IGTF campaign manager Leisa Brug said that the amendment would jeopardize the safety of girls and women.
“Arizona abortion laws should protect girls and women, not put them at greater risk, but this amendment asks voters to expand abortion while cutting safety precautions,” said Brug. “What happened to the prized doctor-patient relationship? This takes the required qualified medical doctor out of the doctor-patient relationship and leaves women in the hands of unqualified providers. That is not making the health and safety of women a priority.”
IGTF argues that the abortion amendment would strip the state of any lawmaking authority concerning abortion, including safeguards and parental notice for minors, and would allow abortions up until birth. For the latter claim, IGTF cites the amendment language allowing post-viability exceptions for abortions in cases where a health care professional determines the pregnancy jeopardizes the mother’s mental health.
The activists further claim that the amendment language allowing any “health care professional” to conduct abortions would endanger women by expanding lawful abortionists to include non-physicians and non-doctors. Additionally, IGTF argues that sex abusers would be protected under the amendment’s prohibition against any state laws or regulations penalizing those who aid or assist the mothers obtaining abortions.
IGTF also argues that individuals would be required to finance and even assist in abortions due to language enshrining abortion as a “fundamental right.” The activists say that a lack of taxpayer funding for abortions or a health care professional’s conscience against providing an abortion could be construed as “interference” with obtaining an abortion.
Arizona law classifies a “health care professional” as any person licensed or certified across various chapters and titles of Arizona law, including podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists, naturopaths, nurses, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists, veterinarians, acupuncturists, athletic trainers, midwives, and more.
IGTF spokeswoman Olivia Escobedo told AZ Free News that their supporters are showing up wherever Arizona Abortion Access Act signature gatherers are situated in order to educate voters on the issue.
“Our supporters are there to let people know how dangerous this amendment is,” said Escobedo. “It has so many hidden agendas in the broad language.”
As part of that effort, IGTF established a database to report where the pro-abortion signature-gatherers set up camp.
Also involved in IGTF campaign are Laureen (Laurie) Mount, co-owner of MDS Communications, and Youssef Khalaf, CEO of both 100 Squared Financial and Data Orbital. The IGTF campaign has both nonprofit and political action committee arms.
Mount and her husband, Jay, are among the top donors for the campaign, along with Dave Lambert.
The 2024 election may constitute a literal decision between life and death for Arizona voters: whether or not mothers have the right to kill their unborn children up to birth at any time, for any reason.
Earlier this month, a pro-abortion group filed a ballot initiative to establish a constitutional right to abortion up until birth: the Arizona Abortion Access Act. The act would prohibit the denial, restriction, or intervention with an abortion even after fetal viability if the health care professional determines that the unborn child presents a threat to either the mental or physical health of the mother.
The act further defined fetal viability as sustained survival outside the womb without the application of “extraordinary medical measures.”
The eponymous group behind the act, Arizona for Abortion Access (AAA) is led by top leaders in the pro-abortion movement, including former Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona Chairwoman Chris Love, and NARAL Arizona senior advisor Jodi Liggett.
AAA also has the backing of the ACLU of Arizona, Affirm Sexual and Reproductive Health, Arizona List, and Healthcare Rising Arizona. The organization discloses that 25 percent of their funding comes from out-of-state contributors. The secretary of state’s campaign finance database doesn’t reflect any filings as of this report (the organization registered with the secretary of state’s office last week).
Of note: AAA’s treasurer is Dacey Montoya. AZ Free News has reported extensively on Montoya’s role as a key player in the Democratic dark money network. Montoya’s political action committee collected $27 million from the fallen crypto giant of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, and has collected over $1 million from Sen. Mark Kelly and Gov. Katie Hobbs.
The chair, Candace Lew, is a Tempe-based abortionist.
In a press release, the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) stated that the act would establish an “abortion on demand” standard. CAP further criticized the measure for claiming to incorporate limitations, when the language holds that no limitations truly exist beyond those imposed by the abortionist.
“[I]nstead of owning up to the radical realities in clear language, the measure deceitfully first includes the limitation of viability, then nullifies it with broad, nearly universal exemptions that allow stress to be reason enough for a late term abortion,” said CAP.
Rep. Alex Kolodin (R-LD03) argued that the ballot measure language misleads voters to believe that it allows for limitations on late-term abortions.
With news of the ballot measure’s filing, Gov. Katie Hobbs issued support for unfettered abortion access.
The group needs just over 383,900 signatures to make the ballot.
Arizona has been one of the nation’s most-ardent pro-life states, but its new Democrat Attorney General is seeking to quickly reverse that standing as she reacts to recent cases in the federal court system.
Last Friday, United States District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, issued an order in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, et al. v U.S. Food and Drug Administration, granting a motion to stay “the effective date of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) September 28, 2000 Approval of mifepristone and all subsequent challenged actions related to that approval – i.e., the 2016 Changes, the 2019 Generic Approval, and the 2021 Actions.”
Yet the same day, United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, issued an order in State of Washington, et al. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., preliminarily enjoining the FDA and other defendants from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of Mifepristone under the current operative January 2023 Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy under 21 U.S.C. 355-1 in Plaintiff States.”
The plaintiffs in Judge Rice’s order were Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
Judge Kacsmaryk stayed his own order for seven days “to allow the federal government time to seek emergency relief from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.” Judge Rice’s order went into effect immediately for the plaintiff states.
Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes previously joined the Washington case in February, stating that the lawsuit “asserts that the FDA exceeded its authority by continuing its unnecessary and extremely burdensome restrictions on mifepristone,” and it “asks the court to find the FDA’s REMS (Risk Evaluation & Mitigation Strategies) restrictions unlawful and to bar the federal agency from enforcing or applying them to mifepristone.”
After Friday’s two judicial orders, Mayes assured her fellow Arizonans “that legal access to the drug (mifepristone) remains available for providers and patients in this state.” She promised that her office would join other states in filing an amicus brief to oppose Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling, which came Monday. The court filing from several attorneys general across the country urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit “to stay pending appeal the district court’s ruling.” Mayes said that “Judge Kacsmaryk’s outrageous and appalling ruling, if allowed to stand, would upend decades of scientific research and established legal principles.”
A three-judge panel quickly considered the appeal and decided that “the statute of limitations bars plaintiffs’ challenges to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone in 2000.” However, the judges noted that the plaintiffs’ arguments brought before the district court in “2016 and subsequent years” were timely. The FDA’s changes from 2016-on were as follows: “increased gestational age to 70 days (from 50 days); reduced required in-person office visits to one (from three), allowed non-doctors to prescribe and administer mifepristone; and eliminated reporting of non-fatal adverse events.” In 2021, the FDA also announced “’enforcement discretion’ to allow mifepristone to be dispensed through the mail during COVID-19.”
After the decision from the Appeals Court panel, Kristen Waggoner, the CEO and President for Alliance Defending Freedom, tweeted, “Last night’s Fifth Circuit decision is a step forward for the rule of law. Critical safeguards removed by the @US_FDA will be restored and abortion by mail will end. The FDA put politics over science when it unlawfully approved dangerous chemical abortion drugs. It has evaded legal responsibility for years and has jeopardized the health of women and girls. While there is still work to do to hold the FDA accountable for its lawlessness, girls and women are safer today.”
On Thursday, Attorney General Mayes “provided a summary of the legal status of mifepristone in Arizona” – as it stood at the moment. Mayes admitted that “this is a fast-moving situation, and we are likely to see further court orders in the coming days and weeks.” She vowed to “use every tool at our disposal to fight back against rulings from extremist judges seeking to interfere with the rights of individuals to make their own personal medical decisions.” Her release broadcasted that “under Arizona law, patients in other states who need reproductive care can still travel to Arizona to receive care here.”
The case is expected to be expedited to the U.S. Supreme Court based on the conflicting rulings from the District Courts in Texas and Washington, and the updated decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.
As the fallout from the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion determining the constitutionality of abortion transitions into anticipation for the final, official opinion on the case later in June, pro-life billboards catch the eye of passerby across the Valley.
Those behind the billboards are part of the Arizona Life Coalition (ALC), a nonprofit pro-life organization. They provide direct financial support to pregnancy help centers, crisis shelters for pregnant women, maternity housing, adoption, foster care, post-abortive care, and post-abortive counseling.
ALC established the billboards about eight weeks ago, according to their executive director, Garrett Riley. He told AZ Free News that they’ve received only positive feedback from the community.
The billboards display rotating messages that read, “God Doesn’t Make Mistakes,” “Choose Life!,” and “Unplanned — Maybe, Unwanted — Never.” They appear on the I-17 near Thunderbird Road, the I-10 near Baseline Road, and the I-17 along Camelback Road.
Riley stated in a press release that the billboards serve as a platform to share the truth on abortion.
“Abortion is not a women’s rights issue, it is a human rights issue. And it is not about women’s health care or reproductive health either, because health care aims to heal, preserve, and save life — not end life,” said Riley.
Politico received the leaked draft opinion from someone inside the court, speculated to be one of the justices’ clerks. The outlet reported on the draft at the beginning of last month.