Friday, February 11, 2011

Blumenthal, Abortion And Vietnam

U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal, recently appointed to the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, may have had yet another Zelig moment when, resisting efforts to regulate abortion, he declared, “I'm new to the Senate but I'm not new to this battle. Since the days of Roe v. Wade, when I clerked for Justice Blackmun, as a state legislator, as attorney general, I have fought this battle.”

Following Mr. Blumenthal’s remark, a CTMirror reporter commented, “the problem is, Blumenthal clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in 1974, the year after Blackmun wrote the Roe v. Wade decision,” causing Mr. Blumenthal’s chief of staff, Laurie Rubiner, to erupt indignantly, “This is a very unfair route you are going down. We'll remember this."

In a previous incarnation, Ms. Rubiner was the Vice President for Public Policy for Planned Parenthood, described in Ms. Rubiner’s Planned Parenthood biography as the “nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider.” Abortions are among the services provided nationwide by Planned Parenthood. It is very clear that in controversies concerning abortion Ms. Rubiner has a dog in the fight; hence her intimidating bark at the CTMirror reporter.

The CTMirror story, “Once again, Blumenthal appears to misstate his history,” hit a sore spot because in it the reporter mentioned that Mr. Blumenthal’s campaign for the U.S. Senate “was staggered by reports that he had incorrectly claimed to have served in Vietnam.”

Perhaps the best report on Mr. Blumenthal’s serial misstatements concerning his service in Vietnam came from Australia. The Australian Broadcasting Company featured Mr. Blumenthal as one of two notable imposters in a documentary on stolen valor called “Heroes, Frauds and Imposters” (hit “play video” on the link provided),” a documentary that puts Mr. Blumenthal’s misrepresentations in a proper context.

One can only guess what Ms. Rubiner’s reaction to the ABC production might have been had she seen it. Very likely she was not at the time attending closely to the controversy surrounding Mr. Blumenthal’s several false assertions that he had served in Vietnam; Ms. Rubiner had been appointed to her position as chief of staff only after Mr. Blumenthal had been elected to the senate. Mr. Blumenthal has not been vindicated by his insufficient “apology” for having lied on numerous occasions concerning his pretended service in Vietnam, and there are some who think the senator’s appointment to the Veteran’s Affairs Committee is, under the circumstances, awkward.

Mr. Blumenthal’s recent puffery concerning the role he played in the Roe V. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion follows close upon the heels of a horrific report concerning a renegade abortion facility in which an abortion doctor and nine of his former employees stand accused of killing infants delivered alive  following late-term abortion procedures. Arrested in January, Dr. Kermit Gosnell and workers from his West Philadelphia clinic were charged with a variety of felonies, including homicide, by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

During his long 20 year tenure as Attorney General, Mr. Blumenthal, Connecticut’s regulator in chief, has both sued or threatened to sue companies such as cereal makers and internet companies that have accepted ads Mr. Blumenthal disapproves of; in addition, Mr. Blumenthal has during his tenure countless times recommended legislation on a variety of issues to Connecticut’s state legislature.

The incidents at the West Philadelphia abortion facility illustrates that abortion consumers might benefit from laws that, to take but one example, prevent money hungry “doctors” from transporting patients across state lines to escape laws regulating abortions. Among other offenses, Mr. Gosnell is being prosecuted for transporting a teenage girl from Wilmington, Delaware to the West Philadelphia site because she was too far along in her pregnancy to obtain an abortion under Delaware law. The Grand Jury that returned an indictment against Mr. Gosnell and others for killing several live babies reported that the West Philadelphia clinic had not been inspected since about 1995.

Closer to home in Connecticut, Planned Parenthood in West Hartford performed an abortion on a 15 year old girl held hostage for a year by 41 year old Adam Gault. The sexual predation of the child was not reported by Planned Parenthood staff to authorities. Most recently, videographer and investigative reporter Lila Rose, now making the rounds of conservative news shows has uncovered multiple incidences in which Planned Parenthood staff has advised sting operatives posing as underage girls how to avoid prosecution by lying to judges.



Parental notification laws, adamantly resisted by Mr. Blumenthal, would help to stem such abuse, as would frequent compliance inspections and the accumulation and dissemination of data not presently collected for statistical purposes.

During his campaign for the senate, Mr. Blumenthal strongly opposed parental notification laws, as reported by CTMirror:

“Richard Blumenthal, whose been known to hedge on other questions, was unequivocal about this one. ‘I have a record over three decades of standing strong for choice,’ Blumenthal said in an interview.

"’It's one of the reasons my wife has been so supportive of my work in politics,’ he added, ‘because she thinks I've been able to make a difference on this.’

“Among other efforts, Blumenthal, a one-time law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, successfully sued to prevent protesters from blocking access to abortion clinics. And he worked to ensure that emergency contraception, such as the Plan B pill, is available at pharmacies in Connecticut.

“Blumenthal said he generally opposes parental notification laws because ‘there are too many cases of abuse and incest that leads to those issues.’"
As a former attorney general who has often advised the state legislature on the construction of laws, Mr. Blumenthal knows very well that the notion that a rational parental notification law cannot be written that does not at the same time facilitate incest is the reddest of red herrings. Exceptions are frequently written into laws.

The reporting requirements for abortion providers in Connecticut are minimally invasive. As a U.S. senator, Mr. Blumenthal would not be able to discover though publicly available reporting data how many clients of abortion facilities were impregnated through incestuous relationships in his state. Abortion facilities in Connecticut are not required by law to keep such figures in their public data files. Reporters for Connecticut newspapers who wish to test Mr. Blumenthal’s theory that incest leading to abortion is a serious problem that would prevent the state legislature from writing a rational parental notification law very likely could not obtain from abortion providers in Connecticut the necessary data to confirm Mr. Blumenthal’s highly improbable thesis.

No doubt Mr. Blumenthal and Ms. Rubiner prefer it that way.
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