Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law


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SUPREME COURT HEARS CALIFORNIA CRISIS CENTER CASE

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, today, I would like to take you to a story that The Washington Post has covered. As we record this program, there are oral arguments going on before the United States Supreme Court dealing with a California abortion law, which is supposed to protect women but what it does is it forces pro-life clinics to deliver a message they abhor. That is, they’re supposed to promote the fact that the State of California provides contraceptive services and abortion services for women.

DR. REEDER: This is absolutely astounding that the California law is still standing. This law, which is basically telling over 200 crisis pregnancy center-type clinics that receive no state funding, “You have to give a message that affirms abortion, and venues for abortion and that the state will pay for your abortifacient contraceptives or the abortion procedure.”

DO THEY REALLY WANT CHOICE?

The very thing that they’re there to stop, the very thing that they’re there to give women another alternative, which is to give birth to their child and then either help in raising the child or help in finding a good adoption agency for the child, which is what they exist for. If they do not comply with the state law, there is criminal liability and there are extraordinary fines and fees that would basically put all of these crisis pregnancy centers out of existence.

LAWS LIKE THIS ARE A CLEAR VIOLATION OF FREE SPEECH

Now, such laws have been attempted in other states but, by and large, have failed because once they have arrived at district and appellate courts, then it has been determined that these laws are violations of free speech.

There’s two ways you violate free speech: one is you tell people what they have to say and, two, you tell people what they cannot say. Here is a law that’s telling them they cannot give the pro-life message without also giving the pro-death message of abortion: how to obtain one and how to fund one through state taxation, which is another issue. If you live in the state of California, your tax money now goes to the destruction of the unborn life.

Now, all of the other laws have been struck down, Tom, except this one. This one got to the infamous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and was upheld. So now this is getting to the Supreme Court which, by the way, is pretty amazing that the Supreme Court took it on because the Supreme Court, since Roe v. Wade, has basically found a way to dodge most abortion cases that have sought to gain a standing or a hearing in front of the Supreme Court but they have decided to take this one.

And now we’re about to find out, these Supreme Court justices, will they uphold their vow to uphold the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, which forbids the coercion of speech by the power of the state. And that’s ultimately what we’re about to find out on the Supreme Court level.

WHY PRO-CHOICE GROUPS ARE WORRIED

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me read you a statement that the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America made concerning these clinics that are trying to defend themselves before the Supreme Court. The president said, “They are facilities that intentionally prey on women at a vulnerable moment in their lives by pushing medically inaccurate information.”

DR. REEDER: Let’s take this up on about three different levels. One is notice the name of this organization: pro-choice. No, it’s not pro-choice. They’re trying to stop an organization that’s designed to give women another choice. The state and the culture of California promotes the choice of murder of the unborn infant. Now you have a crisis pregnancy center, at its own cost, that is attempting to give to women another choice which is life, not death.

There’s something else, by the way, in this law I need to mention for accuracy’s sake: The state law of California will provide an exception to any crisis pregnancy center if they will provide abortifacient contraceptives. That’s an oxymoron. An abortifacient is destroying a conceived egg and sperm. Therefore, there’s nothing be prevented in terms of conception at all.

Tom, this also tells me a third thing and that’s this: that the abortion industry, at least in the state of California, legislatures are absolutely concerned that they’re losing the battle. They’re losing the battle in the terms of the battle of ideas, the battle of hearts and the battles of lives. What that tells you is, when you resort to the power of the state and coercion, that becomes a direct revelation that you’re losing the battle in the hearts and souls and minds of the culture, itself.

We see free speech under attack on the college campuses, we see free speech under attack in the entertainment industry, we see free speech under attack in almost every venue — something that is fundamentally foundational to the life and vitality of this nation, the notion of the free contest of ideas in the public square.

And now the government has weighed in: “We will criminalize you and we will fine you into non-existence in order to coerce the speech that we approve in the crisis pregnancy centers.” While this has significant impact for 200 crisis pregnancy centers in the state of California, there are thousands across the nation that are waiting to see what will happen in this particular ruling.

MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR BANS ABORTIONS AFTER 15 WEEKS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me take you from California down to Mississippi, where the governor there, Phil Bryant, signed a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation, down from the current 20-week ban the state has in effect. This is the earliest any state has banned abortion and, no doubt, will face additional legal challenges.

DR. REEDER: Yes, I appreciate greatly his statement. The governor said: I gladly sign this because I would like for Mississippi to become the safest place for a child in the womb.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Well, let me tell you what Planned Parenthood Southeast tweeted concerning this. They said, “This is a part of a targeted attack on #roevwade and a blatant attempt to chip away at a woman’s bodily autonomy.”

DR. HARRY REEDER: Well, first of all, let me just say to this Planned Parenthood, yes, this is an attack on Roe v. Wade, which ought never to have been in existence. It is one of what I call the five most destructive opinions of the Supreme Court to our nation. Roe v. Wade takes its place along the inane opinions such as Dredd Scott and others.

And Planned Parenthood’s second comment that it was an attack on a woman’s bodily autonomy, no, this is a law that’s designed to preserve the life of a child whether a woman carries a child in her arms or in her womb. This child has a body, this child has a right to life, this child’s life is sacred, protected by the Constitution and, from a Biblical world and life view, is created in the image of God from the moment of conception on.

This is not an attack simply on the matter of a woman’s bodily autonomy — this is a declaration of the sanctity of the life of the child and the bodily life of the child is to be protected no matter where it is located in these absolutely dependent stages early in life, the dependent stage within the womb and the dependent stage in the arms on the way home from the hospital to be cared for.

ANSWER IS A GOSPEL MOVEMENT

Tom, let me just make one more statement from a Christian world and life view. We need to remember that, ultimately, the answer to this is a Gospel movement whereby men and women’s hardness of hearts is affected by the power of the Gospel of grace. And, throughout our nation, we see the development of a culture of life in opposition to the death spiral of this culture of death.

Secondly, Tom, is that believers from a Christian world and life view continue to address this issue in multiple ways:

— Adoption for the children: “You’re not unwanted”

— Care for the women in crisis pregnancy: “You are loved.”

–Outreach throughout the culture and the outreach of the Gospel to abortionists as well as those who are being deceived that abortion is the answer to a crisis pregnancy. Bring the Good News that Jesus loves sinners and Jesus will set us free from all of our sins and we can have a culture of life instead of a culture of death.

COMING UP FRIDAY: DATE NIGHT MEETS EVANGELISM

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Friday’s edition of Today in Perspective, we want to give our listeners some recommendations for a possible date night.

DR. REEDER: That’s right, Friday night date night. That’s a great idea. Ours used to be Friday night and now it’s Thursday night, but it’s still a great date night and I’ve got a great suggestion for you. By the way, I’ve also got a suggestion for at least a side-door opportunity for evangelism.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

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53 mins ago

Barry Moore lands Trump endorsement in AL-02 following Oval Office visit

Former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) on Wednesday visited with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office.

After the meeting, Trump tweeted his endorsement of Moore’s Republican campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Alabama’s Second Congressional District.

Trump wrote that Moore will be “will be a terrific Congressman for Alabama.”

The president noted that Moore was an earlier endorser of his campaign in the 2016 cycle, adding that Moore “is Strong on Jobs, Life, the Wall, Law & Order and the Second Amendment.”

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“I’m truly honored to be endorsed for Congress by President Donald J. Trump. I have never regretted being the first elected official in America to endorse him for President in 2015, and I’m looking forward to working with him in the next Congress during his second term,” Moore said in a statement.

“President Trump has already accomplished so much and kept so many of his Campaign promises despite all that the Establishment and the Democrats have done to obstruct him, but he knows there’s still lots to be done,” he continued. “We must contain and control the COVID pandemic, restore our economy to the pre-pandemic level of growth and prosperity we enjoyed during his first three years in office. We must restore and maintain law and order on our streets and in our cities. We must finish building the wall, and then fix our broken immigration system.”

Moore outlined, “We had great meetings at the White House with the President’s Domestic Policy team. Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council was also there. We discussed a new Healthcare plan being introduced, economic recovery, trade with China, and expansion of opportunity zones in depressed areas. The President has a bright vision for America.”

“I’m convinced that Donald J. Trump is the President we need to lead us for the next four years, and I hope the people of Alabama’s 2nd District see fit to elect me to work with President Trump as their Congressman on November 3rd,” he concluded.

Moore will face Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall on November 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Jerry Carl visits White House, gets endorsed by President Trump in AL-01

Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl, the Republican nominee in Alabama’s First Congressional District, on Wednesday visited the White House and met in the Oval Office with President Donald J. Trump.

“It was an incredible honor to spend over half an hour in the Oval Office with President Trump and Vice President Pence today,” Carl said in a statement to Yellowhammer News.

After the visit, Trump in a tweet endorsed Carl for the Southwest Alabama congressional seat.

“He Loves our Veterans, Stands for Law & Order, and is Strong on Jobs and the Second Amendment. Jerry has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump wrote.

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“The President is focused not only on his own race, but also on down ballot races nationwide,” Carl told Yellowhammer News. “He cares about the people of Alabama, and we had a good conversation about issues that are affecting Alabama’s 1st District.”

“I’m looking forward to working with President Trump to address some of these critical issues – stopping the spread of socialism, supporting our law enforcement, and getting our economy back on track,” he concluded. “Thank you, President Trump!”

Carl will face Democrat James Averhart on November 3.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Sara Evans is a 2020 Woman of Impact

One of country music’s most popular artists of the 21st century, Sara Evans, has adopted Alabama as her own, and she is not slowing down.

Earlier in 2020, Evans released a new album, “Copy That,” where she covers 13 classic songs, and published a new memoir, Born to Fly.

She came to the Yellowhammer State after marrying former University of Alabama quarterback Jay Barker in 2008. They now make their home in the Birmingham area along with their seven children.

The singer performs and releases music under the name Sara Evans, which is how Yellowhammer News is referring to her for the purposes of this article. Evans does not shy away from her married name; just in 2019, she released a six-track EP titled “The Barker Family Band” which featured herself, her son Avery and daughter Olivia.

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Evans was born and raised outside of a small town in Missouri and began her lifelong connection with music at age four. She had recorded her first CD and was attending country music events by the age of 9 or 10, according to a 2011 interview.

Aspiring to a career in music, she moved to Nashville in 1991 and worked as a waitress while trying to find her big break.

“Three Chords and The Truth” and “No Place That Far,” Evans’ first two albums, were released in 1997 and 1998 respectively. They earned the artist solid reviews from critics but did not make a big impact on the charts.

“If I’m going to have the career I came to Nashville to find,” she told a newspaper at the time. “I’ve got to get on the radio and give today’s fans what they want.”

“Born to Fly,” the album that resulted from this change in sound, achieved everything Evans aimed to accomplish. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified it as double platinum; meaning it has sold over 2 million copies. Singles “Born to Fly” and “I Could Not Ask for More” placed first and second on the U.S. Country charts.

After the breakthrough success, Evans never left the country charts for very long over the next decade; buoyed by singles like “Suds in the Bucket” and “A Little Bit Stronger.”

Evans’ albums “Restless,” “Real Fine Place,” and “A Little Bit Stronger” are certified platinum and five more albums by Evans are certified gold.

She won Top Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2006.

Her five most popular songs available on the music streaming service Spotify have been played a combined 101,997,937 times.

Jerry Sharpe, a music writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, described Evans as having a “a strong, spring-water clear voice, which she uses well.”

Evans met her now-husband when they were both in their 30s with kids. They were introduced by Joe Beam, a Christian speaker that focuses on love and marriage who knew them both previously.

“One defining moment was, I made the decision to walk into my office and email Jay Barker and say, ‘Hey, so-and-so told me that I should reach out to you. I want you to know that I’m praying for you, and I’m sorry for everything that you’ve been through,” Evans recounted to music website The Boot.

Barker was the starting quarterback on the Crimson Tide’s 1992 championship-winning team, and at the time when he and Evans connected they had both recently gone through painful divorces.

“He emailed me back within five minutes, and that was definitely a defining moment,” she added.

Evans brought three children to the new family, while Barker brought four.

“Our house is full of children and activities and chaos, but Jay is such a great support to me,” Evans told The Boot about her husband, who hosts a sports talk show in Birmingham.

Radio play by country music stations is dominated by male artists and programmed by male deejays, something that has frustrated Evans in recent years.

She has become an outspoken advocate for more women in country music and voices her opinions on the subject with regularity.

Evans has appeared at events and spoken up for the organization Change the Conversation that aims to gain more representation for women in country music.

“The lack of voices heard on country radio affect not only those who are making music, but those listening as well. Music plays a powerful role in shaping our popular culture. Today’s music does not reflect who we are as a country and sends the wrong message to our girls and women. Too often, country songs portray women as a pretty ornament on the passenger side. It is time to reclaim a woman’s place in the driver’s seat,” the organization says on its website.

Evans has remarked that for her most recent original studio work, the album “Words” released in 2017, she placed a greater emphasis on including female producers and songwriters to give their careers a boost.

At a Change the Conversation event in 2017, Evans said, “When I first got my record deal, women were dominating country radio. We had Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Lee Ann Womack, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, Patty Loveless and on and on. I was fortunate enough to join that group of amazing women.”

“[W]e need to change the conversation and figure out why it is not that way anymore. Why are there not enough women on country radio? Women artists are amazing and they have so much great music that we want to hear and we need to hear, so let’s change the conversation,” she urged.

Yellowhammer News is proud to name Sara Evans a 2020 Woman of Impact.

Editor’s note: Yellowhammer Multimedia recently announced the third annual Women of Impact Awards. Honorees are being featured on Yellowhammer News each weekday through October 1. We will tell their stories one-by-one, utilizing written and video formats. Check back daily for more of Alabama’s best and brightest.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

5 hours ago

Baldwin County residents throw parade for linemen amid recovery heroics

Southwest Alabama residents are celebrating the heroic linemen and support personnel who have traveled from across the country to restore utility services following Hurricane Sally last week.

WKRG reported that Fairhope residents on Tuesday night held a short parade downtown to express their appreciation for the power crews.

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The parade reportedly featured bucket trucks honking, with linemen inside waving, to those residents who took their time to line Section Street.

Alabama Power Company has restored power to its service area as of Sunday night, and Energy Institute of Alabama members continue to lead the charge restoring service to Baldwin County electric cooperative members, which was hardest hit by the slow-moving category 2 hurricane.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

Shadowy web of 20 ‘news’ sites operating in Alabama, tied to national network that invented quotes, bylines

A shadowy group of websites masquerading as local news agencies has been launched ahead of November’s high-stakes general election.

An investigation by Yellowhammer News uncovered the existence of “Yellowhammer Times,” which purports to be a statewide news organization intended “to provide objective, data-driven information without political bias.” The site’s “people” section, where one would expect its employees to be listed, is blank.

“We provide 100% original reporting, including to share as much data as possible from government and other publicly available sources,” the site claims. “We also provide a platform for all citizens whose views on issues are rarely heard. If you want a voice in your community, we want to hear from you.”

The website is admittedly owned and operated by Metric Media LLC and its parent Metric Media Foundation, a Missouri-based entity just granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status last year. Publicly available data shows that Metric Media has not yet revealed having any assets, income or revenue through mandatory IRS filings. This means that at this point in time, the organization is effectively operating as a dark money group.

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Metric Media has a glitzy website that asserts, “Metric Media is funded by donations and grants from contributors who care about restoring local news in their communities.”

The website does list a three-person board of directors, which is reportedly chaired by San Francisco-based Rakesh Donthineni. The other named directors are Victor Chen of Los Angeles and Brent Southwell of Houston. Chen formerly worked for then-Beijing TV China, an entity of Beijing Media Network — which is owned and operated by the Chinese government, otherwise known as the Chinese Communist Party.

Metric Media’s explicit presence in Alabama does not stop at the statewide Yellowhammer Times. The bottom of this website links to 18 more sites, all appearing to be local or regional news agencies across the state. These publications are identical in format to Yellowhammer Times and are as follows: Auburn Times, Baldwin Times, Decatur Times, East Central Alabama News, Gadsden Today, Huntsville Leader, Jefferson Reporter, Mobile Courant, NE Alabama News, NW Alabama News, North Birmingham Times, River Region Times, Shoals Today, South Alabama Times, South Birmingham Times, Tuscaloosa Leader, West Central Alabama News and Wiregrass Times.

Publicly available domain information shows that these sites were all registered in May of this year.

That same month, Yellowhammer Times published its first “original story,” which was about COVID-19 related liability issues. The author is listed as a “T.H. Lawrence.”

Almost every story posted since then has been a completely automated story, mainly using RSS feeds to populate the stories on the site. This includes republishing press releases from Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama State University and the University of Alabama. The automated stories also include a lot of identical templates that simply display federal government-released data.

In all, Yellowhammer Times as of Wednesday at noon hosted more than 2,300 stories on the site — with only two listing a human author. The automated stories name “Metric Media News Service” or other entities such as “Locality Labs News Service” as the author.

One short story about lost Alabama tax revenue related to the pandemic simply does not list an author.

The second story to actually list an author, Juliette Fairley, advocated in July to fully reopen the economy and return students to school in the fall. This story was based on exclusive quotes from Alabama-based John Chamberlain, board chairman for Citizen Health. Citizen Health advocates for subscription-based medical services and disrupting the healthcare industry.

Yellowhammer News dug into the two authors listed on the site. Fairley is a national freelance author specializing in finance, while T.H. Lawrence’s name popped up across several sites in Metric Media’s network of more than 1,000 sites nationwide.

Yellowhammer News’ investigation also uncovered that T.H. Lawrence is indeed Tom Lawrence, a career journalist from South Dakota who was once executive editor of the state’s Black Hills Pioneer. He is now a freelance writer and blogger, appearing in local publications (under his real name) such as the Dakota Free Press, American News and South Dakota Standard. He also has his own blog, the Prairie Perspective. It should be noted that American News is owned by national conglomerate Gannett.

Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) in December 2019 published an in-depth investigative report that revealed some disturbing findings about Metric Media and its related entities, including Locality Labs. The investigation concluded that the network can be traced back to Illinois-based businessman and conservative activist Brian Timpone.

CJR was able to find at least 450 sites, all linked, operating under the banners of Metric Media, Locality Labs, Franklin Archer, the Record Inc. and Local Government Information Services. The entities at times — while being aimed at different states — shared IP addresses, Google Analytics IDs and other technical identifiers. Since December, the network has more than doubled in size, according to Metric Media’s own website.

CJR further traced Locality Lab’s origin story. The entity was once known as Timpone’s company “Journatic.” Journatic had to rebrand in 2013 following a national scandal over “faking bylines and quotes, and for plagiarism,” per CJR.

The CJR report followed a story published in October 2019 by a Michigan paper about Metric Media’s network that had popped up in that state. More local and national reporting followed, including by the New York Times and Guardian.

Yellowhammer Times republishes stories from other named entities in this Metric Media web, as well. For example, the publication ran a story from Empire State Today of New York.

This also includes another Alabama-focused site not directly linked at the bottom of Yellowhammer Times. Alabama Business Daily stories are republished on the site, and CJR previously reported there is an identical entity curated by Metric Media in each state. Yellowhammer News found that Alabama Business Daily’s domain was registered in February 2018.

With the 2020 election rapidly approaching, the existence of this network of sites in Alabama should raise alarm bells across the state.

Alabama was already besieged in the 2017 special election cycle by “Project Birmingham,” which utilized “Russian tactics” by Democratic operatives to aid the campaign of then-Democratic nominee Doug Jones.

Alabamians will hope that this type of disinformation campaign is not repeated this time around through Metric Media or its sister entities.

Secretary of State John H. Merrill has previously warned residents to arm themselves with the truth and to be wary of unknown sources spread on social media, especially.

“It is of paramount importance that the 4.8 million people who make up our state are informed with up-to-date, complete, and accurate information,” Merill has said in a statement. “All election-related information should come directly from our website or from your local election official. We are your trusted source for information related to the elections process.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn