Virginia House advances antiabortion 'personhood' measure

VAPersonhoodThe Virginia House of Delegates voted Tuesday to advance two antiabortion measures: a bill defining "personhood" as beginning at conception, and a bill that would require women to view sonograms of their fetuses before undergoing abortions. 

The "personhood" bill, sponsored by Republican delegate Bob Marshall, overwhelmingly passed on a 66-32 vote in the Republican-controlled House. The second bill, sponsored by Republican delegate Kathy Byron, passed 63-36. It would require women to undergo a "transvaginal ultrasound" before going through with an abortion.

"The General Assembly is dangerously close to making Virginia the first state in the country to grant personhood rights to fertilized eggs,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in a statement. 

In a phone interview, Keene said lawmakers are out of touch with Virginia voters, whom she described as only moderately conservative.

Marshall's bill had passed the House before, but was always defeated in the Senate, the Associated Press reported.

This year, however, the Senate's makeup has changed, with last fall's election ushering in a wave of Republican lawmakers.

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a socially conservative Roman Catholic, has said he will sign the ultrasound bill, but has taken no position on Marshall's personhood bill, his spokesman J. Tucker Martin told the wire service.

The conservative Family Foundation hailed the ultrasound measure as an “update” to the state's existing informed-consent laws “with the most advanced medical technology available.” 

Thursday's debate included a notable comment from delegate Todd Gilbert about the decision to have an abortion.

“We hear the same song over there. The very tragic human notes that are often touched upon involve extreme examples,” said Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). “But in the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.”

At those words, a murmur rippled through the House chamber, the Associated Press said. 

The comment, Keene said in a phone interview, demonstrates the antiabortion lawmakers views' of  women's reproductive rights. 

"It doesn’t matter why a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy," she said. "That’s a very private and personal decision to make. For these legislators to make these sweeping allegations and judgments of women just goes to show that this is not just about women’s health. It’s about curtailing abortions and punishing women."

In recent years, a number of states have considered and rejected similar "personhood" proposals, most notably in Colorado, where propositions were voted down in 2008 and 2010.

Those efforts and one in Mississippi -- which was defeated by voters last year -- have been backed by Personhood USA, a Colorado-based group that has attracted antiabortion activists fed up with waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to tilt in their favor.

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Photo: Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), standing at right, speaks during Tuesday's debate on the "personhood" bill during the House session in Richmond, Va. Many delegates dressed in red for Valentine's Day. Credit: Steve Helber/Associated Press


Morning-after pill? It’s in the vending machine. Really.

Plan B, the so-called morning-after pill, is available in one college vending machine.

A central Pennsylvania college is surprised to find itself the center of media attention this week simply for selling Plan B, the so-called morning-after pill, from a vending machine.

After all, the machine has offered the pills for at least two years, said Peter Gigliotti, spokesman for Shippensburg University, a public school about 40 miles southwest of Harrisburg.

"This is nothing new," he said. "I have no idea why it's getting the reaction it's getting now."

But women's reproductive health has been a hot topic of late, and an Associated Press story on the vending machine was bound to get noticed.

Much is being made of the Obama administration's requirement that even Catholic organizations  provide contraception coverage to employees via their health plans. The requirement has drawn sharp criticism from some corners, and signs of support from others.

On Tuesday, a Public Policy Polling survey conducted for Planned Parenthood reported that 56% of voters agreed that health plans should cover the cost of contraceptives. Further, it found, a majority of voters said Catholic institutions should not be exempted from the requirement.

And last week, Susan G. Komen for the Cure suffered a public relations debacle of epic proportions when the cancer group pulled funding from Planned Parenthood, a move many say was motivated by the healthcare organization's support for abortion services.  

Gigliotti said the vending machine was installed at the urging of the school's student government after a survey found that 85% of students supported the effort.

"We value student input on matters that directly pertain to their health and safety, so these results were an important part of the decision-making process," he wrote in a statement.

The vending machine, which also dispenses condoms and pregnancy tests, is in a private room at the college's student clinic and is accessible only by students -- all of whom are 17 or older, the age at which Plan B is available without a prescription.

"The university is not encouraging anyone to be sexually active," Gigliotti said in a statement. "The university does strongly encourage all students to make wise and appropriate decisions in their lives, but we have no way to ensure that happens."

The school does not subsidize the cost of the drug, which sells at $25 a pop.

A message to the school's student senate was not immediately returned.

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Komen exec who backed Planned Parenthood cutoff quits in wake of reversal

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Photo: A handout photo of a package of Plan B, a formulation of levonorgestrel.


Komen exec who backed Planned Parenthood cutoff quits cancer group

   
Karen Handel, the vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has quit her post at the breast cancer charity; her move comes on the heels of the group's reversal of its decision to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.

In her letter of resignation, Handel, a conservative Republican who unsuccessfully ran for Georgia governor in 2010, said she had supported ending the funding of about $700,000. The charity ultimately decided to continue the grants after the cutoff sparked a nationwide furor fueled by social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Handel's resignation was first reported by the Associated Press.

Komen, known for raising money through events such as races and walks, said last week that it had adopted criteria excluding Planned Parenthood from future grants for breast-cancer screenings and education programs because a conservative congressman had announced an investigation of the organization, which provides abortions as part of its services.

Komen’s action sparked a political outcry, with Democrats and liberals saying the move was part of a broad campaign against Planned Parenthood for its position on abortions. Handel was singled out for criticism because of her conservative political views.

Handel denied politics played a role in the initial funding cutoff.

“Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.”

Handel called the uproar a “challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer.

“However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization,” she wrote. “I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization.”

Nancy B. Brinker, Komen founder and chief executive, released this statement:

"Today I accepted the resignation of Karen Handel, who has served as Senior Vice President for Policy since April 2011. I have known Karen for many years, and we both share a common commitment to our organization's lifelong mission, which must always remain our sole focus. I wish her the best in future endeavors."

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Komen backlash: Public turns fury on vice president Karen Handel

Karen_Handel_300The harsh social media spotlight cast on Susan G. Komen for the Cure is now shifting to Karen Handel, the organization's senior vice president for public policy and, some suspect, the architect behind the decision that has led to the worst public relations disaster in the organization's history.

Social media activists are calling out Handel by name and demanding that she be fired. "I won't trust anything SGK says until they fire Karen Handel," said one Facebook posting. The drumbeat on Twitter was growing as well, with versions of "Fire Karen Handel" making the rounds.

So who is Karen Handel?

Handel made history in 2006 when she became the first Republican and only the second woman to be elected as secretary of state in Georgia. She resigned that post in 2010 to launch a campaign to become her party's nominee for governor. Despite getting a high-profile endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Handel did not win the bid.

Such a life in the public eye makes for a public record, and critics are now using what they say are past  public statements from Handel to bolster their suspicions that she was the driving force behind Komen's decision to slash funding to Planned Parenthood.

Internet archivists say they have unearthed archival pages of the blog that Handel reportedly wrote -- the blog has since been taken offline -- while she was running for governor. In one posting, she reportedly promises to "be a pro-life governor," adding that "since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood."

And then there is this screen shot making the online rounds. It claims to show Karen Handel's Twitter account from earlier in the week, which suggests that she -- or perhaps someone with access to her Twitter account -- re-tweeted a comment slamming Planned Parenthood. That comment is no longer visible in Handel's Twitter feed.

The Komen foundation did not return a phone call or email asking to discuss Handel and what role, if any, she played in the controversial decision or the Tweet. And she has yet to comment publicly about the recent uproar.

Komen has long been under pressure by conservatives to cut ties with Planned Parenthood because it provides a variety of reproductive health care services, including abortions. Critics say Komen engineered the perfect out in 2011 when it revised its internal rules to bar the organization from funding another organization under an investigative cloud. The Atlantic notes that while Komen provides funding to hundreds of organizations, the new rule affected only one: Planned Parenthood.

The move turned out to be a public relations disaster for Komen and created a financial windfall for Planned Parenthood.

This morning, Komen announced that it was retreating from its position. That move triggered a new round of controversy, this time from anti-abortion activists who now accuse Komen of caving in to pro-choice pressure.

Not everyone, however, is convinced that Handel had any extraordinary role in the decision to pull Planned Parenthood's funding.

Komen's founder and chief executive, Nancy Brinker, said in an interview with MSNBC this week that Handel did not play a significant role in the policy change, according to the Associated Press.

And Gen Wilson, of Georgia Right To Life, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her organization targeted Handel during her run to become Georgia's governor precisely because she failed to do enough to block Planned Parenthood. Handel helped manage federal and state grants to Planned Parenthood while sitting as a Fulton County commissioner, another position she held in Georgia.

"If Ms. Handel has been involved in this decision, we’d love to see some credible documentation of that. Unfortunately we have seen none," Wilson told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the inquiry that helped trigger the controversy shows no end in sight.

U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida, a Republican and anti-abortion advocate, started his own inquiry last September to determine whether Planned Parenthood uses any taxpayer funding to perform abortions. Planned Parenthood says it does not. Stearns says he needs proof and suggested in a statement that Planned Parenthood only has itself to blame for his inquiry. Such an inquiry is not a formal congressional investigation.

"Repeated cases of Planned Parenthood ignoring state and local reporting requirements, many involving minors, and allegations of financial abuse led to this investigation -- the first ever oversight conducted on this group," according to the statement released by his office. "We are still working with Planned Parenthood on getting the records and documents for the investigation, and I’m interested in holding a hearing depending on what the investigation discovers."

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File photo: Karen Handel waves to supporters during her unsuccessful big to become the Republican nominee for the governor's office in Georgia in 2010. Credit: John Bazemore/Associated Press


Komen learns power of social media: Facebook, Twitter fueled fury

Facebook_600
Facebook and Twitter, take a bow. The head of Planned Parenthood on Friday credited the two social media platforms with forcing Susan G. Komen for the Cure to reverse course on its plan to withhold funding earmarked for breast health screenings.

Facebook and Twitter were the first to catch wind of the controversy -- and that led the mainstream media to sit up and take notice, said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The social media giants then led the online world in delivering a furious barrage of criticism over a move that many saw as trying to politicize women's health.

"It's been incredible; we're still sifting through the numbers," Richards said in a media conference call Friday morning. In addition to picking up $3 million in donations in just three days -- directly related to the awareness raised by social media -- Planned Parenthood's Facebook "likes" and Twitter followers increased by thousands upon thousands. Facebook alone picked up more than 10,000 "likes."

By contrast, Komen -- an organization accustomed to accumulating accolades and messages of support on its Facebook page -- was drowning in thousands upon thousands of critical comments.

"I absolutely believe the exposure on Facebook and Twitter really drove a lot of coverage by mainstream media," Richards said. "I've never seen anything catch fire [like this.]"

The uproar eventually led to Friday's dramatic conclusion (of a sorts), when Komen apologized and said it would change the internal guidelines that led the organization to strip funding in the first place.

Richards said that people used social media to tell stories about how they, or someone they loved, had used Planned Parenthood for basic health services. And they expressed outrage that politics may have played a role in the decision. (Many believe Komen was under pressure from conservatives and "political bullies" trying to undermine Planned Parenthood because it offers a variety of reproductive health services, including abortion. Komen denies politics had anything to do with the move.)

Social media attention also helped create new relationships, Richards noted, saying that she had been contacted by a representative of Livestrong, the nonprofit charity started by cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong.

The immediacy of the social media reaction struck a nerve, she said, calling it an "incredible expression" of the nation's compassion for, and commitment to, women's health. It was "the authenticity of the response that carried the day," she said.

All that said, Komen still wins in both Facebook and Twitter's most common measurements of success: At last check, Komen's Facebook page had 545,365 "likes" compared to 235,796 "likes" for Planned Parenthood. And Komen's Facebook page also had many "shares" and comments supporting Komen's decision to strip funding.

Over on Twitter, Komen's official account has 39,086 followers at last check, while Planned Parenthood has 41,295. 

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Planned Parenthood: 'Political bullies' have been put on alert

Cecile_Richards_300Susan G. Komen For the Cure's reversal of its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood is being called -- in some corners -- a "watershed" moment that sends a powerful election-year message: "Political bullies" can no longer politicize a woman's access to healthcare.

That's what Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said during a media conference call Friday. The call centered on the nonprofit healthcare organization's response to Komen's decision to back down on the matter after days of being cast in an overwhelmingly negative light.

The issue struck a chord with many Americans, Richards said, adding that the public has made it clear that it will no longer stand for "political bullying." "I think folks are just saying 'enough,'" she said.

"Bullying and trying to make political women's access to healthcare is just a losing political strategy," she said.

For Planned Parenthood, Komen's original move -- which meant a loss of roughly $500,000 to $700,000 in funding for breast care services offered through the organization -- turned into a windfall. Many saw the stripped funding as the work of conservatives who oppose Planned Parenthood because it provides a variety of women's reproductive health services, including abortions.

The backlash was immediate, with many people opening their wallets in support of Planned Parenthood. The organization took in $3 million in donations in just a few days, but moreover found itself on the winning end of a social media campaign that left the Komen foundation badly bruised.

"I think there is a message for people running for office, or in office," Richards said: "'Women's health is not a political issue."

"I do think this is a watershed moment," she added. She said she hopes this has raised enough awareness that it will result in the expansion of women's healthcare services. "I think it's going to be interesting in how this leads us forward."

She said that people want politicians to "focus on solving problems, judging less and caring more. I think this is what this is about."

Although some people have questioned the wording of Komen's reversal statement, which was posted on the Komen website, and whether it means a full refund of grant money, Richards said she has no reason to think otherwise. "I take them at their word that this is behind us."

She said she learned the reversal news Friday just like most Americans -- it was forwarded to her, online. She said she has called the Komen foundation, but had not yet spoken to anyone.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

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Photo: Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards at a media event last month in New York City. Credit: Mike Coppola / Getty Images


Susan G. Komen's reversal: What does it really mean?

Susan G. Komen for the Cure apologized for the uproar it caused when it pulled funding from Planned Parenthood, and said it was revising its policy guidelines to prevent such a thing from happening again. But will the organization restore funding to Planned Parenthood?

Susan G. Komen for the Cure apologized Friday morning for the uproar it caused when it pulled funding from Planned Parenthood, and said it was revising its policy guidelines to prevent such a thing from happening again.

But will the organization actually restore funding to Planned Parenthood?

The Komen announcement was cheered by recent critics who had accused the foundation of playing politics instead of saving women's lives -- and jeered by others, including many anti-abortion activists. Some have tried to pressure Komen over the years to sever its ties with Planned Parenthood, which offers a variety of reproductive healthcare services, including abortion.

But amid all the hoopla there is this: It remains to be seen what the seeming policy reversal actually means, and whether Planned Parenthood will see any of its funding restored.

"We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities," the foundation's statement said.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is about as overwhelmed with media requests as a foundation can be at this time, was not immediately available to elaborate on the statement.

The Washington Post managed to get hold of Komen board member John Raffaelli to ask him to address such concerns, and he declined to commit to any funding earmarks.

"It would be highly unfair to ask us to commit to any organization that doesn't go through a grant process that shows that the money we raise is used to carry out our mission," Raffaelli told the newspaper. "We’re a humanitarian organization. We have a mission. Tell me you can help carry out our mission and we will sit down at the table."

Does that sound like a reversal?

Meanwhile, Twitter was on fire Friday morning with reaction. Among the tweets:

--"Komen backs down! Planned Parenthood funding to continue. Oh Helen Reddy, we are women hear us roar..."

--"Don't care that they reversed. My money goes to PP. Komen's got other 'issues' that I don't like."

--"Komen's reversal of decision to defund Planned Parenthood is our call to work and pray even more to end to the horror of death in the womb!"

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Photo: Breast cancer survivor Elizabeth Lueke, who was 99 at the time, at the 2009 Orange County Race for the Cure. Credit: Los Angeles Times


Komen vs. Planned Parenthood: NYC's Bloomberg offers $250,000

The uproar over Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to defund Planned Parenthood has many politicians and lawmakers rushing to the aid of the organization that provides reproductive healthcare services. But one politician actually appears willing to put his money where his mouth is.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday announced that he is personally donating $250,000 to Planned Parenthood in the form of a matching grant. The move is as symbolic as it is financial: Bloomberg is trying to encourage Planned Parenthood supporters to also open up their wallets and make their voices heard. He said he'll match donations dollar for dollar up to $250,000.

Bloomberg's office released the following statement:

"Politics have no place in health care. Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way."

Bloomberg's statement was released along with one from Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

"On behalf of hundreds of thousands of women nationwide who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast cancer education and screening, we are enormously grateful to Mayor Bloomberg. This contribution will help ensure that politics don’t interfere with women having access to health care. People all across the country have stepped forward in the last 48 hours to offer help and support, and the Mayor's donation will help ensure that no woman is denied breast cancer services because of right-wing political pressure campaigns."

Susan G. Komen for the Cure yanked its funding because Planned Parenthood is under a federal investigation to determine whether the organization uses federal money to perform abortions. Planned Parenthood says money has been pouring into the foundation ever since the news became public, adding that it raised $400,000 within about 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the fate of the iconic Race for the Cure fundraising event is now in question, with some  Americans vowing to boycott them.

Several California lawmakers have joined Bloomberg in voicing support for Planned Parenthood. Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) posted on Facebook that he was "dismayed" by the foundation's decision to pull its $700,000 funding for breast cancer screenings.

State Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) said in a statement that the Legislative Women's Caucus, which she chairs, will suspend its annual bake sale to raise money for the foundation, as well as the tradition of illuminating the Capitol building pink to heighten breast cancer awareness. She said the Komen foundation's decision "defies belief."

And state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Sylmar) said he will stop being a "Pink Tie Guy" who wears ties of that shade to raise awareness of the foundation's efforts.

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No fetuses in food: Oklahoma lawmaker explains intent behind bill

He’s being lampooned on blogs, news sites, Twitter and Gawker.

But state Sen. Ralph Shortey, the Oklahoma lawmaker who introduced a bill banning the use of human fetuses in food, is surprised his legislative effort has gotten so much attention.

The Twitterverse was abuzz this week with tweets reading: "This just in: my husband Kevin went to high school with Ralph 'fetus food' Shortey." Another: "Too much aborted human fetus in YOUR food? Senator Ralph Shortey can help!"

The bill was among 70 measures an assistant filed for Shortey last Thursday, the deadline for introducing legislation. 

On Monday, after returning from tending to family matters and a weekend quail hunt, he was met with a phone that was ringing off the hook, and, in only a few days, a deluge of 400 emails flooding his inbox.

“I’ve gotten so much hate mail,” Shortey said Thursday in a phone interview from Texas. (The freshman senator said he was on his way to Austin with a youth group with which he volunteers.)

The Oklahoma City Republican explained that the bill was introduced after he did some research online and found reports of a 2010 boycott of Pepsi Co. by Children of God For Life, an anti-abortion group based in Florida.

The boycott backers claim that Pepsi Co. was contracting with Senomyx, a San Diego-based company, that allegedly was using human embryonic stem cells in the testing of artificial flavors.

Pepsi and Senomyx have denied those allegations, but Shortey was undeterred.

“Are fetuses being chopped up and put in our Doritos?” he asked. “No.”

But he said he believes these embryonic stem cells are being used in research by private companies.

“I want a serious conversation about this,” Shortey told the Los Angeles Times. “This wasn’t an open invitation for the country to chime in. This was an invitation to my colleagues to have this discussion.”

The bill -- a couple of paragraphs his assistant wrote up and he reviewed -- reads: "No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients."

Shortey said he intends to revise the bill, known as SB 1418, before pushing for the measure to be heard in committee.

Federal food safety officials have never heard of such a thing. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the agency has never gotten any reports of fetuses being used in food production.

Shortey, elected in 2010, has introduced a spate of controversial bills, including one that would deny Oklahoma citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the state. Another bill he wrote would have allowed police to confiscate the homes and cars of illegal immigrants. He also tried to advance a bill that would have required presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship before being allowed on Oklahoma's primary ballot.

None of Shortey's controversial bills have become law.

As news began circulating this week of his latest legislative priority, Twitter users and humor sites were rife with disbelief and amusement. "Way to keep the crazy title for OK," wrote one person.

But the lampooning doesn’t bother Shortey. “The first attack is to make that issue or person look ridiculous,” he said. “And I’ve got thick skin. I don’t care what people think about me.”

Asked if he believes everything he reads on the Internet, Shortey said: “Absolutely not. I don’t just look at something and say this must be true. But I’ve done some digging.”

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Oklahoma lawmaker wants to ban fetuses in food

Based on something he read online, an Oklahoma state senator has introduced a bill that would ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food.

Yes, you read that correctly.

No, he's never heard of any instances of this happening before, Sen. Ralph Shortey told the Associated Press.

But Shortey read that it might be happening, so he thought the bill would, at the very least, give any food companies toying with the idea an "ultimatum."

The legislation, known as SB 1418, is only a couple of paragraphs long. It states:

"No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients."

Shortey, a father of two who worked as an oil and gas production consultant, told the Associated Press that he found online evidence that some companies outside of Oklahoma use embryonic stem cells to develop artificial flavors.

Shortey did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday, but the Daily Oklahoman reported his motivation for the bill:  "Shortey said he filed the bill after reading last fall that an anti-abortion group, Children of God for Life, had called on the public in March 2010 to boycott products of major food companies that partnered with a biotech company that produces artificial flavor enhancers, unless the company stopped using aborted fetal cells to test their products. The company has denied the allegation."

Federal food safety officials have never heard of such a thing. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the agency has never gotten any reports of fetuses being used in food production.

Shortey, elected in 2010, has introduced a spat of controversial bills including denying Oklahoma citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the state. Another bill he wrote would have allowed police to confiscate the homes and cars of illegal immigrants. He also tried to advance a bill that would have required presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship before being allowed on Oklahoma's primary ballot. 

None of Shortey's controversial bills have become law.

As news began circulating of his latest legislative priority, the Twitterverse responded with disbelief and amusement. 

One person wrote: "This may conflict with my dream of eating aborted fetus dumplings, but Sen Ralph Shortey is hilariously delusional."

Another: "Today in Oklahoma crazy: Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) proposes banning "human fetuses in food." Didn't know it was a thing."

Combing through all the tweets, finding one in support of the bill was as likely as finding fetus fries as a side order at your nearest fast-food joint.

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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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