Abortion, immigration and 'birthers': Do politicians, or voters, have answers?
Planned Parenthood supporters rally last week on Capitol Hill.
April 15th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Abortion, immigration and 'birthers': Do politicians, or voters, have answers?

With the first 2012 presidential primaries and caucuses less than nine months away, three issues are stoking political fires this week: immigration, abortion and presidential birthplaces.

Immigration and abortion have long been front and center in political debate, but the "birther" issue emerged in the 2008 election, as opponents of President Barack Obama questioned whether he was born in Hawaii. The Constitution stipulates that a president must be a U.S. citizen by birth.

Stoking that debate, Arizona's Legislature on Thursday night passed a bill requiring presidential candidates to prove they meet the birth requirement before their names can be placed on the state's ballot. Thursday's vote was 40-16 in the state House. The bill goes to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer for her signature.

The "birther" allegations against Obama have been repeatedly discredited in investigations by CNN and other organizations.

The bill's author, GOP state Rep. Carl Seel, says it's not about Obama. "It's about future elections and maintaining the integrity of the Constitution," he says.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2011/04/14/explain.it.to.me.birthers.cnn"%5D

Across the country in Georgia this week, state lawmakers did what their brethren in Arizona did earlier - passed a tough immigration law.

The bill passed by the Republican-dominated Georgia House and Senate authorizes law enforcement to question suspects in certain criminal investigations about their immigration status. It also authorizes long prison terms for those who use fake documents to get a job and punishes people who transport illegal immigrants during the commission of a crime.

Earlier this week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that blocked certain provisions of the Arizona immigration law.

In a statement, Brewer said the appeals court action "does harm to the safety and well-being of Arizonans who suffer the negative effects of illegal immigration."

It's a little more than a year to the first GOP presidential debate of 2012, and CNN.com contributor Ruben Navarette Jr. says Republican presidential candidates will need to figure out a way to address the immigration issue without alienating Hispanics, who make up 16% of the population.

Along with being at the center of the immigration debate, Arizona is also one of six states that have made changes to abortion laws in 2011, according to the Guttmacher Institute. An unprecedented number of bills aimed at restricting abortions are going before state legislatures across the country this year.

"It's pretty much an all-out, anti-abortion free-for-all out there," said Elizabeth Nash, public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute.

A spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America says that 374 anti-abortion bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, 200 more than last year.

The rise in anti-abortion measures shows the Christian Right is back, writes CNN.com religion editor Dan Gilgoff.

"At a moment when the Republican Party has reclaimed power in the House, has taken control of most state legislatures, and is set to begin the process of choosing its next presidential nominee, the Christian Right is playing an increasingly influential role in the party," Gilgoff writes.

So as the debates rage, CNN contributor LZ Granderson is asking us to know what we're talking about before we go to the polls in 2012 to vote for the folks who are writing these laws on immigration, abortion and other issues. He is suggesting we might find a tool in immigration regulations to make sure none of us is too "ignorant" to vote. Use the U.S. Naturalization Test given to applicants for U.S. citizenship as part of the voter registration process, he says.

"There simply needs to be more required of us as responsible voters than being born 18 years ago," Granderson says.

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Filed under: Abortion • Barack Obama • Elections • Immigration • Politics
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. markjuliansmith

    The 'Birthers' clearly have a valid point if in the same universe GOD was indeed created for the benefit of women and not their subjugation.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Democratic

    Boycott Arizona the place not to vacation.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scottish Mama

    President Obama' mother was a United States of America Citizen and so is he.

    April 16, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. ed Bailey

    The birthers are the last of a dying breed. Ignorant racist(the high IQ ones excluded) are the last of the pre-historic brain theory. Man being the meanest,dumbest creature on the planet causes his own demise(future headline).the smart mean ones will let their mother take the hit! So the religious right, Look around slloooowly.abortions, why not!has your pulse dropped yet? France has twice as many brats born before they have one with a BRAIN defect as we(USA) do.take a Deeeep breath! Why? Several reasons! If the parents of an unborn child knows what the future holds, guess what! The pioneers of your cult struggled to survive. Sorry, crickets are a natural phenomenon, but the unspoken rumor will never die(sorry) that like china, the future working class was chosen.males only of course because healthy females could be FERTILIZED. Why else have litters, except for the 10% rule.disabled children WERE exterminated.trauma over-ridden by a monetary goal (10%) and reversal of quilt.the Mormons in power DON'T want to pay for medicaid,medicare,social security, they call it SOCIALISM. But to save face they will hand out humanitarian supplies. Two faced demagogues that try to hide. fu

    April 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ed Bailey

    The moral majority is soo narrow minded and uneducated that their voting habits are in reality harming the very segment of society that they profess to care about. True ignorance blinded by religious insanity and coaxed on by republicen two faced criminals that hide the true reason for their actions. The end result of their actions do not match the words.Republicans are masters of smoke and mirrors.the recent influx of republicans shows a rapid downhill civil rights erosion in progress.America you have a problem and the problem is yourself! President Obama, even though I have been slightly perturbed at a few issues I will still quard your back. Loyalty is an issue like honesty is. I believe you are at least better than the enemy!!!!

    April 17, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dick Hertz

    Get rid of 15,000,000 Illegal Aliens and let America live again. We'd save over $1,000,000,000,000.00 a year. Money that can be spent on Americans. Arrest all Employers of illegals. Throw them in jail for their first offense. In Prison for the second. Then hang them for Treason on the third.

    April 18, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Boo Dick Hertz

      Sounds like you should be hanged (remember – treat others as you would want to be treated), but that would be a waste of rope.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HooDatIS?


    April 18, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thomas R. Clauss

    President OBAMA is a hero to us all, we need him now.

    April 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Will Jones

    America was founded by "whigs." "Whig" was a term of derision applied by the "elite" king/pope "tories" to anyone rejecting "monarchy, the popery of government" as Thomas Paine put it, and historically specifically, rule by a Roman Catholic monarch (Viz. Halleck & Macaulay).

    America's whig Creed (the three mottoes on the Great Seal), and culture received G-d's blessing, heightening the "œconomic gradient" between what, in explicit covenant was founded as the New Israel prophesied by Isaiah a new nation ruled by Truth and Justice into which all nations of the world would flow; and the slums, brothels, pedophile priests and ruling false elite of the Latin American branch of the Roman ”plantation aristocracy’s” feudal “latifundium,” whose French Indochinese branch Rome's American Fifth Column (after winning the “Civil” war and assassinating President Lincoln – and Meriwether Lewis) successfully assassinated President Kennedy to send 58,000 of us to die fighting a Jeffersonian whig named Ho Chi Minh...after equally successfully financing the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust from the Roman Catholic collection plates in America, through Vatican banker Rockefeller’s “front” Knight of Malta Prescott Bush.

    The same Roman false elite has determined that illegal immigration from Latin America, “freeing” the “slaves” rendered excess by the encroachments of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions there, and thereby diminishing restiveness in a transparently corrupt and oppressive popish society, will “kill two birds with one stone”: ease pressure for revolution in Latin America where Rome is strongest, and replenish their pedophile priest depleted coffers in America while finally succeeding overthrowing America where they failed when attacking Charleston and at Bloody Marsh.

    Obama was clearly the superior choice in the last election, but having gulled us in “Audacity of Hope’s” allusion to the nearly universal awareness of Bush’s and Cheney’s having committed 9/11 (Viz. “The New Pearl Harbor,” Griffin, Ph.D.), and with a Rockefeller backing him from the start, is it little wonder he now, as in Arizona, wishes to denigrate Georgia’s effort to repel an organized invasion for conquest of America whose openly published marching orders are catalogued at the Library of Congress?

    The US Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops’ “National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry” can be purchased on Amazon, it is no less compelling than the policy of the German Roman Catholic Bishops at Fulda’s removing “the Church’s” prohibition against voting for the Nazi Party to ensure Hitler’s electoral “success,” nor with “Divini Redemptoris’” triggering Kristallnacht and the Shoah.

    “They” know what “they” are doing. Our Founder Thomas Jefferson was no slouch when he identified “them” as “the real Anti-Christ,” “an engine for enslaving mankind.”

    April 27, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
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