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. Jazz is a loser

    Maybe Jazzzzzzz's mother should have used birth control. LOLOLOLOL

    April 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • j in cali

      trolls live in holes

      April 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey

      Get a girlfirend or find a hobby. you definitely need a life.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank - (R-Ohio)

    Don't take away my birth control? There never has been, isn't now, and never will be a 100% safe means of birth control. I believe it's all linked with choice. The choice to not do the deed. So if you worry about someone taking away your birth control, thier probably not, rather you might as well think about taking child rearing classes, cause your line of thought will wind up making you pregnant anyways. Go rally somewhere else. $4 gas is here. Don't buy gas today! 😉

    April 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ponter B

      Um, so you're against using birth control? And you're against using birth control because it isn't 100% affective? Seat belts aren't 100% affective either. So by simply logic if something is not 100% affective we should be against it.

      Sounds like a reasonable train of thought.

      April 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NC

      Right on Jeff,
      Maybe we need to change our thinking when it comes to abortion. Although I find the procedure repugnant, I certainly don't want to limit a woman's "choice" to murder. Let's take a more reasoned approach. Since most abortions are liberals killing their offspring, maybe we should encourage more women in annihilating future liberal voters. Just stop doing it with government dollars. I think if your old enough to get knocked up, you're old enough to pay for the procedure.

      April 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle Barrett

      @ Mike: Abortions aren't subsidized by federal dollars. You aren't paying for it.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • stormsun

      It is all about choice, Jeff. If you don't like abortions, don't have one.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NC

      Sorry Kyle, You must have missed the videos recorded inside PP coaching minors to lie about their age and offering "free services" to help the young mother to be eliminate the problem....without the other responsible party's knowledge. I'm sure those videos were "doctored" like the ACORN vids, eh?

      April 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maryann - Orlando FL

      Sorry, Mike, you are full of crap. Stop making stuff up, please. Who do you think you are? John Kyle?

      April 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle Barrett

      Sorry Mike, you must have missed the part where that was irrelevant to this discussion. Lying minors are certainly a problem, but it has nothing to do with the debate at hand: funding abortions with federal money. It simply doesn't happen.

      If you have an issue with the policies of a private corporation, that's fine. But the fact is that federal money is not used to fund abortions at planned parenthood, and therefore abortion has no place in a BUDGET debate.

      Now if you want to debate birth control and family planning services, then I'm all ears. But let's knock it off with the faulty abortion stance. I don't want abortions funded with my tax dollars, either, which is why I'm perfectly content that it's not.

      And while I don't agree with Jeff, I respect his position a lot more than yours. Yours is a position of arguing apples and oranges to get your way in a heated emotional debate. As long as we're never having the exact same argument, you can't lose right? And as long as you keep bring up the same false information, people will continue to believe that it might at least have a shred of truth. Cheap debate tactics mate.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh for Pete's sake!

      Yep, he learned those tactics from his party's leaders – they are such pros at it. And they have to be too, for the exact reasons you stated.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • randumbguy

      So Herr Frank - you've never made a mistake in your life? And you are without sin and are thus the sanctified bearer of the first stone? I have only one question for you: have you ever done anything to help an unwanted child?

      Don't do the deed - it's that simple is it? It wasn't that simple in Jesus' time, it's not that simple now. Hey, lets start dope slapping all the smokers (it's just a decision). And let's pepper spray on the fat ones (they should just exercise self-control). Not everyone has your perfect life, what have you done to help those less fortunate than you are?

      Almost alwyays, someone who speaks in absolutes is either dishonest or stupid.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • j in cali

      kyle pawnt mike and frank is just a republican so......

      April 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Everything is simple to people who are too simple to understand complexity.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Radcliffe

      I agree with the dissolution of federal funding towards abortion, and really any 50/50 emotional/social split in America. That isn't what Captialism is about, it's about allowing the citizens of the country to do as they please. I'm not against abortion, I'm just against the government intervening on a topic that not everyone agrees on (and isn't essential such as regulation of certain industries). If you want an abortion, go for it, but don't expect a federally funded company to do it for you...or at least I wish I could say that without getting completely eaten alive by Liberals who are convinced big government (which is very similar to a regime I may add...) is the best way for Capitalism, while the very fundamentals of this country were built on states rights. Having an overlying policy for the nation on something so sensitive as abortion makes no sense. There are clear regional divides, something that would allow the states to fit their policies to what the people in their state want. We're the United STATES, where states have rights just as much as the federal government does to control law in their territory. How is the state/federal split going to be approached?

      April 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stopthemadness

      Maybe you ought to take spelling lessons.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdger

      My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He is 12 years older than me, lol. We met online at A'geM'ing'le. com The premiere online community for older women seek younger men or older men seek younger women to meet and share your interests. Ever feel that you would best enjoy someone who is not in your age group? Leave behind the other general dating sites out there and try us.

      April 16, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike Johnson

      If you have a functioning brain you wouldn't live in Ohio. Stupid..yes you. Most women successfully use birth control. Some people find peanuts deadly. If birth control is 99.89% defective, it would behoove a woman not to use birth control just to avoid passing your genes on to other generation.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    Evolutionists teach that life began in an organic soup with the formation of amino acids when an electric current entered the elemental soup. Yet these same folks claim that now, human life does not begin in the womb...it begins when a birth takes place. They call it "life" if a spark enters a soup. But if a man enters a woman, they steadfastly refuse to call what just happened the beginning of life. It will be another 9 months before they finally admit 'yes, this is life'. Maybe they just think slower than most?

    April 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • james

      what came from the primordial soup was never considered life. just the possible building blocks for life on this planet. and there's a big difference between something that is merely alive, and something that we consider a human being with rights. we slaughter cows and chickens and we certainly believe those are alive. but we don't give them human rights. when do we give embryos human rights? that's the big issue.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3lwood

      What is an "evolutionist?" Is that like a "the-world-is-round-ist" or a "no,-sorry-the-holocaust-really-did-happen-ist?"

      April 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • stormsun

      Not all evolutionists are pro-choice supporters. Not all religious folks are against personal choice – including abortion.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • j in cali

      perhaps the "Evolutionists" dont like the idea of mandating poor people to make more poor people that they need to support and attend to. if your not ready to be a parent you probably know it better than anyone else.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      If it can survive independently, respire and willfully access nutrients, or replicate itself, there is a case to be made that it's life. Otherwise, not so much. That stuff in the primordial soup could do all. How many can a fetus do.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Johnson

      Are you stupid or just a lying conservative? Have you taken biology? I have never heard that a embryo or a fetus wasn't a collection of dividing cells. Only a conservative doesn't know cells and tissue are living. I'm so sick of these stupid comments from conservatives.. You have convicted me that conservatives are stupid people. Your loving god is the largest abortionist. Why do you worship a murdering god? Have you heard of miscarriages?

      April 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roi

      "Evolutionist"... Funny. The rest of your post... Sad. So many people, so little brains.

      April 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tomas

    What is sad is not one of these issues will significantly affect the rise or fall of the United States – they have kept your eye off the REAL ball.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Amen, amen, I say to you.

      The ONLY family values that REALLY matter are whether you have enough money to put a decent roof over your family's head, decent food on their table, decent clothes on their backs, and a decent education for your children. The rest is all smoke and mirrors designed by the greedy and wealthy whose main desire in life is to get wealthier at your expense.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Whether some woman you don't even know has an abortion, or some gay or lesbian couple gets married, will have absolutely no impact on whether YOU can provide for YOUR family.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sleep Cycle

      It's a cunning plan that was devised here-convince people to distrust those who call for intelligence and compassion; make them afraid; let their fear ripen into hate; and distract them by cloaking their hate and fear in religious terms with some promise of a future reward. It worked for the 9/11 plotters and it's working for the forces behind this movement.


      April 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      You don't think illegal immigration is a problem for this country? Where have you been?

      April 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh for Pete's sake!

      Sleep Cycle is correct. In fact, you can even look it up. Republicans calculated several decades ago that the way for them to gain power is to make people afraid. Very afraid. And to pitch themselves as the only solution to that fear. Makes sense. Why else would people vote against their best interests and for the interests of the rich and the corporations? They HAD to get you to be afraid. You are being played like a fiddle.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kelly

    Why are these people complaining. Go to a doctor get a prescription and pay full price like every one else.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikhil Sinha


      April 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      You might have a good paying full time job. Not everyone else does. What about the college student or person on welfare or disability who is trying to get work but can only get a part-time job at Walmart without insurance benefits. PP provides health care at a sliding scale. Every woman needs to see an ob/gyn. This isn't just about birth-control. Women have complicated parts. They sometimes have cysts and infections. So how much should a woman pay to get treated for a yeast infection? her whole paycheck from her low wage job that isn't enough to even support herself to begin with! This is about government men making decisions about womens healthcare. Government men: You don't have my parts. Stay out of it!

      April 16, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. rolandoChan

    Everything is about Obama because he is black. Why this did not come up when the Presidents used to be White.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • RDM

      Obama is half white and half black. I just want to know where the white part of Obama was born.

      April 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • CW

      @RDM – Hawaii. Next question.

      April 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NC

      I must be an equal opportunity hater: I don't like Obama's black half nor white half. LOL

      April 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geez

      If you think that these issues never came up under a white prez.... then you need to do some research before commenting.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rolandoChan

    Where ever you go there is always racist.... And Arizona, most of the Republican are one of them. Rolando Chan-140 West 2nd St Clifton, NJ

    April 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • stormsun

      Let me see if I understand this; the entire state of Arizona is racist because they believe we should enforce immigration laws? It will be interesting to see how you justify your statement without, yourself, appearing biased against (prejudiced) a particular racial group or in favor of another.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 60s mama

    Life begins at the moment of conception. Otherwise, nothing would GROW and MATURE. They know it, anyone with half a brain knows it.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      The question isn't when life begins, but when a human being begins. World of difference. If it weren't, then you dare not stomp on that ant on the sidewalk.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • RM

      If life starts at conception, then every woman who has a miscarriage needs to be investigated for manslaughter or murder.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heh

      Sperm and Eggs are not alive?

      April 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sleep Cycle

      Life began with the Big Bang because that's how this all got started. But that's not human life.

      April 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    Anyone who ever watches Fox News channel should disavow themselves from the political process.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      Everyone who voted for Obama should disavow themselves from ever voting again.

      April 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sleep Cycle

      This is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Fox News is so obviously manipulating people towards hate and fear. Voting for Obama, despite what Fox News might have to say about it, is a rational decision one might make for any number of reasons. A person lacking the wisdom to see that Fox News is poison has only ignorance to blame.

      April 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • stormsun

      Anyone who believes that ANY news source is unbiased is not paying attention.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lobbyistgrl

    I agree with Granderson. There are way too many ignorant voters in this world. I think we should all have to take a Naturalization Test in order to be a registered voter!

    April 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Neither political party, is doing what is best for the country. both do what is best for the group they ALL belong to.......the wealthy and powerful.

    Unfortunately voters have no idea who really would represent them well. In fact, once someone is elected, they join that wealthy and elite power group, and become corrupt, almost immediately.

    The country needs a really good leader, who solves problems, and talks little. I for one, am hoping that Mitch Daniels will run.......and that he will show the voters what he is made of........and earn their trust.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • randumbguy

      Sorry Rick gotta disagree. I have parents who run a business in the state of Indiana. So you'd think they would support the Republican agenda right - I mean who wouldn't want a tax cut? Nope, they have a "Ditch Mitch" sticker on the business door. Why? Simple, Mitch did the same thing that Timmy P did in MN - no new taxes at the state level forced the local tax rates to sky rocket. The "no new taxes" guys are just burden-shifters - make an "accounting shift" to get the bill put on someone else's tab.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dim Mak

    None of these clowns want to solve anything. It's job security for the two party system, but people are waking up to that fact.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jazzzzzzz

    I am way to busy today to be long winded about the comments made by "Jazz is a loser" but I think the fools statements speak for themselves. This is just to all the regulars here. Going to bed early tonight so I won't be on. Have a great night and weekend.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • j in cali

      dont be trolled

      April 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Doug

    It offends me when people who are pro-abortion like to say that they are pro-choice, it is simply not true. There are some of us in the center right who believe that abortion should be a last means option, something that is beyond immoral, but it is a woman's body, we just ask that the Democrats who perform the abortions don't collect them in jars as trophys.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maryann - Orlando FL

      I am equally offended with people who call themselves Pro-Life, since they only care about the UNBORN. Once the human is born, they are on their own if they get sick. That is NOT pro-life.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackal&jester

      Just because it us allowed doesn't mean you have to do it. Just like voting. You may have the choice to vote but that doesn't mean you have to. It is called pro choice for the reason we want the extra option.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • randumbguy

      Dude: pro-abortion is not pro-choice. I'm pro-choice (abortion should be a safe option) and anti-abortion (we should do everything we can to make options other than abortion practical). Go back to pre-Rowe.... abortions were still done and many lives were lost in back alleys - legal or not the "supply" will be there. The one thing we can work effectively on is the "demand" side. Fewer unplanned pregnancies, better options for adoption of unwanted children. But remember this: pro-choice is not pro-abortion, regardless of the propaganda needs which try to muddle them together.

      April 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lojix

    Um if i remember my school work wasn't the basis of voting based on every one gets one stupid or otherwise with the same level of value in each vote? it seems to me that if you go limiting voting on some grounds that there will end up being this subset of people making decisions with the ability to vote and a whole group of people excluded, this is all grounds for segregating the social populous to allow one group to control another. Bad idea for the will of the people to end up being the will of the select people.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
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