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  • Jaengpeng/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case may have legalized abortion, but a new wave of young, self-described "feminist" women now argue that the court made a mistake.Christina Bennett, who calls herself a "pro-life feminist" is on the front lines of that fight."Just because it's the law doesn't mean it’s right,” said anti-abortion activist Christina Bennett.The feminist struggle against abortion includes a struggle for acceptance in the larger feminist movement, which excluded anti-abortion groups like the Texas New Wave Feminists from the historic January 2017 Women's March.Led by her Christian faith, and what she describes as a passion to help and empower all women, Bennett believes her mission in life is to end abortions in America.The 36-year-old has spent the last 12 years counseling and working with women struggling with the circumstances surrounding unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.“I care about my sisters, and I want them to succeed in every possible way, spiritually, emotionally, physically," said Bennett. "I want them to do better."In fact, it is her own life story that drew her to the pro-life movement. According to Bennett, her own mother, as a young woman, was scheduled for an abortion when pregnant with Bennett. As she waited for her appointment, a hospital janitor approached her, talked to her, and led Bennett's mother to change her mind."I thought, wow, God saved my life," said Bennett.In conversation with ABC News, Bennett acknowledged that the circumstances surrounding individual women's decision to end their pregnancies vary.She concedes that women are often weighing incredibly difficult and very specific factors, including the way in which they became pregnant, their own health or the health of the fetus.Bennett even admits she has yet to make up her mind about how and when emergency contraception, like the so-called "morning-after pill," can and should be used.At the same time, Bennett believes her fight for "the right to life" is about more than just prescriptions for specific circumstances."I think about abortion like I think about slavery and I think about the civil rights movement and some of the things that my ancestors and forefathers fought for," said Bennett. "Because without the right to life you have no other right."Check out the full conversation on this week’s episode of Uncomfortable.Download and subscribe to the "Uncomfortable" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and ABC News podcasts.Bennett was interviewed as part of a series called Uncomfortable, hosted by Amna Nawaz, that offers in-depth honest conversations with influential leaders about issues dividing America.
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  • Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former first lady Michelle Obama turned 54 Wednesday, celebrating her first birthday in Washington, D.C., since leaving the White House.She started the day with flowers and a card, addressed “Miche,” from her husband, former President Barack Obama.“Thank you @BarackObama for the beautiful flowers waiting for me in the office this morning. You’re my best friend, biggest fan, and getting notes and flowers from you will never get old,” she posted on Instagram.She also thanked the people from “around the country” who had wished her well on her birthday.“You have no idea how much we love hearing from you. I know birthdays can sometimes be bittersweet (54!), but your messages of hope, generosity, and warmth have always reminded me how lucky and blessed we are,” she wrote.In years past, the Obamas have been seen at D.C. restaurants to celebrate Michelle Obama’s birthday, but plans for the former first lady’s 54th were not announced.The former president, 56, has never disguised his affection for his wife, the mother of their two daughters and his partner since their days on the South Side of Chicago.“You're not only my wife and the mother of my children, you're my best friend. I love your strength, your grace, and your determination. And I love you more each day. Happy Birthday, @MichelleObama,” he wrote beneath a photo of the two on a couch, dressed in matching hues.Another birthday gift came from the Philadelphia Eagles’ Chris Long, who released a video to promote Michelle Obama’s efforts to get students to fill out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Student Aid, a college aid form. Long also donated his entire season’s salary to fund educational opportunities in the three cities where he’s played for the NFL: Philadelphia, Boston and St. Louis.Since leaving office, the Obamas have laid low politically. Public endeavors have largely been for the Obama Foundation, speeches or travel -- though the former president joined two then-candidates and now-governors, Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., and Gov. Ralph Northam, D-Va., on the campaign trail in the fall.Michelle and Barack Obama both welcomed leaders from Chicago, the U.S. and around the world for the Obama Foundation Summit at the end of October, and recently, Michelle Obama and Prince Harry made a surprise visit to students at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, according to photos from both the Kensington Palace and former first lady’s account.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic Senator Dick Durbin appeared on ABC's The View Wednesday to defend his account that President Trump called African nations "s---hole countries" at a White House meeting last week on immigration.“I stand by my words,” Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, told the co-hosts. He said the language Trump used was “explicit” and reflects the president’s view that “we would favor some countries like Norway and the Europeans at the expense of Africans and people from Haiti.”“It was clear to me what the president was saying,” he added.The controversy over Trump's language continued after Durbin and other senators questioned Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen -- who was also at the meeting -- as she testified Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.Nielsen, under oath, said she "did not hear" the word "s---hole," during an exchange with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.Answering a question from Durbin, Nielsen replied, “I don't specifically remember a category — categorization of countries in Africa. There was a lot of rough talk by a lot of people in the room.”Durbin, responded he didn’t “know how you could miss those words spoken by the president.”“A lot of my colleagues who were in that room, two senators and now the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, can't remember what the president said. I can't forget what the president said,” Durbin added.Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, another senator in the White House meeting-- who now claims Trump never said the words in question -- said Nielsen backed his version.“I saw what Sen. Durbin said -- that he stood by every word that he said. So let me be clear. I stand by every word that I said,” Cotton said Tuesday. “The difference is, I’m right. As far as I know there’s only one person who’s spoken about this meeting under oath and she confirmed my account.”Cotton initially said, in statement shortly after the meeting, that he “did not recall” Trump making any offensive comments.On The View, Durbin refused to label his colleagues as “liars” when asked by co-host Joy Behar about the different accounts.Guest co-host Alicia Menendez pressed Durbin on why he didn’t scold the president in the moment.Durbin responded by saying he deferred to his Republican colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, to say the president “was wrong.” Durbin said Graham used the president’s own explicit words to criticize Trump,Graham has not disputed Durbin's account.Co-host Meghan McCain asked Durbin if publicly disclosing what Trump said hurt any progress being made on a deal on the fate of nearly 800,000 Dreamers -- immigrants brought into the U.S. as children.“You're going to see before the end of the day more Republicans stepping forward and saying they don't agree with President Trump's views on immigration,” he replied. “I don't believe those views represent America.”
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  • Credit: Architect of the Capitol(NEW YORK) -- Democrats are celebrating another state legislative victory, with Patty Schachtner’s win Tuesday in a Wisconsin State Senate race becoming the 34th Democratic gain since President Trump was inaugurated last January.In the same time frame, Republicans have flipped just four state legislative districts from Democratic to Republican control.A medical examiner from St. Croix County, Wisconsin, Schachtner defeated Republican Adam Jarchow, a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, in a district that's been under Republican control for close to two decades.President Trump won District 10, which runs along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, by 17 points in the 2016 presidential election, and Schachter’s victory is generating anxiety among Republicans as the 2018 midterm elections grow closer.Democrats have flipped state legislative districts in nine different states since Trump’s inauguration, some in deep red states, including Oklahoma and Georgia, but their biggest gains came last November in Virginia, where they flipped 15 seats and nearly took control of the state House of Delegates.Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican governor, took notice of Tuesday night’s result, urging his party to view it as a “wake up call” that they are not communicating their policies effectively to voters.Another powerful Wisconsin Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, told reporters Wednesday that the party should learn from the loss.“Typically we've held this seat, and we lost this seat last night. So yeah I think we should pay attention to it,” Ryan said.The warnings from Ryan and Walker come as Democrats are mounting attempts to take back both the House and Senate in Washington in November, a goal they're unlikely to meet if they can't make gains in state districts similar to the one Schachtner was able to win Tuesday night.Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who has seen Democratic hopes bolstered in recent months by victories in Virginia, Alabama, and state legislative districts in Oklahoma and Washington state, tied the Republican loss to President Trump.“These results continue the trend we saw in 2017: Democrats are winning across the country. Voters are flat-out rejecting the Trump-GOP agenda that gives another giant tax cut to the top 1% and wealthy corporations, and they know that the Democratic Party is fighting for working families like theirs,” Perez said in a statement Wednesday.Despite the victories, Republicans focused on state legislatures are urging caution, and point to the massive gains the party has made in the past ten years nationwide as evidence that what Democrats are touting as a “trend” is not as widespread as they make it seem.“Right now Republicans are playing deep on Democrat's turf after picking up 1,000 seats during the previous decade. And so you're naturally going to have in the first-term election with a new president, you're going to have a regression to the mean from those all-time historic highs,” said Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.“The question then becomes how much of that is going to be executed in a way that has an impact on the overall environment. Is that going to lead to flipping chambers, is that going to lead to a change in the overall environment?” Walter added.As 2018 nears, and President Trump’s role in helping Republicans win at the state and federal levels remains unclear, there is an acknowledgement that--- while he has proven he can turn out Republicans-- Trump’s appeal could be a dangerous double-edged sword.“I think that Trump's impact on the overall environment is that he is one of the greatest motivators in the history of American politics,” Walter said, “But obviously the people that don't agree with his policy proposals or don't agree with him personally or just happen not to
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  • Harry E. Walker/MCT via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Democratic operative Jim Messina, who headed up former President Obama’s successful 2012 re-election campaign, says he has met with representatives of 16 potential Democratic candidates who want to run against President Donald Trump. But he told ABC News' Powerhouse Politics co-host Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, even more people want to throw their hat in the ring.“The good news for Democrats is there are 24 people thinking they could run for president. That’s a historic bench.”And he’s excited about the Oprah Winfrey buzz.“There’s a whole bunch of people trying to encourage her to run.”Messina was coy with the co-host, ABC News' Political Director Rick Klein, about specific candidates, but not about the questions he asks.“I ask them two questions. Number one, do you want to put your family through hell? And number two, what is your vision for the future?”Messina runs a strategic consulting group that advises political candidates and businesses here in the U.S. and all over the world.Messina admits he is obsessed with voters that voted for Obama and then Trump. His group just finished a long-term study analyzing those voters in battleground states. And he’s found a similar theme to the mantra Bill Clinton’s adviser James Carville coined in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid.”“The economy is the driver of almost every one of those votes. They [Obama and Trump voters] care about that more than anything else. And their biggest worry is the president’s tweets. And his ongoing back and forth. They think it distracts him from the kind of economic focus they want. Voters want an economic focus.”And Messina would get some late-night phone calls when he was running Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.“I got a call every 2-3 weeks in the middle of the night from this incredibly brilliant political operative named Bill Clinton. And President Clinton would say to me in his creative voice, ‘Jim, the only thing that matters is winning the economic argument about the future.’ And that is really true with these voters.”But with the strong economy and the stock market at an all-time high, wouldn’t that bode well for President Trump and spell trouble for Democrats?“I think Trump is a different case because he’s so divisive. Because he’s shown the inability to stick to his own message and talk about what he’s doing.”And Democrats need to win over independent voters. Despite a favorable map for Republicans, Messina thinks the large number of over 30 House Republicans not running for re-election means a chance for Democrats when there’s no incumbent.“These retirements really, really matter.”And keep your eye on the state governor races. Messina points to the Democratic victory in Virginia of Ralph Northam and feels good about Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida. But he cautions, “We’re Democrats, so we usually find a way to blow it. Certainly that was true in the last presidential election.”But he does give Trump credit for his latest move of cancelling his trip to the United Kingdom, where he would have met with historic protests, according to Messina who is consulting Britain’s Conservative Party.“President Trump has become the most divisive figure in the world.”“His domination in the media coverage here is true around the world as well. The week before the general election in the U.K. last year, President Trump was discussed on social media more than the two major candidates the week before their national election.”And Messina says there’s only one other place where Trump is more unpopular than London.“President Trump is about as popular in Mexico as charging more for beer," he said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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