Capitol Alert

Shannon Grove under fire for linking drought to abortion

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, during session in the Assembly chambers on March 11, 2013.
Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, during session in the Assembly chambers on March 11, 2013.

A conservative California assemblywoman has touched off a backlash by suggesting that God eased Texas’ drought after the passage of anti-abortion-rights legislation.

According to an article in RH Reality Check, an online publication that covers reproductive health, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, told an anti-abortion-rights gathering that after Gov. Rick Perry signed “the fetal pain bill” – an apparent reference to controversial legislation that banned abortions after 20 weeks and put new restrictions on doctors and clinics – “it rained that night.”

“Now God has His hold on California,” Grove is quoted as saying.

California sits opposite Texas on the abortion spectrum, with the Golden State’s legislative leaders standing with abortion rights advocates and pushing bills to expand access. Grove is one of the few lawmakers vocally opposed to abortion rights. Last year she courted controversy with unsuccessful legislation banning sex-selective abortion.

In a follow-up statement, Grove reiterated her belief that “God’s hand is in the affairs of man.”

“Is this drought caused by God? Nobody knows,” Grove said. “But biblical history shows a consequence to man’s actions; we do know for sure that California’s water shortage crisis has been compounded by liberal politicians’ poor decisions – not properly managing our water resources and refusing to build water storage for decades.”

A representative for NARAL Pro-Choice California used Grove’s comments to blast her opposition to a California bill cracking down on organizations that Democrats and advocates call fronts to dissuade women from seeking abortions.

“Blaming this drought on women who exercise their reproductive rights is just as ridiculous as saying that pregnant women who seek advice shouldn’t be given actual facts, as is the case now in so called crisis pregnancy centers that blatantly lie to the women that walk in their doors,” Amy Everitt said in an emailed statement.

Jeremy B. White: (916) 326-5543, @CapitolAlert