(for the other 95% of America)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

GOP Targets Abortion, Ignoring Mandate for Jobs and Economy

Pro-life advocates all across the country are stepping up their efforts to chip away at abortion rights at the federal and state level. Many are particularly incensed that Republicans have totally misread their mandate (if you even want to call it that).  Nancy Keenan, President of Naral Pro-Choice America said, “The 2010 elections were about jobs and the economy. It was not an endorsement of an anti-choice agenda.”

Efforts in the House of Representatives are underway to pass their third piece of legislation, HR 3 (the low number signifies its high priority). The bill, “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” is an effort to reduce federal abortion funding that was put in place with health care reform.

But, opponents rightfully claim, it’s not even clear that Obamacare does that. Before the historic health care reform passed last year, 87% of insurance plans already included an option for abortion coverage. So this new law is actually not stripping away pro-choice rights from the health care law, but stripping away abortion rights that were already available before 2009.

Efforts to pass pro-life legislation are also taking off at the state level. The election in November not only changed the make-up of the Capital, but of state legislators and state capitals as well. There are now 29 pro-life governors, up from 21, and 15 states with both a pro-life governor and legislator, up from 10.

The newly elected legislators are united in making progress on three fronts: (1) pushing women to review an ultrasound of the fetus, (2) cutbacks in insurance coverage, and (3) tighter regulations of late-term abortions. Whether or not this will actually prevent abortions is a whole other subject that deserves wider scrutiny. It will most likely push women to perform an abortion themselves, or turn to an underground market, both of which would put women at much greater risk to their health. Doctors will also have to make tough decisions, and be forced to wait before providing abortions until the women become dangerously ill so the operation can be legally performed. We’ll also probably see more cases of mothers simply abandoning their babies. Besides these truly scary worst-case scenarios, there is just something inherently arrogant and disgusting about people trying to impose their moral beliefs onto others through guilt and fear.

Even though there is a sizeable portion of America that is pro-life, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a backlash from the public. So far newly elected Republicans have focused on many pieces of legislation that the voters simply do not support – like repealing health care, and cutting Medicaid and Social Security. The new House has also, at the same time, neglected to bring up the issues that that they largely got elected to address – jobs and the economy. Even if pro-lifers do make great strides over the next few years, it could very well being a Pyrrhic victory, costing them dearly in 2012.

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