Congress has ticked me off more this week than it has in a long time. HR 3, The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and HR 358, the Protect Life Act, both had hearings in House committees. You might remember HR 3 as the one that includes the language about “forcible rape,” which after public outcry Republicans said they would remove–but the term was still in the bill as of Feb. 8. HR 358 gets my nomination for misnomer of the decade, as it includes a conscience clause that allows doctors to refuse women emergency care if terminating their pregnancies would save their lives. Get that? Instead of saving a woman’s life, they would let her–and thus her fetus–die. Yeah, that sounds really “life-affirming” to me.
More than one person, including Rep. Christ Smith while introducing the bill, has had the audacity to stand up and say abortion isn’t health care. I’d like to know what else he thinks it is. If it weren’t health care, women wouldn’t have to go to clinics, doctors and hospitals to be treated for it. They wouldn’t have to get prescriptions for medically induced abortions; they could buy them over the counter. They would go to abortion salons the way they go to hair salons. Why don’t they? Oh, because it’s a medical procedure which therefore qualifies it as health care.
The hearings were also less than stellar examples of democracy at work. One woman–one–testified during the HR 3 hearing. For some reason, a Catholic bishop was deemed qualified to speak about women’s health. More women spoke during the HR 358 hearing, but the anti-woman tone of the meeting was clear. One congressman had the temerity to say that choosing between the life of a woman and her fetus never happens.
To learn more, here are some links: NARAL provides a handy chart that compares the two bills here. Read the testimony of anti-choice women who had abortions anyway here. GOP backs massive tax increase to phase out abortion coverage by private insurers. Read testimony of a former pro-life Republican who fell in love. Fighting to survive: the war on women’s health, where Sady Doyle makes the same point I made to an anti-choice commenter this week: Abortion has been around since pregnancy has, and it’s not going away.
What you can do: MoveOn.org has a petition up where you can protest the war on women. Stand with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Barbara Boxer to oppose these bills. Check out this list of Democrats who are supporting these bills. Thanks to Sassy Savvy Films, a few quick and easy things you can do to oppose the bills.
Please don’t stop there. Call and write your representatives to hold them accountable for their votes. If they support the bills, voice your displeasure; if they oppose the bills, let them know you’ve got their backs. Congress is susceptible to public outrage. Don’t let them get away with this anti-woman, anti-family legislation.