Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2011

PELOSI PREPARED TO FIGHT 'RADICAL ASSAULT ON WOMEN'S HEALTH'.... A month into the 112th Congress, the new Republican majority isn't especially concerned about creating jobs, but it's consumed with efforts to restrict women's reproductive rights.

The culture war appears to rank pretty low on the list of Americans' priorities right now, but four weeks in, the GOP has pushed the odious "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," the life-threatening "Protect Life Act," and the plan to raise business taxes over their insurance plans that might cover abortions. Other proposals are on the way to cut off federal dollars to women's health care clinics that offer abortions, and to eliminate Title X funding, which Planned Parenthood depends on.

Culture warrior Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) boasted this week, "This House is more pro-life than it's ever been." That's probably true, but a certain former House Speaker reminded us yesterday that the GOP's crusade will be met by fierce Democratic opposition.

Women's reproductive rights are being seriously threatened by the Republican Party, according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said she is worried that many women are complacent about the possibility that they will lose access to abortions.

"They're advancing extreme legislation," Pelosi said Thursday during a conference call with reporters. "It's dangerous to women's health, disrespects the judgment of American women -- I don't know if they even gave that a thought -- and it's the most comprehensive and radical assault on women's health in our lifetime. It's that bad." [...]

"We have to make this issue too hot to handle," said Pelosi, adding, "I would like to make the fight in the House and see where some of these Republicans are -- maybe we could win it on Title X. I can't believe that everybody who is anti a woman's right to choose is anti-birth control and contraception and family planning. But we don't know that, and we don't have any idea -- or I don't, anyway -- where the Tea Party people come down in all of this."

There are plenty of issues on which Dems feel defensive -- but this isn't one of them. It's not just that Republicans are preoccupied with abortion instead of jobs, which makes them vulnerable to criticism, it's also that Democrats see the GOP effort as a war on women.

It's a fight Pelosi is ready and willing to have.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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The GOP wants to return to 19th C. "Family Values." Barefoot and pregnant, dying as she gives birth to number eight, at the age of thirty.

Posted by: DAY on February 11, 2011 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Pro-life my ass. The GOP hate women, gays, blacks, hispanics, muslims, liberals, dems, progressives, kids, the poor well pretty much everyone except the rich white conservatives they love to service on a regular basis.

Most of the asshats hate the idea of actually being responsible for babies, toddlers, children and young adults. Beating the shit out of them, starving them and shoving them into proverty and debt is the GOP "pro-life" of misery agenda. Nothing but a bunch of abusive drunks types pounding the shit out of people.

Posted by: Silver Owl on February 11, 2011 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Please stop buying into the bs frame that any of these American taliban members are "pro-life". I am sick of hearing that piece of garbage phrase. They are about controlling women, using government to implement their fundamentalist beliefs on all of us and care not a whit about anyone's life other than their own.
Call them what they are theocrats, or pro- chattel party.

Posted by: Kitsune on February 11, 2011 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi said....where? I haven't seen anyone anywhere saying anything.

I think the only place you'll hear anything is in msnbc and they're Egypt 24/7.

Any Canadians out there see 22 Minutes (the Canadian version of The Daily Show)? Brilliant take on Wolf Blitzer. He's interviewing a correspondent in Rawanda who's talking about Hutu's and Tutsi's and Blitzer kept linking the story to Paris Hilton. It was brilliant.

Posted by: MsJoanne on February 11, 2011 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

So where is the jobs program?

Posted by: wordtypist on February 11, 2011 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

This can be a real winner for Democrats.

Pelosi's right about complacency, though.
Too many women, and men, over the last 16 years have forgoten how the American Taliban wants to curtail their rights as badly, if not more, than allow LGBT folks to get theirs.

Barefoot and pregnant indeed!

From the once in awhile stil great Kinki Friedman:
Get the bisquits in the oven
And your buns in the bed."

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 11, 2011 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

So, how exactly are the Republicans different from any of the intollerent radical religious leaders that they love to complain about - those in Afghanistan, Iran, etc?

Posted by: Mark-NC on February 11, 2011 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

"There are plenty of issues on which Dems feel defensive -- but this isn't one of them."

What issues should we feel defensive about? This is the big problem with the Democrats.

I don't feel defensive about ANY issue I believe in.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 11, 2011 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm.. it seems "coincidental" that these bills are being proposed at the same time that the O'Keefe machine is trying to smear Planned Parenthood via doctored videos.

See the pattern? Find a target, smear the target via doctored video footage, generate the outrage, and pass laws, in effect, destroying the organization once and for all. Worked like a charm against ACORN.

Seems to me, though, that some of the bills appear directed specifically at Planned Parenthood, which makes me wonder if they fall under the category of "bills of attainder"?

Posted by: GOPhuckYourself on February 11, 2011 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

It is evident (or should be) to everyone now that Nancy Pelosi was a great speaker, also that Boehner is the weakest speaker we have known, in fact I think we can say that we have now entered the lame duck session!

Posted by: joan on February 11, 2011 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats see the GOP effort as a war on women

Accurately, I might add.

Posted by: Gregory on February 11, 2011 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

When these pro-war types become anti-war pro-life let me know, until then I call BS.

Posted by: Kill Bill on February 11, 2011 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

I have terrific faith in Pelosi, but I don't think there's yet a critical mass of female voters (let alone the smaller number of pro-choice men) who will mobilize to punish anti-choicers at the ballet box. As Digby noted, Nita Lowey -- no Blue Dog, she -- is already parroting the mantra of "no taxpayer money for abortion." And do you think all those Democratic men in the Senate will mount the barricades here? Think again.

The political problem with choice, of course, is that it feels so 20th century, and for a majority of Americans the word abortion conjures angry white women. I'm afraid, Steve, that this is absolutely an issue that puts Dems on the defensive. Moderates may oppose the repeal of Roe v. Wade, but they're squeamish about abortion in general -- hell, there are enough progressives who feel squeamish about it. Chalk it up to years of far-right propaganda.

Posted by: BrklynLibrul on February 11, 2011 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Culture warrior Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) boasted this week, "This House is more pro-life than it's ever been." That's probably true...

No, it's not true.

They may be more "anti-abortion" or "anti-choice", but they are definitely NOT pro-life.

Posted by: chi res on February 11, 2011 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, the "pro-life" house that wants to take away health care coverage from children, people with pre-existing conditions, including babies born with health issues, take away heating assistance for poor people, and they have no problem funding unnecessary wars that result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

They're don't care about protecting life, they only care about imposing their alleged moral values on others, and if poor people die from lack of heat or health care and they can fund the killing of foreigners of whom they disapprove, so much the better.

Posted by: karen marie on February 11, 2011 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

USA
total: 6.14 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 177 [of 220]

Their priorities are in the wrong place. Angola has the highest death per live birth in the world at 178 deaths per 1000 live births.

Why arent these pro-lifers moving to Angola to save lives?

Posted by: Kill Bill on February 11, 2011 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Pro Propaganda Party
If they make a claim it is a claim defensible only from the first person . Pro life ? Means they are interested in their own life and Pleasures . Consequently anyone who is less excited about their pleasurable existence is Tiller the Baby Killer Death .
I would enjoy the bomb throwing to commence ...

Now !

Posted by: FRP on February 11, 2011 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

The correct term for their side should not be "pro-life," but "abortion prohibitionist." That's what they want to do - prohibit abortion; make it illegal. I describe myself as an anti-prohibitionist, i.e. a supporter of legal abortion.

I seethe every time I am painted by implication as "anti-life" because I oppose outlawing abortion. I also oppose outlawing tobacco; does that make me "pro-tobacco" or "pro-lung cancer?"

Posted by: Virginia on February 11, 2011 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, are you really completely blind to how offensive it is to refer to a movement that not only wants to take all control over a woman's reproductive health away from her, but is now openly advocating for letting women die in hospitals, as "pro-life"? Do you really endorse the view that women's lives don't count?

If a group were to advocate taking away all rights from Americans of African descent, including allowing hospitals to deny them treatment and let them die, would you refer to them as "pro-equality"?

Posted by: Nothing but the Ruth on February 11, 2011 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi said: "But we don't know that, and we don't have any idea -- or I don't, anyway -- where the Tea Party people come down in all of this."

The Tea Party people will "come down" wherever the Koch Brothers pay Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to tell them to "come down".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Paraphrasing George Carlin, they are not pro-life, but Anti-Woman.

GOP=Anti-Woman. Even fits on a bumper sticker.

Posted by: becca on February 11, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

"This House is more pro-life than it's ever been." That's probably true, but...

This is demonstrably NOT true, but they apparently have SteveB brainwashed. A political party that rushes to war and bends over backwards to cater to the richest 1% of its country's citizens at the expense of the rest can in no way, shape, or form be considered "pro life".

Posted by: josef on February 11, 2011 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Mark-NC: So, how exactly are the Republicans different from any of the intollerent radical religious leaders that they love to complain about - those in Afghanistan, Iran, etc?

Every so often, you'll find a "Christian" reactionary who's serious enough and honest enough to ponder the same question:

What's the problem with Muslims?

Posted by: Chet on February 11, 2011 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't believe this is anything more than a ploy to regurgitate the same ole hot buttons they always use in an effort to redirect the short easily distracted attention of the American voter from critical issues.

Republicans aren't positively affecting the economic recovery, they have no new ideas about increasing jobs, the only interest they've expressed is undoing Obama's works to gratify their moronic base and rich leash holders.

For years, Republicans have blamed and blamed, they whined about the state of America, they played horrified by leftist policies and now that they have some majority, what have they brought to the table?

More blame, more whining, more playing, nothing constructive.

Even those voters whose heads are furthest up the Fox/Limbaugh ass will begin to see that Republicans having a majority at the top isn't making life better at the bottom in any tangible way.

Posted by: Skip on February 11, 2011 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

They're over-reaching by going after contraception. Many people haven't had a need for abortion, or ACORN, so let those issues slide by. But pretty much everybody, including most practicing Catholics, use birth control at some point. And many women got their first birth control at Planned Parenthood so their parents wouldn't know. Most Americans won't go along with making contraception hard to get, especially while saying they want to prevent abortion.

Posted by: Gretchen on February 11, 2011 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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