Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 5, 2011

THE HOUSE GOP'S ODIOUS ANTI-CHOICE BILL.... As best as I can tell, yesterday afternoon's House vote on the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 3) hasn't generated much in the way of media attention. To a certain extent, that's understandable -- editors/producers aren't often inclined to invest a lot of energy covering legislation that's going to fail, and only got a vote to pander to far-right ideologues.

But it's also a shame that the vote is being largely ignored by major outlets, because Americans need to know (a) what House Republicans are doing in their name; and (b) just how awful this bill really is.

The House of Representatives just passed H.R. 3, the controversial abortion-funding law that pro-choice critics and the White House has said will make it harder for woman to pay for abortion coverage with their own money. [...]

Proponents say the bill will simply make permanent existing bans on using federal money to pay for abortions. But critics say the bill goes much further than existing law, and say it reopens the abortion fight that's been in detente for years thanks to the Hyde Amendment.

Any serious scrutiny of the bill shows that the critics are right.

This recent editorial summarized the point of the bill nicely: "The tax credits that are encouraging small businesses to provide insurance for their workers could not be used to buy policies that cover abortions. People with their own policies who have enough expenses to claim an income tax deduction could not deduct either the premiums for policies that cover abortion or the cost of an abortion. People who use tax-preferred savings accounts to pay medical costs could not use the money to pay for an abortion without paying taxes on it."

Indeed, the closer one looks at the bill, the more odious it becomes. The final version included a provision to ensure that only victims of "forcible rape" are eligible for federal funding if they seek abortions. It also raises taxes. It also effectively calls on the IRS to conduct rape audits.

And how many House Republicans voted for this offensive bill? All of them.

Yes, there was also a small group of conservative Democrats who went along with this nonsense, but it was Republicans who made the bill one of the top legislative priorities of the 112th Congress, and then unanimously supported it.

Senate Democrats have said H.R. 3 has absolutely no chance of passing, and in case that weren't quite enough, the White House formally announced this week that President Obama strongly opposes the bill and would veto it if it reached his desk.

That is, to be sure, reassuring, and explains why this bill isn't front-page news.

But voters need to understand what they did when they elected a Republican House majority. GOP lawmakers aren't working on job creation; they're not working on energy policy; they're not working on national security; they're not working on immigration. Instead, Republicans have made abortion one of their top priorities, and yesterday wasted time on a bill they knew would fail, because they want to make it harder for women to pay for abortions with their own money.

Voters who backed GOP candidates last year because you were unsatisfied with economic growth should be aware of what they elected.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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But, but..it's Obama who's attacking our individual freedoms..next thing you know you'll be telling us the Republicans have hired a lawyer at an outrageous sum to defend the indefensible DOMA!

Posted by: Mudge on May 5, 2011 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

I, for one, will now call the House, 'the Republican Majority He-man Woman's Hater Club.'

I'm going to call my female 'Republican Majority He-man (She-man?) Womans Hater Club' Representative, and give her an earful.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 5, 2011 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

They know this has no chance of passing.

Besides that does anyone really think lobb...urr elected politicians will try to regulate free market insurance?

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 5, 2011 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

"Voters who backed GOP candidates last year because you were unsatisfied with economic growth should be aware of what they elected."

Sadly, they ARE not aware, and WILL not become aware, because we are not a nation of political junkies (present company excepted. . .)

Posted by: DAY on May 5, 2011 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

GOP Slogan: WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST - under the bus.

Posted by: Alli on May 5, 2011 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

If nobody knows about the bill and it can't pass, than what was the purpose in the first place? I find it hard to believe that the self-righteous curs on the right will be satisfied with this old bone.

Posted by: Danp on May 5, 2011 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

So what part of the Constitution did they site when they submitted this one?

Maybe it is time for the Dems to declare they will put a job producing/job destroying number on all bills and keep a running tally, just to keep the Republicans focused on what they claimed was their number 1 goal.

Posted by: martin on May 5, 2011 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see...what is it now...13 bills regarding abortion AND NOT ONE FUCKING BILL HAVING ANYTHING TO DO WITH JOBS!

#GOPCantGovern and all of America pays the price.

Posted by: MsJoanne on May 5, 2011 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it is time for the Dems to declare they will put a job producing/job destroying number on all bills and keep a running tally, just to keep the Republicans focused on what they claimed was their number 1 goal.

No way! That would require the Dems to violate a core principle: Never communicate a clear, consistent message when you have an opportunity to bog down in nuance.

Posted by: Equal Opportunity Cynic on May 5, 2011 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

What is the, "Free Liberal MSMedia" doing to point this out? Nothing.

Any woman who voted for any of these dorks deserves what they get. What a throughly stupid electorate americans have become. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on May 5, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Jessica, you have wandered into the wrong classroom- Creative Writing 101 is down the hall. . .

Posted by: DAY on May 5, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

To Jessica @ 8:38

I call bullshit!

Posted by: James at home on May 5, 2011 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

The zealots win by being radioactive enough that proximity is met only with special protection . Spit and sneeze shields etc are necessary , as well as the safety of distance from their verbally challenged minions . Becoming savvy with the full encyclopedia of dementia concerning people making informed choices that run counter to the religious beliefs of zealots is a depressing task . Along with the Chicago School and the Austrian School of economics , it is considered perfectly natural and innocent to lie .
The protection afforded by the assumed decency of a religious belief is nauseating to folks with strong stomachs . That is why only truly heroic , and committed writers , along with fire brigades and other civilised forces against anarchy seem to have any dexterity with the system of self contradictions and self abasement that haunt the minds of liars by trade .
When the passion plays out , and all that is left is the self righteous belief that you are better than others , and therefore assume the right to take away others freedoms , it just appears as brutish and dull as the murder of innocent doctors .
With this legislation they now have murder , intimidation , and a government involving itself in the decisions of your personal details and the close observance of your private , intimate life .
Pretty cool heh ?

Posted by: FRP on May 5, 2011 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

It is a sad day in our democratic nation when Congress does pass laws that abridge the rights to . . . . . (name any number of rights, because this Congress may not stop with this effort to abridge a woman's right to make anguishing medical decisions in the privacy afforded to her and her doctor)!

Oh, and Jessica, I am very glad I don't reside in the very deep cavernous canyons of your mind - not much sun light down there!

Insensitivity grows like moss on the dark side of a rock, so try to break that moldy place you've found yourself and join us in the real world where real people never reflect your peculiar insensitive and brutal fantasies! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 5, 2011 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

It's a good thing that the Jessica troll didn't have the concept of someday things paying off when the whole computer and Internet thing started. Yes, Jessica darling, things do pay off if you ever get it started. And thanks to her precious Republicans, the US is behind the likes of Germany and China in renewables.

To paraphrase...Jess, you ignorant slut.

Posted by: MsJoanne on May 5, 2011 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Another bill that wouldn't have been passed by the House if they didn't know that it would die in the Senate. It cements the hypocrisy that is the Right to Life/GOP alliance--just keep pretending to try to abolish abortion, and we'll keep paying lip service, as long as the money keeps rolling in from the faithful/gullible.

Another bill for Buncombe:

Posted by: Steve P on May 5, 2011 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: MsJoanne on May 5, 2011 at 9:32 AM

"...the US is behind the likes of Germany and China in renewables."

You forgot to mention that we are also way behind China in high speed trains. These have been a huge success in China, and will be so in the future when the Chinese can afford to ride them.

Posted by: Jessica Zembala on May 5, 2011 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, the segue to nowhere. You betcha! (wink)

Posted by: MsJoanne on May 5, 2011 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

This bill is crap and will never see the light of day (at least as long as Obama is in office). That said, I am not overly concerned about the alleged "backdoor" attempts to redefine rape here.

Rape already has a very well-defined and unambiguous (and very broad) meaning. In order for any court to even consider the legislative history related to this bill, ie, the committee report, the court must conclude that the statute on it's face is ambiguous. Well developed rules of statutory construction, which have been adopted by case law precedent by all courts (especially Scotus) would all require the courts to provide a broad and ordinary meaning to the word rape, which would preclude ambiguity. Since there is no ambiguity on it's face, the courts are prohibited from referring to legislative history in applying the terms of the law.

Would an ideological district court judge render a decision contra these well established legal principles? Of course. But the odds that such a decision would survive appellate scrutiny are slim.

Not saying bills like this should not be fought tooth and nail, but the risks should be adequately explained.

Posted by: bubba on May 5, 2011 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

To quote Tom Levenson at Balloon-Juice: "Republicans kill women. It really is that simple." There's a bumper sticker for you.

Posted by: Glidwrith on May 5, 2011 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I'm almost at the point where I cease to care. Americans want to be idiots and vote against their own self-interests? Fine, let 'em. Clearly, the American Experiment in self-governance has, after 235 years, has yielded a clear conclusion: people are too fucking stupid to govern themselves.

Clearly, what we need are alien overlords to welcome. Or an education revolution. Or just simply a revolution. Because the current state of the union resembles a house divided against itself more than it has at any point since the Civil War (Lincoln's first mentioned the house divided in 1858).

Am I being cynical? More than that- I'm furious. Idiot America voted for a GOP House b/c of jobs, only to get a whole lot of culture war + no jobs. Anyone who isn't furious isn't paying attention.

Meanwhile, the gap between rich + poor is at an all time high. During the beginning of the Great Depression, when such a gap yawned, two of the most popular political movements in the USA were fascism + communism. Fortunately, Roosevelt was able to provide the leadership to save capitalism from itself. Unfortunately, for all Obama's merits, and he has many, he's no FDR. And today's Congress is clearly far less capable of helping, or at least not hindering, any real recovery.

The more I see idiot moves like this, the more I fear for the future of our beloved country.


Posted by: Zorro on May 5, 2011 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK
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