Political Animal


February 07, 2013 4:12 PM No Smiley-Face For Southern Republicans

By Ed Kilgore

Even as we argue about whether the incessantly marketed “reinvention” of the national Republican Party is a great step forward or a total hoax, there isn’t a lot of pretense in many states where Republicans govern, particularly in the South. The latest step towards shutting down access to abortion services in Alabama, for example, is about as subtle as a transvaginal ultrasound probe, per this report from Think Progress’s Adam Peck:

Republican lawmakers in Alabama took a crucial step on Wednesday towards their goal of shuttering the state’s last five abortion clinics, advancing a bill to the full house that would impose strict requirements on abortion providers.
The bill, the so-called “Women’s Health and Safety Act,” passed the Republican-controlled House Health Committee on Wednesday morning, and could come to vote in the full legislature as soon as Thursday. If passed, it would require clinics to meet certain architectural standards and have a physician present for all abortions — a provision Republicans claim is for the safety of patients, but is in fact a smokescreen designed to make compliance as difficult as possible.

It’s a standard weapon in the antichoice arsenal these days: measures to make abortion as expensive and inconvenient as possible for both providers and patients.

Among the staffing concerns [sic!] is a provision which states that only a licensed physician with admitting privileges to a hospital within the same metropolitan area as the clinic be allowed to administer abortion-inducing drugs.
In Tennessee, an abortion clinic that had been open for nearly four decades was forced to close after a similar bill was passed in that state last year. And in neighboring Mississippi, the state’s one and only abortion clinic may have to close its doors after a new law went into effect last year requiring a physician with admitting privileges to be present for all abortions.

I doubt you’ll hear Eric Cantor speak about how Alabama Republicans are working to help women in need solve their life-problems via a deep interest in reproductive health. But they’re all part of the same party that almost unanimously shares the same antichoice ideology. They just don’t bother to put a smiley-face on it in Montgomery.

UPDATE: It’s not just a southern problem, unfortunately. A group of Iowa Republican legislators is sponsoring a blatantly unconstitutional bill to define not only abortions but any interference with the development of a zygote as “murder.” Asked if this sort of measure might interfere with GOP “reinvention” efforts, the chief sponsors said:

Within our party, we’re going to differ on social issues. One of them is the right to life. There are some who say that we need to ease up on this because it’s not winning us anything. My thought is we can’t let this drop. Even if I’m in here screaming to empty walls, I will always be a voice for the unborn.

In other words, Yeah, I understand the need to keep my mouth shut, but I can’t and won’t.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Josef K on February 07, 2013 4:31 PM:

    How does the old saying go? "For Republicans, life begins at conception and ends at birth."

    Seriously, what's next? Mandating "retroactive abortion" for minorities?

  • c u n d gulag on February 07, 2013 4:37 PM:

    GOP POV:
    Well, women, since you objected to having us stick stuff in ya, and didn't vote for us last year, instead, we're gonna stick it to ya!


    Have fun finding that left-handed Lituainian Lutheran Obstetrician you're going to need in that Louisiana clinic, to have that abortion you crave!

    Or that Teetotaling Tea Party Tennessee Triage-trained Hermaphrodite Obstetrician in the hinterlands of that state.

    Or that Gregarious German-born Geriatric Gynocologist in Georgia.

    Ya sure ya wouldn't rather have our state-approved vaginal probing and prodding instead?
    You know, the one that we'll demand be video-taped for your protection, and for quality assurance?

    And just wait until we look for even more obsure requirements!

    It's just your body, our probe, our doctor, and our video system.
    What can you possibly be objecting to?
    We swear, do that, and we'll make it easier for you to get that abortion!
    On any day NOT ending in a "y."

  • yocona on February 07, 2013 5:10 PM:

    You laugh, but for some of us down here, this is all too real.

  • Daddy Love on February 07, 2013 5:28 PM:

    Today's GOP: screaming to empty walls, forever.

  • Steve M. on February 07, 2013 6:12 PM:

    Republicans can do whatever the hell they want at the local level and Beltway reporters will still get a "centrist" boner when Marco Dreamboat calls them "Bro."

  • vickijean on February 07, 2013 6:20 PM:

    I think there is a broader purpose. They want someone to sue so it goes to the Supreme Court. The want to re-litigate ROE

  • Kathryn on February 07, 2013 7:55 PM:

    @yocana....don't think anybody is laughing, it's gallows humor, accept my condolences. @Steve M. .......The gullibility, stupidity of beltway reporters is nauseating in the extreme, VandeHai (sp.?), Allen, Cillliza, et al are either dunces (Cilllizza) or complicit (Politico crowd).. Is the Politico team on the payroll of Roger Ailes, smug morons? I live in this god forsaken, inside the beltway netherworld ( the middle class part) and hope never to accidently bump into any of these "reporters", lucky for them I don't carry a gun, but I do carry a big mouth and an increasing inability to control it.