On Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee approved a the “Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act.” which will ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is expected to be brought to a vote next week. There are a couple of things everyone should know about this bill.
- This bill is a waste of time. It will never pass the Senate, nor will our President ever sign it. The Republicans know this, and, like voting against the Affordable Care Act thirty-seven times, is presenting this bill only for political reasons.
- A similar bill in Arizona was struck down in May by a Federal Court. The Court declared it violated a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable (which is generally considered to start at 24 weeks.)
- The only exception in the bill is to save a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical illness arising from the pregnancy. The is the ONLY Exception: Not Rape, Not Incest, Not if there is a non-pregnancy related illness.
- Also–If your doctor tells you your pregnancy cannot produce a baby that will live, this law will force you to carry the nonviable fetus to term and go through child birth because it says so.
The Rachel Maddow Show this week focused on this bill and said, “The bill specifically establishes a nationwide ban on having an abortion in the event you find out your fetus is nonviable; it cannot live. A determination of that sad circumstance is often not made until 20 some weeks into the pregnancy, but if you find out tragically that the fetus has no brain or no skull or its lungs are not going to be developed and it cannot otherwise survive, this nationwide abortion ban would apply to those cases specifically as well. Those would have to, by law, be carried to full term.” A link to the full segment is here, this topic starts about 3 minutes into the segment.
Last year a similar bill (H.R. 3803) was written specifically for the District of Columbia. The final tally was 220 ayes (203 Republicans, 17 Democrats), 154 nays (6 Republicans, 148 Democrats). Two Republicans voted “Present”. Although the D.C. bill received more ayes than nays, it did not pass. The bill needed a 2/3 majority vote (251 ayes) since it was a ‘suspended motion’ bill–which are suppose to be bipartisan, and non-controversial legislation. Obviously someone missed the boat on this vote.
Where does our congressmen, Rep. Tom Reed stand on this topic? In the District of Columbia proposed law he voted with the majority of Republicans and favored limiting women’s right to an abortion to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. He voted for no exceptions except if the mother’s life is threatened because of the pregnancy.
Compare his vote to a statement he made to the Ithaca.com a few weeks before his last election, “I am pro-life and oppose abortion with some exceptions in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother.” If he really thought those exceptions were important, he would have voted “Nay”. But he didn’t.
In the same interview Rep. Reed retorted on the War-On-Women label, “I find the “war on women” name-calling to be offensive. Such rhetoric is nothing but playing the politics of division and those who try to win by dividing us aren’t leaders. And there is no threat to care such as pap smears, pelvic exams, breast cancer screening, etc.” Doesn’t he realize that voting to repeal the ACA would affect the availability of those procedures? He didn’t mention personhood bills that would make most contraception techniques illegal, or forcing transvaginal ultrasound on women before legal abortions. He didn’t include the defunding of Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provided quality health care for a low price, or workplace discrimination, or equal pay for equal work, or violence against, or…. well, you get the idea. His view on the War On Women is very narrow.
Reed’s opponent in 2014 will be Emily’s List supported Martha Robertson. Emily List’s is dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office. Like it or not Rep. Reed, Women’s Rights and the War on Women, will be a big part of the 2014 campaign.
The “Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act” will probably come to the floor of the House this week for discussion and a vote. How Rep. Reed will vote? Does he vote with the radical right to indicate that he is one of them? Or will be become realistic and, knowing that this bill will not become law, vote against it? I see this bill as a lose-lose situation for our congressman.
- Lawmaker Says Low Rate Of Pregnancy From Rape (kake.com)
- Frustrated By Their Own Success, GOP Prepares To Reignite ‘War On Women’ With Abortion Legislation (mediaite.com)
- Taking Note: G.O.P. Bills to Restrict Abortion (takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com)
- GOP senators pass abortion measure requiring ultrasounds (jsonline.com)