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February 11, 2011 09:10 PM UTC

DeGette Finds Voice as GOP Presses Abortion Restrictions

  • 10 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

A very good appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews this week from Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver, who is possibly more prominent than she ever has been in opposition to the new Republican majority’s push for hard-line abortion restrictions right after taking office:

And batting cleanup in this story from FOX News:

With Republicans pushing three separate bills proposing additional abortion-funding restrictions, Democrats also flocked to the podiums and the studios this week to decry the GOP agenda as one that has very little to do with jobs.

“Frankly, we would have thought that the Republican majority would join with us to talk about how we could create good jobs for Americans,” Rep. Diana Degette, D-Colo., said Wednesday.

Republicans say this line of attack is preposterous…

What do you think, folks? Is it “preposterous?” Or should the voters have expected the new GOP majority they elected in Congress to lead off with abortion and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” We do recall focusing on the economy was a promise made to voters last fall, but even then, as Ken Buck can tell you, these issues found their way into the debate regardless.

Of course, it’s easier when you volunteer unbidden how far out there you are, like Buck did proudly declaring he was against all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest, or when you jump at the chance to be an “original co-sponsor” of a new abortion restriction bill, like Cory Gardner did. You can’t blame others when your own actions create the “distraction.”

Comments

10 thoughts on “DeGette Finds Voice as GOP Presses Abortion Restrictions

  1. The Republicans attacks on Dems for the health care bill (one of which) were that it didn’t create jobs.  I have long sought health insurance that supports self-employed and small business.  The bill that passed does that in an oblique way.

    The point would be, though, that the Repubs had a valid(ish) point.  Now, the Dems can charge the same thing only more so.  Good for them.  Most people want to see a focus on jobs.  Ritter will be fondly remembered by me for pushing for green job creation in multiple ways.  Arguing about abortion is ‘waving the red shirt.’

    And good for DeGette for getting into the mix.  She should be the strongest member in Congress for Colorado but has usually taken a back seat.  If she doesn’t want to push harder she should move on.  Keep up on this issue and I would like to see her take on more statewide issues, like the fracing she worked on last year.

    1. Could you imagine the uproar from the conservative base if the Republican Party told them they were going to actually abandon those hot-button issues once in office?  There would have been a mass defection last election if they’d done that.

  2. I was thinking about incorporating all of the GOP assaults on choice into one, but didn’t have the time.

    The DeGette interview outlines many of the radical assaults on the status quo the new house majority’s legislation represents, which go well beyond redefining rape to “forcible.”  As The Daily Show outlined last week, the rape and incest exception to prohibition on federal funding of abortions had 191 exceptions in 2006, so we’re nibbling around the margins arguing about that language (which remains in all the bills.)

    The bigger threat in HR 3 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions” act is about tax policy.  Employers who provide health insurance for their employees get tax deductions and credits for doing so.  87% of private insurance plans currently cover abortion.  HR3 eliminates tax exemptions for any plan which covers abortion, and prevents patients from using pre-tax dollars in FSAs or HSAs for abortion.  If passed, HR3 would eliminate insurance coverage for abortion, even if you found out half way through your pregnancy that your fetus had deformities inconsistent with extra-uterine life.

    To call this “No Taxpayer Funding” is a much greater semantic threat than “forcible rape.”  If a tax exemption is the equivalent of taxpayer funding, then the US needs to get out of the business of taxpayer funding of churches, as I believe the Constitution has something to say about that.

    Also alluded to by DeGette is H.R. 358 the Orwellian titled “Protect Life Act.”  The title is from the Bizarro world because it would allow providers of emergency care to refuse to do abortion to save a woman’s life.  Matthews and DeGette got this a bit wrong, as a health emergency at 7-8 months of pregnancy would allow delivery of a viable newborn, and wouldn’t necessitate abortion.

    What is at conflict is the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) which requires hospitals to provide life-saving and stabilizing care without ability to pay, and the Hyde/Weldon conscience protection amendment which is annually attached to appropriations bills prohibiting the government from withholding federal funds from any entity or provider who does not do abortions for conscience reasons.  The conflict between these two statutes has never been tested, but by codifying Hyde/Weldon, HR 358 gives the OK to those who would let a woman die rather than do an abortion to save her life.

    But who would do that, you ask?  The Catholic church, as recent events have shown.

    In a “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” bit of religious reasoning involving the doctrine of double effect, medical treatment required to save a pregnant woman’s life that incidentally causes an abortion is OK.  Directly terminating a pregnancy to save a woman’s life is not.  This issue has had real world effects for women suffering with ectopic pregnancies and inevitable miscarriages:

    For miscarriages in which the fetus is not expelled quickly, doctors often use drugs or surgical procedures to protect the woman from potentially fatal infections and bleeding. But if the fetus still has a heartbeat, some Catholic hospitals refuse to intervene. And the patient has to go to another hospital, sometimes hours away, or wait for the heart to stop.

    As a report by the National Women’s Law Center outlines, religious hospitals are already providing sub-standard care for ectopic or tubal pregnancies; preferrring to do surgical removal of the tube (salpingectomy) as opposed to opening the tube (salpingostomy) to remove the pregnancy but spare the tube, or to give fetotoxic methotrexate, which again would spare the tube, the distinction again being based on double effect, and the prohibition on “direct” abortion.

    As Michael Bennet’s election showed, contrary to naysayers who claim that Roe makes abortion settled law and issues around choice are meaningless for federal elections, amongst moderate women, extreme views based on subjecting everyone to minority religious opinion can swing elections.  Despite being advised by the Tea Party movement not to incorporate social issues into their agenda, the Republican party continues to play to the basest of their base.  It is the job of anyone who cares about these issues to make sure that their extreme agenda is exposed.

    1. it is H.R. 217 Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act which denies family planning assistance for any entity which provides abortions. Entities have to report, etc.

      Cory Gardner is a cosponsor though I do not know if he is an ‘original cosponsor’ also

      1. eliminates Title X funding, it hardly matters.

        No one will be able to provide government funded birth control to the poor.  That should work well to reduce abortions.

        Seriously, it is Mike Pence’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, without making it a bill of attainder.

  3. This is exactly what I suggested last week to Congresswoman DeGette in a KOS comment and in an e-mail to her office.  Here is what I also suggested.  The fact is that abortion coverage actually reduces the cost of insurance coverage.  Why?  Because it costs $300 for an abortion and $3,000 just for the delivery of a full term healthy baby.  So, if you reduce the number of abortions by reducing coverage and you assume as all anti-choicers do that it will reduce the number of abortions, you increase the costs of medical coverage.  Simple as that.  Republicans not only don’t care about jobs, they want to raise your insurance rates too!!!

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