The House Tuesday passed a bill that would ban most abortions nationwide after 20 weeks. The most far-reaching abortion legislation in the House in a decade, it was passed 228-196, mostly along party lines.
The vote is largely symbolic: The bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate. And the White House has already threatened to veto the “fetal pain” legislation, which is based on the controversial assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that stage of development…
Anti-abortion Republicans are hoping to capitalize on public outrage about Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, which captured national headlines. Franks’s original bill was crafted to outlaw late term abortions in Washington, D.C., and it failed in the House last year under a procedure that needed a two-thirds vote for passage. But the Gosnell verdict sparked outrage and reinvigorated activists, and a few days after the conviction Franks broadened his legislation to apply nationwide.
Opposing it, Democrats supporting abortion rights are stoking liberal anger over the “war on women” and chiding the GOP for spending its time on a divisive social agenda instead of focusing on jobs. They said the bill is unconstitutional and distracting.
The Los Angeles Times has response from Democrats including Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver:
“I thought we had established this last fall with the election. Americans are tired of Congress taking up extreme and divisive legislation targeted at women’s health,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said at a news conference before the vote. “Many of our Republican colleagues don’t seem to have gotten that message.” [Pols emphasis]
A recent Gallup poll found that Americans’ views on abortion had changed little after the Gosnell trial, with 78% saying it should be legal under certain circumstances, compared with 20% who said it should be illegal in all circumstances.
All four Colorado House Republicans, Reps. Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, and Doug Lamborn voted for this abortion ban bill. Rep. Lamborn went a fully expected step further and signed on as a co-sponsor. Take note of Rep. Tipton vote for this bill, as he has usually shied away from abortion controversies during his time in office, and could face a woman opponent in 2014–making this a vote that could come back to haunt him. Perhaps even more interesting is Rep. Coffman's vote in favor–not that it's all that surprising, since Coffman was a co-sponsor of Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" bill, 2011's H.R. 3. But this was an opportunity for Coffman to include reproductive choice in the slate of issues he is "reinventing" himself around, setting himself up as the moderate swing-district New Coffman®.
But much like his recent vote against DREAMers, Old Coffman appears to be the "decider." And as for the very good advice given to all Republicans after 2012's defeats, to steer clear of base-pleasing but otherwise self injurious social wedge issues? Now you have their answer, folks.