Republican Congress attacks women's health care (again)

Carla Axtman

For years, anti-choice zealots have been pushing to deny more and more women access to safe, legal abortions. They've succeeded in denying any direct federal funding for abortions, making it much harder for low and mid income women to have access. Now, they're gathering steam to deny the normal federal tax deductions and credits for employers who provide health care coverage for employees IF the health care plan covers abortion.

Incidentally, that's a huge tax increase. If you pay for your own coverage directly, no deductions, credits, etc. for you, either, if the plan you select offers abortion coverage. It doesn't matter if you or someone covered by your plan doesn't actually GET an abortion--just the fact that its covered is enough to disallow the deductions.

This effects roughly 87% of private insurance plans for individuals and businesses.

Is there another type of health care procedure singled out for this kind of punitive tax increase? Not that I know of.

This ought to be called "The Rich Heiress Abortion Protection Act of 2011". This does nothing but keep all but those who can afford to write their own check from having access to reproductive choice. No word on how proponents of this oppressive mess plan to support all the families they're forcing into existence.

There's been significant pushback against this particular resolution, mostly because it originally attempted to redefine rape in an effort to make it much harder to qualify for a rape exception. But that language was pulled because GOP leaders found it a tough sell.

I contacted each of Oregon's congressional offices in order to find out their response to this legislation. The statement from Blumenauer's office was sent yesterday, prior to the removal of the heinous rape provision:

“It defies imagination that the new majority in the House would start parsing the meaning of rape. At a time when there is such concern about the polarization in politics, this is a horrible time for this bad idea.”

How can anyone support saying that women who are drugged, children who are victims of statutory rape, or people who are victims of the many date rape scenarios should no longer be considered raped under federal law? Shockingly, that is exactly what legislation introduced this Congress, HR 3, does.

Even more shocking is the powerful symbolism that the House leadership wants to address this issue, but has not yet put a single bill relating to job creation up for a vote on the floor.”

Even with the removal of the rape provision, the Congressman has an excellent point. The House GOP's complete lack of focus on the economy and jobs is stunning in its arrogance.

Predictably, calls to Congressman Walden's office were not returned. I expect they're not exactly anxious to have to defend the fact that their party is championing a tax increase AND not doing anything about job creation.

Congressman Wu's statement:

Anti-choice interests continue to advance the myth that federal tax dollars are going towards abortion procedures in order to undermine women’s basic right to quality, affordable, and accessible reproductive health care.

As we saw during the debate on health care reform, supporters of the broken status quo are willing to use the most divisive rhetoric available to foment support for their views.

In fact, extremely tight restrictions on federal funding of abortion procedures already exist. This legislation is nothing more than the latest iteration of a favorite right-wing bogeyman.”


“Reproductive health and pregnancy are deeply personal matters and the choices involved are best left to patients and their doctors. As a pro-choice Democrat I oppose any new restrictions on reproductive rights.”


“I strongly opposed H.R. 3 because it limits women’s access to care and limits their ability to make decisions about their health care. This is another example of Republicans using social wedge issues to divide our county and distract voters from the real needs of our nation - job creation - for which they have no answers.”

DeFazio has it right in a nutshell: the GOP has no answers for fixing the economy--and it shows by their complete lack of effort to do anything but push crazy social crap--and the repeal of one thing that actually DOES save money: health care legislation.

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    Just a friendly reminder that the continued attack on women's reproductive rights is a faith-based campaign.

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    Thank you very much for continuing to cover this Carla and for contacting each of Oregon's congressional offices . I also see no logic in "The Rich Heiress Abortion Protection Act of 2011" and find it completely insulting that anyone thought the definition of rape should change to fit their anti-choice anti-woman agenda.

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