Nancy Pelosi is trying to get our attention and it’s important that we listen--women in particular. In a conference call to reporters and progressive/liberal bloggers last Thursday afternoon, Pelosi said: [Here] [The emphasis is mine.]
They're advancing extreme legislation...It's dangerous to women's health, disrespects the judgment of American women -- I don't know if they even gave that a thought -- and it's the most comprehensive and radical assault on women's health in our lifetime. It's that bad.”
She was referring to three bills that have been introduced into the House. The most well-reported is H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, that was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R, NJ). (Remember that name.) Under the Hyde Amendment, current law already bars federal money from paying directly for abortions. This proposal, however, would go further and would deny tax benefits to employers who offer their staff health insurance that includes abortion coverage.
A second bill, H.R. 217, has been introduced by Mike Pence (R, IN) and this is even worse. This bill would deny federal family-funding under Title X to those groups that also offer abortion access. If passed, this bill would cripple organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Just last week we wrote about a despicable “sting” by a pro-life group on twelve Planned Parenthood sites in six different states. [Here] That was an attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood. Some of the same "sting" folks had blackened the reputation of ACORN, causing it to fold. (Why aren’t they in jail?)
The third bill, H.R. 358, was introduced by Joe Pitts (R, PA). This one is a lulu. This bill would allow hospitals to turn away women who need an abortion to save their lives. This bill doesn’t even mandate the hospital to transfer the woman to another facility who would perform the procedure. The current law reads that if a hospital which receives Medicare or Medicaid funding is unable to perform an abortion to save the life of the mother, they must transfer the patient to a facility who can.
One wonders how Smith, Pence and Pitts come up with these ideas. Do they just call the Conference of Catholic bishops for ideas? Of course, GOP conservatives just shrug their shoulders and say to their critics, as Steve King (R, IA) has said about the Pence Bill, employers should buy insurance without abortion coverage. It will be cheaper and they’ll save their tax benefits. Simple. King should have added, "the women be damned."
In view of the current conservative attack on Planned Parenthood, we must wonder if these conservative-reactionaries who are marching backwards into the Nineteenth Century, are now doing battle against contraception?
I have asked this question before but I ask it again: when are the young men and women who consider themselves feminists going to rise up against this assault on feminism? Nancy Pelosi will be 70 in a month and I’m 10 years older than she. Why are we the voices that are being raised? I’d love to sit back and see the young women and men become angry about these issues.
Why are our young women not taking to the streets? It’s time that they did. Maybe they should learn something about protests from the young Egyptians.
I’ll lend them my marching shoes...