Leading Editorials and Columnists Oppose House Leadership’s Push on Anti-Women’s Health Bills
As three anti-women’s health bills, the Smith bill, the Pitts bill, and the Pence bill, begin to make their way through the U.S. House of Representatives, it is clear that these bills are an unprecedented assault on women’s health, would take away health care benefits and rights women currently have, would impose new restrictions that go far beyond current law, and are opposed by a significant majority of Americans.
In the past two weeks, several leading editorials and columnists have echoed Planned Parenthood’s opposition to these bills and have called on the House to reject them.
New York Times: The Two Abortion Wars: A Highly Intrusive Federal Bill. “House “Republicans are preparing to push through restrictions on federal financing of abortions far more extreme than previously proposed at the federal level. Lawmakers who otherwise rail against big government have made it one of their highest priorities to take the decision about a legal medical procedure out of the hands of individuals and turn it over to the government. Their primary bill — the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ — is so broad that it could block insurance coverage for abortions for countless American women.” (New York Times editorial, 1/29/11)
Boston Globe’s Renee Loth’s column: Archaic Attitudes in Abortion Bill. “Under pressure from appalled voters, House Republicans have removed the most galling provisions from their ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ — the ones that would have changed the legal definition of rape and incest as exceptions to the funding ban. But there is still plenty to dislike about this outmoded bill….It intrudes on the private insurance market to make it unlikely that any health care plan would cover abortion procedures.” (Boston Globe, 2/5/11)
New York Times’ Gail Collins column: The Siege of Planned Parenthood. “As if we didn’t have enough wars, the House of Representatives has declared one against Planned Parenthood. Maybe it’s all part of a grand theme. Last month, they voted to repeal the health care law. This month, they’re going after an organization that provides millions of women with both family-planning services and basic health medical care, like pap smears and screening for diabetes, breast cancer, cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases…. But here’s the most notable thing about this whole debate: The people trying to put Planned Parenthood out of business do not seem concerned about what would happen to the 1.85 million low-income women who get family-planning help and medical care at the clinics each year. It just doesn’t come up. There’s not even a vague contingency plan…. There is no comparable organization to Planned Parenthood, providing the same kind of services on a national basis. If there were, most of the women eligible for Medicaid-financed family-planning assistance wouldn’t have to go without it.” (New York Times, 2/4/11)
New York Times: The Two Abortion Wars: A Highly Intrusive Federal Bill. “A separate Republican bill would deny federal funds for family planning services to any organization that provides abortions. It is aimed primarily at Planned Parenthood’s hundreds of health centers, which also provide many other valuable services. No federal money is used for the abortions. This is a reckless effort to cripple an irreplaceable organization out of pure politics.” (New York Times editorial, 1/29/11)
San Jose Mercury News: Jobs, not Abortion, Should be House’s Top Priority. “America's top priority has to be creating jobs. Everything else should be secondary as the president and leaders of Congress look for ways to improve the economy…. Now House Speaker John Boehner has made the assault on a woman's right to choose an abortion one of the House's ‘top legislative priorities.’ Oh, that'll bring folks together all right…. this statement of priorities — placing this proposal ahead of building the economy — is an affront to not only women but also to unemployed Americans.” (San Jose Mercury News editorial, 1/20/11)
Albany Times Union editorial: A New Assault on Women’s Rights. “We thought representatives, regardless of party, were headed to Washington this year with a pretty clear mission: more jobs, less debt. So what's one of the first orders of business for the new Republican House majority? Assailing a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion. It's disappointing enough that Congress is cynically wasting time on a bill that is likely to go nowhere, and whose main purpose is undoubtedly to keep those campaign checks from the GOP's base coming. It's frustrating enough that a party that claims to be for smaller government tries to insinuate its morality into people's personal lives.” (Albany Times Union, 2/3/11) http://www.plannedparenthood.orgwww.timesunion.com/default/article/A-new-assault-on-women-s-rights-993604.php#ixzz1Cu8JULBE
Bakersfield Californian’s Lois Henry column: This Abortion Bill Needs Fixin’ – Now. “As bad as those parts of the bill are… the insurance issues are just as appalling. The bill, H.R. 3, would prohibit any health plans that provide abortion coverage from receiving any kind of federal funds. It would also strip away current tax credits and deductions for individuals and employers who buy private health insurance if those plans included any kind of abortion coverage…. OK, I get the theory of not wanting to have the taint of abortion anywhere near federal purse strings. But this bill goes too way far. My bank is federally insured. Do McCarthy, Smith, et. al. think that gives them the right to tell me how I can spend my money?.... Smith's H.R. 3 is just starting the process and (Rep. Kevin) McCarthy was sure it would be whittled back to reflect the Hyde intent…. OK then, Mr. Big Cheese Majority Whip, get 'er done. Fix this. (Bakersfield Californian; 1/29/11)
Fresno Bee’s Patricia Brown column: HR3 is about GOP hypocrisy. “I returned home to the Valley to HR3, a mean-spirited craziness sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. It raises taxes and penalizes women who, whether used or not, have coverage of abortion procedures in their current health-care coverage. Oh, this article is not about the 'A' word; it's very much about the 'H' word: hypocrisy. The ever-morphing Republican Party has long stood for three things: lower taxes, keeping government from meddling in our lives and the divinity of the Constitution. But HR3 has none of these things, hence the hypocrisy of the Republicans.” (Fresno Bee, 2/5/11) http://www.plannedparenthood.orgwww.fresnobee.com/2011/02/04/2260370/patricia-brown-hr3-is-about-gop.html
Bangor Daily News: Abortion Rights at Risk. “True to their pledge, but in defiance of the views of a majority of Americans, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have introduced an anti-abortion bill that goes far beyond current law and beyond any other measure ever proposed to take private health care coverage away from women.” (Bangor Daily News editorial, 1/25/11)
Journal News (NY) editorial: Going Backwards on Women’s Rights. “The bill's designation as H.R. 3 puts it at the top of the House legislative list, a signal that it is a priority for the new Republican majority. It includes other limits on abortion, including eliminating tax benefits for insurance policies that cover abortion. It should be rejected for what it is: a caveman-like retreat on sexual assault, women's medical autonomy and abortion rights.” (Journal News Editorial, 2/3/11)
Albany Times Union editorial: Drop These Bills. “The House Republicans’ decision to remove a single but insidious word from their anti-abortion legislation is a step in the right direction. But this is hardly a compromise that comes close to fixing all that’s wrong with what the GOP is trying to do. The ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act’ and another bill that would strip groups like Planned Parenthood of federal funding would erode the right of women to obtain not just abortions but health care in general. The same Republicans and, to be sure, some Democrats who attack health care reform as a ‘government takeover’ are the very ones trying to use the power of government to interfere with women’s medical decisions…. If Mr. Smith, Mr. Pence and the more than 170 cosponsors would truly like to improve these bills, we have one word of our own: Withdraw.” (Albany Times Union, 2/6/11) http://www.plannedparenthood.orgblog.timesunion.com/opinion/drop-these-bills/9186/
Albany Times Union editorial: Drop These Bills. ”The other bill, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, would prevent federal family planning funds from going to Planned Parenthood or other entities that perform abortions. Sponsor Mike Pence, R-Indiana, aims to keep federal money away from abortion providers altogether. Even if that money is for other services, the argument goes, it frees up resources to do abortions. That’s some slippery slope. Would Mr. Pence buy the argument that all funding for faith-based initiatives should be cut off on the grounds that giving religious groups money for social programs frees up resources for religious activities? More fundamentally, the bill is an attack on a prominent organization, with roots in a time when even distributing birth control information was illegal, that serves the reproductive and other health care needs of an estimated 3 million men and women in this country. By its own estimate, Planned Parenthood helps prevent more than 600,000 unintended pregnancies a year through education and contraception. How many of those would end in abortions, one can only guess. If Mr. Smith, Mr. Pence and the more than 170 cosponsors would truly like to improve these bills, we have one word of our own: Withdraw. (Albany Times Union, 2/6/11) http://www.plannedparenthood.orgblog.timesunion.com/opinion/drop-these-bills/9186/
February 08, 2011