In History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on January 21, 2013 at 12:05 am

Republicans have no shortage of pet hatreds:

  • Socialists (by which they mean Communists)
  • Gays
  • Business regulations
  • Taxes (on the rich)
  • Obama Care” (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)
  • Protecting the environment

But there’s one group they absolutely love: Fetuses.

January 22, 2013, will mark the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion throughout the United States.

Undoubtedly, Washington, D.C. will be Ground Zero for both pro-  and anti-abortion demonstrations on that date.

Congressional Republicans have already signaled their position on the issue.

Tennessee Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R) and Diane Black (R) each reintroduced an identical bill during the first two days of the 2013 legislative session to deny Title X family planning grants to any organization that performs abortions.

The target of that legislation: Planned Parenthood, which receives about $340 million a year in Title X funds for non-abortion health and family planning services.

This is simply the latest in an endless series of Republican attempts to overturn or undercut the right of a woman to control her reproductiver organs.

In 2011, the Kansas legislature, Republicans sponsored a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would:

  • Levy a sales tax on women seeking abortions, including rape victims;
  • Exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withheld medical information to prevent an abortion;
  • Take away tax credits for abortion providers;
  • Remove tax deductions for the purchase of abortion-related insurance coverage; and
  • Require women to hear the fetal heartbeat.

The bill remains stalled in the Kansas State Senate.

In Florida, despite Governor Rick Scott’s campaign promise to focus on job creation, the 2010-2011 session of the Florida legislature passed no job-creation bills.  But it did pass five bills restricting abortion rights.

The bills:

  • Force women to undergo ultrasounds prior to having an abortion
  • Prohibit private insurance coverage of abortion care in the new state health-insurance exchange
  • Require young women to prove the medical necessity of their abortions before a judge in order to bypass parental permission
  • Establish state-sanctioned license plates that funnel money to anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” and
  • Starts the process of amending the state constitution to prohibit the government funding of abortion.

Florida Republicans filed a total of 18 anti-abortion bills during the 2010-2011 session, the third most in the country, according to the ACLU.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said:

  • “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies are “the choice of the women”
  • who should learn “that this is a mistake.”

Grothman recently introduced Senate Bill 507, which, if passed, would formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse.

Additional Republican efforts to ban abortion in 2011 included:

  • State legislators introduced more than 1,100 anti-abortion provisions and had enacted 135 of them by year’s end.
  • Seven states either fully defunded or tried to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides basic health care, contraception, breast cancer and STD screenings to millions of low-income women each year.
  • In Congress, Republicans sponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notifcation Act, making it illegal for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines to seek an abortion–even if her parents are absent or abusive.
  • Used attacks on abortion and Planned Parenthood funding to extort Democratic concessions during budget negotiations and threatened to shut down the government.
  • Introduced mandatory ultrasound bills.
  • Tried to narrow the definition of rape to include only “forcible rape.”  Under this change, a woman who was coerced, drugged or otherwise incapacitated by a rapist, would not be legally counted as a rape victim.
  • Republicans barred the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to help low-income women pay for abortions.

During just the first two months of 2012:

  • At the state level, Virginia Republicans introduced a bill whose original language required women to undergo an invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedure 24 hours before having an abortion.
  • Following widespread outrage, a modified version of the bill–requiring women to receive trans-abdominal ultrasounds, was signed into law instead.
  • With the connivance of House Republicans, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, tried to pull cancer-screening grants from Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics provide abortions.  Upon huge public outcry, this decision was quickly reversed.

  • The House Oversight Committee convened a hearing to deny contraceptive insurance coverage under the guise of “protecting religious liberty.”  The Democrats’ one female witness, Sandra Fluke, a third-year Georgetown University law student, was forbidden to speak at it.
  • Right-wing broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and Foster Friess–Rick Santorum’s chief financial backer–publicly equated birth control use to sexual promiscuity.

On March 8, 2012–International Women’s Day–U.S Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) marked the occasion by asking his Twitter followers to join him in celebrating National Agriculture Day.

Blunt had sponsored an amendment that would have allowed employers to refuse health care coverage of any kind for “moral reasons.”

It was voted down in the Senate on March 1.

Many Republicans are still trying to revive the Blunt amendment.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has promised to continue the fight in the House.

  1. perhaps you should spend some time researching and posting how many women have died and/or have been left damaged by supposed “safe, legal” abortion. Easy to find it if you want. Or perhaps the doctors who have sexually abused women or performed abortions in unsafe clinics…or how about spending time speaking to the women who have been injured themselves..you can certainly find them as well at silent No More or Operation Outcry, but no, you won;t do that because allyouc are about is abortion itself

    • I have no doubt that some women have died while undergoing legal abortions. I am also certain that some doctors have abused the trust of their patients. But that is not an excuse to re-criminalize abortion. If right-wingers weren’t trying to not only outlaw abortion but birth control–as several Republican Presidential and Congressional candidates made clear they wanted to do in 2012–there would be fewer cases of abortion. And then you have right-wingers who are all for the right of a fetus to be born–but are totally opposed to giving aid to those women who can’t afford the demands of a child.

      Personally, I believe that for most women getting an abortion is a truly serious decision, and one that isn’t taken lightly. And I remain convinced that however difficult that decision may be for the mother, father and other family members, it is ultimately the mother who must have the right to make it. She is the one who ultimately has to give birth, and, if she does so, she will likely be the one who must meet all the expenses–financial and emotional–that come with parenthood.

  2. Great piece, Steffen. Really appreciate seeing all of these factoids in one place. May I sound in?

    •Force women to undergo ultrasounds prior to having an abortion

    I would think this step crucial to the procedure. Abnormalities might be caught right here.

    •Prohibit private insurance coverage of abortion care in the new state health-insurance exchange

    Elective, yes. Medically necessary or in cases or rape… no, please.

    •Require young women to prove the medical necessity of their abortions before a judge in order to bypass parental permission

    Under 18? In order to promote proper after-care, at the very least.

    •Establish state-sanctioned license plates that funnel money to anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers”

    Ridiculous. You want a vanity plate? Pay for it.


    •Starts the process of amending the state constitution to prohibit the government funding of abortion.

    Why not focus on the problem instead of the Band-Aid? Find a way to add free or discounted birth control to the options available to those women who need government assistance. Make intelligent, pertinent guidelines. If a woman needs to choose between putting food on the table and shoes on feet OR buy birth control…???

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