Today is the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is also the 42nd year pro-lifers are gathered in Washington, DC to march for life. To mark the occasion, the House was supposed to vote on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks – the time at which unborn children can feel pain. Instead, they are voting on a bill that will ban federal money from being used for abortion services. While keeping federal money out of abortions is important, why the sudden change of plans? Good question.
The lead-up to the vote that was supposed to take place today was strong. With a Republican majority, the support of the majority of Americans and a bill that has already passed the House once before, today’s vote should have been the easiest one of all the issues the Republicans have said they will tackle. Senator Joni Ernst even affirmed the importance of the pro-life issue in her response to the State of the Union saying, “We’ll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.”
The apparent issue that kept the House from following through on today’s vote was a squabble over a rape exception included in the bill:
Several House GOP women protested language in the bill that requires those women who seek an exception to the ban because they were raped have to back up their claim with a police report. A similar measure has passed the House in 2013, but this time some female members — including some who voted for it last time — are pushing for that requirement to be stripped out.
The charge to toss the bill was led by [mc_name name=”Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)” chamber=”house” mcid=”E000291″ ] and [mc_name name=”Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)” chamber=”house” mcid=”W000813″ ], who, despite having ample time to bring up their issue, waited until this week to stir up trouble. Additionally, Ellmers and Walorski were worried that voting on the bill could hurt 2016 efforts with women and young voters – many of who are marching for life today in DC.
So what kind of message does this huge fumble send to voters? According to MSNBC:
Pro-choice organizations couldn’t hide their glee. “I never thought I would see the day that the Tea Party-led House of Representatives would wake up to the fact that their priorities—outright abortion bans–are way out of touch with the American people. The GOP drafted a bill so extreme and so out of touch with the voters that even their own membership could not support,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue. And Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said, “These attacks are so dangerous, extreme, and unpopular that House Republicans can’t even get their membership lined up behind them.”
Congratulations GOP! The Democrats didn’t even have to deflate the ball, you just handed it to them! If you can’t get your act together to vote on a bill that has already been passed previously, what can we possibly expect from you going forward? And to have a bill focused on helping women and children be destroyed by women? As a voting woman, I feel beyond betrayed. Ellmers, Walorski and all the other members they led away from this bill owe voters an explanation beyond a Facebook update that doesn’t even address their “revolt,” as Think Progress is calling it.
Abortions overall are down. The tide is turning. As is evident in DC today, pro-lifers have been and will continue to work tirelessly to defend life. Will you, GOP, do the job we sent you there to do? Or will you continue to play politics with the unborn children who are depending on you?