House GOP leaders face pushback from female members on abortion bill

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

42 years after Roe v. Wade, women’s reproductive rights in danger.

UPDATED U.S. WASHINGTON — Democrats in both chambers of Congress will introduce a resolution Thursday that asserts the “constitutionally protected right to safe, legal abortion services,” the same day that House Republicans will vote to roll back abortion rights.Support for an antiabortion bill is in flux amid a revolt by female Republican lawmakers concerned that the legislation’s restrictive language will once again spoil the party’s chances of broadening its appeal to women and younger voters.Jan. 21, 2015: Anti-abortion rights activists are connected with a red piece of cloth as they stage a ‘die-in’ in front of the White House in Washington. (AP) House Republicans searched for a way Wednesday to advance the new Congress’ first abortion legislation, hoping to avoid an inter-party implosion over a bill that at one point seemed all but certain of passage.The House Republican leadership is hunkered down in a Capitol office, trying to work out whether they can move forward with a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Lead sponsors and senior Republicans aides predict that the bill will pass — but that won’t happen until leaders address the concerns of the female lawmakers, who oppose abortion but are concerned about the restrictive nature of the bill and holding a vote so early in the new congressional term. Wade: Another occasion to tally up the attacks on reproductive health care in legislatures across the U.S., wins and losses in the courts, and ground lost or gained in the battle over women’s rights and health care.

Renee Ellmers says she will support an abortion bill set for a vote in Congress on Thursday after wavering this week and then facing a storm of criticism. The dispute once again demonstrates how the changing contours of the expanded House Republican caucus are causing rifts on issues where the party once had more unity. Unlike the last few years that were dominated by tea party-backed conservatives, the House now has more moderate Republicans from swing districts who could face tough reelections in 2016 when more Democratic and independent voters are expected to vote in the presidential election.

In the 42 years since that decision, abortion has been safely provided in doctors’ offices across the country — with studies showing that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the U.S. Some Republicans, including female members of Congress, objected to that requirement, saying that many women feel too distressed to report rapes and should not be penalized. Instead of just playing defense against Republicans’ 20-week abortion ban, Democrats are responding with a pro-abortion rights resolution that highlights the stark contrast between the parties on reproductive rights. Already this month, a large bloc of moderate Republicans voted against a spending bill that would repeal President Obama’s changes to immigration policy enacted by executive action. A 2013 Justice Department report calculated that just 35 percent of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police. “The issue becomes, we’re questioning the woman’s word,” said Rep.

Jackie Walorski, an Indiana Republican. “I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up,” Ellmers told National Journal in an interview late last week. “We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward.” “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials – social issues just aren’t as important [to them],” she said. “We are sad to report to you that Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has betrayed the pro-life community,” says the message, posted on the group’s website. Supreme Court’s historic decision 42 years ago, when women of means could travel to get safe care, and women without were left with few or no options. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. “We have to be compassionate to women when they’re in a crisis situation.” The divisiveness over the measure comes as Republicans, looking ahead to the 2016 presidential and congressional elections, hope to increase their support from women. In Texas—where the Roe battle began—politicians have enacted laws that have shut down more than half of the state’s abortion clinics and devastated access to family planning services. In control of the entire Congress for the first time in eight years, Republicans also want to demonstrate that they can focus on issues that matter to voters and not get bogged down in gridlock.

Sponsors say that exceptions would be allowed for a woman who is raped, but she could only get the abortion after reporting the rape to law enforcement. A vote is being held Thursday to coincide with the annual March for Life, a gathering that brings hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion activists to Washington to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. The fact is that obtaining admitting privileges is not a requirement for being a licensed medical provider; it is not a designation of the quality of a provider; and, many medical experts agree, it does not make patients safer. Late Wednesday, Ellmers posted to Facebook a one paragraph message: “To clear up any misinformation, I will be voting tomorrow to support H.R. 36 – The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protect Act Resources bill.

In fact, leading medical groups oppose such laws because they have the perverse effect of restricting access to health care, and they can jeopardize women’s health. I have and will continue to be a strong defender of the prolife community.” The vote on H.R. 36 in the House is expected Thursday on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. That’s because these requirements give hospitals complete decision-making power over whether physicians who provide abortion services will receive admitting privileges.

Just like other outpatient medical facilities, health centers that provide abortion have the staffing, equipment and referral arrangements in place to handle emergencies in the unlikely event of a complication. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. “It will never become law.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a brief interview that he believed the House would debate the bill as planned. Politico reports that six GOP congresswomen, including Ellmers, also expressed concerns that the rape exception in the bill is too narrow because it only would only apply to women who have filed police reports. Rene Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who withdrew their support last week and voiced concerns during meetings at the annual Republican policy retreat in Hershey, Pa. This episode, once again, lays bare the fissures within the House Republican Conference, and the leadership’s periodic inability to bring together the wings of its party.

On the popular conservative blog Red State, a headline blared: “Renee Ellmers is Worse Than a Democrat.” The concerns among female Republicans set off a scramble Wednesday among top GOP leaders concerned about how several “no” votes could be perceived by their party and the general public. Planned Parenthood has a national set of standards and guidelines based on the expert recommendations of the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).

I see women every day with many different reproductive health-care needs, but one thing is constant: Every woman needs the right to decide for herself, in consultation with her medical provider, her family, and her faith, whether or not to carry her pregnancy to term. When these decisions are taken away from her, she is unable to get the health care she requires to remain healthy and to protect her future and her family.

As lawmakers in Tallahassee consider policy on women’s health, it’s critical to listen to women’s health-care providers, who know that legal abortion is safe — and it will only stay that way if it remains legal and accessible. He cited “a lot of misconceptions” for causing last-minute disputes with the bill. “We’re talking about a measure that would limit abortions after five months,” he said. “America is only one of four nations that allows abortions throughout the entire pregnancy.” Women’s rights groups and Democrats have denounced the legislation as dangerous and unconstitutional. At the same closed-door retreat two years ago, Republican pollsters implored GOP lawmakers to stop discussing rape on the campaign trail and on Capitol Hill.

The warnings came after several candidates faced heat in 2012 — including former congressman Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who said a woman could terminate a pregnancy resulting from a “legitimate rape,” and Richard Mourdock, a GOP candidate for an Indiana Senate seat, who said that babies resulting from rape were a “gift from God.” Franks, who is an ardent antiabortion activist, has been known to take an aggressive stance on the issue in the past, often clashing with Democrats opposed to his proposals.

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