Preventing Abortions: How the Right Goes About it Wrong

Using common sense and “fighting sin” or the oil and water equivalents in legislative efforts to reduce incidences of abortion

There’s a bill making its way through the legislative process in the House of Representatives entitled H.R.3 — No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.  The efforts to pass it by some while ignoring more encompassing efforts to reduce incidences of abortion that are less punitive is another example of individual wills taking precedence over common sense.

HR-3  is something of a redundant bill offered by conservatives to apparently appease the religious right concerning abortions.  Among other things it seeks to prohibit federal funds from being used for any health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.  Current law under the Hyde amendment already prevents the use of tax payer money to be used for abortion services and states that any federal health plans that receive federal funds must keep that money segregated from any used for abortion services.

But this bill goes deeper in that it seeks to cut off any conceivable source that might aid in abortions for unwanted pregnancies by intending to limit exclusions only for those rapes where the “female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest; or in the case where the pregnant female suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the pregnant female in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself” according to section 309 0f the bill.

This consideration is compassionate when compared to more stringent anti-abortionists views like former Republican Senatorial candidate for Nevada Sharon Angle who felt that “a 13 year-old child who has been raped by her father” should not be allowed to have an abortion because, as she stated there is “a plan and a purpose, a value to every life no matter what it’s location, age, gender or disability … two wrongs don’t make a right.

Angle expressed that the 13-year-old should have to endure the pregnancy and “look for some alternatives” that would turn this “lemon situation into lemonade.”  because a “master plan” often doesn’t come as ready-mixed for instant results.   Clearly Ms. Angle feels God uses such brutal and traumatic methods to give greater meaning to a young girl’s concept of romantic love.

However, through omission, section 309 could be interpreted to disallow abortions with federal funds if rapes were the result of the more euphemistic term, “date rapes”; forcible sex with females of all ages between two people who already know each other and may have even had consensual sex at an earlier time.  A sympathetic judge and jury who hold strong “pro-life” views may be inclined to rule against a victim of date rape mistakenly feeling that she brought it upon herself.

Fortunately, for the time being, it appears this part of the bill has been removed after pressure was applied from opponents like the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, National Council of Jewish Women, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the American Civil Liberties Union.  These activists are now trying to diminish other aspects of the bill that appear to be aimed at low-income women, the most vulnerable population to fall victims of rape, by:

  1. Prohibiting the inclusion of abortion in any health care service furnished by a federal health care facility or by any physician or other individual employed by the federal government.
  2. Enhances the legal capabilities of the courts to go after suspected violators of federal limitations to abortion funding through the use of injunctions or preventing the disbursement of all or a portion of federal financial assistance until the prohibited conduct has ceased.
  3. Bolsters the HHS Office for Civil Rights of the Department to receive, investigate, and refer to the appropriate federal agency complaints alleging a violation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) abortion provisions.
  4. Deny any tax credits or benefits for private insurers’ policies that includes coverage of abortion, including any medical deduction for such amounts or any credit for such an employer-sponsored plan.

Among the 173 congressional delegates that support the bill, including 8 Democrats, are the American Family Association, National Right to Life Committee, Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council, Priests for Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The American Family Association (AFA) sent out a legislative action alert expressing the belief that “If this bill is signed into law, you will never again be troubled by the thought that some of the money you send to the IRS is being siphoned off to kill babies in the womb.”

Opponents like the AFA oppose funding for abortions from the moment of conception as well as any tax payer funded efforts of contraception. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church(a partner in their opposition to HR 3) who think contraception is immoral, Bryan Fischer with the AFA says they are not, at least with married couples, but implies as much in a comment of his that says “We want married couples to have more children, not fewer. Our problem is not that married couples are having too many kids, our problem is that they aren’t having enough.” Fischer even goes as far as recommending that “the American standard ought to be a minimum of three children per married couple.”

The view taken by those on the right that links any and all federal funding to abortion often overlooks efforts by Democrats who consider themselves pro-life that seek ways to prevent abortion by educating young women not only about contraception but how to cope and deal with carrying unwanted and unexpected pregnancies to full term.  In 2006 Democrat Lincoln Davis of Tennessee proposed an initiative known as “95-10” that sought to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S. by 95 percent over the course of 10 years.  With the aid of his Senate counterpart, Bob Casey (D-Pa), the initiative was generated in both Houses in 2009 under the title of the Pregnant Women Support Act.

The “Democrats for LIfe” website support this bill as a means of assisting “pregnant women who wish to carry their pregnancies to term but because of lack of resources believe abortion is their only option.” The intent is to use federal resources to avoid abortion, not by narrowing women’s access to quality health resources, but to encourage them to carry their pregnancy to full term and then choose to either keep the child or put it up for adoption.  Many poor women avoid this objective often because they lack the financial and private support means to carry such an option through.

The bill was stalled in Congress and never became law.  The last known action to re-introduce this legislation was in June, 2010 when it was referred to the House Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry.  It has not progressed beyond that point.

It hasn’t been revealed why this sensible bill never saw the light of day in Congress.  Doubt and suspicion too often surfaces with members of Congress that align themselves with entrenched supporters of their separate views on the issue of abortion.   Those who claim to want what’s best for the mother and her unborn child seem never willing to concede territory that they suspect will lead to further abuses and deprivations of choice.

In an era of political gridlock one more attempt to improve the health and welfare of the least empowered of citizens becomes a cause-celebre for so-called principled stands.  The result seems to be putting women at risk along with the life they carry inside them.  The right’s attempt to prevent healthy outlets that allow poor pregnant women to avert abortions is stuck in a mode of thought that seems bent on condemning their actions for getting pregnant more than it aims to save the life of the unborn.


RELATED ARTICLE:  Bill Redefining Rape to Prevent Abortions is ‘A Violent Act Against Women

7 responses to “Preventing Abortions: How the Right Goes About it Wrong

  1. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent me a petition and I signed it because according to them the right wing now wants to redefine rape as well saying that forcible rape should exclude women who are drugged and statutory rape. What kind of crap is this? Rape is rape. It is a way for the right wing to put more bans on abortion. I don’t even know if I am pro-choice, to be honest. I think nothing is black and white so I want abortion kept legal. Would I rather a woman put a child up for adoption? Yes I do. I agree with Bill Clinton who said that abortion should be not only be safe and legal but rare. These over-the-top right wing groups scare me. And if it’s legal, women should be allowed federal aid to obtain them.

    • The object for the religious right GOP to redefine rape was to squeeze every aspect of defunding abortion they can conceive of. Poorer, single teen moms are who will be hurt by such legislation. What cruel bastards these people are.

      Fortunately, as I pointed out, this part of the bill got pulled – section 309. But we’ll watch for them to sneak it back in later before this bill reaches the floor of either House for a final vote

  2. I would like to add something meaningful to this discussion, but we just started being civil to one another.

    I’m going to leave this issue alone……………………….(((((Convulsing…..Seething With Contempt!!!!))))

    I oppose abortion completely, so suffice it to say, I support this resolution wholeheartedly. I don’t care if it’s a sneaky way of pushing the pro-life dogma; good!

    • Thanks for showing some restraint Terrance. I am aware of your stance on this issue.

      So, you and Sharon Angle are okay with forcing a 13 year old to endure the results of a rape because of … your faith beliefs?

      Also, why wouldn’t conservatives get behind the Pregnant Women Support Act that focuses primarily on providing a support base for poor pregnant teens that encourage them to choose life and then are there for them to support them financially and emotionally throughout the pregnancy? Why would pro-life people be opposed to using federal funds for this but seemingly have no problem with supporting funding for wars that take innocent life, or what some of them like to refer to as “collateral damage”?

  3. lbwoodgate,

    I actually believe RU-486 should be available over the counter – in small doses – at an affordable price. That way women can alleviate any chance of pregnancy without hospital personnel alerting the authorities. It would serve as the “morning after pill.”

    The sad thing about any abortion debate is that pro-choicers often hijack the discussion by bringing up rape and incest, even though they only result in pregnancy less than 1% of the time. That, to me, is a pretty weak reason for all abortions to remain legal.

    I support a comprehensive welfare system, because not only does it reduce the number of abortions, but it’s cheaper in the longrun. My comprehensive system is in fact too involved for me to discuss here, though I plan to write a blog on it. But Federal funds should not be given to family planning organizations.

    • I commend your positions Terrance on RU-486 and a comprehensive welfare system that would aid in the reduction of abortions. I think with these two things in place the other 99% of abortions would be lowered dramatically.

      It should be understood however that nobody wants to see any woman or young girl endure an abortion but some women, especially teens, are vulnerable to sexual intimidation. I know that a lot of pro-lifers feel that there is no excuse for them to give in to their sexual urges but that is unrealistic. Many teen pregnancies occur in low-income communities where women are raised to feel inferior to men and only feel accepted by being desired by men.

      Being wanted is also a basic human instinct and combined with the other natural instinct of sexual drives this population of females are more susceptible to unwanted pregnancies. Fighting off attempts at sexual intercourse can often result in physical abuse so for them it is easier to succumb and hope the sperm injected in them doesn’t fertilize in the womb

      When it does, as is the case most of the time, they are faced with a prospect of having this baby they didn’t want (and whose father didn’t either nor remains around to help with) from social pressure or aborting it so they can have some semblance of a normal life with normal young girl expectations.

      Until we as a society can come to grips with this situation and address it, these women too should have the right to undo what they neither wanted or were emotionally capable of expecting. Sadly though I think it is the pro-life people who hi-jack the discussion as equally as you feel the pro-choice crowd does and sees only wanton women who flippantly have sex and then abort their their pregnancies with little or no concern about what they are doing.

      Both sides could educate their advocates to see things in broader terms so we can get this problem under control.

      Be sure and alert me when you do get around to writing that piece on a comprehensive welfare system. I’ll look forward to what you have to offer.

  4. lbwoodgate,

    I’m not going to argue the issue of abortion, because we’d only be beating a dead horse. I will only say that it is not unrealistic to expect people to take responsibility for their actions. Abstinence-education does in fact work, but more than that, however, most forms of female birth-control are 99.9% effective. There is no reason for teenagers, or anyone for that matter, to get pregnant if they are behaving responsibly, and refraining from sex is not necessary in order to be responsible.

    I reject your contention there is such a thing as “unwanted children,” but let’s, for a moment, imagine you are correct. So what? Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers, was an orphan. When he was alive someone should have asked him what his quality of life was like….

    I could also provide more than a few studies which indicate that abortion in fact puts women at greater risk of developing mental illness. I am aware of the APAs stance, but they rely on a single study by Brenda Major which is easily ripped apart. I would quote the British Medical Journal, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and STAKES for proof.

    I do believe both men and women behave irresponsible and then rely on abortion. That’s not so much an example of hijacking as a statement of fact. You and I both know many, many women rely on abortion as a form of birth-control.

    In any event, there is far too much too discuss to keep bantering back and forth on here. I will write a blog post within the week explaining my position quite clearly.

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