A bill making its way through the House of Representatives would have banned abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy was unexpectedly pulled and replaced with a weaker bill. The bill – intended to prevent abortions procedures of babies that are capable of feeling pain – easily passed the last Congress but met with unexpected opposition due to language providing an exemption for cases of rape, incest, and for the life of the mother. The sticking point came as a result of the bill’s requirement that the rape or incest be reported before the exemption applied. While I agree with the decision to pull the bill, the stated reasons for doing so illustrate exactly why we cannot trust the GOP to do the right thing.
Although I am emphatically anti-abortion, I can see a number of reasons for pulling the bill. To begin with abortion should not be a federal issue except for situations where federal authority is clear such as in military hospitals and where federal tax dollars are being used; in all other cases the authority to regulate or ban abortion should rest with the individual states. Since the GOP Congress overlooked that fact and decided to pursue the bill anyway, the objections over the reporting requirements should have been taken into consideration and fixed; unfortunately the Republicans who raised objections to the bill had a different rational.
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and other Republican women in the House expressed concern that the bill would harm the party’s efforts to reach women and millennials. In other words, the GOP House is willing to trade the lives of unborn babies for votes.
I’m sorry, but that is just the plain truth. Had they made the constitutional argument, or pulled it to make re-work the bill to resolve the issues with reporting requirements I could go along with it – in fact I would have encouraged them to do that – but to allow babies to die an agonizing death for purely political considerations is unconscionable.
Don’t misunderstand, I recognize the need to consider voter reaction on most things, but a legislator with integrity understands that some issues trump politics, and if stopping babies from dying an agonizing death does not meet that standard, nothing does. As St Augustine put it so well:
Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.
The decision making process in this instance is bad enough on its own, but it also illustrates the problem I have with the GOP. If they will allow politics to prevent them from protecting the most innocent and vulnerable among us, do we have any reason to believe they would not throw the rest of us under the bus when it comes to our First and Second Amendment rights? We already know they are willing to sell us out on healthcare and immigration; I have no doubt they are equally willing to repeat their betrayal every time it becomes politically expedient.