#DearJohn Boehner: how do you reconcile these statements with your actions?


I am a Canadian, so politically unsophisticated and unwise in the ways of the world. Tell me, dear readers. How does one reconcile this:

His promises on behalf of the new House majority — reducing the size of government, creating jobs and fundamentally altering the way the Congress conducts its business — are mostly as lofty as they are unspecific, and his efforts to legislate them into reality must be done with ambitious upstarts within his own party and a fresh crop of Tea Partiers, some of whom seem to believe that it is they, not he, now running the show..

And this:

“The American people have humbled us. They have refreshed our memories to just how temporary the privilege of serving is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them,’ Boehner said waving the symbol of his new office. “That includes this gavel, which I accept cheerfully and gratefully knowing that I am but its caretaker. After all, this is the people’s house.”
[,.,]
“I wish them great success in achieving the kinds of reforms and policies the last election was all about,” McConnell added. As for the Senate’s Republican minority, he said, “We will press the majority to do the things the American people clearly want us to do.”

…with Boehner’s House Resolution number three (the third resolution written for this new House)? Wherein, in an effort to reduce the amount of abortions being prescribed by doctors, rape is redefined to include only forceable rape?

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Considering that 71% of the people of the US are opposed to this bill (and that’s just the survey — you should see the outrage on Twitter on the #dearjohn hashtag), you’d think it’s a political non-starter. So how do you reconcile all these disparate claims and goals and actual action?

If the Republicans want to pass a bill to make it harder for rape victims to get justice, that’s probably a vote that can be used against them later, right? One can hope. I mean, it’s gotta be political poison to endorse a bill that essentially tells rape victims that their rape just wasn’t enough punishment. Right? RIGHT?

Reproductive rights are human rights. If you’re forced to carry a baby to term, or worse, die during childbirth, just because some politician has decided you must just be a slut, then the system is broken. The myth that people are using rape laws as loopholes to get abortions so they can be promiscuous without repercussions is JUST A MYTH. I don’t know how ideas like this have gained as much traction as they have.

Comments

  1. Rich Wilson says

    A divergence, but did you happen to see the clip of Kim Campbell on Real Time with Bill Maher while it was still up? Not sure if you’re old enough to have been into politics when she had her brief stint as PM. I wish I had seen this side of her back then.
    The main show got pulled from youtube, but the Overtime part is here http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/episodes/0/200-episode/index.html
    (just hope they don’t censor for Canada…)

  2. says

    I still like Kim Campbell. She got a bum rap. She took the fall for Mulroney.

    That said, John Boehner is a complete ass. But he is pandering to the 39% of Americans who told Republicans that they weren’t right wing enough. This is a move to try and pacify the tea party movement and the Religious Right leading up to 2012. It will die in the senate or be vetoed by Obama. But it will appease the base that has been jumping ship and getting disaffected, so it will get Republican votes.
    It may bite them in the ass in ’12, but dead legislation doesn’t normally get that much play.

  3. Mitchell says

    Yeah, think George is right on this one. The Dems may stab poor Obama in the back whatever chance they get, but even the bluest of Blue Dogs isn’t gonna get on this train. Good character point for Obama to show some balls, thanks to Tea Baggers being evil in a way that can’t be swept under the rug.

  4. Daniel M. says

    Abortions of course are “birth rights” when your not killing another human being. WHO, Jason, WHO decided where life starts? The mother? Okay then, maybe we shouldn’t put the guy in jail who forced babies out almost full term to put them in plastic baggies, like little science projects.

    Seriously man, this sort of injustice is simply disgusting to me. I don’t know how much power we should give politicians over abortion laws, but the simple fact remains that ABORTION IS WRONG. This is the message we should be conveying. I would much rather have easy access to the “morning-after-pill” for victims of rape than to suggest sucking the baby out with a tube. Seriously, Jason, it’s freaking disgusting.

  5. says

    Daniel, there’s a fuckton more nuance to the abortion debate than you or your bretheren want to admit. Read this. http://home.earthlink.net/~davidlperry/abortion.htm It’s excellent, and it speaks directly to the religious sensibilities rather than rational arguments like I’m trying to make. If it doesn’t convince you to step back and curtail your moral outrage, then nothing will, and you’re not here to have a discussion. Meanwhile, people like you are giving cover to people like Boehner who gives cover to rapists, making it easier than it ever has been (and it’s apparently pretty fucking easy NOW) to rape a woman and get away with it.

    Suffice it to say, my opinion is that a fetus is not a baby in the same way that a sperm is not a fetus, an acorn not a tree, or an egg not a chicken. Nobody’s talking about killing human beings, or babies. We’re talking about killing the potentiality of life, one that a woman should not be condemned to carry for nine months and/or give her life for, especially when she was fucking raped.

  6. Rich Wilson says

    I would much rather have easy access to the “morning-after-pill”

    That would put you squarely opposed to Roman Catholic doctrine that says condoms (except finally ONLY when used to prevent HIV/AIDS) are murder.
    We argue all we want over when the life-to-be’s right trumps the life-that-is’s right.

    I have three things I’d like to see:
    Fewer abortions. That a woman has to go through that is a tragedy.
    Earlier abortions. I hope we’d all prefer a 1st month abortion than a 9th month abortion (and I have my doubts as to how often the latter really happens, but for the sake of argument)
    Safer abortions. Need I argue this one?

    IMO, Boehner and the rest of The Family are just pushing #1s to #2s and #3s. We’d have the same number of abortions, they’d just happen later, and less safely.

  7. says

    Every single person in this conversation would like to see fewer abortions.
    Really, who wouldn’t?
    I don’t know where these mysterious “pro-abortion” protesters are that lobby for abortion as a realistic form of birth control and campaign that “you haven’t lived till you’ve had an abortion.”
    The Anti-choice movement needs to wake up.

    I’d personally like to see fewer unplanned pregnancies. Fewer rapes, fewer statutory rapes, fewer women who feel that abortion is the only alternative left. Proper access to sex education, condoms and other methods of birth control would do more to stem the tide of abortions in this world than anything else. Instead we have parent lobbying schoolboards to teach abstinence only sex education and get even the mention of birth control out of schools. I think we have to be more realistic than this.

    I think better sex education from an earlier age would go far toward the goal of teaching boys how to properly treat women too. We have the tools to make a real difference. Just like the war on drugs, we need to address the demand and not the supply. Lowering supply will never lower demand, even someone who thinks economics is a pseudo-science would agree with that.

    The anti-choice movement never wants to address these ideas because the vast majority of them are informed by a religion that considers it sinful to prevent the greater sin. If you only want to give them one choice, don’t be surprised when they end up with the ultimate choice.

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