by John Grooms
Republicans who won control of the U.S. House of Representatives vowed, first and foremost, to create jobs and get the deficit under control. They passed a repeal of health care reform because, they claimed, the new law would kill jobs; that was obvious nonsense, but well give them a pass on it. Since then, however, the House GOPers have spent nearly all their time, when they weren't busy reeling in lobbyist money, trying to limit abortion rights. First, they tried to limit taxpayer support for raped womens abortions by redefining rape in ways that would leave out statutory rape, date rape, and other types of "non-forcible rape. Public outcry over that boneheaded move was so strong, the House Republicans had to drop the idea.
Now theyve topped themselves. First, theyre proposing legislation that would actually allow hospitals to refuse to perform an abortion on a dying woman. Second, in a move thats raising eyebrows in D.C., the GOP plan to ban taxpayer money from funding abortions also includes large tax hikes for businesses. They do it by eliminating tax incentives for employer-provided health care benefits if those benefits cover abortion as a medical procedure. This would give employers the choice of taking away employees abortion coverage, or losing their tax incentives. Supporters of the GOP bill say the incentives are the same as federal spending on abortion an assertion which Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) says makes as little sense as saying, "the tax exemption for the Catholic church is the [same as the] establishment of religion and thus ought to be forbidden by law."
Recently re-elected Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is more blunt: "The Republicans in the House are proposing tax hikes because ... what they want to do is essentially make abortion unavailable." Her argument is supported by those who say the likely impact of the GOP bill would be the phasing out of abortion coverage in the private insurance market. Its also interesting that, according to TalkingPointsMemo, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce declined a request for comment, even though the bill, if enacted, would impact most of its members.