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Akin and the GOP's Abortion Problem

August 23, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

Mitt Romney and other Republicans may be publicly distancing themselves from Rep. Todd Akin’s [R, MO] recent comment on "legitimate" rape, but most congressional Republicans are on the record supporting policies that create similar distinctions in law.

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Enough About Jobs Already!

October 13, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The House is taking a break from working on jobs, the economy, and other dull stuff like that so they can vote on an important issue that the people actually care about -- abortion. The Repubilcan leadership has scheduled a vote this afternoon on the "Protect Life Act," which would allow hospitals to deny abortion services even if it means the mother will die. Finally! HuffPo:

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a new bill that would allow federally-funded hospitals that oppose abortions to refuse to perform the procedure, even in cases where a woman would die without it.

Under current law, every hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid money is legally required to provide emergency care to any patient in need, regardless of his or her financial situation. If a hospital is unable to provide what the patient needs -- including a life-saving abortion -- it has to transfer the patient to a hospital that can.

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House to Vote on Abortion Tax Bill

May 4, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Under current law, no federal funding can be used for abortions except in cases of incest or rape. But that fact isn't stopping House Republicans from using the false premise of blocking federal funding for abortions to push legislation that would make it harder for women to use their own money to finance abortion services. Their misleadingly-titled "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" is lined up for a vote today, and, with 227 co-sponsors, it is expected to pass.

UPDATE: This passed the House, 251-175.

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The Real Problem With Funding the Government

April 7, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

After meeting late Wednesday night with House Speaker John Boehner [R, OH-8], Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid [D, NV] took to the floor this morning and said that agreeing on a topline budget number isn't the thing blocking a deal on preventing a government shutdown Friday night, it's social policy. “Our differences are no longer over the savings we get on government spending, Reid said. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”

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The Republicans' No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act will no longer propose to redefine rape to block women on Medicaid from receiving abortions unless the rape was "forcible" or deny abortion access to incest victims who are 18 years or older. But it would still radically rewrite abortion laws in the U.S. by expanding the definition of "taxpayer funding for abortions" to include all tax deductions, credits and other benefits, even in cases where the abortion services portion of an insurance plan is paid for entirely with private funds. The bill is scheduled for a committee mark-up later this week.  

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House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

February 18, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The Republican House of Representatives took their latest shot at limiting access to abortions today by passing an amendment to their 2011 government funding bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. There amendment has some big problems, however, and it's very unlikely that it will become law.

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House Republicans are backing away from controversial language in their No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act that would change a long-standing exemption in abortion laws that allows federal funds to be used for abortions in the case of rape or incest by requiring that a rape be "forcible" to qualify. According to Politico, the bill's author, Rep. Chris Smith [R, NJ-4], has agreed to amend the bill and remove the language after pro-choice groups and political commentators of all stripes expressed outrage.

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Redefining Rape

January 28, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Nick Baumann takes a look at the Republicans' bill to limit access to abortions, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and finds an especially odious provision:

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.

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The Stupak Deal

March 21, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Bart Stupak [D, MI-1], the pro-life Democrat who has elevated himself to the level of health care reform gatekeeper by withholding his vote and those of his acolytes over concerns with the bill's abortion language, has struck a deal with the Democrats and will now vote "yes." Stupak's vote basically assures that the bill will pass today.

The deal is that President Obama has promised to issue an executive order stating that the law's current restriction on federal funds being used for elective abortions will be upheld as the health care bill is implemented. The full executive order that Obama will issue can be read at TPM.

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The Stupak 12

March 8, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Bart Stupak [D, MI-1] is threatening to keep the House from passing the Senate health care bill (H.R. 3590) and potentially sink the whole health care reform process unless its language regarding abortion is amended to match the language he added to the House health care bill. The Senate bill already blocks federal funding from going towards abortion services, but Stupak wants it to prevent anyone buying insurance through the new Exchanges from purchasing a plan that covers elective abortions, even if they are buying the insurance plan entirely with their own money.

Stupak says that he has 11 Democrats who will vote "no" with him on the Senate bill if the abortion language isn't changed. That's enough to sink the bill. The names of the "Stupak 12" haven't been released, but Brian Beutler of TPM has whittled down various roll call and whip lists to produce a list that seems like it could be pretty accurate:

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In what were thought to be the waning days of the health care reform process, Rep. Bart Stupak [D, MI-1] came out of left field and introduced the issue of abortion to the debate - nearly sinking everything. Now that health care is again inching towards a finish line, Stupak has returned.

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Rep. Bart Stupak [D, MI-1] went on Good Morning America yesterday to say that he has the votes and is ready to sink the Senate health care bill (and the whole health care reform process in Congress) if it is not changed to match the language he added to the health care bill in the House. But Stupak doesn't have his facts straight on how the Senate bill's prohibition on federal funds for abortions actually works.

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Senate Rejects Nelson Abortion Amendment

December 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

By a vote of 54-45, the Senate today voted to table Sen. Ben Nelson's [D, NE] amendment that would have blocked all women purchasing insurance on the new Exchanges from buying a plan that covers elective abortions, even if they are paying for the plan entirely with their own money.

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The Week Ahead in Congress

December 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Today begins the 111th Congress' biggest week yet. Two of President Obama's most significant domestic priorities -- health care reform (H.R. 3590) and overhauling regulations in the financial sector (H.R. 4137) -- will see action on the floors of the House and the Senate.

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Senate Will Vote on Controvesial Abortion Language

December 1, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Strict abortion funding language similar to what Rep. Bart Stupak [D, MI-1] added to the House health care bill, which most agree goes beyond the restrictions that already exist under existing law, will get a vote in the Senate.

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