|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
In a 251 to 175 vote this evening, 16 anti-choice Democrats joined every House Republican present in passing H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act. A chief weapon in the House GOP’s “comprehensive assault” on women this bill proposes some of the most radical and draconian restrictions on women’s rights. They include:
– Redefinition Of Rape: The bill sponsor Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) faced serious backlash after he tried to narrow the definition rape to “forcible rape.” By narrowing the rape and incest exception in the Hyde Amendment, Smith sought to prevent the following situations from consideration: Women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, and minors impregnated by adults.
Smith promised to remove the language and while it is not technically in the bill, Mother Jones reports that House Republicans used “a sly legislative maneuver” to insert a “backdoor reintroduction” of redefinition language. Essentially, if the bill is challenged in court, judges will look at the congressional committee report to determine intent. The committee report for H.R. 3 says the bill will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape” — thus excluding statutory rape-related abortions from Medicaid coverage.
The bill would prevent people from deducting the cost of an abortion from their taxable income, except when the procedure is performed in cases of rape, incest or when a physician certifies that a woman's life would be in danger if she continues the pregnancy.
Current law, known as the Hyde Amendment, bars federal money for abortions, with the same exceptions as those in the bill. But the bill would make the Hyde Amendment federal law, rather than a provision added to other bills that must be voted every year.
Abortion opponents have charged that the health care overhaul contains a loophole for insurance policies. Obama's health care overhaul, passed last year, creates state marketplaces for insurance known as "exchanges." It allows participating plans to cover abortions, provided they collect a separate premium from policyholders and that money is kept apart from federal subsidies.
The bill, written by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., disallows the tax credit for the expenses of a small employer health insurance plan that includes coverage for an abortion. Democrats said that amounts to a tax increase.
"I thought my Republican friends hated taxes, but apparently they hate reproductive freedom and women's rights even more," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.
Supporters of the bill passed Wednesday say the health overhaul doesn't go far enough to make sure that no tax money is used to subsidize abortions. Congressional estimates say the bill would raise only a negligible amount of tax revenue.
Opponents say the bill would make it difficult if not impossible for many women to obtain medical insurance that covers abortions — even if they pay for it themselves. They say the legislation could put the Internal Revenue Service in the position of determining whether women who get abortions were sexually assaulted, so the agency can decide whether the procedure is tax deductible.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said the bill is really an effort to prevent insurance companies from covering abortions.