So much for agreeing on at least one basic premise in the debate about choice, reproductive rights, or even reproductive health.
Yesterday, a Republican Senator used his power to put a “hold” on a Senate Resolution originally introduced by U.S.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Amy Klobuchar
(D-MN) condemning violence against women’s health providers, thereby blocking any vote on the resolution. Senators have the power to do this anonymously and with no explanation. This way, Republicans can get away with sorrowful expressions to the media on violence, but don’t have to be put to the test of actually voting to denounce the violence against either Dr. Tiller or clinic workers generally.
My use of the male pronoun here is deliberate: The odds are overwhelming it is a male Republican Senator, as Senator Snowe is a co-sponsor, and that leaves only three female Republicans, Murkowski, Hutchinson, and Collins.
The resolution, written and intended to be non-controversial, condemned the use of
violence against providers of women’s health care services. This condemnation of violence is apparently too much for some Republicans to bear.
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“I realize that the issue of reproductive choice is divisive and that
there are many heartfelt feelings on both sides of the aisle,” said
However, I was hopeful that, regardless of our differences of
opinion on this sensitive issue, the Senate could come together and pass
a resolution that rejects the use of violence against women’s health
care providers. It is a sad day when the elected leaders of the
greatest Democracy on earth can’t agree to protect those exercising
their constitutional rights.
Sad indeed. And i would add disgraceful. And telling. And honestly? I find it disgusting.
What does this resolution say that is so controversial it can not be brought to a vote?
The full text of Senate Resolution 187 (Condemning the use of violence against providers of health care services) reads as follows:
Whereas Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas was shot to death at church
on Sunday, May 31;
Whereas there is a history of violence against providers of reproductive
health care, as health care employees have suffered threats and
hostility in order to provide crucial services to patients;
Whereas the threat or use of force or physical obstruction has been used
to injure, intimidate, or interfere with individuals seeking to obtain
or provide health care services; and
Whereas acts of violence are never an acceptable means of expression and
always shall be condemned:
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) Expresses great sympathy for the family, friends and patients of
Dr. George Tiller;
(2) Recognizes that acts of violence should never be used to prevent
women from receiving reproductive health care; and
(3) Condemns the use of violence as a means of resolving differences
Original co-sponsors of the resolution first introduced by Shaheen, Boxer, and Klobuchar included 43 additional Senators, including: Murray; Durbin; Dodd;
Schumer; Lautenberg; Mikulski; Landrieu; Gillibrand; Harkin; Carper;
Sanders; Kaufman; Wyden; Kerry; Lieberman; Tom Udall; Levin; Brown;
Whitehouse; Burris; Mark Udall; Stabenow; Baucus; Cantwell; Bingaman;
Inouye; Cardin; Specter; Johnson; Feingold; Leahy; Tester; Snowe;
Begich; Akaka; Bennet; Feinstein; Warner; McCaskill; Reed; Kennedy,
Lincoln; and Merkley.
Republicans objected to the resolution from the start, urged its sponsors to eliminate references to reproductive health.
resolution faced objection by some colleagues on the other side of the
aisle, and the Senators were urged to eliminate references to women’s
reproductive health care in order to unanimously pass the resolution,” stated a press release on the issue.
“Everyone has the right to work for changes in the law, but there is no
place for violence in any of our debates,” said Boxer.
To assault a
health care worker, a patient or anyone else because of a disagreement
about an issue, regardless of how contentious, brings all of humanity
down into a dark pit of violence.
As a former prosecutor I have seen how acts of violence can tear apart
communities. No matter how heated the debate or how
great our differences, violence is never the answer. Supporting a
bipartisan bill that denounces the use of violence is basic common sense
and we need to pass this without further delay.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a
resolution condemning violence in places of worship. Shaheen, Boxer and
Klobuchar were asked adopt the House language in the Senate, but decided
to move forward with their resolution, as they feel condemning violence
against women’s health care providers and agreeing not to use violence
as a means of resolving differences are not objectionable viewpoints.
Well, apparently, they were wrong. Apparently,there is no common ground in the Senate on not using violence where women’s health is concerned.