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Senator Casey Introduces Two Bills to Limit Access to Abortion

Jodi Jacobson

Election season is just barely underway, but Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) is taking no chances.  He's already using your body as election collateral to position himself as a "conservative Democrat," introducing at least two bills seeking to limit your rights.

Election season is just barely underway, but Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) is taking no chances.  He’s already using your body as election collateral to position himself as… a “conservative pro-life Democrat.”

This week, when the world was aflurry with talk of debt ceilings, financial collapse and 9.2 percent unemployment, Senator Casey found time to introduce at least two bills seeking to further restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion.  Just for good measure.

One of these, S.1488, seeks to codify the Hyde Amendment, which currently exists as an amendment to annual appropriations bills and forbids federal funding of abortion care for women in need, except in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, and where the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. S.1488 was introduced on Tuesday, August 2nd, and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP).

The second bill, S.1489, also introduced on August 2nd, is yet another conscience clause bill, purporting to “prohibit the discrimination and retaliation against individuals and health care entities that refuse to recommend, refer for, provide coverage for, pay for, provide, perform, assist, or participate in abortions.” Conscience clauses abound in both federal and state law and are constantly being expanded to include the refusal even to refer women at risk of death from a pregnancy to a provider who can help her.  Apparently, Senator Casey feels we need at least one more. It has also been referred to the Senate HELP committee.

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Senator Casey is of course the son of another famous Senator, his father Robert P. Casey, Sr., whose name is widely known in part because of his role in Casey v. Planned Parenthood.  And the current Senator Casey, a Catholic, is very heavily influenced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the anti-choice group supreme.

As of this writing, neither of these bills has any co-sponsors and neither of them is yet available in text on line. But apparently Senator Casey was very eager to ensure that he got ahead of the pack to “lead” on restricting women’s rights to self-determination, to decide whether, when, and with whom to have children, and to be able to enjoy their own “right to life” should their lives be threatened by a pregnany gone awry.

We will update further here when the text of the bills is available.

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