What do you do when your party overwhelmingly loses an election after making cutting off access to women’s health and birth control a major policy issue? Well, if you are the congressional Republican House delegation, you apparently go right back to opposing access to contraception.
Yes, the 113th House Republicans are taking off right where the 112th GOP left off, with Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn introducing a bill that would cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country, as well as any other reproductive health care entity that would even provide a referral for a pregnancy termination.
Blackburn informed LifeNews today that she has introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 61), which would stop the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from providing federal family planning assistance under Title X to abortion businesses until they certify they won’t provide and refer for abortions.
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The reintroduction of this legislation in the 113th Congress is similar to legislation [former Indiana Repblican Rep. Mike] Pence introduced in the 112th Congress (H.R. 217).
“Congressman Pence has been a champion in the fight to protect innocent human life and I hope to continue his leadership in the House,” Blackburn said. “As a woman, I believe America deserves better than abortion. America shouldn’t celebrate abortion and our taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, who profit from the destruction of human life with taxpayer money. It’s fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible.”
The Pence bill went nowhere, and with the pro-choice victories in Senate and in the White House, Blackburn’s bill will do the same. But it’s a clear sign that once more Republicans are going to do everything within their power to throw red meat anti-choice legislation to their base, regardless of the waste of time and taxpayers’ resources that it entails or whether the general public supports the policies.
During the last two years in Congress, approval numbers for the body sunk to single digits, the lowest ever recorded in polling history. Voters responded by voting out as many obstructionist, unresponsive politicians as possible. For most senate candidates, who were forced to answer to a much larger constituency, the choice was clear that voters were through with lawmakers who played politics with healthcare—especially family planning funds. Candidates for congress, on the other hand, with their smaller bases and highly gerrymandered districts, weren’t able to be held to account in the same way as their Senate counterparts.
There is only one place federally that anti-choice legislators still have any power, and that is in the House. Now it’s already abundantly evident just how willing they are to misuse it.