Yesterday, in a vote of 251 to 175, 16 anti-choice Democrats joined every House Republican present to pass H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act. The measure prevents women from using “itemized medical deductions, certain tax-advantaged health care accounts or tax credits included in last year’s health care law to pay for abortions or for health insurance plans that cover abortion,” essentially excludes statutory rape-related abortions from Medicaid coverage, and forces women to prove, if audited, that the abortion “fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the [tax subsidized] health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.”
The GOP’s abortion push seems to undermine its pledge to focus on economic issues like job creation and deficit reduction — matters that received the greatest attention in the party’s Pledge to America and throughout the 2010 campaign. In fact, a ThinkProgress review of floor statements from the last two months suggest that yesterday’s effort to expand abortion restrictions undermines promises made just two months ago:
- REP. DAVID SCHWEIKERT (R-AZ): “There is not a meeting that I have as a freshman with members of leadership where jobs, job growth, economic growth isn’t the first, second, and third priority.”
- REP. DAVID DREIER (R-CA): “Our goal is to focus on job creation, economic growth.”
- REP. JOHN CARTER (R-TX): “If there is one thing we gotta do more than anything else we gotta do, for now and for the foreseeable future in this Congress, is help take down barriers and get the entrepreneurial spirit going again.”
But during yesterday’s vote, Republicans flipped, insisting that “there is nothing more important than protecting voiceless unborn children and their families from the travesty of abortion.” Watch a compilation:
As Tanya Somanader reports, some Republicans have suggested holding the debt ceiling increase hostage over the passage of H.R. 3. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) — the main sponsor of the legislation — has said that, “all options are on the table but that he has not settled on a specific strategy for moving the bill.” The measure is unlikely to pass as a standalone in the Democratic-led Senate, even though a companion has now been introduced. President Obama has also threatened to veto the bill.