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Friday, February 18, 2011

GOP+election pledge for jobs = New abortion assaults

Ah, yes. How familiar is the bait-and-switch in politics.

Some people who voted for President Obama two years ago felt duped. They thought they were getting Superman, if not Super Negro, able to vanquish all partisanship from D.C. and unite this country with the wave of a lanky arm, because voters ushered him into office on a wave of "change."

Didn't happen.

Frustrated, people went back to the ballot box in 2010 for a fix. They felt a need to send a message, push for "faster" change. The economy was stalled. Everyone and his brother was getting a bailout, on their dime, no less. It was time to switch bums, bring in a new set of folks with new ideas.

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Speaker Boehner push
 restrict women's reproductive rights. Courtesy: Getty Images/Alex Wong

For some reason, otherwise rational people equated that with the chest-thumping Republican Party of today -- thinking it somehow different from the party of 2008, or 2004, or 2000, or 1996. This GOP would offer that "change." After all, they said jobs would be their number one priority.

We're seeing daily evidence of how that's working. Last October, U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), now Speaker of the House, thundered that, "Americans have been crystal clear about what they want: more jobs, less spending and a more open Congress that respects and abides by the Constitution,"

So on the GOP menu for creating jobs, decreasing spending, etc.? Limiting access to abortion. By the way, it's federally recognized and protected by the Constitution.

Make sense? Does it matter? Anti-abortion is a Republican default stance, and the party is going full throttle.

First, it was hackneyed grandstanding to "eliminate federal funding for abortions." Never mind that the Hyde Amendment has made that law since 1976.

Today, the House of Representatives voted to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding. In case you need a refresher it's an agency that provides birth control, counseling and health services for men, teens and poor women, including abortion. That service, however, uses other funding streams. But that's not as sexy of a talking point and expect it to be glossed over.

Shocked? Don't be. It was laid out in the lovely manifesto of 2010, the GOP's Pledge to America. If you grew dazed by the rich pictures and rhetorical flourishes, just turn to page 6 for the blueprint of this latest legislative crusade, "We will permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion and codify the Hyde Amendment."

GOP leaders claimed that retaking the House was a mandate to do the people's business. To take a pulse of the "people's business," check a recent Gallup tally asking whether abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances. A rough 1 in 5 said it should be illegal under any circumstance; meanwhile, nearly 4 in 5 said it should be legal, even if only under certain circumstances. 
In fact, when asked the top problems facing the nation, abortion doesn't even make the list

Pretty clear evidence that it's not the most pressing issue for the American people. It's
still the economy, stupid. Maybe with a Republican lens, jobs are created by banning abortions.

Southeast Pennsylvania has 14 Planned Parenthood health centers, plus four more that provide abortion services. Statewide, there are some 45 health centers, sometimes lifelines for women struggling without health coverage; 12 percent of Pennsylvania women are uninsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Maybe leaving women in the hands of shady clinics/chop shops and alleged doctors like Kermit Gosnell is the ultimate goal. Something like Scared Straight! Abortion Edition! Still misses the point about jobs, though.

Then again, maybe restricting funds to a proven agency that provides everything from lessons on preventing sexually transmitted diseases to prostate cancer screenings will halve the area's 9.4 percent jobless rate.

Doubt it.

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