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Losing Ground

carissa's picture
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This morning's New York Times: Afghan Women Fear Loss of Modest Gains

Women’s advocates are concerned that they are increasingly being shut out of political decisions. At an international conference in Kabul on July 20, which was meant to showcase the country’s plans for the future, President Hamid Karzai said nothing about how women’s rights might be protected in negotiations.

The very first meeting on negotiations, held by Mr. Karzai on July 22 with former leaders who had fought the Taliban, did not include a single woman, despite government pledges. When asked, government officials said that women would be included in later sessions.

Although Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has also pledged that she will not desert Afghan women and that any deal with the Taliban that traded peace for women’s rights was “a red line,” women remain wary.

“Right now it’s a big challenge for women to go to school and work, but at least according to our Constitution and laws they have the right to do so,” said Nargis Nehan, 31, an Afghan women’s advocate.

Who can blame them for feeling wary? Not me. When I consider how often our own government and political parties throw women under the bus to further some other agenda, I fully sympathize.

While we were gnashing our teeth over Shirley Sherrod, this happened.

Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) will introduce legislation Thursday placing a permanent ban on the federal funding of abortion.

While a 24-year-old law — dubbed the Hyde Amendment — already ensures taxpayers don’t subsidize abortions under Medicaid and all other federal health programs, the law is temporary, forcing Congress to pass it each year as a rider to broader spending bills.

The Smith/Lipinski bill would permanently solidify the funding ban across all federal agencies.

I have to ask, does this mean any hospital or medical center or clinic that receives any federal funds in any shape or form will be forbidden to perform abortions? That's how this reads to me. And that seems to be what all the forced birthers are saying as well. (Google Smith/Lipinksi)

The Susan B. Anthony List praised the bill saying, "The Smith-Lipinski bill will consolidate and make permanent a string of policies that have attempted to prevent taxpayer-funded abortion..."

More:

The Family Research Council (FRC) said the bill was particularly important in light of the federal health care law which it believes will fund and subsidize abortion, and also in light of efforts to open military bases to abortion.

The Federal HCR bill does nothing of the kind, as I've written before, here, here, here. And the move to allow abortion services is also one that would allow a member of the military to get an abortion using her own funds. Of course, she is paid by taxpayer money, and the base hospital is paid for by federal taxpayer monies, so you tell me whether or not she would be able to get an abortion if Lipinski-Smith passes. I think not. (see Sec 301 and 304 in the text of the bill below).

FRC Action senior vice president Tom McClusky charged that President Obama and congressional leaders have repeatedly attempted to “eviscerate” agreed limits on federal funding of abortion.

“We applaud Congressman Smith and numerous Members on both sides of the aisle for responding to the concerns of the American people by introducing a measure that applies an abortion funding ban across the federal government,” McClusky commented. “The American people, regardless of their views of abortion's legality, should not be forced to pay for someone's abortion.”

Um, excuse me? Last I checked, abortion is a legal procedure. One may not approve of it, but there is no debate on its "legality." On the other hand, there is debate on the legality on our invasion of Iraq, so why should any taxpayer be forced to pay for the war in Iraq? But I digress.

“We applaud all the Democrats and Republicans cosponsoring the Smith abortion funding ban, and urge all Americans to support this commonsense effort to restore government funding neutrality on abortion,” he continued.

Government funding neutrality? Don't make me laugh.

Full Text of H.R. 5939 Click on link to see all sponsors. My comments in italics.

A BILL

To prohibit taxpayer funded abortions and to provide for conscience protections, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’.

SEC. 2. PROHIBITING TAXPAYER FUNDED ABORTIONS AND PROVIDING FOR CONSCIENCE PROTECTIONS.

Title 1 of the United States Code is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

‘CHAPTER 4--PROHIBITING TAXPAYER FUNDED ABORTIONS AND PROVIDING FOR CONSCIENCE PROTECTIONS

‘SEC. 301. PROHIBITION ON FUNDING FOR ABORTIONS.

‘No funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law, shall be expended for any abortion.

I assume this would mean military pay or government pay. No federal employee would be able to have an abortion "using their own funds" since their "own funds" are appropriated by the federal government. How could they prove "non-mingling" of funds with a non-federally paid spouse? And forget about using your pay to buy a private policy that provides abortion:

‘SEC. 302. PROHIBITION ON FUNDING FOR HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS THAT COVER ABORTION.

None of the funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.

It gets worse. You know that tax exempt Health Savings Account that you plunk money into every payday to help pay the cost of your deductible or other out-of-pocket medical expenses? No longer tax-exempt if any of those funds are used to pay the premiums or deductibles for a plan that merely includes abortion, let alone using those funds to pay for your abortion! Further, if your company offers a private health insurance plan that covers abortion, it looks like your tax exempt premiums go bye-bye as well. Or no abortion services will be provided by your "private" health insurer. That's how I'm reading it. How about you?

‘SEC. 303. PROHIBITION ON TAX BENEFITS RELATING TO ABORTION.

‘For taxable years beginning after the date of the enactment of this section--

‘(1) no credit shall be allowed under the internal revenue laws with respect to amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or with respect to amounts paid or incurred for a health benefits plan (including premium assistance) that includes coverage of abortion,

‘(2) for purposes of determining any deduction for expenses paid for medical care of the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse or dependents, amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or for a health benefits plan that includes coverage of abortion shall not be taken into account, and

‘(3) in the case of any tax-preferred trust or account the purpose of which is to pay medical expenses of the account beneficiary, any amount paid or distributed from such an account for an abortion shall be included in the gross income of such beneficiary.

‘SEC. 304. LIMITATION ON FEDERAL FACILITIES AND EMPLOYEES.

‘No health care service furnished--

‘(1) by or in a health care facility owned or operated by the Federal government; or

‘(2) by any physician or other individual employed by the Federal government to provide health care services within the scope of the physician’s or individual’s employment, may include abortion.

AKA: military or veterans' hospitals. It looks like no military doctor can perform the abortion either, even if it is paid for by "private funds" since said physician is paid by the Federal government.

‘SEC. 305. CONSTRUCTION RELATING TO SEPARATE COVERAGE.

‘Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting any individual, entity, or State or locality from purchasing separate abortion coverage or health benefits coverage that includes abortion so long as such coverage is paid for entirely using only funds not authorized or appropriated by federal law and such coverage shall not be purchased using matching funds required for a federally subsidized program, including a State’s or locality’s contribution of Medicaid matching funds.

Again, the difficulty in proving that there is no co-mingling of funds will be a hurdle too high for most individuals or for any State and local governments.

‘SEC. 306. CONSTRUCTION RELATING TO THE USE OF NON-FEDERAL FUNDS FOR HEALTH COVERAGE.

‘Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as restricting the ability of any nonfederal health benefits coverage provider from offering abortion coverage, or the ability of a State or locality to contract separately with such a provider for such coverage, so long as only funds not authorized or appropriated by federal law are used and such coverage shall not be purchased using matching funds required for a federally subsidized program, including a State’s or locality’s contribution of Medicaid matching funds.

‘SEC. 307. NON-PREEMPTION OF OTHER FEDERAL LAWS.

‘Nothing in this chapter shall repeal, amend, or have any effect on any other federal law to the extent such law imposes any limitation on the use of funds for abortion or for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion, beyond the limitations set forth in this chapter.

‘SEC. 308. CONSTRUCTION RELATED TO STATE OR LOCAL LAWS.

‘Nothing in this chapter or any other federal law shall be construed to require any State or local government to provide or pay for any abortion or any health benefits coverage that includes coverage of any abortion.

So abortion for raped women or victims of incest is okay. And maybe if the woman might die if she doesn't get one. That fetus doesn't have the right to "live" but the woman who is too poor to feed another mouth? Fuggetaboutit. She must carry the child to term. And don't expect any help once the child is born either. She shoulda kept her legs closed. Or used birth control. Or fought off her drunken husband or boyfriend. Or something.

‘SEC. 309. TREATMENT OF ABORTIONS RELATED TO RAPE, INCEST, OR PRESERVING THE LIFE OF THE MOTHER.

‘The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion--

‘(1) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of forcible rape, or incest with a minor; or

‘(2) in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

‘SEC. 310. APPLICATION TO DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

‘In this chapter:

‘(1) Any reference to funds appropriated by Federal law shall be treated as including any amounts within the budget of the District of Columbia that have been approved by Act of Congress pursuant to section 446 of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act (or any applicable successor Federal law).

‘(2) The term ‘Federal government’ includes the government of the District of Columbia.

I see the 'conscience clause' will be codified into federal law. So, people who object to an ostensibly legal procedure will be given legal protection for not providing the service or providing information as to where the service can be obtained, but whistleblowers who follow their conscience and leak footage of war crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the federal government. I see.

‘SEC. 311. NO GOVERNMENT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CERTAIN HEALTH CARE ENTITIES.

‘(a) Nondiscrimination- A Federal agency or program, and any State or local government that receives Federal financial assistance (either directly or indirectly), may not subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

‘(b) Health Care Entity Defined- For purposes of this section, the term ‘health care entity’ includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.

‘(c) Administration- The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services is designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on this subsection, and coordinate the investigation of such complaints.

‘SEC. 312. HEALTH BENEFITS COVERAGE DEFINED.

‘In this chapter the term ‘health benefits coverage’ means the package of services covered by a managed care provider or organization pursuant to a contract or other arrangement.’.

Originally posted at Blue Lyon

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goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

...this is passed with a veto proof majority?
Not that Obama would veto it, of course.

carissa's picture
Submitted by carissa on

They're just preserving the "status quo" doncha know?

cwaltz's picture
Submitted by cwaltz on

preserving women's rights instead of just collecting money they would have placed a big ol target on Lipinski(and Smith too for that matter). They would have utilized the same boots on the ground strategy that was utilized for the NC clinic. Unfortunately far too often these "women's" groups are giving Democrats a pass until it is too late. Lipinski won his primary challenge in 2010 with a 77% majority and that's a damn shame for women who deserve much better from a "supposed" pro choice party.

They ought to be shouting from the rooftops that these men want women barefoot and pregnant and the fact that Congress has a) never challenged the Supreme Court notion that birth control need not be carried on formularies by health care companies b) not challenged the notion that birth control is an abortifactant. c) not challenged the idea that someone who sees you in his office for 15 minutes before seeing his next patient has just as much right to determine your health care regimen being paid for by you as you do. d) failed to fund low cost birth control for low income women despite whining about the cost of social programs(to the point it and smoking cessation were the only things taken from the stimulus bill)

The fact that they seem only to express outrage after the fact doesn't speak well to the idea of women's organization on women's organizations.

Here's to hoping some of you are like me and leaving yur comfort zone to speak to women about the war on their right to determine their own destiny.