Republicans and abortion: a fool’s errand

Let me see if I have this right?

House Republicans exultantly voted on Thursday, Jan. 22, for a bill (H.R. 7) that would forbid the use of taxpayer funding to pay for abortion.

The House Of Representatives votes on H.R. 7

The House Of Representatives votes on H.R. 7

So Republicans, who routinely rant about taxpayer dollars supporting poor freeloaders with too many kids who are burdening the welfare system, want to make sure that people who can’t afford to get an abortion have more babies.

The Hyde Amendment, passed annually as part of an appropriations bill, already prevents using federal funds to pay for abortion, except in cases of incest, rape and life endangerment of the mother, but H.R. 7 would make that permanent law.

The House bill would restrict the use of federal funds to cover abortions, including through the Medicaid federal-state insurance program for low-income Americans, government-owned health-care facilities and the tax credits available to some people to subsidize the cost of health plans purchased under the Affordable Care Act.

Of course, denying to pregnant low-income women any government assistance for abortions pretty much guarantees that more unwanted babies will be born and that the mother and child will be even more dependent on government aid. In many cases, it also means that the child will be taken care of, or not taken care of, by an unwed mother, too often a teenager, that both will struggle to realize a decent life and that society at large will bear the burden of their failure to thrive.

It’s bad enough that many states, with conservatives cheering them on, have eroded Roe v. Wade by adopting measures that severely limit access to abortion for all women, including restrictions that end up constraining the number of clinics in a state that can perform abortions. That means low-income women wanting an abortion are left out in the cold because they can’t afford to travel to a faraway clinic.

The pregnant daughter of a member of Congress probably faces no such financial barrier if she wants an abortion.

After all, a report from OpenSecrets.org showed the median net worth of a member of Congress was $1,029,505 in 2013, compared with an average American household’s median net worth of  $56,355. Keeping up the trend, half of this year’s freshman class were already millionaires upon their arrival.

Meanwhile, Congress isn’t the only abortion battlefield. Outside the Beltway, Republican gains in numerous states in the November elections strengthened the anti-abortion zealots in statehouses and governor’s offices.

And so the struggle continues.

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