After a poor performance in the midterms and a humiliating mess of a Speaker race, House Republicans are, believe it or not, seeking to pass not one but two abortion-related measures in their very first week of House control.
On Monday, Republicans reintroduced the misleadingly titled “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” which threatens medical providers with up to five years in prison if they don’t attempt to resuscitate babies allegedly “born alive” after attempted abortions, even if the abortion was performed due to lethal fetal abnormalities. (Medical organizations note that there’s already a 2002 federal law on the topic, and additional bills are unnecessary. Even voters in ruby-red Montana rejected a ballot measure that would have forced doctors to provide care to even nonviable infants against families’ wishes.)
The second vote will be a resolution condemning threats to anti-abortion pregnancy centers. (Not holding my breath for a resolution on actual violence at abortion clinics, including the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller and multiple more recent high-profile incidents of arson.)
In short, the GOP is proposing solutions to problems that don’t exist, mainly in order to paint Democrats as the extreme party if they vote no on these bad-faith measures.
Republicans’ clownery has gotten to the point where anti-abortion Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) is sounding like the voice of reason. “We learned nothing from the midterms if this is how we’re going to operate in the first week. Millions of women across the board were angry over overturning Roe v. Wade,” Mace told reporters Tuesday. “What we’re doing this week is paying lip service to life. Nothing that we’re doing this week on protecting life is ever going to make it through the Senate.”
Mace added that Republicans should be working to address backlogs of rape kits and protect access to birth control. Ultimately, she said she wants a more “centrist direction” on abortion:
Nancy, nearly 200 of your colleagues voted against protecting the right to birth control after Roe fell. There will be no moving to the center on their end, but you’re welcome to switch parties at any time!
Republicans were initially going to take three-abortion related votes according to a memo dated December 30, but decided to pause on one of them—one that would have made permanent the ban on federal funding for abortion. What incredible restraint.
Don’t worry, there are likely even more dumb votes coming, since anti-abortion groups want the House to pass a nationwide six-week ban this year, among other priorities. In a letter sent in December, the presidents of the Heritage Foundation, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, and Americans United for Life wrote that their wish list was “the floor, not the ceiling, of what we expect from a pro-life majority in the House of Representatives.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) President Alexis McGill Johnson called the GOP’s anti-abortion agenda “dangerous and unpopular” in a statement Monday.
“The House’s actions will not go unnoticed to voters, who overwhelmingly support abortion access,” Johnson said. “The midterms should have put anti-abortion politicians on notice. It’s past time they listen.”