For more than two years two wars have existed, both related to the Republican Party. The GOP has waged a war on women for years; the division between the TEA Party and Republicans has widened within the GOP and is becoming a virtual war.
When white men in the Republican Party decided to legislate action which would eliminate any and all late term abortions, they quickly learned one previously ignored fact; women are paying attention, and they are becoming more powerful.
Democrats must be included in a discussion regarding the dismissal of women’s rights. They have yet to place women’s issues at the top of their agenda. Democrats failed to fight for pay equality, and denounce efforts by states to prevent poor women their right to counseling which would help them make difficult decisions about their own bodies.
The bill to prevent abortion was intended to reach the House floor today. Republican women, and some men, said they would not support such a universal bill. The votes were not there unanimously.
The GOP holds 246 of the 435 seats in the House. They do not need votes from Democrats to pass any form of legislation. It is a little surprising that Republicans supporting the bill could not depend on their colleagues when the legislation came to a vote.
Do not assume that there exists a split on the abortion issue among Republicans. The GOP stance on abortion has not changed; they want to overturn Roe v Wade. The dissention was in the details. For instance; the bill would allow late term, (meaning after 20 weeks), abortion in the case of rape, but only if it had been reported to the police. Some House members believed that a sufficient number of women may be discouraged by this proviso. Victims of sexual assault often suffer an inordinate amount of distress and fail to immediately report rape.
Another stipulation was the subject of incest. Minors who became pregnant because of forced sexual intercourse by a family member could obtain a late term abortion as long as it had been reported. One Republican Congressman pointed to the fact that this inclusion would allow a 16-year-old victim of incest to receive a late term abortion, but not a 19-year-old. He said ‘incest is incest.’
Republican Party leaders are disappointed and embarrassed that majority members of the House did not display unity on the first major issue before them. This may be a wakeup call. With the likelihood of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2016, women’s issues will be at the forefront of issues voters will consider critical. Republican’s attitudes toward women must be altered, and a qualified female presidential candidate must receive serious consideration for their support.
With Republicans in control of both Houses, Democrats are left with two positions of power. They can filibuster in the Senate, and the President maintains veto power.
Is this single issue simply another indicator of division within the GOP; or is it something else? Is it possible that for the first time in 14 years some Republican Congressmen will vote for their beliefs; for the ‘right’ thing; and reject a party line vote?
By James Turnage