On Thursday, the GOP-led House of Representatives, with the blessings and encouragement of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops and extremist religious groups such as the Family Research Council, passed a bill in a vote of 251 to 172 that would, among other things, allow doctors and hospitals to "exercise their conscience" by letting pregnant women facing emergency medical conditions die.
This is what the Republicans called the "Protect Life Act." And no, I am not kidding. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called it what it is... "a savage assault on women's health."
Fifteen Democrats voted for what women's groups are calling the "Let Women Die" Act. These include anti-choice Congressmen Jason Altmire (PA), Sanford Bishop (GA), Dan Boren (OK), Jerry Costello (IL), Mark Critz (PA), Henry Cuellar (TX), Joe Donnelly (IN), Tim Holden (PA), Dan Lipinski (IL), Jim Matheson (UT), Mike McIntyre (NC), Nick Rahall (WVA), Mike Ross (AR), Collin Petersen (MN), and Heath Shuler (D-NC).
"Extremists prevailed today in the House of Representatives," said Debra Ness of the National Partnership for Women and Families, "proving again that they are badly out-of-touch with the majority of Americans who want lawmakers to focus on economic recovery, jobs and promoting, rather than restricting, affordable, quality health care -- not [on] an extreme, anti-woman agenda."
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called passage of the bill yet another reminder of how playing politics with women’s health and privacy is a priority for Speaker John Boehner.
“Americans are facing real challenges, yet House Speaker John Boehner is ignoring the public’s call for Congress to focus on jobs, “said Keenan. “Instead, he is coming up with new ways to give politicians more control over our personal, private decisions. The House’s attacks on women’s freedom and privacy are out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities.”The bill, H.R. 358, about which we have written extensively, revives the earlier failed Stupak amendment, which would force health plans to drop comprehensive coverage in state health insurance exchanges, cutting off millions of women from the benefits they receive today and prevent women from paying for health insurance with abortion coverage with their own money.