H.R. 1797: Pro-women, Pro-life

During the House Debate for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and in its aftermath, abortion supporters evaded the scientific reality that abortion inflicts excruciating pain on babies by hiding behind their go-to “war on women” slogan. Although I firmly believe that we cannot and should not ignore the unborn victims of the abortion industry, I also believe H.R. 1797 is—in and of itself—a crucial piece of pro-woman legislation.

On June 17, 2013 the Obama administration released an official statement denouncing the bill, claiming, “The Administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.” Either the Obama administration and its allies are blatantly lying, or they are utterly clueless of the facts and data concerning abortion. Consider the follow baseless allegations:

1. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y): ‘‘The last possible thing [women] ever want to do is leave their health policy to these men in blue suits and red ties.’’

Rep. Slaughter—and those who made similar innuendos—were referencing the fact that all the supporters of the legislation in the Judiciary Committee (where the bill was introduced) were male. However, one must put this information in context. The Judiciary Committee is a 23-person group that only includes five females to begin with:  Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Judy Chu (D- CA), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA),  and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA). All five Democratic women also received a 100% voting record by NARAL in 2012.  This information only reiterates that these radical women did not vote on the legislation at hand, but rather in accordance with their premeditated and unrestricted abortion agendas. It is also worth pointing out to Rep. Slaughter that Roe v. Wade was decided by nine men.  Perhaps she believes that the men who supported Roe v. Wade are somehow more qualified to speak about abortion because they support it.

However, in the House—which includes a larger and more diverse sample of women—pro-life women representatives led the charge for H.R. 1797. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) spearheaded the general debate on the floor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) led the debate on the rule that Candice Miller (R-MI) presided over, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) oversaw the general debate. They were backed by an additional eight pro-life women who fearlessly argued for the bill on the floor.

But women’s support for H.R. 1797 does not stop with these stalwart elected leaders. As Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) pointed out, a recent poll found that 63 percent of women believe abortion should not be permitted where substantial medical evidence says that the unborn child can feel pain. Perhaps Rep. Slaughter does not agree with the legislation, but she does not speak for all women. Supporting H.R. 1797 is not a matter of leaving health decisions to a bunch of “men in blue suits and red ties”; rather, it is a matter of listening to what most women say they want with their healthcare.

2. Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA): “This 20 week abortion ban is a harmful measure that jeopardizes a woman’s health and her ability to have a family in the future by denying her access to an abortion.”

In his web of rhetoric fueled by his personal ideologies, Rep. Peters conveniently disregards objective, scientific facts. For example, Rep. Diane Black reminds us, “At 21 weeks or more, a woman is 91 times more likely to die from an abortion than she was in the first trimester.” Physical complications from late-term abortions range from cervical laceration and uterine perforations to serious infections and even death. The most comprehensive, long-term study yet showed just as appalling psychological consequences, like extreme substance abuse and Post-Abortion Syndrome (comparable to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Furthermore, abortions greatly hurt a woman’s chance of having a healthy family in the future. For instance, having an abortion increases the chances of later having a preterm birth and placenta previa (improper implantation of the placenta) in future pregnancies—both of which are strongly associated with infant death.

3. Rep. Hakeen Jeffries (D-NY): “We can only hope for the good of our country that our friends on the other aisle can get the extremism out of their system today so we can return to the business of the American people tomorrow.”

Peters (D-CA): “Instead of bringing bills to the floor that address the major issues facing our country right now, the Speaker and Majority Leader brought another bill to vote that is much more about political posturing than helping America’s economy or students. I ask the leadership of the House, ‘How many jobs does this create?’ ‘Does this help balance our budget?’ ‘How many student loans will be kept at a low rate by passing this bill?’”

Perhaps a procedure that exploits women and tortures children is not “major” enough to merit Rep. Peters’ attention; however, whistleblowers nationwide have revealed that the abortion industry profoundly impacts women and their children. Last July Ms. Tonya Reaves died in Illinois after a late-term abortion perforated her broad uterine ligament and possibly severed her left uterine artery. This past February Ms. Jennifer Morbelli died in Maryland from Amniotic Fluid Embolism after notorious late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart performed an abortion on her 33-week old baby. This past May two former abortion nurses in a Delaware Planned Parenthood testified that the clinic conducted “a meat-market style of assembly-line abortions” and put women at risk for hepatitis and even AIDS.  Ms. Itai Gravely is suing the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia for forcing her into having an abortion, and then leaving the baby’s head inside her womb. It is Rep. Jeffries’s prerogative to call measures that protect women from such scenarios as “extreme” and Rep. Peters’ choice to trivialize this as an unworthy matter. But as elected officials they are supposed to put these personal philosophies aside and promote public welfare—duties they have sidelined.

If the Obama administration truly seeks to protect women’s health and choices, it will pursue measures that are supported by women and are proven effective. It is imperative that the Obama administration does not allow a small cohort of radical pro-abortionists to claim the voice of all women. As a college-aged woman, part of the group targeted most heavily by the abortion industry, I am perfectly capable of recognizing that abortion abuses women, and I do not appreciate Rep. Peters, Rep. Slaughter, or any other ideologically driven politician to try to speak for me. Frankly, I find the abortion lobby’s claim that it speaks for all women to be the greatest war on women today.

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