Update [2011-2-8 21:33:59 by Mike Stark]:  Someone in the comments mentioned that the video must be watched.  If you care a single iota about women, they are correct.  Edited title to reflect as much.

I covered a press conference put on by Democrats opposed to HR 3 and reproductive freedom advocates.  Republicans are doing their best to chip away at the availability of abortion. If HR3 becomes law, hospitals will lose federal funding if they provide abortions and employers will lose the ability to deduct the cost of employee health plans that pay for abortions. In sum, the availability of abortions will be radically curtailed.

Dana Weinstein, a woman that never thought she'd need an abortion, tells a personal story in this video.

The press conference was attended by Jerry Nadler, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, John Conyers, Mike Quigley, Maxine Waters, Shiela Jackson-Lee and others.  Since the every Representative in the Republican House majority is anti-choice, and since there are probably dozens of anti-choice Democrats that will join them, HR3 will assuredly pass the House.  

In the Senate, Harry Reid is anti-choice and has been rolled by Mitch McConnell and the Republicans at every turn.  Moreover, procedure in the Senate is much more amenable to minority priorities.  Abortion supporters are hopeful, but nobody is saying with any degree of certitude that HR3 will die in the Senate.

With that in mind, I decided to ask the people in the room if they were willing to withhold their support from the President if he signed the bill if it reached his desk.  Nadler dodged the question, saying it was premature.  I pointed out that there was a reason he called the press conference:  that he didn't wan't to see this bill become law.  He stayed silent on the President.

Soon afterward, the press conference ended.  I approached Nancy Keenan, President of National NARAL.  I asked her if this bill was important enough for NARAL to tell Obama they'd sit out the election if Obama signed it.  She said she has confidence in the President and his pro-choice commitment.  I pointed out Stupak and the Executive Order the President issued after the health care bill passed.  Keenan continued to defend the President.

It was odd for me to watch several Representatives criticize Republicans in extraordinary terms and demonstrate that they had a full understanding of exactly how pernicious and dangerous HR3 is to women, but then refuse to draw a line in the sand where it matters most:  at the President's desk.  Either HR3 is atrocious, or it isn't.  And if it is as bad as the Members say it is, women like Dana Weinstein are going to want to know why Democrats didn't do everything they could to keep it from becoming law.

Originally posted to Mike Stark on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 05:01 PM PST.

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