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The new Republican majority’s agenda is pretty clear when you look at their list of legislation this Congress:

H.R. 1 – decimate the programs that millions of middle-class families across the country depend on.

H.R. 2 – repeal the landmark law that expands health care to millions of Americans and prevents big insurance companies from discriminating against people when they get sick.

And then, of course, there’s H.R. 3 – which would restrict women’s rights to make their own health decisions and roll back the rights of women by decades.

These three bills read like a “to do” list for the Republican Party. And today, that third item is dangerously close to becoming a reality.

H.R. 3 is deceptively titled as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Yet it has nothing to do with federal funding of abortions – an issue that was put to rest for years by language in the Hyde Amendment that prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortion procedures. But for some, that simply isn’t enough. Since they continuously cannot muster the support to ban abortion outright, they instead attempt to make abortion care as difficult as possible. In this case, H.R. 3 attempts to manipulate the tax code to deny small businesses tax credits if they provide their employees with comprehensive health care, permanently bans abortion care for federal employees, and potentially subjects victims of rape and incest who have sought abortion care to IRS audits.

But the bill’s name isn’t the most deceptive or egregious part of it. H.R. 3 truly represents an unprecedented rollback of women’s rights by sneaking in a backdoor provision to reintroduce language that redefines rape. You might have heard about it on The Daily Show. And indeed, it would be a laughable concept if it weren’t so serious. Just earlier this year, facing a backlash from women and voters across the country, Republicans removed the ludicrous and now-infamous “forcible rape” language, which would have completely changed the definition of rape.

But while they removed that particular language, House Republicans have now reinserted a provision with the same intent into the bill’s committee report – meaning the outcome will essentially be the same: Republicans are narrowing the definition of rape so they can restrict rape victims’ ability to obtain an abortion.  They’re just trying to hide this deeper in the bill’s ‘fine print.’

Yet another troubling aspect of this bill is how it impacts women in the military. H.R. 3 would make current limitations on reproductive health care for women in the military permanent. When reports show that as many as one in three military women experience some form of sexual assault during their career in the service, we should be doing everything we can to address this crisis. Instead, House Republicans are compounding the problem by limiting military women’s reproductive rights.

So while Republicans ran for office last November on the platform of creating jobs and turning our economy around, it seems their legislative priorities lie elsewhere. Just look at the agenda: cutting crucial programs and services, repealing health care, and now – women’s rights.

Women and voters everywhere who respect women’s rights fought back earlier this year against these attempts, and we can do it again. It’s a fight we’ve had before – and sadly, a fight we’ll probably have again. But it’s also a fight we simply cannot afford to lose.

Crossposted from Huffington Post

Updated by Rep Bruce Braley at Wed May 04, 2011 at 11:49 AM PDT

UPDATE:

Watch my floor speech here:

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Comment Preferences

  •  QFT (10+ / 0-)
    So while Republicans ran for office last November on the platform of creating jobs and turning our economy around, it seems their legislative priorities lie elsewhere.

    Yep; that about sums it up.

    T/R

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Wed May 04, 2011 at 11:21:02 AM PDT

  •  Let's have a little talk about forcible rape. (11+ / 0-)

    I used to live in a very fancy house in horse country. I could see nothing but cornfields out my window, although I was quite close to a medium sized city. If I screamed, no one could possibly see or hear me.

    So I was cleaning out the refrigerator one day in my sweats and a man came into my house to rape me. He did not have to break in. The door was open and I felt safe in my fancy digs. He did not have a gun or a knife that I could see. He relied on his strength and weight to defeat me.

    Oh, I fought. And I was very strong. But in reality, he did not even have to strike me. No punching necessary. All he had to do was wrestle with me and wait me out. He could easily beat me badly or kill me without hardly trying or getting caught. I was terrified. Terrified.

    I was lucky. For him, the charge was not beating, maiming, or killing me.  The charge was getting me to give up and give in out of exhaustion and fear.  He smiled the whole way through the wrestling match. I was crying, and sweating and terribly afraid. He loved it. And he was more than good looking enough to get laid without raping anyone. But rape rang his chimes KWIM?

    He was very careful not to leave bruises or wounds or marks. He left no evidence of any kind. He was there and gone.

    According to Republicans, I guess that is "courtship." Because as we all know, REAL RAPE leaves bruises.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Wed May 04, 2011 at 11:50:10 AM PDT

  •  Thank you. (6+ / 0-)

    Those of us stranded with so called "pro-life" representatives (aka forced birthers) thank you for representing us, too.

    "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Wed May 04, 2011 at 12:08:44 PM PDT

  •  IIRC, service women who become pregnant (6+ / 0-)

    by reason of rape are also because of that at risk of the involuntary mustering out of the service by reason of that pregnancy. If it's improper to muster LGBT out by reason of sexual identity, its equally so for women who are the victims of felony and must lose their careers for it.

  •  I forgot to say TY, Rep. Braley. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2laneIA, RunawayRose, Ana Thema

    I am posting your speech on my blog. God bless you.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Wed May 04, 2011 at 12:40:31 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for focusing on this issue. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CherryTheTart, RunawayRose, Ana Thema

    The Republicans' agenda is grotesque and on full display now.

    However, the Democrats could do a better job of distinguishing themselves.  If you plan to win the next election, it's past time to stop sidling to the right, chasing the Republicans as they keep moving the Overton window with every budget fight.  The Democrats are fighting completely on the Republicans' turf now, and it will not help us win any elections, or help people who are out of work.  

    Instead of tolerating Chris Van Hollen's embrace of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, Democrats should be praising the Progressive Caucus budget.  In many ways its the only honest budget out there--no magic asterisks, no draconian caps that kick in without regard to who is hurt by them.  The President's budget is even more conservative than the one his commission couldn't get a full vote for, so we know where he is coming from.  

    Forget them both and start drawing some lines you (really) won't cross.  Not raising the retirement age for Social Security is one I would suggest.  The President promised that when he campaigned, although the disingenuous White House protestations about no "slashing" while refusing to reaffirm that promise speak for themselves.  Here's another line:  don't cut Medicare costs by shifting them onto seniors.  People who rely on Social Security for their sole income are living on $14k a year.  The real answer to Medicare's problems is attacking health care costs in a more serious way than has been done so far.

    Remember who brought you to the dance--for Democrats it's working people, labor unions, women, youth, Hispanics, African-Americans, LGBT people, environmental organizations.  You need them to stick with you, because Wall Street isn't going to.  Keep disappointing them and they will stay home, (see 2010).  Stand up and fight with them and they will fight with you (see Wisconsin).

    Take the pledge on Social Security

    by 2laneIA on Wed May 04, 2011 at 12:56:22 PM PDT

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