In her nearly two decades in the Senate, Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson doesn't exactly have the best record when it comes to women's health care. In fact, you can pretty much always count on her to oppose any bill that protects and expands women's access to health care, and if there's a bill to restrict or deny health care, you can usually find Sen. Hutchison on the floor of the Senate, arguing for it.
In 2009, she repeatedly spoke out against health care reform because, she falsely claimed, it included government funding of abortion. In 2011, she strongly supported repeated attempts by Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood and bar funding of women's health care, through bills like the Protect Life Act and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Most recently, she was one of the few women in the Senate to vote for the Blunt amendment, allowing employers to deny health insurance to their employees for conditions or treatments they think violate their "religious liberties."
In other words, Sen. Hutchison is no friend to women.
So it's a little surprising to hear the senator suddenly wax concern about low-income women having access to health care. And even more surprising to hear her praise Planned Parenthood for providing basic preventive health care to those very women she's spent her career trying to screw over.
HUTCHISON: We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low income women to have health care services. We cannot. We keep turning back federal funds that every state gets and then try to find money in our budget, which is already being cut in key areas like education. I do think that the governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so we can have our share — our fair share not more — of money for Medicaid to help low-income women have their health care services.Sure, it would be nice if Sen. Hutchison put her vote where her mouth. But it's probably a safe bet that Hutchison is finding herself in the unenviable position, like her fellow Republican senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, of trying to explain to female constituents why she sided with the bishops instead of women. Murkowski also voted for the Blunt amendment, only to realize what a mistake it was, express regret for her vote, and then get good and angry about those awful Republicans and their war on women. It's not unlikely that Hutchison is finding herself Murkowski'd back in Texas.
TODD: So it sounds like you think he should not be excluding Planned Parenthood?
HUTCHISON: I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms, they do so much of the health care — the preventive health care and they’re doing that, we need to provide those services, absolutely.
Now, all of a sudden, Hutchison is concerned about making sure women have access to the very health care, from the very provider, she's spent 20 years opposing. Hutchison isn't changing her tune because she's had a change of heart. Hutchison, like the rest of her rotten party, is seeing the damage it has done to itself by waging its war on women. Like John McCain, who called for his party to back off, Hutchison is probably reading the tea leaves (and the New York Times) and doing the math.
The harder Republicans fight against women, the more they lose. That's something even the staunchest anti-woman Republicans are starting to figure out. And that's very good news—for women.
(Via Think Progress)