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After the electoral wreckage generated in 2012 by Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" and Richard Mourdock's "God-willed" pregnancy-via-rape comments, Republican leaders got the message that they need to change their message if they have any hope of narrowing the gender gap at the polls.

Voilà! For the midterm races, they're focusing on the money. Jeremy Peters writes:

Aware that their candidates at times have struck the wrong tone on issues of women’s health, Republicans in some states are now framing abortion in an economic context, arguing, for example, that the new federal health law uses public money to subsidize abortion coverage. In the House in the coming weeks, Republicans will make passing the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” one of their top priorities this year.

Democrats say their success this year will depend on how close they can come, given lower turnout, to President Obama’s overwhelming margins with female voters; in 2008, he enjoyed a 14-point advantage among women, and in 2012, it was 12 points.

That doesn't mean Republicans have given up on other approaches for attacking reproductive rights. Even as party elders try to push back on the taint of their "war on women" and offer sensitivity training to candidates so that there are no more Akin-Mourdock flubs, in Colorado, an initiative to confer "personhood" on fetuses is on the ballot and will likely spur higher turnout among social conservatives. And that, along with opposition to the Affordable Care Act, could make things tougher at the polls for Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.  

But in Oregon, signature-gatherers hope to put an initiative on the ballot to bar taxpayer funding for any abortion except when the woman's life is in grave danger. That would overturn a three-decade old state supreme court ruling saying there can be no such restrictions. This could make things tougher for Sen. Jeff Merkley:

“We don’t make this a pro-life thing,” said Jeff Jimerson, who is organizing the petition drive. “This is a pro-taxpayer thing. There are a lot of libertarians in Oregon, people who don’t really care what you do, just don’t make me pay for it.”
The reality is that abortion is already—and always has been—an economic issue, a class issue. If you're affluent enough, even draconian anti-abortion laws won't necessarily keep you from getting a safe abortion. If you're on the other end of the income scale, however, getting an abortion can be a struggle. The Hyde Act lets states opt out of paying for most abortions, as 37 states have done. And, as the Guttmacher Institute has assiduously documented, state legislatures are passing legal hassles at a record rate to make it more expensive and time-consuming to get an abortion.

The forced-birthers have shown since five minutes after the ruling in Roe v. Wade was announced that they will do whatever it takes to stop abortion. Mid-term elections with their lower turnouts, which frequently tend to favor more conservative outcomes, provide them another opportunity to make getting this legal medical procedure more difficult. Any collateral damage to Democratic incumbents or challengers is just icing.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 10:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Pro Choice, This Week in the War on Women, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They have lost the ability to think (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Shockwave, Eyesbright

    That, or they're accomplishing exactly what they are trying to accomplish: nothing.

    So far, it's working pretty well for them.  Sequestration has become the norm, they have reduced the availablity of unemployment benefits, they have reduced the amount we spend on food stamps, the military (and therefore the military industrial complex) is still doing well.

    So far so good.

  •  People with money and connections (8+ / 0-)

    have always been able to get abortions under good medical conditions. As you say this is primarily a war on poor women. As soon as the Rowe v Wade came down it started with the Hyde amendment and it has never let up.

    This is also an internal GOP ploy to hitch the social conservatives and the libertarians to the same wagon. They can all agree on not paying for it.

  •  Public opinion seems to be all over the place (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Portlaw, Joy of Fishes

    Poll: Americans Ambivalent on Abortion

    On the poll's simplest, straightforward abortion question, a majority said abortion should be legal. PRRI found only four-in-ten said abortion should be illegal. However, few took a consistently pro-life or pro-choice position. Only 19 percent said abortion should be legal in all circumstances; 14 percent said it should be always be illegal. That leaves nearly two-thirds approving abortion in some cases but not in others. These results a similar to those by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. A similar question by Gallup finds fewer in the middle category, but overall the pattern is the same: most Americans approve of abortion in some, but not all, circumstances.
    Then again, as the totalitarian Christians are a key component of the Tea Party/GOP base, the "abortion is murder" framework will dominate their politics.  The increase of the number of Repugs that don't believe in evolutionis another data point.

    The Roe v. Wade fight is still going on and IMO will for a long time.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:20:48 AM PST

  •  ...and the government uses public money ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    merrywidow, Shockwave, Sue B

    to kill others in wars, in covert operations, and political assassinations; all in opposition to the moral and religious beliefs of others. Hell, some of those that are killed are innocent women, children, and fetuses.
    Listen to the sounds coming from those on the political right who are crying for the fetuses being droned to death around the world...I don't hear it either.

    If my life was really that important someone would have put music to it by now.

    by glb3 on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:24:12 AM PST

  •  They've already thrown in the towel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude
    Democrats say their success this year will depend on how close they can come, given lower turnout, to President Obama’s overwhelming margins with female voters; in 2008, he enjoyed a 14-point advantage among women, and in 2012, it was 12 points.
      I see nothing in that quote that shows any Democratic interest in (a) finding out why midterm turnout is lower, and (b) what can be done about it.


    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:31:15 AM PST

    •  Wrong! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sue B, Meteor Blades

      No one is "throwing in the towel" other than the usual doomsters here. I know in Ohio, there are all kinds of efforts being undertaken to increase turnout with women. Our ticket this year is historic: it's half women. Our gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald just picked the dynamic woman who emcee'd the We Won't Go Back Rally for women's rights in October as his running mate. You would not believe how excited the activist women are, and they are the ones who work to motivate others to vote.

      The only thing that is "typical" is the do-nothing, rain-on-the-parade types here who work to demotivate others.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 11:58:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So its more like "Taxpayers for unwanted babies" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    Act. Makes sense to me.

  •  HR 7, passed by all male committee, is same issue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Joy of Fishes

    attacking women’s health care and rights and freedoms, and expands government nose in our bodies and minds:

    Last week, an all-male Congressional subcommittee took up the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” or HR 7, a far-reaching package of abortion restrictions. HR 7 would permanently ban low-income women in the District of Columbia from using their Medicaid plans for abortion care, incentivize business owners to drop private insurance coverage for abortion, increase taxes on some women who choose to have an abortion, and empower the IRS to conduct audits of rape survivors to ensure they’re not claiming sexual assault to evade extra taxes.
    It does not matter if GOP attack the substantive issue of abortion directly as they have done, or move on to attack the substantive issue by nixing funding, they are still attacking a woman's right over her mind and body, now with economic barriers.

    I guess the GOP figures this transforms the issue into one of taxpayer funding, but we'll just have to make it clear it's the same issue.

  •  What's with the ovum abortion poster? (0+ / 0-)

    I guess using a fetus would have been less effective in conveying the message?

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 07:55:14 PM PST

  •  Repubs, love fetuses, hate people. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WinstonsMyDog, sunbro

    I have always been awed at the lenghts they go to try to force women to bring an unwanted fetus to term. Then, work so hard to remove any benefits that woman might have to raise that child.
    Not governments responsibility to ensure children have food. Is government responsibility to ensure the child has the opportunity to go hungry.

  •  Economics my elbow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If economics was the driving force they would consider the economics of raising a child, even under the best of middle class circumstances.  Under the worst of circumstances we have an unwanted child who costs a hell of a lot more to the taxpayer than an abortion would have.  The bastards have that one covered too though.  Cuts to food stamps, early childhood education, everything they stand for and attempt to do is  anti-woman, anti-child and anti-family.

    It is almost like they are trying to ensure there is a steady and growing population for their private for profit prison systems.  

    They are hateful spiteful people who only want a certain type to succeed and if you have a vagina or any skin color other than pasty white you are not the right type for them.  And for us vagina carriers, we must submit so says Rep Pearse of NM.

    Well you know what, screw them and screw him, and the damn horses they rode in on!

    Being against gun control makes it really, really, hard to believe you are a prolife family values kind of person..

    by fromma on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:11:47 PM PST

    •  Agreed. The same inane economic argument is used (0+ / 0-)

      to not want to pay for contraception, when any good actuary knows that contraception is a lot cheaper than paying for obstetric care, labor and delivery care, well baby care, etc.

      And that's if all goes well, the costs associated with infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units is immense.

      Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

      by WinstonsMyDog on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 09:12:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wrong! (0+ / 0-)

    "The forced-birthers have shown since five minutes after the ruling in Roe v. Wade was announced that they will do whatever it takes to stop abortion..."

    They'll do whatever it takes to make abortions hard for poor people to get.  'Those sluts just use it for birth control; they shouldn't be sleeping around.'

    'Well, yes, Muffy had an abortion last year, but we already have four kids and she's 42 so the child might have had Down syndrome, you know.  She's not a slut.'

    And of course, they won't actually do whatever it takes to stop abortions... because that would involve raising people out of poverty, teaching kids about birth control, and funding Planned Parenthood.

  •  Apply Jimerson's "logic" to Iraq... (0+ / 0-)

    "Don't make me pay for it"

    I await my refund.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 08:03:46 AM PST

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