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.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.
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.
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.