Republicans: Protect the fetus, oppose pre-natal care.

As the debate over the bogus “partial-birth” abortion ban goes on in the Senate, it’s instructive to look at the things the Republicans in the Senate have rejected this week.

  • They rejected an act to ban abortions post-viability. Their objection? It made an exception for cases in which the health of the mother was endangered; some pro-lifers have claimed that “health” is too vague a term.

  • They also rejected Dick Durbin’s bill, which would “ban all abortions after a fetus is viable unless two physicians certify that the abortion is necessary to protect the life of the pregnant woman or that she was at; risk of grievous injury to her physical health.'” Republican Rick Santorum said that since any pregnancy carries health risks, no provision at all that seeks to protect women’s health could be acceptable.
  • Continuing their war on women’s health, Republicans (and three Democrats) rejected an amendment that would have sought to reduce the demand for abortion by providing health insurance coverage of prescription birth control, and making emergency birth control available to rape victims in hospital emergency rooms.
  • Republicans rejected a campaign to raise awareness of the “morning after” pill, in an attempt to reduce the need for abortion. If it doesn’t restrict women’s lives, Republicans apparently have no interest in trying to prevent abortion.
  • Incredibly, Republicans also rejected providing prenatal care for low-income pregnant women (by making them eligible for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program). (Republicans have said that they’d be willing to provide the fetus with health care, but not the mother.)
  • Meanwhile, in Montana, a pro-life legislator says that he plans to eliminate funding for prenatal care unless he gets his anti-abortion legislation passed. If “his amendment fails, the senator will single out programs like the one that provides medical home visits for women with high-risk pregnancies. McGee might also target a modest grant that gives pregnant women vouchers they can use to purchase healthy food at the Missoula Farmer’s Market.”
  • And in an item unrelated to abortion, John Ashcroft is planning to demote the Violence Against Women office, so it will be less effective and powerful. (Republicans only oppose anti-crime measures is when the victims are women or the criminals are corporations).

Keep in mind what they’ve rejected. They don’t really want to ban post-viability abortions – they reject that. They don’t really want to protect fetuses – they reject prenatal care. They don’t really want to prevent abortion – they reject measures to reduce the demand for abortion.

What they do want, I’ll leave for the reader to infer for her or himself.

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