However, the Obama administration has issued the following statement in regard to the possible passage of H.R. 358, called "Protect Life Act" from proponents and "Let Women Die Act" by pro-choice advocates.
From the White House
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 358 because, as previously stated in the Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 3, the legislation intrudes on women's reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restricts the private insurance choices that women and their families have today.
When President Obama brought up H.R. 3 in his statement, it referred to a bill introduced on January 19, 2011 and passed on May 4, 2011, sponsored by Republican Christopher Smith of New Jersey. The purpose of H.R. 3 is to make permanent the Hyde amendment restrictions, prohibiting indirect funding streams coming into contact with abortion services.
The bill received its harshest criticism by the necessity of the woman needing to prove she was forcibly raped, making her a victim twice, if an unwanted pregnancy would happen to occur. (CBS News
, writer, Lucy Madison, in her article "Abortion Rights Activists Decry House Bill They Say Attempts to Redefine Rape")
"H.R. 3 proposes making permanent some federal bans for abortion funding - including the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits health-care programs like Medicaid from covering abortions except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother's life. The Hyde Amendment is a provision that requires annual renewal by Congress that has been in place since 1976.
The bill exempts a woman from the Hyde Amendment limitations only if she has become pregnant as the result of "forcible rape. Critics argue that specifying the term of rape as "forcible" in the legislation qualifies as a redefinition that excludes other forms of sexual assault - including statutory rape, which is often non-forcible."
Tax credits would be denied to health plans that cover abortions, blocking anyone with insurance that covers abortions from medical cost tax deduction or from receiving federal subsidies---even if the abortion itself is paid with the individual’s personal funds. All this is occurring when America is faced with economic struggles and job shortages, with the GOP instead choosing to directly attack each woman’s constitution rights with a bill that is guaranteed to be vetoed by President Obama.
Supporters and top paid political recipients
Supporters of the H.R.3 are Republican-Conservative; Christian Conservative; Abortion policy/Pro-life; and churches, clergy and religious organizations. Specific supporting organizations are Family Research Council, American Family Association, Susan B. Anthony List, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Concerned Women for America, National Right to Life Committee, Priests for Life, and Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.
Top politicians who received the most money from supporting interest groups and who voted yes for the H.R. 3 bill are:
• Rep. Addison Wilson (R. SC-2) – $201,581
• Rep. Michele Bachmann (R. MN-6) - $166,372
• Rep. Tom Graves (R, GA-9) - $151,518
• Rep. Allen West (R, FL-22) - $120,766
• Rep. Paul Broun (R, GA-10) - $110,267
• Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R, KS-1) – $93,158
• Rep. Jeff Duncan (R,SC-3) - $79,047
• Rep. Tom McClintock (R, CA-4) - $72,637)
• Rep. Ken Calvert (R, CA-44) - $68,412
The H.R. 358 bill
With passage of the GOP bill receiving support from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and numerous other religious groups, H.R. 358 was sponsored by the hand-picked Pennsylvania Republican, Joe Pitts, a conservative voter in one of the most Republican districts of the northeast United States (NARAL
) and a far-right conservative with top ratings from the American Conservative Union, the Christian Coalition, and John Birch Society.
“Putting Joe Pitts in charge of a committee that oversees women’s health programs is like putting Lindsay Lohan in charge of 'Celebrity Rehab.' It’s just ridiculous,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said. “Americans who support women’s freedom and privacy should take this as a wake-up call of what’s to come in this new Congress. Anti-choice politicians are taking their marching orders from extreme groups that oppose legal abortion and other reproductive-health care, including birth control.”
Passed in the House on October 13, 2011, the Senate will now vote on it and then the President will veto it if it continues to his desk. On October17, the bill had been received by the Senate, read twice and has been sent to the Committee on Finance for review.
Republicans and groups that oppose abortion rights have remained largely silent on the issue. The conservative Susan B. Anthony List, which aims to advance the voice of women in politics who oppose abortion rights, declined to comment on the matter, and multiple attempts by Hotsheet
to reach Republican sponsors of the bill were not returned. (CBS
Terry O'Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), told Hotsheet she thought the bill was an attempt at "exposing women to the dangers of sexual assault after decades of efforts to stop it."
"It takes us right back to the 1950s, when women had to prove they were physically assaulted," she said.
Poverty level of the United States
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 approximately 46.2 million Americans were in poverty, the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people and the highest poverty rate since 1993. Since 2007, the number of women working full-time declined by 2.8 million.
Adding to this are people, including women, without health insurance coverage, showing a substantial increase from 49 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010. As far as inequality in income between men and women, statistically accumulative household income shows a slight shift toward inequality.
Specifically, pregnant women in poverty are affected by H.R. 3 and will be directly affected by the possible passing of H.R. 358, a population that really needs more solutions than to be targeted financially.
"...the House passed HR 358, which would give hospitals the right to deny emergency abortions to women who need them to save their own lives. Women with ectopic pregnancies. Diabetes. Cancer. Blood clots.
Some people are calling it the "Let Women Die Bill." One reproductive-health website used this headline: "House GOP to Pregnant Women: Drop Dead."
It's a little much. But it's also true. And it should scare all of us." (Seattle TImes)
Court Blocks Ultrasound Requirement in NC Abortion Law
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked part of a new abortion law in North Carolina, holding that providers don’t have to show or describe an ultrasound image to a pregnant woman or give her an opportunity to hear a heartbeat, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.