House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has named 6 Democrats to the Select Investigative Panel on abortion providers. Democrats initially considered boycotting the GOP-convened committee altogether, but they have since decided to have members of the minority party present, to stand up for the truth.
Pelosi and the Democrats came out swinging on Wednesday, by referring to the panel derisively as “the Select Committee to Attack Women’s Health”. Even without that verbal barb, Democrats made it clear they were ready for battle, as Pelosi’s list of names includes six of the strongest pro-choice advocates in the U.S. House.
Pelosi chose Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to serve as the ranking Democrat on the committee. Schakowsky will be joined by four other Democratic women–Jackie Speier (CA), Dianna DeGette (CO), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ) and Suzan DelBene (WA). New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler will join the five Democratic women as the lone Democratic male representative on the panel.
In announcing her appointees, Pelosi stated:
I am proud to name six strong champions of women, families and facts to stand up against the latest Republican assault on women’s health. Hard-working families deserve better than a taxpayer-funded Republican Select Committee fixated on dismantling women’s health.
Schakowksy made it clear she would fight for women’s reproductive rights, announcing:
I can assure you, my plan is to be on the offensive. . . I think the Republicans will actually regret having started this witch hunt.
Rep. Jackie Speier sounded a similarly combative tone, stating:
On their first day in power as a majority in 2011, Republicans introduced H.R. 1, a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. They have introduced bills attacking women’s health with a vengeance ever since, and earlier this year they threatened to shut down the government unless we de-fund Planned Parenthood…
Now they’ve set up a Select Committee with no apparent purpose but to spend millions of taxpayer dollars demonizing Planned Parenthood. We have to make sure the public gets the truth: That 2.7 million women and men a year use Planned Parenthood for health services like cancer screenings, pap smears, and STD tests, and those services save lives.
Rest assured I will fight to make sure the needs of millions of people who use Planned Parenthood and are often ignored in this ideological debate — people whose lives will be deeply affected by the outcome — will be heard.
The 6 Democrats Nancy Pelosi chose to serve on the committee are some of the strongest advocates for women’s health in the House. They will fight to uphold the truth, and Republicans may indeed end up regretting ever picking this battle to begin with.