When most Americans think of a congressional representative and their job description, it is likely they imagine they work for the general welfare of the population. With the country’s economy not quite raging along, millions struggling with unemployment and slave wages, and the nation’s infrastructure crumbling around them, it would seem that addressing at least one of those issues would be high on Congress’s to-do list. But this is 2014 and for over five years Republicans have obstructed any attempt to help the people they were elected to serve.
There is a reason the last Congress was one of the least productive in the modern era, if not ever, and it is down to Republicans who wasted an incredible amount of time and taxpayer dollars to either make governance nearly impossible or introduce legislation that serves no greater good. In fact, over the past five years, and longer, Republicans have not introduced or supported even one piece of legislation that helps the people, but they have proposed hundreds of pieces of legislation on behalf of their anti-women special interest. This week another Republican attempted to fast track legislation for their evangelical special interest and as usual it is another attack on women’s reproductive rights.
The latest Republican to introduce legislation attacking women’s right to choose is Senator Lindsey Graham who attempted to bypass a committee and asked for unanimous consent to bring the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” up for a vote. Graham also demanded that the Senate vote on a pro-women’s right bill that he vehemently opposes because he wants a record of how senators vote on each bill. Graham’s bill bans abortions after 20 weeks because of a bizarre idea the developing organism feels pain. According to Graham, “We already have laws banning abortion after 24 weeks. The reason we’re backing it up four weeks is because at 20 weeks, people have been born and survived, and I know two twins who were born at 20 weeks.”
Medical studies and research reveal that Graham is a liar, and real medical professionals have set tenuous fetal viability a 24 weeks. Even then the mortality rate is over 44% and requires extremely invasive medical intervention to ensure survival. Graham’s bill did not include any exceptions for severe fetal or maternal health problems discovered later in a pregnancy that reveals he is not concerned with fetal health and only concerned with controlling women’s reproductive health choices. It is likely Graham subscribes to the religious right and personhood advocates’ contention that since the moment of conception is a living human being, something their bible’s god refutes, even a zygote experiences pain and can survive outside the womb; the definition of a baby. But that is not really the point. The point is Republicans continue interfering with women’s reproductive choices and know better when a woman should start a family than she does and will use taxpayer time and money to prove it. To get a better idea what Graham really thinks of women, it is worth looking at the other bill Graham demanded a vote on and why he and every other Republican opposes it.
The bill introduced last November in the Senate, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013 actually serves to, as the title implies, protect women from the recent barrage of Republican state legislation limiting a woman’s right to choose. What the bill entails is putting a stop to restrictions on abortion and “makes unlawful a measure or action that restricts the provision of abortion services, or the facilities that provided them” including any state law making “abortion services more difficult to access and does not significantly advance women’s health.” It is a real piece of legislation, offered by Democrats, that actually helps living, breathing women and it is why Republicans oppose it. Instead, their focus is protecting a fetus that is not a living, breathing human being according to Old Testament god, common sense, established medicine, thousands-of-years of human history, and evangelical Christians prior to 1980. Last year the Christian majority in the House passed a similar bill to Graham’s, but the Senate did not take it up because Democrats were more concerned with protecting women’s health instead of a fetus.
The sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) objected to Graham’s demand that the pro-fetus bill and pro-women’s health measure be forced to a vote without “a vigorous committee process” and said Graham’s pro-fetus bill “would do nothing to help women or protect their health,” but he knew women or their health was not the point of Graham’s bill. Blumenthal noted that Graham’s bill “punishes doctors with up to five years in prison for performing a procedure the doctor believes is best for the woman and her family. The Constitution tells us emphatically that these choices should be between the doctor and her family.” Republicans and their religious right voting bloc believe those choices should be left up to evangelical clergymen and Republican males serving in Congress and Republican state legislatures.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a different take on why Graham wanted to circumvent the regular legislative process to protect a fetus and deny women the right to make their own reproductive health choices such as when they give birth. Reid said, “As we know, he’s got a difficult primary down there, and he keeps moving further and further to the right. That’s what this is all about.” That may be the case, but it does not explain the myriad other anti-choice, ant-women’s rights measures Republicans introduce when there is no “difficult primary” or impending election. Republicans have never let up in their war on women and they have no intention to because they are patriarchal cretins beholden to the religious right’s belief that women are to be submissive to a man, particularly Christian men in positions of power they assert have the right to control women’s bodies and decide when they give birth.
Lindsey Graham is a typical Republican and no different than the freaks-of-nature who made outlandish statements concerning rape and contraceptive use. As Senator Blumenthal noted, Graham’s bill does nothing to protect women or their health, but then again Republicans have not proposed or supported any legislation that protects, or helps, any American because their purpose in serving in Congress is protecting the rich and fetuses and restricting women’s medical choices like typical Christian patriarchs.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.