President Obama’s veto hammer gets no rest since Republicans have taken over Congress. The White House has announced that the president will veto a bill that House Republicans are expected to pass that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks.
The White House issued Obama’s veto threat in a statement of administration policy:
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.
Over the past forty years, since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose. H.R. 36 is a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s holdings on abortion. Not only is the basis for H.R. 36 scientifically disputed, the bill disregards women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution. Furthermore, the provision that requires rape and incest survivors to report the crime to a law enforcement agency or child welfare authority in order to have access to an abortion after the 20-week mark demonstrates a complete disregard for the women who experience sexual assault and the barriers they may face in reporting. Research indicates that the majority of survivors have not reported their sexual assaults to law enforcement.
The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.
If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.
The Republican backed bill contains no regard for the liberty and health of women. The bill is an effort by House Republicans to claim that they know more than women and their doctors. If the shoe was on the other foot, and legislation was proposed that attacked the liberty and health of men, you can be certain that John Boehner would storm to the front of the room and rage against the attack on liberty that is being carried out against men.
Republicans never discuss their attacks against women in these terms. House Republicans love to attach the word freedom to everything, but they don’t want confront the uncomfortable reality that their anti-abortion crusades are attempt to destroy the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for an entire gender.
Those who hold a cynical political mind may suggest that this legislation is nothing more than the annual token Republican attempt to cater to the anti-choice “family values” wing of the Republican Party, but this legislation is much more.
The bill is an attack on a person’s right to choose her own path and make her own decisions. It is a bill that imposes male entitlement over an entire gender. It is a legislative attempt to keep women barefoot and in the kitchen.
This is the sort of legislation that deserves a swift and fast president veto. It is also the kind of bill that reminds women and men that the presidency of Barack Obama matters now more than ever before.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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