Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

The War on Women vs. The War on Children

There isn’t an issue that more clearly defines the partisan disconnect in this country than abortion and abortion rights.

Hosts and guests on MSNBC are perpetually perplexed by Republicans, who pursue limits to legal abortion – mostly recently the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – even in the face of potentially negative political repercussions.

The two sides don’t even agree on the framework of the abortion debate.

While most Democrats believe Republicans are engaged in a war on women, most Republicans believe Democrats are engaged in a war on children. Democrats are fixated on the health and well-being of the woman, while Republicans focus on the health and well-being of the unborn child.

That difference was encapsulated by two emails I received on Tuesday night after the vote:

“Bera votes against extremist anti-choice legislation,” according to the subject line from Rep. Ami Bera’s, D-Ca., office.

“PEARCE VOTES TO PROTECT THE UNBORN,” according to a release from Rep. Steve Pearce’s, R-N.M., office.

Many Republicans believe pushing legislation that limits legal abortion is a moral issue that saves the lives of children and is worth any negative political consequences. Does that sound familiar?

Many Democrats are so incensed with mass shootings and the killing of innocent children from gun violence that they are willing to push legislation that they believe will save lives, even if it is politically unpopular in some parts of the country.

Of course, advocates of more stringent gun control measures will say that it’s really not that big of a political risk and point to public polls that show support for increased background checks.

But are Republicans really outside of the mainstream in their latest anti-abortion effort?

“One of the clearest messages from Gallup trends is that Americans oppose late-term abortion,” according to a Gallup poll in May. The group also pointed to a December 2012 poll for more detail.

“A solid majority of Americans (61%) believe abortion should generally be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, while 31% disagree. However support drops off sharply, to 27%, for second-trimester abortions, and further still, to 14%, for third-trimester abortions,” according to a January summary. “Gallup has found this pattern each time it has asked this question since 1996, indicating that Americans attach much greater value to the fetus as it approaches viability, starting in the second trimester.”

  • sweetnonnie

    Republicans would have a much better case if they weren’t constantly voting to cut and eliminate programs or voting against programs that benefit children after they are born. Hypocritical much?

  • Felonious Grammar

    The idea that, if the Republicans were to legislate the limit at 20 weeks that they would stop there is quaint. The Personhood Initiative recommends hospitalizing a woman with an ectopic pregnancy in her ovary and feeding her blood back to her until somehow she miraculously grows a viable fetus that miraculously doesn’t kill her.

    The Republican fundamentalists in the states and in the U.S. Congress want to define “personhood” at conception. They submit bills to that effect over and over again in the states just like they’ve voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act thirty times and counting in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Whatever opinion people expressed in that poll, they’d probably think differently if the media actually reported what has been happening with state legislatures, their end goals, and the rules they’ve put in place to make it difficult for a woman to get an abortion in the first two weeks of pregnancy.

    This is not about compromise.

  • nathanlgonzales

    Felonious- To play devil’s advocate, don’t you think the same thing could be said on the gun issue? Republicans fear that if they give an inch, Democrats will take a mile. It starts with expanded background checks, moves to assault weapons bans, then to other and all types of guns.

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