Safety Not Guaranteed

While cuts to unemployment benefits continue to top the headlines, House Republicans have set their sights on what they still perceive to be one of the biggest threats to our nation’s well-being: women having sex.

GOP view on women

During an interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan revealed he would use his recent (horrible) budget agreement to bring back a conscience clause.  “I’m fighting for a conscience clause rider on appropriations because I’m very worried about religious freedom… I can do that if Congress is put back in charge of appropriations, which we are because of this budget agreement.”

Ryan’s conscience clause is the Blunt Amendment, a proposal I covered in my first piece, Culture Wars.

Roy Blunt

GOP Missouri Senator Roy Blunt’s legislation would have essentially given employers the right to deny contraceptive health coverage to female employees if they found it to be morally objectionable.

You would be hard pressed to find a more blatant display of misogyny in modern-day politics than the conscience clause.

Just a reminder that this is a party that had to perform a post-election “autopsy” to discover why they did so poorly with minority and female voters after the 2012 elections.  Even Det. Frank Drebin wouldn’t have needed an autopsy to solve this case.

Det. Drebin

On Thursday, the House subcommittee on Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.”  Similar to the contraception mandate panel the House held in 2012 (the same hearing that prohibited the testimony of Sandra Fluke), all of the participating lawmakers were male.

The subcommittee is headed by Arizona Republican Trent Franks.  Franks was covered in our previous entry House of Pain, when he wrote legislation to undermine the legality of abortion by stating fetuses could feel pain at 20 weeks (a claim disputed by actual science).

Frank also insinuated rape leads to a lower pregnancy rate.  Did this guy learn female anatomy by spending hours alone with a Mrs. Potatohead?

Mrs. Potatohead

The latest GOP attack on a woman’s right to choose would prohibit federal coverage for any type of abortion within the new Affordable Care Act marketplace.   However, this specific concern has already been addressed by the current administration.

In 2010, the President enacted an Executive Order insuring federal funds would not be used towards abortion procedures (with the exception of cases involving rape and incest, or when the mother’s life is endangered).  Any such procedure would be covered using private dollars, not federal, in agreement with the Hyde Amendment.

The GOP’s latest Act also eliminates tax benefits (provided under the ACA) for small businesses that currently offer healthcare plans that cover the abortion procedure.  If the Act were to pass, it would effectively increase taxes on small businesses.

According to a Guttmacher Institute/Kaiser Family Foundation study, 87% of employer-based plans cover abortion.

It is bewildering to me that politicians like Ryan continue to use the limitation of freedom as the core in their argument against female healthcare.  I can’t think of any other word that coincides more with “freedom” than with that of “choice.”

Paul Ryan

One could only wish that Ryan was taking notes while listening to his rival Joe Biden during the 2012 Vice Presidential debates:

“With regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a – what we call de fide doctrine.  Life begins at conception.  That’s the church’s judgment.  I accept it in my personal life.

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians, and Muslims and Jews and – I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the Congressman.

I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people, that women, they can’t control their body.  It’s a decision between them and their doctor in my view.  And the Supreme Court – I’m not going to interfere with that.”

Rep. Ryan’s “religious freedom” is far from in danger.  His chosen religion (Catholicism) alone has more than tripled and comprises nearly 50% of Christians worldwide (pretty good, considering Christianity is the world’s top religion).  The government is not closing or forcing alterations upon the nation’s churches, which are tax-exempt.

Churches can even violate the rules that provide their exempt status by speaking in favor of a political candidate from the pulpit without repercussion. Known as Pulpit Freedom Sunday, 1,477 pastors participated during 2012 (up from just 539 pastors in 2011).

Speaking of exemptions, churches and religious groups are exempt from the contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

As a straight, Catholic male Paul Ryan doesn’t have to fight to have his own marriage recognized as a legal union.  Speaking of which, you can still be legally fired for being a homosexual in 29 states.  There is not a single state you can be legally fired in for being a Catholic.

Religious freedom is well protected in the United States.  However, if you have a sister, mother, aunt, niece, female neighbor, friend, or co-worker… their healthcare is what you should be concerned about.

Not this chucklehead:

Pauly Ryan

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