The House Republicans, ignoring public opinion and good policy,have steadfastly moved forward with a bill that would ban abortion nationally after 20 weeks. But a funny thing happened on the way to the floor. During the committee markup, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks said that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” Not surprisingly, Franks’ facts were wrong — an estimated 25,000 women become pregnant from rape annually. After last year’s issues with women voters, it’s no surprise that the House Republican Leadership would want a new face to manage a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks and place additional burdens on survivors of rape or incest seeking abortion.
So who did they choose? Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. She may be a woman, but we’re not fooled. She’s one of the most ardent opponents of women’s health and, in fact, women’s equality. Blackburn’s record says it all:
- On Meet the Press just two weeks ago, Blackburn said American women “don’t want” equal pay laws. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that she voted NO on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and NO on the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2009.
- She was ranked #3 on the National Journal’s annual list of most conservative members in Congress in 2012 — just behind former Rep. Todd Akin (“legitimate rape”) and Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA). To put it into context, Rep. Trent Franks ranked 78th.
- She voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 because it protected too many people: “I didn’t like the way it was expanded to include other different groups.”
- She voted NO on an amendment that would ensure privacy of the medical records of women seeking to terminate a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest.
Politics should have no place preventing doctors and other health professionals from informing patients about their health care options, and doctors should not be criminalized for providing constitutionally protected care. Whether it’s Blackburn or Franks managing the bill, the story is the same: Republican House leadership doesn’t trust women to make their own personal medical decisions. Tell them enough is enough: stop attacking women’s health and rights.