We Can't Regulate Guns, No, But Wombs, Yes

Les AuCoin By Les AuCoin, 6th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

The "long arm" of "big brother" government seems to be okay to the Right when it comes to regulating women's abortion rights.

The tyranny of Anti-Abortion Politicians

Anyone who has followed the news knows that anti-abortion movement is on the rise again, especially in the states and with DC Neanderthals who vote to add riders to Obamacare.

I'm astonished at "limited government" politicians who hunger to use the long arm of government to impose their pinched world view on women who can think for themselves. And getting away with it because in the U.S., more men than women wield political power.

Yesterday, going through my congressional papers, I came upon a move in 1981 by Republican Congressman John Ashbrook of Ohio to ban federal funds for abortion not just for women on public assistance, not just for defenseless women on Medicaid, but on federal employees--all of them, anywhere--who might want to buy such insurance with their own income in the same way private sector employees do. Talk about federal intrusion into private life! Although it did not become law it, astonishingly, passed the House, 253-167.

Outraged at the hypocrisy of the largely male chamber, I took the floor with my guns blazing. I quoted an "open letter" essay from the New York Times by a woman to recounted her reaction to a priest friend who had asked her to be more "understanding" of the anti-abortion movement. This is what she told him she "understood:"

I understand that one of us can get pregnant and one of us can't. One of us is threatened with an amendment that will usurp the most profoundly personal decision of a lifetime and one of us is not. One of will face an assault from the anti-abortion movement in the this country and one of us will not. One of us can get up from this table and not give the abortion issue another thought--and one of us can't forget it at all. Yes, I understand. I understand that one of us can afford to be dispassionate and apolitical and purely cerebral about this question but one of us cannot at all.

I left my game on the floor in that speech that day, stating that under the amendment, my daughter, Stacy, if, God forbid she were to be raped and impregnated, would have to bear the rapist's child.

"Mr. Chairman, there were 365 cases of rape reported in the District of Columbia last year. I live in the District of Columbia. I am the father of a teenaged daughter who lives in the District of Columbia with me. I have opted for a group insurance plan of my choice just as every member of this body has done, including Mr. Ashbrook.

" has his views about abortion. But his views are not my views. And I resent very much his telling me that for the purposes of insurance coverage, my daughter, if raped and made pregnant, must have the rapist's child. That is what this amendment does.

"Who do the Members of the House think they are to subject my daughter--anyone's daughter--to this particular cruelty? This is not just an issue of Members of Congress being affected. It is an issue that affects an estimated 10 million individuals--families, employees--across the length and breadth of this country in exactly the way I've described.

"Mr. Chairman, this is the age in which--under the gentleman's fearless leader --the Government is supposed to be getting off people's backs. Yet what we have here is an attempt to directly inject the Congress--to put the fat nose of the Federal Government--into qu4estions of employee group health insurance which are private decisions made by these employees exercising their bargaining rights. The Federal Government has no right to do this. I do not believe it appropriate for the Congress of the United States to be doing this. For those reasons, the gentleman's amendment should be rejected.

"The gentleman has said that his amendment is in keeping and in concert with amendments that this body as adopted with regard to Medicaid. But one cannot honestly compare what this body has, in my judgment, mistakenly done in the case of Medicaid and what is being suggested here. Medicaid is an entitlement program which insures that impoverished people have access to health care.

"In contrast, this amendment deals with health benefits for employees of the Federal Government that are contractually earned, like salary. They are part of an employee's direct compensation. Restrictions on Medicate do not dictate, as this amendment does, the use of an employee's own hard-earned compensation.

"We are taking a very large leap when the Government reaches the point where it exercises its powers in such a way.

"My colleagues, I ask you to please think before adopting this amendment. There is broad-based opposition to it.

"The American Federation of Government Employees opposes it, as do the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, the National Association of Government Employees, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, the Pubic Employee Department of the AFL-CIO, and Federally Employed Women.

"More importantly, the American people oppose this proposal in principle. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that 82 percent of the American people object to a limitation on abortion involving cases of rape and incest.

"This is a frightening precedent. If we can do this to Federal employees, we can do it to private employees. In the name of human justice, in the name of privacy, in the name of a basic respect for the use of another person's compensation, say "No" to this amendment. Defeat this amendment. It is unjust. It is wrong. It is cruel. It deserves to be defeated."

(Note: At the time of the vote, males outnumbered females in the House, 416-19.)


Abortion, Abortion Debate, Abortion Legal, Government Repression, Political Values, Politics, Pro-Choice

Meet the author

author avatar Les AuCoin
A retired US congressman & 45-year award-winning journalist, my work has run in the Washington Post, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Oregonian, Stars & Stripes and other major publications.

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author avatar Joyce Singha
8th Jul 2014 (#)

Regulating anything causes trouble and over regulation even more. Chicago has one of the tightest regulations on guns; it still is the murder capital. Women's rights seem to be an obsession with the Left/Liberals as it is with the Muslim society. If women want it, they can get it themselves without government forcing it down their throats or having the entire country pay for a few women who can't handle their lives (barring emergency/unfortunate cases).

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author avatar Les AuCoin
8th Jul 2014 (#)

City by city is not effective for gun control. A national standard prevents shopping for lenient rules in nearby jurisdictions.

Nice try, though, to link liberals to Muslims and suggest that the issue is simply about a "few" women who "can't handle their lives." I know you mean "poor," and probably mean "colored."

In case you haven't noticed, evangelical Christians are working overtime to deny abortion choices to women who AREN'T poor and simply want to insure themselves.

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author avatar Joyce Singha
8th Jul 2014 (#)

Of course Christians will work against abortion; it's killing. NO religion is going to say yes to killing of any kind. BTW you just made my point: if the women aren't poor, they can pay for all contraceptions and abortions or whatever they want. Thanks for your response even though I don't agree with your viewpoints at all.

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author avatar Les AuCoin
8th Jul 2014 (#)

You're very welcome. And very pinched in your view. The point is when women pay for insurance Big Brother government shouldn't stick its mostly all-male nose into it and arbitrarily ban insurance coverage they had. But you know that, and don't care. Have a nice life.

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