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H.R. 3: An End Sweep of Rights

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While so much attention has been paid to the death of Osama Bin Laden, yet another Republican House majority attack on civil liberties has moved forward under a new guise. Introduced in the House back in January and renamed H.R.3 to symbolize its importance, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” made its way through committees to the House floor on Wednesday. Not surprisingly, it passed. Essentially, the bill codifies what has already been practice, which is to bar federal employees, members of the military and those who receive federal assistance from using taxpayer money to pay for abortions, with few exceptions.

congressmenIt is an end sweep of the 14th Amendment as well as Roe v Wade, and it re-regulates women’s reproductive rights in the process.

A top priority of Republican leaders, specifically co-sponsors John Boehner and Eric Cantor, under the language of H.R. 3, rape becomes “forcible rape.” Presumably that modifier distinguishes it from other kinds of sexual assault that are typically recognized as rape, such as statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.

“We want to live up to our commitment to make sure that there is no government funding of abortion,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “And the provisions . . . have some connect with a government’s support and funding of abortion.”

The bill effectively eliminates tax incentives on employer-provided health care benefits if those benefits cover abortion as a medical procedure. Cantor’s contention is that those incentives essentially constitute federal spending on abortion.

Sponsored by Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the legislation also enacts strict procedural requirements for private insurance companies that cover abortions and deny tax credits to small businesses that purchase health insurance plans offering abortion coverage. Eighty-seven percent of private insurance plans currently include such coverage.

However, it is not the use of federal money that is at stake. It is a congressional attempt to legislate around the Roe decision. The American Civil Liberties Union has cautioned against H.R. 3 “making access to abortion services harder to obtain for low-income women.” The ACLU says, “No woman plans to have an abortion, but that is the point of health insurance.” It further says, “That’s why the majority of plans currently include coverage for abortion care. Politicians should not be working to take away coverage that already exists for most women.”

Speaking of which, of the 227 co-sponsors of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, count the number of women on the list. The overwhelming majority of co-sponsors are men, for whom abortion is only a concept.

In the Roe decision, Justice Blackmun wrote, “We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.” H.R. 3 goes after the regulation. Republican legislators and candidates, like Donald Trump, may be confused about the right of privacy. Men in Congress will never have to consider having an abortion, but they can regulate women’s reproductive rights, as they always have.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    President Obama will veto H.R. 3 if and when it lands on his desk, and the House Republicans know this perfectly well, so the bill is just a bit of posturing.

    It does serve as a window onto a few souls, though.

  • Cannonshop

    I don’t understand how not spending public money on elective surgeries is an attack on anyone’s rights.

  • zingzing

    did you read the phrase “forcible rape” cannonshop?

  • Baronius

    Cannon – Whose money is yours, the government’s or yours? The government’s, of course.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I think that whoever it was that said that no woman plans to have an abortion is full of it…but I also think that this is just more govt overreach.

    The govt should NOT be paying for anyones abortion…let the asshole that caused the pregnancy pay for it…but then there are those ladies that just can’t be sure who the father is….

    There are entirely too many deadbeat dads in this world and apparently there are an awful lot of deadbeat manwhores too that won’t pay for the damage they cause! But why should they, liberals are willing to pick up the tab for them!!!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Rich people can pay for their own abortions, and poor people cannot. Even the most ardent Naral member doesn’t think abortions are wonderful, happy events. But that economic dichotomy is a real social issue, and we shouldn’t just be in denial about it.

  • zingzing

    “I think that whoever it was that said that no woman plans to have an abortion is full of it…”

    care to explain her thought process? how is this plan formulated and carried out?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    According to this website an abortion costs between $300 and $550.

    And a condom costs a lot less!

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Honestly, no, I don’t care to explain the thought processes of an irresponsible person! Who the fuck can explain the thought processes of someone irresponsible enough to get knocked up in the first place?

    It felt good, so I did it, fuck it! How’s that?

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Immature.

    Tommy

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    I hesitate to cite this, because using it to prove that abortion is generally something people write into their plans is rather like using homosexual (retired) Senator Larry Craig’s socially conservative voting record to prove that socially conservative people in general are engaged in hypocritical homosexual trysts. Who doesn’t know that politicians compromise “deeply held beliefs” all the time?

    But here goes:
    Sacred Abortion, published in A Journal of Women’s Mysteries-The Beltane Papers, Issue 18, p. 11-13. “Perhaps by including abortion in the circle of our spirituality-by embracing it as a rite of passage as important and intrinsically meaningful as other more socially acceptable rites-we can stop the deadening cycle of self-punishment and guilt….many of us who read this magazine seem ready to embrace the sexual aspects of the Goddess, while remaining resistant to her destructive side…”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Now that I did post it, I find that I don’t have any regrets.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    There are people alive today who were conceived by forcible rape.

    I’m not saying that I don’t care whether or not the raped woman’s life was ruined by bearing a child conceived under such awful circumstances. I know for a fact, though, that the life of any child she aborts will be ruined in 100% of the cases.

    Well, no make that 99.9% of the cases since we’re discussing extreme cases right now: Gianna Jenssen. Aborted babies are born alive. What would you (generic you) suggest be done with them?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    U.K. doctors, who see live aborted babies often enough to have seen the need to address the issue. I don’t know the latest news about they have done to avoid this inconvenient in-their-face reminder of what they’ve just done: an infant screaming for its life.

    PS: I’m sorry for calling you a “Capitalless —” yesterday ZingZing. I didn’t mean to offend you. It sounded like an expression that rhymed with Capitalist Pig.”

    Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to miss the pile-on. Enjoy yourselves.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “I think that whoever it was that said that no woman plans to have an abortion is full of it.”

    If that because you have some proof, please share it

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “I know for a fact, though, that the life of any child she aborts will be ruined in 100% of the cases.”

    How so? Don’t you believe the child will go to Heaven?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena
  • Clavos

    …but then there are those ladies that just can’t be sure who the father is…

    Those are females, not ladies.

  • zingzing

    andy: “It felt good, so I did it, fuck it! How’s that?”

    that doesn’t sound like a plan for an abortion. they don’t feel good, as far as i know… it does sound like a plan to have sex (and condoms aren’t 100% effective, as i’m sure you know).

    so, to answer your “how’s that” question, it’s a poor answer. you can try again to describe a woman planning to have an abortion. until then, you sound like you’re the one who’s full of it, and you also sound just a bit misogynistic, which i’m sure is not how you wish to come across.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Dang, what’s #11, chopped liver? Invisible? So creepy that people have to look away and pretend they didn’t see it?

  • zingzing

    it’s new age claptrap, irene. religion-inspired abortion. yip.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    It’s also proof that you were wr—, say it. ZingZing.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    “Legalizing pot, heroine, prostitution, if states decide they want it: Why should social conservatives in South Carolina vote for you, Ron Paul? *laughter*”

    I hope they ask him about abortion. You should tune in.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    For those who think abortion is always, always evil:

    I’ve been a Foster parent of medically-fragile kids for over eleven years now. One of them who is still with me had fetal drug syndrome, and another – since passed away – had fetal alcohol syndrome.

    The syndromes are largely similar – both boys (among other things) breathe through trach tubes, are fed through g-tubes, and require sixteen hours of taxpayer-funded nursing care every single day.

    I added up the cost of their care back in 2004, and with the daily nursing care, the medications, and the doctor visits, it came to over a quarter-million dollars per year per child for the entirety of their lives. This amount does NOT include the cost of the one-on-one nurses and aides (and dedicated school room and teachers) required every school day, and this would probably add up to a hundred thousand more per year. All paid for by the taxpayers…

    …and there are THOUSANDS of these kids born every year.

    So whenever I see abortion protesters on the street corners, I want so badly to show them my Foster child and ask why they aren’t standing in front of bars and drug dens trying to prevent the tragic – and hideously expensive – situations such as that which my Foster child faces. But I can’t – to so involve my Foster child is ‘unethical’.

    So while y’all bicker and dicker about abortion, remember that just like all else in this world, there is a time that it is necessary.

  • zingzing

    “It’s also proof that you were wr—, say it. ZingZing.”

    fine. there may be (although as “proof” that anyone has actually done this, that’s lacking,) some crazed nutcases who plan to have an abortion to please the goddess. there may be some other crazed nutcases who plan to have an abortion for some other sick, twisted reasons.

    but that’s not what andy was talking about.

    but i was wrong. so very wrong. i’m going to start planning to kill a cat and dress it up like a miami dolphins cheerleader now.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    On the debatesthe black candidate Herman Cain gave his opinion on abortion. He’s against it.

    I wonder how many people will be accused of being racist if they attack him for his political views. Probably not many, and I think that’s a good thing.

  • zingzing

    that said, fetal sacrifice to the goddess is absolutely hilarious. i hope we live in such a world. what other weird religions do you know of?

  • zingzing

    well, irene, a republican candidate who declares he (or she, i suppose) is “for” abortion is an idiot, and not really a candidate.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Has anyone seen the movie “Lake of Fire”? It’s a really powerful documentary about the abortion battles. It tries to be even-handed, but the crazy doctor-killers interviewed in it are considerably scarier than the standard-issue liberal “baby killers.” It contains actual footage of an abortion and not everyone is going to want to endure it, but it’s a great movie.

    What I took away from it is that this an issue that can make anyone crazy, and has made a lot of people on both sides a little wack.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I’d be all for people sitting around a movie like that and talking about it, handyguy. yes, I’m with you, I find abortion-doctor-killers scarier than abortion-doctors. Well, they’re scarier than SOME abortion doctors, who are still back-alley butchers who harm women even now that abortion IS legal.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    And ZingZing, thanks for the admission of defeat in the matter of the pagan baby-worshipping matter.

    Do I know more weird religions? Oh gosh, yes, tons. But religious child sacrifice wasn’t at all uncommon in the ancient world, even though they sound weird to us today.

    I like the “appreciating the sacredness of nature” aspect of pagan religion (in a “All Creatures of Our God and King” sort of way) but I can live without THAT particular aspect of the pagan revival.

  • zingzing

    one must never forget about the pagans when it comes to abortion. never, never.

    but speaking of human sacrifice, did you see that a south korean gentlemen decided to crucify himself? seriously put together a cross (complete with golgotha-esque straddling companion crosses), drove in some nails, drilled holes in his hands, cut his side and clambered up, slid the nails through his holey hands, then settled in for his eternal rest.

    tsk tsk tsk. strange days.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Oh that Easter ritual has been going on for years, ZingZing. Yes, it’s weird, and I was shocked the first time I heard of it. It may seem like a mockery of Christianity, but I think it’s actually practiced by misguidedly devout people who don’t understand the grace of God, that we aren’t required to do that sort of thing. God said exactly that to Isaac, which was a prefiguring of the the…

    ….original act, with Jesus Christ, (JUST in case you were trying to imply that this too was child sacrifice along the lines of and just as weird as giving your babies to Molech) it’s different from the child sacrifice of other religions in a few very important ways. For starters, Jesus was a member of Trinity, so it was an act of self-sacrifice, not of being sacrificed.

    Well, I’ll be here all night if we start talking about religion. Can’t let that happen, not tonight. Around Pentecost maybe.

  • zingzing

    oh, i have no illusions that this guy was properly following the teachings of christianity. i’ve heard of people being crucified at easter, but it’s pretty rare (as far as i know) that someone would do it… well enough? is that the term i’m looking for?… anyway, it’s pretty rare that someone actually dies from it. at least i hope so.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    OK I’m getting really annoyed that for the third time, my peace offering to any pagans who think that I implied that all, most or even a tiny fraction of them are modern day child-sacrificers, a MIDI file of “All Creatures of Our God and King” has been rejected. It’s nature-appreciating, but not going so far as to indicate that I’ve done anything more heretical on this thread than being a Protestant. All right, time to go.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’m sorry. You guys are absolutely right. When a woman gets pregnant it’s the taxpayers fault. The two people fucking bear absolutely no responsibility.

    I understand perfectly. They’re poor, they have nothing better to do with their time other than fuck. Why work? The govt. will pick up the tab! For all of it! The abortion or the birth, then the taxpayers will feed your baby for you, buy you diapers and eventually, the govt will support your child when he or she grows up to suck on the govt teat!!! And then we can start it all over again!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Nice generalization, Andy.

    I wonder if you believe the same logic applies in cases of rape or assault. Should “the taxpayer” turn his or her back on victims because it could impact one’s financial standing?

    Of course, it’s far easier to feel cold about something when we create a villainous poor person weighing down society with his or her laziness and disdain for “hard-workin’ ‘Mercans.” It’s much easier to examine a complicated social issue when we reduce human beings to crude stereotypes, isn’t it?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    It most definately is Jordan. Jordan, I said two people fucking…does that sound like rape to you? Who knows, maybe it does to you.

  • Jordan Richardson

    That’s probably why I said “I wonder if you believe the same logic applies in cases of rape or assault.”

    So do you?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Being a father of two daughters and now the grandfather of one granddaughter, obviously I have very strong feeling about rape.

    My family and I will take care of our own, but yeah, I think if it’s needed, the govt should help out a woman in this situation.

    Will the govt help me out with legal costs for killing the MFer that raped someone in my family? I doubt it…

  • Jordan Richardson

    I knew there was a heart beating in there somewhere, Andy.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Glenn, I hope those medically fragile Foster boys of yours aren’t reading this thread, or the comment you made about abortion being necessary in cases like theirs.

    In fact, I hope no literate medically fragile person read it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    These “throw away people” even profoundly “broken” ones, are capable of joy and love, and seeing them manifest those qualities in the midst of their suffering is an inspiration and a confirmation of the strengh of the human spirit, and the power of love.

    With THAT statement, Glenn, I’m sure on your best, most rational days, you would completely agree.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Let’s not get carried away with the program Jordan. I have a 12″ scar down the middle of my breastbone proving I had my heart removed when I was thirty!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    “rational days”! Irene talks of rational days!! The sky is falling!!!!

  • Clavos

    Rationality, like morality, is variable.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    That’s one of those expressions that sounds insightful but doesn’t actually mean anything without some supporting context.

    As a generalization it means nothing, so I don’t understand what you are trying to get across…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Irene, as fallacious as it was, you missed Glenn’s point entirely.

    And I can’t help but notice how acerbic you’ve become recently. Whassup?

  • Clavos

    Neither is empirical, Chris; they’re both subjective.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Well, morality is completely arbitrary of course, just like faithism, but rationality? Hmm, not so much.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    This essay is about H.R. 3, yet another poor piece of legislation destined to failure that the Republican House has passed and sent to the Democratic Senate. At what point do citizens ask these legislators, “What were you thinking?” To which I ask, “How does this advance Equal Justice Under Law?

    Tommy

  • zingzing

    andy: “I’m sorry. You guys are absolutely right. When a woman gets pregnant it’s the taxpayers fault. The two people fucking bear absolutely no responsibility.”

    sigh. did anyone say that? i don’t know why people stoop to these tactics. i’m sure i’ve been guilty of doing so before, but for fuck’s sake… it’s looks so goddamn dumb when other people do it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Do you remember when the “Freakonomics” guys ran the numbers and determined that the sharp drop in crime from the 90s on was not due to Giuliani’s police tactics, but to the increase in abortions starting in the mid 70s?

    This really threw both liberals and conservatives for a loop, because, besides being rather shocking, it doesn’t fit either side’s talking points very comfortably.

    The economists had no political agenda — they were just reporting a statistical correlation.

  • Cannonshop

    #3 The surgery itself is still elective surgery by definition-that is, the patient can elect to have it and not die, or have it and not die. Mechanically it’s less complex than a nose-job or breast-enhancement.

    Minus government money, there WILL be groups that step forward to help-those groups existed (many of them) for a very long time already-they’d just have to realign their spending priorities from lobbying for MORE government money, to actually…y’know, Providing Services.

  • Cannonshop

    Let me expand for a moment, with an analogy of sorts…

    I have the right to bear arms. I do not have the right to demand that the U.S. or State government supply me with firearms or ammunition…but I retain the right to bear arms (at least, in theory.)

    The presence of the right, does not indicate that a citizen (or non-citizen) be entitled to recieve a particular good or service at the Public’s expense. Particularly if said good or service is not applicable to ALL citizens. Men don’t get Abortions. If an Abortion doesn’t happen, the tumourous growth goes away in nine months (if desired), though some citizens elect to retain said growth for eighteen years or longer after it is no longer physically attached to the host.

    There is no articulated right to feel good, or feel good about yourself, or to be happy-only the ideal (not a right) to PURSUE happiness. The implied side of that being “at nobody else’s coerced expense”.

    In the majority of cases (the vast majority) Abortions are Elective Surgery. The techniques are down to the point where a patient can be on the table at noon, and back home getting ready for her next outing by noon the following day at the latest.

    When you inject public money in, you give the Public the right to say whether or not and how that money is spent. Effectively a back-door to making over fifty percent of americans’ bodies the property of the State.

    are you sure this is a good idea?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Dr. Dreadful:
    I mentioned Vitamin Z in another thread. It’s another name for acerbic acid.

    What do you think the point of #24 was?