To women in New Jersey, the national assault on a woman’s right to choose feels like a home-grown offensive. Our Governor has made a mission of defunding family planning and women’s health for lower-income women, some of whom are left without options. He’s staked his political future with the anti-choice few, speaking at a state house rally for NJ Right to Life. The actors and video pranksters of Live Action, who are well-aware of what established practice at Planned Parenthood is, found an employee breaking that practice (since fired) and have exploited that video to build sympathy for their cause. That was in Perth Amboy. Live Action advisor and best-known video prankster James O’Keefe is a Rutgers grad. And finally, NJ-4’s Rep. Chris Smith has introduced one of the most regressive bills of my lifetime, House Resolution 3, fast-tracked by Speaker John Boehner, criticized by many for its provision of “redefining rape”. In a letter delivered a few hours ago, Rush Holt, a NJ Planned Parenthood board member, speaks his mind about HR3 and its back-tracking companion, far-right Indiana congressman Mike Pence’s HR217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. He also spoke on the House floor today.
Video of Holt protesting HR217 and the last part of his letter to Speaker Boehner are after the jump.
The Honorable John Boehner
Office of the Speaker
The Honorable Eric Cantor
Office of the the Majority Leader
Dear Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor:
I write respectfully to inform you of my strong opposition to H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. Both of these bills are thinly veiled attempts to prohibit American women from being able to access comprehensive health care. I urge you to not to bring these dangerous and far reaching bills to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.
Regardless of our personal opinion about abortion, the Supreme Court has determined that abortion is a legally protected medical procedure. The choice of whether or not to have an abortion is up to a woman, her faith, and her family, not the federal government.
The deceptively named No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act claims that it would enact a government-wide prohibition on federal subsidies for abortion and health insurance plans that cover it. In truth it is an unprecedented attempt to limit health insurance coverage for American women, raise taxes on small businesses, infringe on the legally protected rights of American Servicewomen, and make this legal medical procedure inaccessible to women.
Most offensively, H.R. 3 as introduced, creates a nebulous definition of rape that would require a woman to carry a fetus to term if it is deemed that she was not “forcibly raped.” Forcible is a term with no legal definition. This would return our country to the long outdated standard of rape law, where a rape verdict depended not on whether the victim consented, but on whether outsiders thought she resisted as hard as humanly possible. This law was changed because it was rarely found that the victim had “fought hard enough” to resist her rapist. We should not turn back the clock and revert to a standard that further victimizes rape victims.
Letter continues after the jump.