Tag Archive: abortion rights

What women of CD4 want you to know about Rep. Chris Smith

We don’t do a lot of talking about Rep. Chris Smith around here. He’s the typical white bread Republican who manages to slide through every two years due more to the sheer power of incumbency than his own merit. He hasn’t faced a re-election campaign where he did less than 61% since 1982.

Even a group that formed against him, District 4 Coalition for Change, has seemed hardened to the idea that he’ll never go away, focusing on getting the apparently risk-averse Smith to be more transparent and accountable to his district – debate more, meet with more constituents, respond more to press.

But today, we have this video from them, focusing on his dismal record representing the rights of women in his district. He really has an appalling record, which should outrage women particularly (but certainly not only). This year Smith led the 41st annual “March for Life” rally in DC, wrote HR7, HR 7 would take the which aimed to use the tax code to penalize individuals and small businesses purchasing coverage for abortion services through the ACA. As Chair of the Congressional Pro Life Caucus, Smith was influential in both the Hobby Lobby and Buffer cases ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court. And he voted Against Equal Pay for Women and VAWA which, the group points out, he didn’t mention in his newsletter. Here’s what they put together:

Rush Holt Letter to Speaker John Boehner: “dangerous and far reaching bills”

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.

Outrage in the “New” New Jersey!

O.K. I’m outraged!  I’m trying to figure out how to function in this “new” New Jersey environment and how to channel that outrage into productive work.

A New Jersey Congressman is pushing a bill to re-define rape. Our New Jersey Governor  speaks before a pro-life rally and then vetoes a bill which would give medicaid coverage to poor women needing health care.  A Democratic Assembly Committee releases a private school voucher bill which will pay state money for youngsters already in (read not failing) private schools. I guess I’m not used to having New Jersey guys (and gals) like these actually in charge.

There’s a New Jersey State Treasurer who refuses to appear before the Assembly Budget Committee.  A New Jersey State Commissioner of Health won’t appear before the Senate Health Committee and won’t send a senior staffer in her stead.

The New Jersey Governor nominated and the Senate confirmed private school advocates as members to the State Board of Education, one of whom had no idea what Abbott vs. Burke was. Service on the board of the Peck School seemed to be the main prerequisite for this appointment.  I wonder how many vouchers will be extended to kids from failing schools to attend that same Peck School? A New Jersey Governor cuts funding for pre-school while claiming he is “passionate” about education.

Two new members of the New Jersey Highlands Commission have been nominated who do not believe in the Highlands preservation law.  

more “new” outrage below.

Leonard Lance on Social Issues: “Do As I Say, Not as I Do.”

When you think of a Republican “moderate,” what positions or what politicians come to mind? I for one think of the stellar former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chaffee, who is against the death penalty and courageously voted against the Iraq War. Almost invariably, though, the New Jersey media states that GOP State Senator and NJ-07 Congressional Candidate Leonard Lance is a “moderate,” yet the facts on the ground and his record indicate otherwise. Part of the reason for this, of course, is that the candidates who Lance faced in the Republican primary were somewhere to the right of Bush on several issues, and Lance is, by comparison, indeed a moderate compared to those right wing extremists.

Chris Smith and the Junior Achievers

During the run-up to the mid-term election, we heard analysts like David Rebovich praising New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith (4th Dist.) for his relative independence from the rest of the Republican mob. The thinking might be summarized as: Sure, he’s a howling opponent of reproductive choice who attaches anti-abortion riders to just about every piece of legislation that comes within his reach, but he’s also very moderate on other key issues, and anyway, isn’t it good that he’s at least willing to speak his mind and let people know exactly where he stands?

It’s true that Smith has taken a great many stands that I can approve, particularly in his support for additional benefits to veterans. But this independent soul is sure playing the good little soldier as the Republicans, in a final burst of petulance at having their gravy train derailed in Congress, do everything they can to trip up and delay in the incoming Democrat-controlled legislature. As the Wall Street Journal ($) reports:

Like a retreating army, Republicans are tearing up railroad track and planting legislative land mines to make it harder for Democrats to govern when they take power in Congress next month.