Gillibrand Teams with Blumenthal to Defend Abortion Rights Before House G.O.P. Onslaught

kirsten gillibrand 7 Gillibrand Teams with Blumenthal to Defend Abortion Rights Before House G.O.P. OnslaughtThe House of Representatives is slated to take up H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would ban federal funding for abortion, eliminate tax breaks for health insurance premiums on plans that cover abortion and would prevent women from paying for an abortion out of a health savings account.

Today, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand teamed up with Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal to ask in an op-ed posted on the Emily’s List website, “What happened to the G.O.P’s focus on jobs?”

Write the duo:

“Far from creating jobs, the bills Republicans have brought to the floor of the House are focused on an entirely different agenda: taking away health care and opportunities for women and their families. First, they sought to overturn our nation’s health care law – which would end guaranteed maternity care and once again allow insurance companies to discriminate based on gender. This week, the GOP House is considering H.R.3, a bill so restrictive it would limit a woman’s access to reproductive care even when her life was in danger.”

H.R. 3 came under fire a couple of weeks ago when Nick Baumann of Mother Jones noted that Republicans were using a narrower definition of rape to restrict access to abortion clinics. Under the new language, only victims of “forcible” rape would be permitted to access to taxpayer-funded clinics.  House Republicans stripped the language out of the bill when a media firestorm erupted.

But Gillibrand and Blumenthal still accuse the House Republicans of performing a bait-and-switch for taking their eyes off of the economy and onto social issues.

“We know a woman’s right to make her own health decisions must be protected,” they write. “But this is about even more than choice, this is about making sure women and families can get the care they need when they need it. You probably recognize the Republican agenda as a radical departure from the days when they promised jobs. And you know their claims of ‘limited government’ shouldn’t include limits on our access to health care.”

Most of the new Tea Party fueled Republican members of Congress were elected by economic, rather than social conservatives, and Democrats are trying to fracture the G.O.P. base by pointing out how the House leadership is still enmeshed in social issues. As the House takes up this and a companion bil, expect to see many more Democratic op-eds.