Right-Wing Lobbyists Try Scare Tactic of Abortion to Thwart Health Reform
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As for Hyde, many reproductive health care advocates admit, reluctantly, that it's not on their lobbying agenda at the moment; they are simply too busy playing defense on health reform. After all, even some Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, have a history of support for Hyde. "Though it's a goal, when we lobby and count votes around here, we still don't have the have the votes to repeal Hyde," NARAL Pro Choice America President Nancy Keenan says.
Sonfield agrees, "Hyde is discriminatory against poor women, and we'd like to see it overturned. But it does not seem to be a political priority right now."
Considering this ambiguous landscape for reproductive rights, it is no coincidence that Planned Parenthood has launched a nationwide television advertising campaign defending its record as a preventive health care provider for American women. Republicans would like nothing more than to use health reform to withhold from the organization its $300 million in federal support, which clinics use to provide services such as cancer screenings, pre-natal care, and sex-ed for teenagers.
Reproductive rights are under threat in the health reform debate, not ascendant. Hand-wringing from the religious right has obscured that truth. But in playing the abortion card, the real goal of anti-choicers is not only to maintain existing restrictions on abortion access, but to use health reform as a vehicle to expand them to the majority of American women. If such efforts lead to legislative impasse, many conservatives will be delighted. After all, they've never really put any political muscle behind fixing our inadequate health care system.
Dana Goldstein is associate editor of The American Prospect .