The Republican Abortion Bill So Extreme Even GOP Congresswomen Balk
The new GOP-controlled Congress is trying to pass a national abortion bill so extreme that even some Republican congresswomen oppose it, out of concern tht it will alienate young voters and women.
The House is scheduled to vote on the bill this Thursday, the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The proposed legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks. Women who have become pregnant from rape are only exempt from the ban if they've reported the rape to police.
In a closed-door meeting, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC), who is leading a group of female Republicans against the bill, reportedly told her colleagues that the GOP’s crusade against abortion could turn away young voters, according to the National Journal.
"I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week … We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we're moving forward," Ellmers told the National Journal. "The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn't be on an issue where we know that millennials -- social issues just aren't as important [to them]."
Ellmers is reportedly trying to change the bill’s language to prevent a political backlash before the bill comes to a vote in the House.
The greatest backlash against the bill has focused on the narrow rape definition. It was little more than two years ago when former Republican representative Todd Akin infamously claimed that women don’t get pregnant if they are the victims of “legitimate rape.” Critics say the legislation is attempting to define what constitutes legitimate rape.
In a press release issued Friday, Reps. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) slammed House Republicans for including the narrow rape definition in the bill.
“Families across this country don’t want politicians inserting themselves into these extremely personal decisions, much less defining whether a rape or case of incest was legitimate or not,” their statement said.
Despite opposition from some female members of the party, the legislation enjoys broad support among Republican representatives. The bill is expected to easily pass a vote in the house, but its fate in the Senate is not as certain.