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“New Life” Trumps “Existing Life” in the Modern Republican Party

1:06 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Carole Joffe for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

“I believe that if you have to choose between new life and existing life, you should choose new life. The person who has had an opportunity to live at least has been given that gift by God and should make way for new life on earth.”

These are the words of the late Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of the conservative Heritage Foundation and a driving force behind the creation of the movement we know today as the Religious Right. As the above quote implies, Weyrich had no patience for those in anti-choice circles who advocated for an abortion exception when the life of the pregnant woman was threatened.

This sentiment, voiced by Weyrich in 1984, has never entirely disappeared from some sectors of the anti-choice movement, though for quite some time, it was not a position widely spoken of. This is hardly surprising given that a huge majority of Americans support access to abortion in life-threatening situations.

However, the Republican Party’s official platform is one place where the absolute ban on any exceptions, including one to save a woman’s life, is retained.

 

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The “Protect Life Act:” Will There Be a Price to Be Paid?

8:57 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Carole Joffe for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Here is a story from 2002, as reported by the BBC:

Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers. In a rare criticism of the kingdom’s powerful “mutaween” police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire….

And here is a story from 2011, as reported in Talking Points Memo, about the “Protect Life Act,” H.R.358, which would amend the 2010 health reform law:

… new language inserted into the bill just this week would…(allow) hospitals that receive federal funds but are opposed to abortions to turn away women in need of emergency pregnancy termination to save their lives.

As the juxtaposition of these two incidents show, fundamentalism, one of whose defining features is the devaluing of women’s lives, clearly knows no geographical borders. Despite H.R. 358’s Orwellian name, this bill quite obviously is not intended to protect the lives of pregnant women.

As of February 4, one hundred members of Congress, including some women, have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. It is of course wishful thinking to believe that the these elected officials could be pressured to sign a statement certifying that they would have no objection if their wives, daughters, or in the cases of the congresswomen still in their reproductive years, were themselves  sent in an emergency situation to a hospital that refused to perform a life-saving abortion. Read more