Over the last few years, pushing anti-abortion laws has moved from the back burner of GOP political priorities, to the forefront as we’ve seen recently. As soon as the 114th Congress convened, legislation was introduced to ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Conservative bloggers like Erick Erickson over at RedState.com are absolutely in love with the new, even-tougher-on-abortion Congress, stating, “In terms of legislation, this just may be the most pro-life Congress Washington has ever seen.”
Roe v Wade has been around for over 40 years, so why all of a sudden has the Republican Party made a big deal about putting national anti-abortion laws on the table like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and others?
Perhaps the most prominent of the anti-abortion bills on Congress’s slate is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which calls for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill failed in the Senate last year, but it is being reintroduced next week, and it will easily pass the House and now has strong support in the Senate.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is being re-introduced on 22 January. That same day, March for Life will hold its annual rally in Washington DC as others celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the supreme court’s Roe v Wade decision, which continues to offer women constitutional protection of their right to choose. (Source)
They’re re-introducing this law on the same day as the 42nd anniversary of Roe v Wade, which is the same day as the annual March for Life when thousands of anti-abortion protesters from all around the country show up in Washington, DC to demand an end to abortion. After the rally, many of them show up in House and Senate offices, demanding that their representatives vote for or introduce legislation that outright bans abortion – or at least makes it as hard as possible for a woman to get one if needed.
Up until 20 years ago, I was one of those people walking in the March for Life rallies. Every January 22nd, my mother’s church would hire at least one bus to shuttle church members the three hours to Washington where we’d walk for miles in the cold rain, sleet or snow carrying signs with messages asking for more anti-abortion laws or an outright ban to a woman’s right to choose. People like us were also very politically active and even though I was too young to vote, I was still taught to write letters to the editor or make calls to radio shows and voters ahead of Election Day. I did so because that’s the way I was raised, and besides, when you’re a kid who’s been incredibly sheltered, you’ll go along with this kind of stuff because at least you get to get out of the house and interact with people other than your family.
After the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Casey v Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion activists were discouraged but undaunted in their determination to find other ways to make abortion access impossible. At the same time, the Republican Party knew that so long as they kept paying lip service to anti-abortion ideals and made random speeches on the floor of the House or Senate that activists liked, they could continue to count on the votes of March for Life protesters and the rest of the religious right. This allowed them to continue to not look like extremists to moderate voters and run as moderate conservatives while getting votes from the party fringes.
Then President Obama was elected in 2008 and the far right had an absolute emotional meltdown as they made a run on guns and ammunition. Suddenly, it wasn’t enough just to be a Republican. Almost overnight you also had to be a Republican who actually introduced anti-abortion laws, hated liberals, and loved Jesus and Fox News more than the other candidates – and by Wal-Mart White Jesus, you better have an AR-15 in your photo ops. No more of those wimpy bolt-action hunting rifles or skeet shotguns, you need to have an AR-15 in one hand and a King James Bible in the other.
The GOP went from an organization that was run by Wall Street-friendly “country club Republicans” (as my mom still likes to call them) and counted on the votes of the religious zealots, to an organization with the zealots calling the shots as the establishment desperately attempts to maintain control of the clown car. This is how the party swerved hard to the right and the party of Bush and Cheney became the party of Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst and Michele Bachmann. This is why all we will hear about for the next two years is banning abortions, repealing Obamacare, and investigating Benghazi.
The new flurry of anti-abortion laws the Republican Party will be trying to put on the books is because they will face a revolt from the most militant part of their base if they do not. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is so extreme that even some female members of the GOP in Congress are objecting to it, but in the eyes of the true believers, it doesn’t go far enough.
This is the post-Bush Republican Party, now with more guns, anti-abortion laws and religious extremism. It almost makes this ex-Republican, former conservative activist miss George W. Bush. Almost.
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