Saturday, November 20


As an obvious sop to their religious right supporters, House Republicans have taken the first step in their campaign to outlaw abortion. They pulled another fast one, inserting a provision in the huge omnibus spending bill needed immediately to keep the government from having to shut down.

The abortion language would bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals.

Barbara Boxer isn't going to take it lying down:

"I am willing to stand on my feet and slow this thing down," Ms. Boxer said. "Everyone wants to go home, I know that, and I know I will not win a popularity contest in the Senate. But they should not be doing this. On a huge spending bill they're writing law, and they're taking away rights from women."

Frankly, I'm not sure that I oppose such legislation -- I support a woman's right to choose, but I also support a doctor's, or clinic's, right to refuse to perform abortions. It's a matter of personal conscience that I don't believe should be violated on either side by the government.

That being said, I abhor the way the Repugs continue to sneak into other bills legislation they know they couldn't get passed in an open and honorable manner. As I keep saying, these guys are just natural bullies. They love the sucker punch.

When they tried it on Clinton, on principle he just let the government shut down, remember? At that time, the Repugs were trying to impose sharp hikes in Medicare premiums and deep cuts in education and the environment as part of the spending package. The American people surprised Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole and the "Contact With America" victors by supporting Clinton's move. I don't know if they're in a mood to do likewise right now. Probably not.

It doesn't make it right.


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