Continuing his recent trend of pushing for things unpopular with Congress, President Obama threatened to veto a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, unless necessary to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. The horrendously-named "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" also requires women to report their rape to police to be exempted from the 20-week cutoff. But according to the National Journal, a statement from the White House questioned the dubious science behind the act and called it unacceptable:
The administration strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women's health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman's right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, isn't entirely popular among Republicans, who don't really want to vote on an abortion bill the same week of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The biggest concern among those in the GOP who oppose voting on the bill right now is that they worry about alienating millennial voters. Franks told the National Journal that he thinks most young people oppose abortion, and that he hopes people recognize this bill as a "sincere effort to protect babies and their mothers."
Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina tried to persuade the House not to bring the bill forward this week, which coincides with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, telling the GOP caucus it needed "to be smart about how we're moving forward."
That the GOP needs a reminder to be "smart" about how it handles issues of importance to women speaks volumes. Rape victims already have enough stigma and trauma to deal with, and putting a ticking clock on how long they have to decide whether to go to police if they want an abortion only ensures fewer rapes will ever be reported. There aren't exactly a lot of incentives to report rape to begin with, and forcing a woman to do so opens her up to being violated all over again.
With this veto threat, and his recent promise to veto any Keystone XL pipeline legislation, President Obama has shown a spark in recent weeks, and he doesn't seem to be too worried if the GOP doesn't like it. He's probably looking toward his legacy, and he's almost certainly getting tired of the constant opposition any legislation he proposes gets from Congress.
With the GOP in control of both houses now, it will be up to the president to prevent ridiculous legislation from becoming law. Let's hope the threat to use the veto pen on this terrible piece of anti-abortion garbage is real.
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