Leave it to the Lean Forward network to entrust fair reporting on pro-life legislation in Congress to a woman who won the 2013 New York Abortion Access Fund's Champion for Choice Award.
In her January 28 story, "House passes abortion insurance restriction," MSNBC.com's Irin Carmon quoted from just one Republican who voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and yet found three male Democratic congressmen and one female Democratic congresswoman to slam the measure:
Republicans–with the help of more than half of the 19 GOP women in the House–argued that abortion isn’t actually about women, so there is no war on women.
“This bill is not an attack on women or an attack on women’s rights,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx. Referring to Democrats’ characterization of the bill as conservative men waging a war on women, particularly in the male-dominated subcommittee, she said, “I think it’s wonderful that we had so many men here today speaking on behalf of the unborn.”
While Democratic women – who make up three quarters of the women in Congress – came out in full force against the bill, including leadership like Pelosi and Democratic National Committee leader Debbie Wasserman Schulz, some Democratic men also condemned it. Rep. Rush Holt called the bill an “ideological, mean-spirited lost cause.” In pursuing their “vendetta against the Affordable Care Act,” he said, Republicans were seeking to “make the federal government interfere with a woman’s right to use her own money for legal health services.”
“It’s like all we do around here. It’s propaganda. It’s politics,” said Rep. Henry Waxman. “The Republicans try to make people believe that their taxpayer dollars are being used for abortion. It’s not true.”
The fact that the bill was coming to a floor vote just hours before the State of the Union speech, while unemployment benefits have been allowed to expire, wasn’t lost on Democrats. Said Rep. Kathy Castor, “The Republicans’ top priority today is to interfere in the lives and health of women in this country.”
Rep. Jim McDermott was even blunter: “This bill is insulting to women, and the Republicans are asking for it in the next election,” he said.
To Carmon, pro-life Republican women like Foxx, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers -- the latter, you may recall, gave the official Republican response to the president's 2014 State of the Union address -- are simply pawns in the GOP's messaging, not thoughtful legislators who are fighting for a principle they believe in.
To liberals like Carmon, it's incredibly noble to fight against imagined societal injustices like "income inequality" or that before ObamaCare, a woman might have to pay a co-pay on her birth-control prescription, but to stand against the injustice of a taxpayer's money being used to snuff out innocent life in the womb is somehow "insulting to women."
Isn't it insulting to women, and really to anyone, to insist that opposition to taxpayer subsidy of abortion is purely a pro-life cause? One can be pro-choice and also strongly oppose taxpayers footing the bill for the procedure.
What's more, polling on the matter has consistently shown strong support for a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion.
What's more, Carmon failed to mention that the bill in question had six Democratic votes. One Republican, Richard Hanna of upstate New York, voted against H.R. 7.
MSNBC.com readers might have benefited from exploring the rationale for the vote for the half-dozen Democratic defectors, who tended to be Blue Dog Democrats. But of course that would also cut against the simplistic partisan narrative that Carmon was going for.