Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) denied Thursday that a bill that would allow hospitals to refuse treatment to pregnant women was misogynist, adding that "nobody has ever fought more for the rights of women than I have."
In a speech on the House floor, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) explained why she believed "The Protect Life Act" was a step backward for women's reproductive rights.
"I think this bill goes to the farthest extreme in trying to take women down, not just a peg, but take them in shackles to some cave somewhere," she said. "Twenty-five years ago, this body passed [The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)], a bill that basically said that anyone that shows up at an emergency room would access health care, no questions asked. Now, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to amend that law and basically say, 'Oh, except for a woman who is in need of an abortion, or except for a woman who is bleeding to death who happens to be pregnant. Or except for a woman who is miscarrying.' Basically, what this bill would do is say that any hospital could decline to provide services to one class of people in this country and that one class of people are pregnant women."
Speier added: "What my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are attempting to do is misogynist. It is absolutely misogynist."
Foxx responded by charging that Democrats were "outside the mainstream" for wanting to use taxpayer funding for abortions.
"For my colleagues across the ailes who say that this is a misogynist bill, nobody has ever fought more for the rights of women than I have," she declared. "Fifty percent of the unborn babies that are being aborted are females. So the misogyny comes from those that promote the killing of unborn babies. That's where the misogyny comes in, Madame Speaker."
In the past six years, Foxx has voted against abortion rights at least nine times. Family planning advocates claim that an amendment introduced by the congresswoman in May was designed to prevent doctors from being properly trained to perform abortions.
"Once again, instead of focusing on improving access to health care, opponents of women’s health are manipulating the legislative process to undermine women’s access to and information about comprehensive reproductive health care services," Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Dawn Laguens said in a media advisory.
Democrats have called House Republicans' latest effort a waste of time because "The Protect Life Act" would never be passed by Democrats in the Senate or signed into law by President Barack Obama.
"Under this bill, when the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor of health care providers," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters Thursday. "I can’t even describe to you the logic of what they are doing today."
Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast Oct. 13, 2011.