US House Republicans pushed through a controversial bill tightening federal abortion restrictions Thursday, touching a raw nerve on the 42nd anniversary of the controversial Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
As pro-life demonstrators gathered in front of the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives voted 242-179 on a bill that would prevent women from using federal taypayer funding to pay for abortions or applying federally supported insurance coverage for abortions.
The bill would essentially make permanent a measure that for years has been inserted annually into spending bills that bar such federal funding for abortions.
A similar bill passed the House last year but died in the Democrat-run Senate. Both chambers of Congress are now controlled by Republicans.
The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama would veto the bill if it passed the Senate and reached his desk, and warned the current bill goes further by restricting insurance coverage as well.
The vote comes hours after House leaders pulled a controversial measure that would have barred all abortions after 20 weeks except in the case of rape or incest, provided those cases were first reported to the police.
Some more moderate Republicans and women lawmakers in the party warned that approving that measure, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would alienate women and young voters.
But top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi argued that the replacement bill is “much worse” and would impact millions of women.
“This was not a success for women and their reproductive health,” she said.
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz expressed astonishment that Republicans would move such legislation on the anniversary.
“It is with a perverse sense of cruelty that Republicans would choose today for an attempt to chip away at these protections,” she said.
“Time and again, the American people have soundly rejected extreme Republican efforts to insert themselves into health care decisions best left to women, their family, and their doctors.”
Conservative Senator Ted Cruz said most Americans backed abortion restrictions, as he railed against the “abortion on demand” allowed by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling.
“We are filled with grief for the nearly 57 million souls who will never have a chance to become the next teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, and heroes,” Cruz said.
Pro-choice groups blasted Republicans for introducing several measures this year aimed at curbing women’s abortion rights.
“These politicians have made it clear that their top priority in this Congress is to mount a ferocious new escalation of their war on women, aiming squarely at women facing the most difficult economic and personal circumstances,” said Center for Reproductive Rights president Nancy Northup.
Joy Reid: What’s the point of having laws if the president’s friends can break them without consequence?
The recent pardon of ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn exasperated MSNBC's Joy Reid, who welcomed former federal prosecutors on her show Wednesday. She explained that President Donald Trump's opposition to "law and order" when it comes to his friends is just more example of Republican hypocrisy to which Americans have become accustomed.
"You know, and Congressman Lieu, you've got The Wall Street Journal going sort of deeper into some of the other things that he did," Reid said of Flynn. "This is not the guy we remember just chanting 'lock her up' at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which is what probably people know him for. Michael Flynn planned to forcibly kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the United States and deliver him to Turkey under the alleged proposal. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. were to be paid as much as $15 million to deliver him to the Turkish government, basically renditioning him for cash. Yet you have Lindsey Graham still Lindsey Grahaming calling it 'a great use of the pardon.' A-OK. Great job, Donald. I wonder what you make of this. I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton did a pardon for which Republicans would love to see him clacked in leg irons at the end of his presidency!"
‘Last chapter in The Godfather’: Watergate prosecutor tears into Trump’s ‘continuing coverup’ of his associates’ Russia misdeeds
On CNN Wednesday, former Watergate assistant special prosecutor Nick Akerman tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for his pardon of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — and warned that a larger coverup is looming.
"I think you have to look at the big picture here," said Akerman. "The big picture is that this is part of the continuing coverup of Donald Trump's efforts to conceal what happened between his campaign in 2016 with the Russian government. It started with Jim Comey, his firing because he refused to basically give an oath of loyalty to Donald Trump. It continued when Robert Mueller was appointed, the continuing threats of firing Mueller and his staff. It continued with Roger Stone, who was — his sentence was commuted."
Conservative Charlie Sykes tells Trump if he wants a pardon — he’ll have to admit he’s guilty first
Editor and creator of The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes, told MSNBC's Joy Reid that the most "Trumpy" of things President Donald Trump could do is pardon himself ahead of leaving office in January.
After the president pardoned ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, it sparked new anticipation on how Trump will protect himself from prosecution after leaving office. Trump was alleged to have committed at least ten acts of obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller. In that case, the Justice Department followed the internal rule that sitting presidents could not be indicted. Then, it stands to reason that the Justice Department would also follow a 1974 memo from the same Office of Legal Counsel that said a president could not pardon himself.