Tag Archives: women’s health

The Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins gambit – leave the GOP

Democrats have mounted a campaign against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee by targeting two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the mythical moderate from Maine, Susan Collins.

If our lives depends on Susan Collins, we’re fucked. Remember how she traded her vote on the GOP tax cut for corporations and plutocrats for her bills to secure subsidies for Obamacare health insurance plans in the federal budget? Yeah, she totally got played by Mitch McConnell — or did she? Was it all just a charade to maintain her mythical moderate persona? — her bills were not included in the federal budget.

And on Saturday, the Trump administration halted billions of dollars in annual payments required under the law to even out the cost to insurers whose customers need expensive medical services. Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments.  Another epic failure by the mythical moderate from Maine. Thanks for nothing, lady.

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos asks the pointed question, Once again we have to ask: is Susan Collins a liar, or just stupid?

Republican Sen. Susan Collins is steadfastly playing dumb about whether or not she’ll vote for a Supreme Court nominee from the current occupier of the Oval Office. She’s relying, apparently, on the misguided belief that her constituents are stupid.

“I think I’ve made it pretty clear,” she told MSNBC Wednesday, “that if a nominee has demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade and has said that they are not going to abide by that long-standing precedent, that I could not support that nominee.” And what everybody is that Trump is working off of a pre-approved list on which every potential nominee has been screened for their adherence to extreme right-wing ideology, including hostility to abortion. Collins is continuing to try to pretend that if the nominee hasn’t said it out loud, they won’t do it.

Here’s the thing: no Supreme Court nominee has ever said out loud that they would not abide by any long-standing precedent, but especially Roe. Because they wouldn’t get confirmed that way. And the far right knows that. They rely upon the stealth of their nominees. Despite past performance, Collins isn’t so stupid that she doesn’t know that very well.

Continue reading

Justice Kennedy announces his retirement: this means war

Justice Anthony Kennedy surprisingly announced his retirement at the end of the term for the Supreme Court — he had already hired his judicial clerks for next term — playing into the narrative of right-wingers who have been pressuring him all year to retire in order to put another young ideological conservative on the Court like junior associate justice Neil Gorsuch.

The New York Times reports, Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire From Supreme Court:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced on Wednesday that he will retire this summer, setting in motion a furious fight over the future of the Supreme Court and giving President Trump the chance to cement a conservative judicial philosophy on the American legal system for generations.

* * *

Justice Kennedy delivered a letter of resignation to Mr. Trump Wednesday afternoon, shortly after a half-hour meeting at the White House, where the president called him a jurist with “tremendous vision and tremendous heart.”

“Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises,” Justice Kennedy wrote to Mr. Trump.

Continue reading

The Religious Right’s ‘blitz’ on American democracy

Last week Ireland, long a Roman Catholic country, held a vote to repeal a constitutional provision criminalizing abortion.  Ex-pat Irish citizens from around the world flew home to cast their votes. It wasn’t even close. Ireland votes overwhelmingly to overturn abortion ban:

The Irish have swept aside one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the developed world in a landslide vote that reflects Ireland’s emergence as a socially liberal country no longer obedient to Catholic dictates.

With all ballots counted and turnout at a near-historic high, election officials reported Saturday that 66.4 percent voted to overturn Ireland’s abortion prohibition and 33.6 percent opposed the measure.

The outcome of the referendum Friday was a decisive win for the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. The 1983 amendment enshrined an “equal right to life” for mothers and “the unborn” and outlawed almost all abortions — even in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormality or non-life-threatening risk to maternal health.

“What we have seen today is a culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

The United States, however, is now moving in the exact opposite direction. Religious Right extremists have taken Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale not as a dystopian vision of a totalitarian Christian theonomy that has overthrown the United States government, but as a handbook on how to actually make it a reality.

In March, GOP-run Mississippi enacted the strictest abortion law in the nation, for the intended purpose of a legal challenge that may get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to directly challenge Roe v. Wade (which permits abortions in the first 24 weeks). Mississippi gov signs nation’s toughest abortion restrictions:

Mississippi’s governor signed a law Monday banning most abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, the tightest restrictions in the nation.

* * *

The bill was drafted with the assistance of conservative groups including the Mississippi Center for Public Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom [based in Scottsdale, Arizona].

Continue reading

GOP legislators reject equal rights for women, because abortion (Updated)

This week Arizona’s GOP legislators reaffirmed, once again, that they believe women are second-class citizens who do not enjoy the full panoply of rights that white men do (they’re not convinced that men who are minorities do either), because abortion.

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley proposes the Equal Rights Amendment.

On Tuesday, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley (D-Tucson), for the second year in a row, attempted to use a procedural maneuver to bring up a bill for debate on approving the Equal Rights Amendment. And for the second year in a row, white men moved to adjourn the House rather than debate the bill and take a vote.

The Republic reports, On Equal Pay Day, Arizona Republicans block vote on Equal Rights Amendment:

Democrats in the Arizona Legislature fell short Tuesday in their attempt to force a vote on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

For the second consecutive year, they failed to persuade Republicans to allow debate on the ERA — a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that broadly guarantees equal rights between men and women.

State Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson, tried to use a procedural move to bring an ERA resolution to a vote in the House of Representatives, but the House adjourned before that could happen.

Hannley said she chose Tuesday to push the issue because it marks Equal Pay Day, the day on the calendar when the average American woman’s earnings catch up to what a male peer earned in 2017.

Nationally, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Arizona, women earn about 82 cents for every dollar.

‘No time limit on equality’

“Arizona women want equal pay for equal work,” Hannley told fellow lawmakers. “Let’s make history. There is no time limit on equality.”

But Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, intervened to prevent a vote on Powers Hannley’s motion. His motion to recess the chamber for the day passed 32-25, along party lines.

Continue reading

This week in the GOP’s war on the civil rights of women and LGBTQ

The House on Tuesday approved a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, advancing a key GOP priority for the third time in the past four years — this time, with a supportive Republican president in the White House. The purpose of the bill is to create a direct legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, which provides for access to abortion in the first 24 weeks.  With Trump’s backing, House approves ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy:

The bill, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is not expected to emerge from the Senate, where most Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans can block its consideration. But antiabortion activists are calling President Trump’s endorsement of the bill a significant advance for their movement.

The White House said in a statement released Monday that the administration “strongly supports” the legislation “and applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections.”

The bill provides for abortions after 20 weeks gestation only when they are necessary to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. Under the bill, abortions performed during that period could be carried out “only in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive” — note, not the life of the mother — and would require a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation to be present.

How Arizona’s congressional delegation voted:

Stricter Abortion Ban: The House on Oct. 3 voted, 237-189, to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization on the belief that the fetus can feel pain by then. This repudiates Roe v. Wade’s ruling that abortion is legal up to viability that occurs at about 24 weeks or later. A yes vote was to pass HR 36

Voting yes: Martha McSally, R-2, Paul Gosar, R-4, Andy Biggs, R-5, David Schweikert, R-6, Trent Franks, R-8

Voting no: Tom O’Halleran, D-1, Raul Grijalva, D-3, Ruben Gallego, D-7, Kyrsten Sinema, D-9

Women’s Health Exemption: The House on Oct. 3 defeated, 181-246, a bid by Democrats to add an overall woman’s health exemption to HR 36 to go with exemptions already in the bill in cases of incest or rape or to save the mother’s life. A yes vote was to permit abortions after 20 weeks if necessary to protect the mother’s health.

Voting Yes: O’Halleran, Grijalva, Gallego, Sinema

Voting No: McSally, Gosar, Biggs, Schweikert, Franks

Continue reading

Senate begins work to repeal ‘ObamaCare’ and to defund Planned Parenthood through the budget reconciliation process

I warned you about this months ago.  The authoritarian Tea-Publcians intend to use the budget reconciliation process to complete the budget that the last Congress failed to pass as the vehicle for repealing the Affordable Care Act aka “ObamamCare” and to give their wealthy benefactors a massive tax cut. They have also now added defunding Planned Parenthood to the reconciliation bill.

The reason for this is that under the budget reconciliation process, it only requires a simple majority vote and there is no filibuster in the Senate. Eddie Munster’s Monstrous Plan for America (snippet):

POLITICO Tiger Beat on The Potomac, reports Ryan plans to steamroll Democrats with budget tool:

If Donald Trump is elected president and Republicans hold onto Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan is bluntly promising to ram a partisan agenda through Capitol Hill next year, with Obamacare repeal and trillion-dollar tax cuts likely at the top of the list. And Democrats would be utterly defenseless to stop them.

* * *

EddieMunsterRyan peeled back the curtain on his strategy at a news conference last week after a reporter suggested he would struggle to implement his ambitious agenda next year. After all, it was noted, Republicans are certain to lack the 60 votes needed in the Senate to break Democratic filibusters on legislation. So Ryan gave a minitutorial on congressional rules and the bazooka in his pocket for the assembled reporters.

“This is our plan for 2017,” Ryan said, waving a copy of his “Better Way” policy agenda. “Much of this you can do through budget reconciliation.” He explained that key pieces are “fiscal in nature,” meaning they can be moved quickly through a budget maneuver that requires a simple majority in the Senate and House. “This is our game plan for 2017,” Ryan said again to the seemingly unconvinced press.

The New York Times has an explainer piece on The Parliamentary Tactic That Could Obliterate Obamacare.

Continue reading