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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is hard at work on the Senate’s agenda — that is, of course, if Republicans take over in November.

As Cortney O’Brien reports at the conservative site Town Hall, McConnell used the last day of the National Right to Life Convention to vow that he and his fellow Republicans would pursue “pro-life” policies and measures if control of the Senate shifts right after the midterm elections.

“I’m proud of my record and defense of life. If I was Majority Leader, we’d already have had a vote on it [abortion limits] in the Senate. It’s long past time for us to join the ranks of most other civilized nations to protect children past 20 weeks in the womb,” the passionate McConnell said at the convention.

McConnell was specifically referencing a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, written by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), immediately sparked criticism from the left and from women’s health advocates, who note that most abortions that occur after the 20-week period are related to health issues that threaten the mother or fetus — or both. Without any support from Democrats — and even lacking full support from the Senate GOP — the bill’s future appears grim.

Even if the bill miraculously garnered the support needed to pass the Senate and the House, President Barack Obama would surely veto it.

Still, McConnell — who points to his early planning as evidence that he would serve as a “better scheduler” than current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) — projects optimism about limiting access to abortions. “For six years, the president has been isolated from this growing movement … He will be forced to listen to the cause that’s brought us all here this morning … Senate Dems would be forced to take a stand,” the Kentucky senator said.

McConnell made the comments in Kentucky on Saturday, but the spiel probably would have lasted longer if he had spoken on Monday, when the Supreme Court announced its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. The 5-4 decision struck down a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that required all employer-provided insurance to include contraception coverage, even if the employers have religious objections to contraception methods. Immediately after the announcement, the Republican National Committee praised the Court for ruling “on the side of liberty.”

The ruling — a narrow decision that does not actually prohibit the federal government from providing contraception coverage for women or from requiring that employer-provided health care provide other key areas of coverage, despite employers’ religious objections — may encourage Republicans to take a firmer stance on abortion.

After its great 2012 losses, the GOP has attempted to steer clear of social issues that have largely shaped its platform, but also alienated significant populations of the electorate, like women and minorities. However, growing tension between moderate Republicans and Tea Party Republicans has forced GOP politicians to reconsider their strategy. Still, the possibility exists that Republicans who remind voters of the GOP’s narrow and unchanging positions risk again driving moderate voters in the direction of the Democratic Party.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  • TZToronto

    Another overt expression of the Republican Party’s assault on the rights of women. With any luck, this type of advance chicken-counting will drive even some right-leaning women to look a bit more to the left than they would have otherwise.

  • Jason Garcia

    While he’s so focused on catching us up to “most of the other countries of the civilized world,” perhaps he can also concentrate on paid maternity leave, common-sense gun reform, universal healthcare, etc.

    • jmprint

      That’s called work, they are too dysfunctional for that.

  • sigrid28

    Don’t you just want to pinch the cheeks on his fat little face when McConnell says things like this? He looks so darn sincere and hopeful. Doesn’t everybody know by now that he’s just bluffing? Even if he could pull this off, Obama’s veto pen is poised already, while women will be lining up to vote in droves against Republicans in the 2016 elections.

    • Bill Thompson

      I can only hope that is the case, but as you should well know religious doctrine and teachings Trump common sense and is the reason many vote against their own best interest. The GOP has been very successful exploiting people’s religious and social prejudices. The question at hand is how far can they push this strategy before the conservative core sees through the smoke and mirrors. The sad fact is many are not even aware what is presently happening and only hear the snippets filtered through corporate news outlets.

      • sigrid28

        I consider the conservative base and certainly the Tea Party base beyond the reach of reason or even common sense. But they are being outnumbered demographically and are unlikely to be replaced. These are the final throes.

        • Elliot J. Stamler

          Yes sigrid but they are arming themselves to the teeth with their “2nd Amendment remedy” armaments including military weaponry and they have intention if they see themselves going down the drain, of provoking a second civil war. Their rhetoric doesn’t even deny this. Fascists, which is what they are, have no respect for democracy and of course as you write are beyond reason or common sense. I may be unduly pessimistic but having lived to my 8th decade I have some knowledge of how things unfold and this will be a grim unfolding. BUT THERE IS A GOOD SIDE: if these fascist right-wing scum do revolt it will give the rest of us the opportunity to utterly destroy them politically and yes, personally.

          • sigrid28

            I hope, like you, that it never comes to that. Coming from the Great Generation, you come by your wisdom honestly. I had a twinge of your pessimism when a local auto repair at a busy intersection on our side of town, where many of our minority citizens live, decided to mount a huge Confederate flag over its front door. I spoke to city officials who claimed they could do nothing, as local regulations for business signage ostensibly permit this racist behavior in the guise of “free speech.” I suppose it is better to let these bigots create an enclave than to have them come out shooting like the Tea Party activists in Las Vegas. If they are satisfied by displaying their flag and commiserating with the only customers who will do business there, the situation may very well avoid becoming a powder keg because of this pressure release that the rest of us just have to tolerate. It is a sign of our times.

    • highpckts

      You would honestly think that women would vote against this party but, for whatever reason, they continue to vote against their own best interests! I don’t get it!

      • sigrid28

        Well, men are voting against their self-interest, too, when they vote Republican, the same way they refuse to go to the doctor or wouldn’t look at a map even if their lives depended on it. The way I see it, for women, “voting” against their self-interest has been a way of life literally and figuratively since “caveperson days,” as they say on “Sesame Street.” We are the experts of getting our way without anyone knowing the difference. The secret ballot on Election Day can deal these old white guys a blow they didn’t see coming and won’t even feel, as things will be better for everyone all round.

        • Bill Thompson

          While I agree with your though process it will all come down to whose side shows up at the polls. Historically democrats get their butts kicked in midterm elections. We can only hope the Democratic and Independent base begins to see what is at stake. As I have said many times on this forum the Democratic leadership seems to be aloof and disconnected and needs to be more vocal. For the life of me I cannot understand what they are waiting for.

    • Cindy C. Strait

      Pinch them? Don’t you mean slap them? Because that’s what I want to do. I hope you’re right about the elections but don’t forget we need to get through the 2014 elections first.

      • sigrid28

        It’s all about registering as many new voters as possible and also registering out-of-state college students to vote in the state where they go to school or vote by mail-in ballot at home. I see 2014 as 2016-with-training-wheels for the new Democratic coalition of women, the young, and minorities, voters just waiting to make their voices heard. I think for all but the dyed-in-the-red Republican base, whose numbers are declining, these elections are the first chance to express pent-up rage over violations to the Voting Rights Act, women’s rights, and the right of all Americans to the pursuit of happiness, whether through better health via the sustained ACA, a more just society through the passage of immigration reform, a more just economy through passage of a living wage, or freedom from the terrors of gun violence through passage of sensible limitations on gun and ammunition ownership.

        I think I want to pinch his cheeks rather than slap them, because in this photo McConnell looks more like a baby than a grown man. (And who would want to slap a baby.) I think the photo works because he sort of slyly puts on this joyful, innocent baby face (whether consciously or not) to try to disguise how destructive his anti-abortion agenda really is to women and their families.

  • stcroixcarp

    I have problems with the term “pro-life” as used by the republicans. They are anti-abortion, not pro-life. If you are for living human beings, then you need to be anti-hunger. You need to be anti-war because war destroys life. You need to be for immigration reform (especially where children are concerned) because immigrants, legal and otherwise are human beings, You need to be anti-poverty, not anti-poor. You need to be anti-racist because racism leads to violence, discrimination, ethnic cleansing and genocide of real living human beings. You need to be pro-environment, because without clean air and water and a healthy ecosystem, no life can exist. Pro-life republicans are anti-abortion, but pretty much pro death on most other issues.

    • highpckts

      Oh so well said! They are pandering to their rabid base!!

    • dana becker

      Yes absolutely correct. I have said many times they only “care” about the kids BEFORE they are born but accuse them of being lazy takers after they are born.

  • Bill

    The GOP is bat shit crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jmprint

    So much for infrastructure, jobs, economy. immigration. Never mind I forget we vote for these idiots so they can scan our bedroom behavior, place judgement and change laws to keep their mindset intact.

    • charleo1

      Small Party = Small ball politics.


    The sickening thing about so many ‘pro-life’ Republicans, is the way their reverence for life begins and ends with the fetus. They can be counted upon to be solidly opposed to anything benefiting living, breathing children, and they view the physical and mental health of the mothers as irrelevant, and nothing that can’t be cured with a dose of Jesus.

  • Allan Richardson

    Which countries does he consider “most of the other countries of the civilized world?” Ireland, where a woman (who actually WANTED a successful pregnancy) with an infected miscarriage DIED (along with the fetus, of course) because the law did not allow doctors to remove the dying fetus until it FINISHED dying, by which time it was too late to save the woman? Or pre-1989 Romania, where Ceaucescu’s anti-abortion policies overflowed the orphanages with babies not getting emotional attention? The REALLY civilized countries like Great Britain (where Irish women used to go to have an abortion, until Ireland made LEAVING the country to get one a crime), France, Germany, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries have a more rational attitude. They do not forbid abortion, but they have very little need for it, because BIRTH CONTROL is legal, available, and reasonable (as for Ireland, they have banned that also until recently; Irish couples in the 1970s used Saran Wrap to make homemade condoms).

  • howa4x

    Dr No should keep making statements like this and talk about how the republicans will conduct and all out war of women if they take over. That will surely help the GOP in battle ground states

  • dtgraham

    The problem is that I don’t see any provision there for the life and health of the mother. According to the United Nations’ publication “world abortion polices 2011”, abortion is allowed in 97% of it’s member countries after 20 weeks if the pregnancy is threatening to a woman’s life. Other commonly accepted reasons are preserving physical (67%) or mental health (63%). This looks like it would do away with that.

    This is just not needed. Even in a country like Canada with no abortion laws at all, only 5% of abortions occur there after 17 weeks gestation, and that’s almost solely due to serious medical complications. It’s a tough decision and no one is going to wait that long just because they’re allowed to.

  • Independent1

    The problem with with McConnell’s focus is what some other posters have pointed out – the GOP is hellbent on curbing abortions, even outlawing them when one is needed to save the life of the mother; and by that claiming to be pro-life, while completely ignoring the fact that they’re anything but pro-life when it comes to keeping babies alive once their born or hoping to be born.

    The GOP is clearly more pro-Death than pro-Life because of at least the following:

    The GOP clearly has a penchant for starting wars, with little regard for the lives of American soldiers when they know full well hundreds or thousands will die, just so they’re rich buddies and donors aligned with the defense industry can steal billions upon billions by defrauding the American taxpayer.

    And they appear to have no quams whatsoever about refusing to extend Medicaid benefits even though they know full well that expert projections claim that thousands upon thousands of Americans will die early deaths in red states because of that refusal.

    And not only does their refusal to extend Medicaid benefits and other healthcare result in premature deaths for people already alive, 13 of the 15 states with the highest infant mortality rates in the nation are red states (babies dying at birth or before their 1st birthday) – proving that although they may claim to be pro-life because of their idiot stand on abortion – they are clearly pro-death with respect to those fetuses dying at birth or before their 1st birthday because the GOP wouldn’t provide adequate health care for the mothers carrying those fetuses or money to feed them adequately once they are born.

    And even with respect to abortion, the GOP’s penchant for closing abortion clinics in NO WAY reduces abortions – statistics have shown that more abortions occur in places where abortions are illegal and legalized clinics to perform them are not available – Why? Because abortion clinics do in fact work to dissuade mothers who are thinking of having an abortion from actually having one; while the lack of legal abortion clinics does not often dissuade a woman from having an abortion – it only greatly increases the probability that she may die while getting an illegal abortion at the hands of some quack. The notion that removing abortion clinics will reduce abortions is nothing more than the figment of a GOP idiots imagination; doing so, will only over time increase the incidence of woman dying in the process of getting that abortion that removing the clinic didn’t prevent.

    And red states really can’t afford to have more people dying prematurely – longevity in Red States is already 2 years less than the longevity overall in Blue States; and residents of ten Red States actually live up to 5 year shorter lives than the residents of 9 Blue States.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Every time I see the face and hear the voice of this weasel I am sorry he wasn’t aborted.

  • mah101

    They just never learn. The new meaning of GOP: Gynecologically Obsessed Party

  • Susan McGraw Keber

    McConnell must go. His time is up. He is not current and is standing in the way of all progress for this country. Tired of his and the GOP rhetoric. Their goal is obvious. Turn back the clock and ruin President Obama’s legacy. Enough!

  • dana becker

    “I’m proud of my record and defense of life.”

    Too bad his record is shameful after the birth.