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Elizabeth Shipp

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The People Behind the "Let Women Die" Act

Posted: 02/09/11 12:05 PM ET

Elections have consequences, and for American women, that can't be made any more painfully clear than by the recent actions by newly elected anti-choice members of Congress. As if trying to redefine rape and incest wasn't enough, the anti-choice members now have slipped in a provision to the ironically named the "Protect Life Act" that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to women who will die without it.

Four anti-choice members who signed on to both H.R.3 and H.R.358, both of which tried to invent new standards for rape, were elected in 2010 under the GOP banner of "jobs, jobs, jobs."

Most voters who elected these anti-choice zealots couldn't have expected this type of misogynistic behavior from their elected representatives, could they? Well, indeed, they probably should have.

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), who defeated pro-choice moderate Dan Maffei, participated in radical anti-choice protests 20 years ago, carrying a blackened fetus named "Baby Choice" to one Planned Parenthood protest in Syracuse. She was a spokesperson for the radical "Operation Rescue" and Right-to-Life organizations in Syracuse. But Buerkle claimed during the campaign that abortion was "not an issue that would define her, nor would it be a priority of her campaign."

Perhaps not her campaign, but certainly as the newly minted representative to New York's 25th District, Buerkle believes that most of the voters agree with her extreme view but admitted that she couldn't provide a statistic of the number of supposedly pro-life, anti-women voters in her district.

Then, there's Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) who defeated pro-choice Rep. Debbie Halvorson last November. Kinzinger was endorsed by the radical Concerned Women for America PAC, the National Right to Life PAC, and the Susan B. Anthony List.

On the campaign trail, Kinzinger said he was against abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman. I guess what he meant to say was "forcible rape," incest against a woman who is only under the age of 18, and the life of the woman unless the hospital doesn't want to save her life.

In 2010, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), defeated moderate pro-choice Rep. Frank Kratovil. He was endorsed by National Right to Life and Concerned Women for America PAC. Harris' radical anti-choice views were well known when he served in the Maryland State Senate. As chairman of the pro-life caucus in the Maryland Senate, Harris led the filibuster against stem-cell research and sponsored a bill allowing pharmacies to refuse to fill prescriptions. [http://www.cwpac.org/page18.aspx] Now, he's signing on to bills that redefined rape and thinks it's better for women to die than to have an abortion.

Finally, voters in Michigan's 7th Congressional District, shouldn't be surprised by the actions of Rep. Tim Walberg. That's because he served in Congress previously and was no stranger to the anti-choice craziness when he first came to Congress following the 2006 election. Back then, he supported legislation that would end all legal abortion, most common forms of birth control, stem-cell research, and in vitro fertilization. [H.R.618, 110th Congress; H.R.4157, 110th Congress] During his 2010 race against pro-choice Rep. Mark Schauer, Walberg was proud to receive the endorsement of the extreme Republican National Coalition for Life, which requires all endorsed candidates to "indicate they are faithfully pro-life, and do not justify abortion for innocent babies who are conceived through rape or incest."

Walberg wins the trifecta in this year's Congress by having already signed on to all three of the most anti-women, anti-health care, anti-choice bills of the still-early session: the when rape isn't rape H.R.3; the protect life act unless the life is that of a pregnant woman H.R.358; and Rep. Mike Pence's H.R.217 that would decimate Title X clinics throughout the country that provide cancer-screenings, STD prevention, birth control,and a host of other services for more than five million men and women throughout the country.

These are just four new members of Congress who campaigned on jobs and the economy but thought it much more important to attack women's personal medical decisions as their first big "how-do-you-do" moment in Washington. So, I hate to tell you I told you so back in November...but...I told you so!

Until voters quit believing that these anti-choice politicians care about anything other than snooping around in your private life and making decisions for you, we'll continue to see these kinds of attacks in Washington and in the states. Remember this in November 2012: these politicians only care about government small enough to fit in your bedroom or your medicine cabinet. And if women die because of their callous actions, well, that wasn't the life they were elected to protect, right?