Lily Purqurian, Staff Writer
As anti-abortion activists marched through Washington, D.C. on Thursday for the annual March for Life, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure limiting federal funding for abortions. And this was the moderate alternative.
Late Wednesday night, an anti-abortion bill — banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with a clause exempting victims of rape so long as they report to the authorities — was pulled out of the House after an emergency Rules Committee meeting to yield the embarrassment in having female GOP representatives vote against it. The measure on limiting the “already-limited federal funding” for abortions was, in fact, a substitute for the more trenchant bill in mind.
The substituted No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, likely to be vetoed by U.S. President Barack Obama, passed 242-179 on Thursday. The act plans to minimize access to abortions by excluding funding from government employee insurance. Republicans have heralded the bill as bipartisan, although only three Democrats have supported it, claiming the bill is more about politics and less about policy for those across the aisle.
Despite victory in the latest midterm elections, the GOP has struggled with a looming uncertainty in the 2016 presidential election. As increasing factions within the GOP threaten the strength of a potential nominee, the weight of the “voters optic” heavily influences legislation. The question then becomes: to whom will the GOP be loyal to — the centrists or the conservatives?
In this case, it certainly wasn’t the anti-abortion activists marching in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Those activists are currently furious with their party representatives. However, millennials and Republican women are also angry about the 20-week ban and rape clause presented within the initial bill. Only they have been feebly silenced with the passage of a relatively abstract bill, doing little to nothing in principle and action.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act is really just performing within the interim as a broken yellow light. While consensus building is the hallmark of our government, it is not as useful when general consensus is only reached upon abstract principles. The more abstract the principle, the less useful the rule. While the challenges in drafting principled legislation are justifiably avoided upon election season, Americans should be concerned as to when we will ever manage to escape the always-abutting election season and pass worthy legislation.