Republicans are giddy about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi becoming Minority Leader of House Democrats. It was her legislative agenda that got the Dems hammered in the election.
Republicans should seize the opportunity to drive a wedge between Pelosi and nervous Democrats who fear another drubbing in 2012: They should force a vote on spending cuts for abortion.
Apparently the historic election thrashing has reduced testosterone levels of House Democrats, except for 32 women backing Pelosi who share her abortion zealotry. Most of the male Democrats are behaving like Madame Bovary's lovesick husband, who remained loyal to her despite her unfaithfulness. Rep. Heath Shuler (NC), a pro-life "moderate" Democrat, has announced that he will challenge Pelosi for the leadership position. But he admits that he doesn't have the backing to win. Is wussiness a preexisting condition included in ObamaCare? Blue Dog Democrats lost their House seats after falling for a sucker play by Pelosi and President Obama. Despite their objections to the abortion spending in ObamaCare, several Blue Dogs voted for it after Obama issued a sham executive order "prohibiting" spending on abortion services. They learned the hard way that Pelosi's loyalty is to her "keep your subsidies off my ovaries" base above all others. What else could be expected from the woman who ignored her Pope and backed abortion coverage after he rebuked her for abandoning Catholic doctrine on abortion? It's why NARAL gives Pelosi a 100-percent approval rating, and why NOW and Emily's List are backing her as minority leader. The expressed "mission" of Emily's list "is electing pro-choice Democratic women to office."
Note to male Democrats: Since "pro-choice" Republican women can't get backing by Emily's List, you should probably feel biologically free to dis them. Apparently some ovaries are more special than others.
Republicans should be encouraged by post-election polling to go on offense against Pelosi by pushing legislation that cuts abortion funding and advances other pro-life issues.
According to Michael Sean Winters writing in the National Catholic Reporter, a national post-election poll conducted by The Polling Company reveals that "fully 30% of voters said that abortion affected their votes, and this group broke nearly 3-to-1 in favor of the pro-life candidates." Republicans should follow the lead of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie by cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. Christie vetoed "a supplemental spending bill for 'Women's Health and Family Planning Services.'" According to Thomas L. McDonald, writing for the National Catholic Register,
It was set to distribute $7,453,000 to 58 abortion businesses throughout the state. Of these facilities, 29 are run by Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion services in the state and the nation. At least three of the businesses that were to receive funding provide abortions on site, and others refer patients for abortions.
Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced legislation in 2009, saying "the time has come to deny all federal funding to Planned Parenthood of America." Pence noted that the nation's largest abortion provider's annual report acknowledged $350 million in government grants and contracts while reporting more than 300,000 abortions during the same period. As reported by Nathan Black of the Christian Post, "Pence acknowledged that current law and regulation prevents Title X funds from going directly to fund abortions, but he said there's no question that the money frees up resources that Planned Parenthood can use to provide and promote abortions."
Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat majority defeated Pence's amendment by a vote of 247-183.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards knows that her organization's funding is at stake, which is a big reason why Richards is also supporting Pelosi as minority leader. In her column on Huffington Post, "Why women need Pelosi," Richards praised Pelosi's fight to keep abortion funding in Obamacare:
And in the fight to defeat the effort by Congressman Bart Stupak [a Blue Dog Democrat] to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion care, Speaker Pelosi refused to budge. Women need her now more than ever to protect their gains from those who are anxious to roll back health care and undermine their rights under the law.
Rep. Pence should reintroduce his legislation, along with a bill repealing abortion coverage in ObamaCare.
"The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" also should be reintroduced, which would prohibit transporting a minor across state lines for an abortion in circumvention of a state's parental consent or notification law. The House passed the bill in 2005 despite Pelosi's opposition, but it failed in the Senate.
Pelosi's fans at The New York Times want her to step aside from minority leadership, saying she isn't the "persuasive communicator" that Democrats need now that Obama has turned out to be a "diffident salesman of his own work." Who doesn't want to watch Pelosi, as the Times puts it, "visibly shrink on camera" as she tries to persuade Democrats to jump off another abortion cliff?
Jan LaRue is senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.