House Passes Measure Blocking Medical Training on Abortion

GOP Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, who represents the 5th Congressional District in North Carolina, is no friend of common sense. In 2009, in the thick of Washington’s debate on fixing America’s broken health care system, Representative Foxx took to the House floor to warn that health care reform was a bigger existential threat to the United States than terrorism:

She was also one of the key players in propagating those ridiculous death panel lies.

So, perhaps it’s not surprising that Representative Foxx has once again put her loaded extremism on full display: last Wednesday, a measure that she introduced, which denies federal funding to medical schools and health centers that teach about abortion procedures, passed the House 234-182 (with 13 Democrats voting for it and 10 Republicans voting against it). Foxx’s measure prevents federal funds from being used to train medical residents on abortion procedures.

A few Members of Congress — which is to say, too few representatives — condemned the anti-choice language, which passed as an amendment tacked on to the GOP’s health care reform repeal bill. Congressman and fellow North Carolinian Mel Watt (NC-12) criticized the Foxx amendment by pointing out the obvious:

“Abortions are legal in this country…and I don’t know that we’re ever going to stop training doctors from performing any medical procedure that’s legal.”

Representative Diana DeGette (CO-1) warned that the “amendment would jeopardize both education and women’s health care by obliterating funding for a necessary full range of medical training by health care professionals.”

I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the absolute stupidity of Foxx’s attack on basic medical education in the United States. In plain terms, this measure would immediately jeopardize the lives of countless women. Health care providers who are not taught how to perform as basic of a procedure as medical abortion are providers who aren’t equipped to save a woman’s life when she needs an emergency, live-saving abortion. In this case, it sure looks like Representative Foxx would be o.k. leaving such persons to die; how else does she think women are going to receive this kind of necessary care?

So, in addition to redefining rape and punishing rape victims, and as a kind of extension to allowing hospitals to turn away women who need life-saving abortions, we now have one more item to add to the GOP’s long list of attacks on women’s rights: forcing medical professionals to remain ignorant about how to perform a completely legal and in all ways essential health care procedure. When you consider that abortion, in any case, is rarely mentioned in U.S. medical school classrooms today, you realize the recklessness of Foxx’s and the House GOP’s decision. Spreading lies about death panels and “Obamacare” is one thing. Brazenly jeopardizing the health and lives of your own constituents and fellow Americans is another thing entirely. It’s legislated extremism that must not continue.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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