The men behind the war on women

A group of men with no real background in law or medicine, but blessed with a strong personal interest in women’s bodies, have quietly influenced all of the major anti-abortion legislation over the past several years. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops may be one of the quietest, yet most powerful lobbies on Capitol Hill, with political allies that have enabled them to roll back decades of law and precedent.

Over the past two years the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has launched one of the most extreme assaults on women’s choice the U.S. has seen in decades. Republicans voted twice to slash federal family planning funds for low-income women, moved to prevent women from using their own money to buy insurance plans that cover abortion, introduced legislation that would force women to have ultrasounds before receiving an abortion and, most recently, passed a bill that will allow hospitals to refuse to perform emergency abortions for women with life-threatening pregnancy complications.

But the erosion of women’s rights didn’t begin with the GOP takeover. President Barack Obama’s health care reform law contained some of the most restrictive abortion language seen in decades.

Lift the curtain, and behind the assault was the conference of bishops.

“It is a very effective lobby, unfortunately, and now they have an ally in the Republican majority because both groups find this a means by which to fight women’s health issues in general,” said Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “The bishops carry a lot of clout.”

“We consider the two biggest opponents on the other side the Catholic bishops and National Right to Life,” said Donna Crane, policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “They are extremely heavy-handed on this issue.”

While the bishops have always been vocal on the issue of choice, they have emerged since the 2009 health care reform debate as one of the most powerful anti-abortion advocates on Capitol Hill.

Now, they are stepping up their attack on women’s choice with a new, high-intensity campaign aimed at the latest front in the national anti-abortion battle: birth control. And the opposition is worried that they might have just enough sway over lawmakers to succeed.

On November 6, 2009, one day before the Democrat-controlled House was scheduled to vote on the Affordable Care Act, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reconvened with the Pro-Choice Caucus after a contentious meeting with the bishops.

The sticking point was abortion funding. Pelosi and the Democrats desperately wanted to pass health care reform. The bishops dug their heels in and refused to support a bill that didn’t include the notorious “Stupak Amendment,” which would block insurance companies from covering abortion under the plan, and the 39 pro-life Democrats in the House couldn’t politically afford to oppose the bishops.

“The Catholic bishops were willing to bring down the health care bill over the issue of abortion — even though the bill did not expand access to abortion,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said. “This was very troubling.”

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  • R Hines

    Excuse me, but how can Kathy Groob pen an article on pro-choice when she recently ran on a platform of being anti-choice during a recent political campaign, an election that she lost?

  • R Hines

    The link to prove that Groob recently ran for office as anti-choice apparently didn’t work. Here’s a link to her campaign flyer:

  • Kathy Groob

    Rick Hines is an internet stalker who follows me and stalks me obsessively everyday. He creates hate-filled websites using my name and uses his computer to continually trash strong women. I hope the readers will ignore his crazy rantings. Sincerely,
    Kathy Groob

  • R Hines

    I am a political blogger who keeps an eye on politicians in Kentucky, all politicians not just Groob. I think her anti-choice flyer speaks for itself. Groob just hates it when people can so easily trip up her pandering politics.

  • R Hines

    PageOneKentucky, the top progressive political blog in Kentucky (where Groob lives) has written about this:

  • Kathy Groob

    Again, it is becoming perfectly clear that Rick Hines is an internet stalker and spends most of his days following me and smearing my reputation. The article in question was published in part with full credit to the author and Huffington Post on ElectWomen Magazine. The accusation of plagiarism is ludicrous – full credit is given and it is only a partial segment. Click the link to see how the article was published that I was sharing with the Feministing community. See for yourself:

    In politics you learn to get a thick skin. I find it comical that it’s always men who feel the need to bully and trash women!

  • R Hines

    One problem or two with your explanation: Your byline is on the article and there is reason to believe that you did a correction at your site. Here’s what the real author, Laura Bassett from the Huffington Post write:

    “I noticed that Groob had posted my article without my byline, and I never gave anyone permission to run it anywhere.”

    Nobody is bullying you because you’re a woman, , and how dare you try to use that card. People are calling you out because of your constant pandering. One moment you’re doing a anti-choice political mailing claiming to be “a constant defender of life” then you’re publishing articles about pro-choice. Political bloggers like myself would not be calling you out if, for once in your lowly political life, you were honest. Now apologize at Laura at HuffPo.

  • R Hines

    And, to repeat, I didn’t have you investigated and I am currently in Florida. Hard to be following you around from FL. But you DID HAVE ME investigated, posted the results online, supplied with nearly every day commentary that includes my personal life. Your little site has been kicked from five American webhosting companies for malicious content and now you’re using one in the United Arab Emirates. The only nutcase here, is you.