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I wrote last week about how all of the Missouri GOP House members in Washington D.C.  had signed on as co-sponsors of HR3, anti-abortion legislation that, among many other problematic restrictions, redefined rape for the purposes of federal abortion funding – evidently Republicans don’t think it’s rape unless it hurts. Given the hue and cry that that particular provision engendered, the GOP forced-birth crusaders backed down and removed it from the legislation.

But not before I wrote to my representative, the inestimable Teahadist, Todd Akin. And not before he emailed me back with his self-congratulatory set piece on HR3 (full text below the fold). Guess what? Rep. Akin wants us to know that he’s “proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation.” We can take that to mean that he would have just burst his buttons every time some thirteen year old rape and incest victim was forced to give birth to an unwanted child. Good going, Todd!

If you read Akin’s response below, you will probably also note that he isn’t absolutely honest about the purpose of HR3. He claims that it’s necessary because HR3590, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will not restrict public funding for abortion. I wish! My preferences aside, however, his claim is a blatant distortion of the facts – and if you don’t believe me, believe Factcheck.org where the claim is analyzed in considerable detail.

That Akin views HR3 primarily as a means to attack abortion rights is obvious when he declares that “abortion is not health care.” This statement might come as a surprise to the woman suffering from health complications that force her to choose whether to abort or to die. Most of us would even admit that when a woman exercises her legal right to terminate her pregnancy, for whatever reason, whether or not she can obtain a safe procedure is a health issue. There’s a reason that rational people think abortion is a matter best left to a woman and her doctor.

Of course, what Akin is actually saying is that for people with a particular philosophical or religious belief system the pregnant woman is irrelevant after conception takes place; she is no more than a host for the potential human that she carries, which no matter how incomplete its development, enjoys a full panoply of rights on the basis of its potential personhood.  Since Brother Todd holds this belief close to his heart, he clearly thinks he is justified in using whatever coercive, dishonest means possible to impose its consequences on those of us who do not share it – all the while claiming that the forced birthers are the real victims of “those who support a policy of abortion on demand.”

Forced birthers – none of whom are forced to have abortions – according to Akin, “rightly object to liberal politicians in Washington forcing their values on Americans in the face of strong moral opposition.” If taxpayer funding for various activities is the measure of forced values he is referring to, I’d hate to have to count the ways over the years that I’ve had conservative values foisted on me to the point of moral revulsion.

House leaders have recently decided that it is so important that the representatives maintain close contact with their constituents that they are cutting a week off their working schedule each month so that the members can return to their home districts. The irony here for those of us who are putatively represented by Brother Todd is that, no matter how much time he has to attend to his home district, he is so immersed in his personal prejudices that he can only hear the opinions of a very select group of parishoners constituents.  

Dear XXXX:

Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

H.R. 3 was introduced on January 20, 2011 by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). I am  proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation.As you may know, H.R. 3590 was passed by the House and Senate and then signed by the President on March 23, 2010. I actively opposed and voted against this legislation for many reasons, including its lack of protection for preborn human life.

There has been confusion over whether this legislation allows for taxpayer funded abortions. Sadly, it does. While the original House health care bill included language similar to the Hyde amendment, H.R. 3590 omitted this language. It also failed to include conscience protections for life-affirming medical professionals. President Obama issued an Executive Order in regards to abortion funding in the healthcare law. However, this in itself cannot restrict the funding of abortions by taxpayer dollars.

History has demonstrated that unless abortion is explicitly excluded in the enabling legislation, administrative agencies and the courts will mandate it. We have seen this time and again. Initially, the federal Medicaid statute was silent on abortion, but because prior administrations and the courts deemed abortion-on-demand to be mandated coverage, over 300,000 abortions were performed yearly before the Hyde Amendment banned public funding for abortion in Medicaid. In 1979, Congressman Henry Hyde asked the Indian Health Service how they had the statutory authority to pay for abortions. The agency responded, “We have no basis for refusing to pay for abortions.” In these two instances, explicit exclusion of abortion services needed to be included in law to ensure taxpayers would not have to continue to pay for abortions.

The issue is clear: if abortion is not explicitly excluded, it is implicitly included in any health care reform package passed by Congress.

Life-affirming Americans rightly object to liberal politicians in Washington forcing their values on Americans in the face of strong moral opposition. And most Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions. Yet those who support a policy of abortion on demand seem determined to use our tax dollars to pay for it.

You can be sure that I will continue to work to protect innocent human life at all stages of development – and oppose any taxpayer funding of abortion. Abortion is not health care and I will not rest until our laws once again prohibit tax dollars going to pay for abortions in any way whatsoever.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact my office. Please know that I will continue to work for my fellow Missourians in the legislative matters I am able to address.

It is a privilege to represent you and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me regarding any matter where I might be of assistance. Please visit my website, where you can find more information on current issues, share further thoughts with me via email and subscribe to my e-newsletter for updates on issues you care about.