2011-10-28 / Top Stories

Turner Votes Yes On Anti-Abortion Act

By Daniel Solomon

Bob Turner, Anthony Weiner’s Republican replacement in Congress, has been off to a busy start in Washington, D.C., receiving assignments to the House’s Foreign Affairs, Veterans’ Affairs, and Homeland Security Committees and casting his first votes. As The Wave reported a month ago, he has already taken a few controversial stands, backing a bill that would restrict labor rights.

Now, Turner and his fellow Republicans have stirred up a furor with new legislation that would sharply curb women’s access to abortion. The Protect Life Act, which cleared the House on October 13 by a party-line vote and which has been dubbed the “Let Women Die” Act by opponents, would allow hospitals receiving federal funding to refuse to perform the procedure, even under extenuating circumstances, such as when a mother’s life is at risk. The proposed law, which also bans government money from health plans that cover abortion, comes in the form of an amendment to last year’s health-care overhaul and was sponsored by Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA).

Though it will never be advanced by the Senate and has drawn a veto threat from President Barack Obama, the bill provoked a firestorm of criticism from women’s groups and Democrats. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the lower chamber’s minority leader, characterized the legislation as “just appalling,” saying that it would leave women to “die on the floor” of a hospital. Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, lambasted the Republicans’ move in a press release, calling it “a collection of dangerous ideas that will undermine women’s health.” She also stated that the act’s provision against the intermingling of taxpayer dollars with cash that covers abortion was redundant because this was taken care of by current law, arguing instead that the measure was a ploy to stop insurers from paying for abortions altogether.

The Wave contacted Turner’s office for comment, however, it did not respond to the request. The Congressman has always been prolife, and he said just as much during the campaign. That position resonates in a district with large numbers of Catholics and religious Jews, but many who are anti-abortion support exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Consequently, the political fallout from Turner’s stance remains to be seen.

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