Abortion never went away as a political issue. But the Republican noise machine has been pumping more decibels than ever on abortion this year. There is no longer room for a pro-choice politician in the Republican Party. The issue is viewed as solid gold in Arkansas (though that remains to be seen in some voting precincts in Pulaski County, to name one.)
But one of the reasons women have given overwhelming support to Barack Obama and to Democratic politicians in other states is that they prefer autonomy over their medical decisions.
The issue could be defining in 2014 elections, the New York Times writes today, with ever more hot-button legislative issues to drive the GOP agenda from state houses to U.S. Senate races. Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton, whose pro-war and anti-safety-net posture already makes him suspect to many women voters (except his mother), forcefully cultivated the anti-choice base with his participation in Sunday’s annual anti-abortion march. Decisive in Arkansas? Republicans seem to think so. On the other hand you have Sen. Mark Pryor, who’s voted for some anti-abortion measures and against others and has expressed what I think is a typical view of abortion in Arkansas. Few people “support” abortion. Many people support restrictions on the practice. A majority still want it to remain legal, if reluctantly.
Here’s my question for Tom Cotton and Republicans: If religious organizations should be able to omit birth control pills and other reproductive coverage from their health insurance coverage, why should ANYBODY pay incrementally in health insurance for women’s preventive health care. Isn’t it time for legislation to PROHIBIT insurance companies for including preventive care such as family planning and birth control pills in the coverage rate base?