Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Baseball Bat 

Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla has been chronicling the efforts of our wily Republican betters to sneak various slimy provisions into the "must-pass" omnibus spending bill in hopes that they'll be enacted into law before the rest of Congress realizes what they've voted on. Earlier today, for example, Democrats sniffed out and shouted down a proposal that would have allowed certain Senate committee chairs to examine any citizen's IRS records without a court order. Another surreptitious rule change would eliminate Pell Grants for 84,000 college students, and reduce financial aid to thousands more. And then, of course, there's this:
The abortion language would bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals. Current federal law, aimed at protecting Roman Catholic doctors, provides such "conscience protection'' to doctors who do not want to undergo abortion training. The new language would expand that protection to all health care providers, including hospitals, doctors, clinics and insurers.
Of course, "protecting the conscience" of some means restricting the established legal rights of others. Our esteemed colleague Miriam of No Capital joins us in wondering whether a Republican legislator such as Dave Weldon of Florida, who introduced the abortion rider, would really want this sort of thing on his conscience:
It was an unwanted pregnancy, police said.

And for several weeks, her 16-year-old boyfriend struck her in the belly with a baseball bat in an effort to terminate her pregnancy, police said.

In October, the 16-year-old girl had a miscarriage in her Richmond Township house, said Michigan State Police Sgt. Jim Haggerty. Afterward, the teens wrapped the fetus in plastic and buried it in an open field in northern Macomb County's Richmond Township, police said.

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