Dems hit GOP for spending Judiciary panel time on abortion

Dems hit GOP for spending Judiciary panel time on abortion
© Francis Rivera

Senate Democrats are denouncing Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee for holding a hearing on abortion legislation while refusing to consider a Supreme Court nominee. 

“While the Republicans on that committee say they won’t take up the time to do their most important actual job, they were happy to spend their time this morning on their favorite hobby: do everything they can to turn back the clock on women’s access to healthcare,” said Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Regulation: FTC to probe Facebook over user data | FDA takes step to regulating flavors in tobacco products | Congress may include background check measure in funding bill Overnight Health Care: House leaves out ObamaCare fix from funding bill | Trump appointees pushed to end teen pregnancy program | Key Dem raises concerns over potential CDC pick Top Senate Dem raises concerns over potential CDC pick MORE (D-Wash.). 

Added Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (D-Calif.): “Do they have time to do other things with their time? Oh, yes. What are they doing right now?”

She said the panel is considering bills that are “threatening the health and the lives of women.”

The Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held a hearing on two abortion bills, one to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and one to add criminal penalties for medical providers who do not properly care for a baby born alive after a failed abortion. 

“We’re one of seven countries in the world that allow abortion on demand at 20 weeks,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSteyer brings his push to impeach Trump to town halls across the nation Trump formally sends Pompeo nomination to Senate GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE (R-S.C.) said at the hearing. “We’re trying to get out of that club, quite frankly.”

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinWhat’s genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to Trump Coalition presses Transportation Dept. for stricter oversight of driverless cars Saudi energy deal push sparks nuclear weapon concerns MORE (D-Calif.) countered that the bill is just one more step toward the goal of banning abortion completely, which she said would “drive women underground, away from safe clinics and hospitals.”

"I’m sure it’s frustrating for Senate Democrats who have praised the new Republican Senate for doing its job and passing major bipartisan legislation, to now have to follow Sen. Schumer’s talking points to the opposite," Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE (R-Ky.), said in response to Democrats' criticism.

"Sometimes political talking points are hard to follow," he added. "But the Senate is going to keep passing bipartisan legislation and holding oversight hearings whether the President is able to find someone to accept the Supreme Court nomination or not."

The 20-week abortion ban has passed the House, but it already failed in the Senate in September on a mostly party line vote. 

As for the born alive bill, Democrats pointed out that babies born alive are already protected under a 2002 law.

This story was updated at 1:59 p.m.