Abortion foes to stage protest of GOP lawmaker over scuttled bill
Activists who oppose abortion are planning to protest at the office of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) on Thursday afternoon for what they view as her role in scuttling a bill that would have banned abortions past 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
A Facebook page for the event, which is being held at Ellmers’s Longworth Building office at 3:00 p.m., says demonstrators will “peacefully protest” the decision by Republicans to pull back the bill.
“There are some people who are considering civil disobedience, that has not been fully vetted yet,” said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, the Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and an organizer of the protest, when asked if anyone intends to get arrested. Another organizer, Jill Stanek, told Bloomberg Politics that she was ready to be arrested.
“I think there is an incredible sense of betrayal from the part of Congresswoman Ellmers and the Republican leadership in general,” Mahoney said.
At issue in the bill is a requirement that women who are impregnated during a rape report the crime to the police in order to be eligible to receive an abortion after 20 weeks. The bill’s language also includes exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.
Anti-abortion advocates believe that Ellmers, who opposed the reporting provision, was instrumental in causing leadership to pull the bill. She was part of a group of female Republicans who opposed the reporting provision.
Abortion opponents say that to leave the provision out would create a loophole in the law allowing for abortions to take place later than 20 weeks.
But Republicans more broadly are wary of passing legislation that qualifies the definition of rape. During the 2012 elections, two Republican Senate candidates made remarks about rape that contributed to them losing their races — including a famous comment by then-Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) about “legitimate” rape.
“The rape exception will be part of the bill. We just need to find a way definitionally to not get us into a spot where we’re debating what legitimate is. That’s not the cause. We’re not here debating legitimate rape. We’re talking about saving babies at 20 weeks,” Bloomberg Politics reported Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as saying at an anti-abortion march.
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