(WOMENSENEWS)–It was a cliff-hanger week in Washington as lawmakers battled mightily over the federal budgets for 2011 and 2012.
On Tuesday GOP Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan introduced a 2012 version that dismantles health reform and slashes Medicare and Medicaid, and on Thursday pro-choice protestors rallied in Washington as the delayed 2011 budget–the one threatening a federal shutdown–became increasingly focused on abortion politics.
The money wars seemed to be setting the stage for a particularly contentious 2012 campaign season.
President Barack Obama, who said he welcomed the ideological fight raised by the GOP budget proposal, announced he would run again and tapped Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to chair the Democratic National Committee. Schultz, a pro-choice Florida representative, will be the third woman to hold this position.
The GOP’s Rep. Michele Bachmann announced at a Tea Party rally she has raised $2.2 million in political contributions in the first 90 days of 2011, reported the Washington Post April 1.
Abortion Battle Continues
Abortion bills, meanwhile, continued to barrage state houses.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed a Republican bill that would not cover abortions under the federal health insurance, reported Business Week April 5. The governor says the bill violates the state’s constitutional right to privacy and access to reproductive health care.
A Florida committee will look at a bill, one of 18 filed this year, requiring women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound, reported WESH.com April 4, the NBC affiliate in Orland, Fla.
A bill restricting abortions only when the woman’s life is endangered or when continued pregnancy would "create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function" was given preliminary approval by the Missouri Senate, reported Courthouse News Service April 1. The bill, approved by a voice vote, also sends doctors who perform illegal abortions to jail for seven years.
Bills banning abortions at 20 weeks, based on disputed research that fetuses can feel pain at that time in the pregnancy, are moving forward in about 15 states. Iowa’s House and Oklahoma’s Senate approved bills this week and Idaho sent a bill to the governor’s desk.
The week also offered an interesting insight into the way the nonprofit Candies’ Foundation spends its money. The group paid Bristol Palin $262,500 for promotional work but gave $35,000 in grants to teen pregnancy prevention programs, according to their 2009 tax information, reported ThinkProgress April 5.
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