House Republican won’t let go of anti-abortion crusade

HOUSE REPUBLICAN WON’T LET GO OF ANTI-ABORTION CRUSADE…. If voters delivered big wins to Republicans last November in the hopes of seeing a slew of anti-abortion bills, the public will be thrilled with the House GOP agenda. If voters backed Republicans hoping to see them focus on jobs and the economy, they’re likely wondering what in the world the GOP is thinking right now.

The Boston Globe noted today that the new House majority is pushing a measure that “would eliminate tax deductions for private insurance plans that cover abortions.” Brian Beutler helps flesh out the details on this, explaining that the GOP proposal is intended to raise taxes on businesses.

More specifically, it would eliminate tax incentives on employer-provided health care benefits if those benefits cover abortion as a medical procedure. […]

Ultimately, the impact of tax like the one in the Republican legislation would likely be to phase out abortion coverage in the private insurance market. This would upend the long-standing bipartisan consensus, which does not enshrine the idea that the government should exert pressure on private entities to deny medical services they don’t like. And — speaking of bipartisan consensus — it would run directly counter to the politically expedient conclusion by both parties that people should be able to keep the health care they already have.

“The Republicans in the House are proposing tax hikes because they don’t like a health plan a private-sector business chooses,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). “What they want to do is essentially make abortion unavailable.”

The only thing worse that the House Republicans’ preoccupation with abortion is the substance of the proposals themselves. A month into their new majority, it’s one thing to blow off job creation altogether, but launching an anti-abortion crusade — knowing full well that the Senate and White House won’t go along — is ridiculous.

For those keeping score, we’ve now seen the odious “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” become a top GOP priority, the life-threatening “Protect Life Act” garner significant Republican support, the debate over raising business taxes over their insurance plans that might cover abortions, and another proposal is on the way to cut off federal dollars to women’s health care clinics that offer abortions.

Culture warrior Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) boasted yesterday, “This House is more pro-life than it’s ever been.”

That’s probably not an exaggeration, but for those who thought 2010 was about the economy, it may come as a bit of a surprise.