Focusing like a laser … on abortion rights

It’s been nearly five months since the start of the 112th Congress and the new House Republican majority. And during that time, we’ve learned an important lesson about the GOP’s legislative priorities: these guys care more about abortion than just about anything.

The party’s preoccupation with the culture-war fight or reproductive rights took another turn this week.

The House has passed legislation that would bar teaching health centers that receive federal funds under the new health care act from using the money to teach abortion techniques.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, the sponsor of the measure, says she wants to make it “crystal clear” that taxpayer money is not being used to train health care providers to perform abortions.

The North Carolina Republican’s proposal was offered as an amendment to a bill that puts funding restrictions on a teaching program in President Barack Obama’s health care act.

Here’s the roll call — it passed 234 to 182, with nearly every Republican voting for it, and nearly every Democrat voting against it.

The measure will die in the Senate, of course, but the larger point is that GOP lawmakers’ interest in abortion has bordered on obsession in recent months.

I’m sure there’s a more comprehensive list out there, but after a cursory review, I found a new Republican bill to imprison doctors who fail to notify the parents of minors who want an abortion; a separate Republican effort to cut off Planned Parenthood; a separate Republican plan called the “Protect Life Act,” and of course the odious “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” that Republicans pushed through the House earlier this month.

There’s probably more, but you get the point.

One gets the impression that Republican interpreted the 2010 midterms as a mandate to attack abortion rights on a near-constant basis. Voters who backed the GOP last year because of high unemployment might want to take a moment to compare the number of Republican job bills (zero) to the number of Republican abortion bills (at least five).