On the House floor on Wednesday, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) shut the anti-abortion GOPers down in a powerful speech America didn’t know it needed to hear—until now.
Just days after giving Republican State Senator Tom Barnett a smackdown for removing extreme anti-abortion rhetoric from his campaign website, Slotkin wiped the floor with her right-wing congressional colleagues—pun intended.
“Who do you think you are?”
A passionate reproductive rights advocate, the Congresswoman from Michigan left nothing on the table after the House GOP tried to “own the libs,” by adding an abortion ban to a much-needed Veterans’ rights bill to see it fail. But Slotkin had their number and called them out on their partisan political move that puts the life and health of female veterans at risk, telling the chamber, “If you want to turn a veterans’ bill into an abortion bill, let’s do it.”
Not one of you are a medical doctor – not one of you. What the VA guidelines say is that if you’ve been raped, or the victim of incest, or a medical professional deems that your pregnancy is a risk to your health. The 1 of 4 women in this country who has had a miscarriage – probably many women in this room – that you are a better judge of who gets to decide the future of their life, and not a medical doctor. Who do you think you are?
“You are politicians,” she responded, visibly angry at the GOP’s underhanded attempt to remove the most basic of reproductive healthcare rights. “We are all, on this floor, elected officials and not medical professionals.”
“If you want to turn a veterans’ bill into an abortion bill, let’s do it.”
On September 2, 2022, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced that it “will provide access to abortions when the life or health of the pregnant Veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.”
The services will extend to those enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program—CHAMPVA—which is a health benefits program in which the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shares the cost of certain health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries, according to the agency’s website.
“This is a patient safety decision,” said Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “Pregnant Veterans and VA beneficiaries deserve to have access to world-class reproductive care when they need it most. That’s what our nation owes them, and that’s what we at VA will deliver.”
“VA will be able to offer abortion counseling and abortions to pregnant Veterans and VA beneficiaries in cases of rape, incest, or when the life or health of the Veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term — in accordance with generally accepted standards of medical practice,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, VA’s Under Secretary for Health. “We came to this decision after listening to VA health care providers and Veterans across the country, who sounded the alarm that abortion restrictions are creating a medical emergency for those we serve. Offering this care will save Veterans’ health and lives, and there is nothing more important than that.”
While Democrats applauded the new policy expanding abortion access in states where the potentially life-saving and definitely life-changing procedure is banned, the Republican party is unsurprisingly fighting against it. Even those on committees overseeing policy, and who are supposed to help and protect those who did so for our country. According to the Missouri Independent:
“This proposal is contrary to longstanding, settled law and a complete administrative overreach,” Illinois Republican Rep. Mike Bost, ranking member on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a statement last week. “I oppose it and am already working to put a stop to it.”
Representative Slotkin is holding her colleagues accountable for their hypocrisy, mentioning that each one of them has pictures of veterans on the walls in their offices while voting against or impeding legislation that would insure the health and safety of millions of current and former servicewomen. Demanding they put on the record their true intentions, she schooled them:
What you are saying, and you’re saying in front of the American people, is that you believe a veteran who has been raped, who is the victim of incest, and who is having a dangerous miscarriage, does not deserve access to abortion. You are saying – unless you correct me, and tell me what you believe a woman deserves to have when she has been raped, the victim of incest, or is in the middle of a dangerous miscarriage. If you can’t state it, then be clear, you believe in no exceptions for women.
Unfortunately, they don’t—their silence says it all.
Watch the clip below.
Wow. This is an incredible takedown of Republicans trying to tank health care for veterans by including an abortion ban. pic.twitter.com/qu7Tn4W4XM
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) September 29, 2022
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick