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House Dems Decry GOP's Unceasing Focus on Abortion, Urge Shift to Economic Matters

House Dems Decry GOP's Unceasing Focus on Abortion, Urge Shift to Economic Matters

January 13, 2014 — A group of female House Democrats on Friday sent a memo to Republicans criticizing the GOP's focus on restricting abortion rights instead of working to address other women's issues, the Huffington Post reports.

The memo was sent to the House Republican Caucus by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). It comes just days after an all-male House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing on a bill that would block tax credits for women and small business if their health plans cover abortion.

The memo stated, "We know you are receptive to memos and have expressed an interest in learning about how to better communicate with women on the issues important to them. To that end, this memo is in the spirit of moving past partisan politics and working together to ensure America's women and their families have the economic security and opportunities they need to succeed."

The Huffington Post notes that during the hearing, one of Republicans' own witnesses, law professor Helen Alvaré, seemed to criticize the focus on abortion-related legislation. "Regular squabbles over federal funding for abortion across myriad pieces of legislation seem to have taken the place of an actual legislative agenda for women's actual needs." She added, "Instead of debating policies supporting women's care work, or work/family balance, policies addressing paid leave or social security benefits -- instead of debating ideas about enabling poor women especially to break the cycle of poverty and nonmarital childbearing -- Congress continually debates abortion funding. It is time once and for all to settle the matter of federal funding for abortion, and move on to a real women's agenda."

The memo said, "The constant debates and squabbling the witness decried are a result of Republicans refusing to take action on real legislation to help American women. The time has come to stop wasting taxpayers' time and dollars waging attacks on women's constitutionally protected right to make informed health care decisions about their own bodies with their own doctors and work on an 'actual legislative agenda for women's actual needs'" (Bassett, Huffington Post, 1/10).