Whether or not there's a war on women, congressional Republicans seem to be woefully unconcerned about women at war.
The Pentagon reported 471 rapes of servicemembers in 2011, a number that grossly underestimates the actual number of sexual assaults. And although the military is trying to reduce instances of rape through education and prevention programs, it would be sane and reasonable for the Defense Department to offer women some options in case their assault results in pregnancy.
Unfortunately, current policy follows the Rick Santorum's policy of turning rape lemons into baby lemonade. A pregnancy cannot be aborted at a military facility, even in cases of rape or incest, nor will military insurance cover abortion at an off-base facility. It's a more restrictive policy than that offered to State Department workers or the guards in the federal prison system. Or inmates in the federal prison system.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen has led the effort to provide military families with the same access to abortion that other federal employees receive, but although it's found bipartisan support in the Senate, the measure is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House…
"We don't really understand why anybody would oppose [Shaheen's bill]," says Sharon Levin, the director of federal reproductive health policy at the National Women's Law Center. "The only reason it wouldn't go through is if the Republican leadership in the House tried to block it."
That appears likely. A GOP staffer "familiar with defense issues" told Army Times last week that the Shaheen amendment "stands little chance of surviving" when the House and Senate meet to work out their differences on the defense bill. "Historically, social provisions that are not reflected in both bills heading into conference don't survive," the staffer said—conceding that the House version of the defense bill will not include anything like Shaheen's proposal.
Women just can't catch a break. Research confirms that Tea Party Republicans are uninterested in almost any topic that features more than two syllables, and the one exception is "abortion?"
Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Abortion, Crime, Department of Defense, Jeanne Shaheen, Military, Women's Rights
Earlier today, we told you about the epic rematch brewing in the New Hampshire Senate race. Well, it looks like we can close the books on this one.
MSNBC is calling the race for Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, who appears to have unseated Sen. John Sununu. This brings full circle Shaheen's quest to avenge her loss for the seat in the 2002 election, which was plagued by phone-jamming scandals that sent some Sununu supporters to jail.
Shaheen can now finally head to Washington, and Sununu can head … to Washington.
Did you really think he was going to go back to New Hampshire? It's a hellhole!
Tags: Jeanne Shaheen, John Sununu, New Hampshire, Senate
The voters of New Hampshire have gotten a lot of press for their involvement in the presidential campaign this year. Their primary votes gave life to the John McCain and Hillary Clinton campaigns, and in the wee hours of this morning they gave a preliminary body-slam to McCain's general election hopes.
But the Granite State is a perpetual battleground for Congress as well! It wouldn't be a proper election day unless grumpy New Hampshirites dripped some of their nose icicles onto the makeup of the legislative branch.
In the Senate race, it's a rematch between 2002 rivals John Sununu (now the incumbent Republican senator) and Jeanne Shaheen (the former Democratic governor). Polls show Shaheen with a comfortable lead of 9%, mainly due to her shrewd decision to remain entirely silent during debates. Meanwhile, George W. Bush was willing to go to New Hampshire to campaign for the Republican, but the Secret Service vetoed that idea out of fear that Sununu might assault the president, in keeping with his strident Bush-bashing of late.
The big House race is in the state's 1st Congressional District, featuring a rematch between incumbent Democrat Carol Shea-Porter and the man she defeated in 2006, former Rep. Jeb Bradley. Shea-Porter is ahead by 5% in a recent poll, but Bradley has reignited his hopes by vowing that if elected he will allow his wife to be kidnapped, in the proud tradition of New Hampshire Republicans.
Polls in New Hampshire close in less than five hours!
In one corner: incumbent Republican Sen. John Sununu, who first arrived on the political scene after messily bursting out of his father's chest during a George H. W. Bush cabinet meeting in 1991.
And in the other: former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who has survived multiple gunshot wounds and a tank attack with little discomfort, although she did stain some carpets with her dark green blood.
Sununu and Shaheen last faced off in the 2002 Senate election, when the Republican won by very narrow 4% margin…
Polls showed the two New Hampshire political heavyweights neck and neck until Election Day. But in the end, Mr. Sununu appeared to pull out a decisive victory. With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Sununu had 51 percent of the vote while Ms. Shaheen had 47 percent. At 10:30 p.m., Ms. Shaheen conceded the election.
As of today, Shaheen is leading in the polls and is favored to win in this increasingly Democratic state.
Although the sharp Republican downturn in the state boosted Shaheen to big leads in polls into the summer, Democratic officials approach the race with only cautious optimism — in part because the senator’s name is big in state politics.
"This time around, the mood is much more anti-Republican in New Hampshire, so [Sununu’s] going to have an extremely difficult time," said [Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Survey Center.].
Meanwhile, on the House side of the Granite State, another exciting rematch is shaping up between Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and the man she defeated in 2008, former Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH). We'll be sure to keep you posted on this one, as it's increasingly resembling Bad News Bears II: Breaking Training!
Tags: House of Representatives, Jeanne Shaheen, John Sununu, New Hampshire, Senate