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An "Office of Unborn Children's Health"

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Last week, Congress began the formal process of overhauling the nation's health-care system as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee began to mark up** its health-care reform legislation - the Affordable Health Choices Act. This committee is one of five congressional panels with jurisdiction over this broad policy area.

During this first stage of the mark-up process, Republicans filed 300-plus amendments that address women's health in some way, approximately a dozen of which are anti-choice. Which one do you think jumped out at us right away? An amendment from (whom else?) Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to establish a federal "Office of Unborn Children's Health."

Yes, you read that correctly.

I did a little perusing of the amendment's language, and it goes from unreasonable to absurd in under 20 seconds. Still, it's hardly shocking, given the sponsor. Sen. Coburn of Oklahoma is one of the most unrelentingly anti-choice members of Congress. During his 2004 Senate campaign, Coburn told the Associated Press, "I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life." Coburn is also on record as opposing abortion even in cases of rape or incest. And this "Office of Unborn Children's Health" proposal is one of just nine amendments he's filed on the health-care reform bill thus far. With so many Americans lacking basic health care, it is unconscionable that Sen. Coburn continues to use legislation on this important issue as a means to continue his ideological attacks.

It's important to note that, at this time, this amendment has not yet been offered - but the mark-up continues so we'll update you as we learn more. It's going to be a long summer...


** "Mark up" is D.C. lingo for going through the bill line by line and allowing lawmakers to offer amendments. It's exactly as exciting as it sounds, I'm told.

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