Congress Watch: Double Talk Dold Votes in Favor of Anti-Choice Legislation

Capture Congress Watch

By Laurence D. Schiller

In the last days before the Republican Congress left Washington in late July for its extended summer vacation, while most Americans’ attention was on the Presidential race and the upcoming party conventions, the House passed the Conscience Protection Act of 2016, S. 304, along party lines.  And there was the 10th District’s Republican Congressman, Bob Dold, voting right along with his anti-choice party. cspanscreenshot-640x400jpg

It’s likely that Double Talk Dold thought that his constituents wouldn’t notice.  After all, what could be bad about a Conscience Protection Act? But those in the know are familiar with the Republican trick of papering over toxic legislation with an attractive name.

Certainly the progressive pro-choice community knew what was up.  In the days preceding the July 13 vote, more than 35 organizations wrote a letter urging a “no” vote on this bill.  The opposition included prominent women’s rights groups like the National Organization for Women, the Women’s Law Center, and the American Association of University Women; medical professional groups like Physicians for Reproductive Health, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals; and, of course, prominent reproductive rights advocacy groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  And President Obama has promised to veto the bill, should it come to his desk.

Of course, just as important as who opposed the legislation is why they so strongly urged a “no” vote.

“The Conscience Protection Act would allow employers, insurance companies, and hospitals to discriminate against women seeking reproductive health care, seriously undermining women’s ability to obtain safe, legal abortion care,” the letter opposing the bill began.  (emphasis added)

And the letter continued with this dire warning: “The Act would not only interfere with a woman’s ability to access comprehensive health insurance coverage that enables her to make personal medical decisions with those she trusts, but it would also put a woman’s health at serious risk in emergency situations.” (emphasis added)

Despite the strong opposition from the medical, civil rights, women’s rights, and human rights communities, the leader of Dold’s caucus, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, brought this anti-choice bill to the floor on the last day before the summer recess.  And he did so rather than allow consideration of such pressing legislation as a bill to fund Zika research or to curb gun violence.

With more than 100 members of the Republican House caucus on record as co-sponsors, the bill passed on an essentially straight party-line vote.  While Democrats overwhelmingly voted against the bill, all but one Republican Congressman voted for it.

The lone Republican who voted “no” was not Bob Dold.  Despite his supposed pro-choice stance, Double Talk Dold did not break with his party.  Instead, when the time came to show where he stands on women’s reproductive rights, Dold voted “yes” to dangerous restrictions on a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion care.  And his “yes” vote put him in alignment with such anti-choice groups as the National Right to Life and the Family Research Council—whose other primary mission is to outlaw same-sex marriage.

When Dold is in the 10th District, he may try to run away from the Republican brand, but when he casts his vote on the House floor, he can almost always be depended upon to support Republican orthodoxy.  From his vote for Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House to his most recent vote against women’s reproductive rights, Dold has demonstrated time and again that he is a loyal Republican who puts party ahead of the desires of his constituents—which shouldn’t be surprising, given Dold’s long career as a Republican operative.

Brad Schneider does more than claim he is pro-choice; he acts on those convictions.  When Brad represented the 10th District, he consistently voted to protect women’s reproductive rights.  It’s time to send Brad Schneider back to Congress and Double Talk Dold back to where he came from.

Join us! Help elect Democrats in our area:

The Tenth Dems blog is intended to be a forum that builds community and provides for respectful and healthy exchange of ideas. We are open to different points of view and hope that all of our readers will feel comfortable engaging in conversation. Opinions expressed on this website belong to their respective authors, and publication does not necessarily imply endorsement by the Tenth Congressional District Democrats. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.