If you think we have a solid pro-choice majority in the Senate, think again.
It's up to the Senate to stop the attacks on women now that the House has passed two bills to defund family planning services — shamefully wiping out federal funding for Planned Parenthood's non-abortion health care for women. And not only that but the redefinition of rape is still on the table and anti-choice Republicans are pushing a bill that would allow hospitals to let pregnant women die rather than perform life-saving abortions.
We cannot take for granted our ability to stop these bills in the Senate. Anti-choice forces in the Senate now out-number pro-choice Senators 46-40. We need 41 votes to sustain a filibuster of the anti-woman, anti-choice bills coming out of the House. And what's more, we need 41 pro-choice Senators who are willing to go toe-to-toe with the extreme hard right majority. At the end of this fight one side will have to blink.
Tell pro-choice Senators: Filibuster any bill that introduces new restrictions on abortion or defunds Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of reproductive health care to women.
What's more, there will be enormous pressure on pro-choice members of the Senate to pass the Continuing Resolution on the Budget without stripping provisions to defund Planned Parenthood. In the health care reform fight, this is exactly how the Stupak Amendment was able to pass the House — women were thrown under the bus in order to get a majority vote for what was considered a "must pass" bill. Back then, conservatives in the Senate prevailed practically without a fight. And now, post-election, we are left with a shrinking pro-choice caucus in the Senate and facing a much bigger threat to women's health and the right to choose. It's scary.
If recent history is our guide, it will most likely the rightwing, anti-choice forces in the Senate who at the defining moment will refuse to back down. But it doesn't have to be that way. If there is a massive show of support we can help pro-choice Senators draw a line in the sand and stop the attacks on women.
Now is the time for pro-choice Senators to use hardball tactics to stop Republicans and anti-choice Democrats from making the House's extremist attack on women into the law of the land. We failed to stop Republicans along with conservative Democrats in the House from advancing radical bills to dramatically restrict women's access to abortion and other forms of reproductive healthcare. The Senate can be our firewall. But we need at least 41 pro-choice Senators to refuse to cave and filibuster.
Tell pro-choice Senators: Draw a line in the stand and do whatever it takes to block any bill that introduces new restrictions on abortion or defunds Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of reproductive health care to women.
The Senate is our firewall. Lines must be drawn. The time is now to take urgent action and stop the attacks on women.
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