Michele Bachmann: Washington is taking notice of HHS mandate backlash (exclusive)
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WASHINGTON, June 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For opponents of the HHS mandate who are worried that the mainstream media has blacked out their message, one advocate on the Hill has an encouraging message: lawmakers in Washington are definitely taking notice.
Former presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told LifeSiteNews.com that opposition to the mandate, which drew tens of thousands of Americans to over 160 rallies across the country earlier this month for the second time this spring, was “not invisible at all” to her fellow lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The Congresswoman spoke at the D.C. rally against the mandate, where she called religious liberty “the heart and soul” of the insurance coverage battle.
“This isn’t invisible at all. This is known very well by lawmakers all across - on both sides of the aisle,” said Bachmann, who provided a strong conservative foil to the incumbent in her GOP presidential bid that ended in January.
Although abortion has always been a contentious issue, she said, her colleagues understand that the mandate represents “a giant leap beyond” the typical back-and-forth on social issues in Washington.
“Now the Federal Government requires—forces—Americans, even if it’s a violation of my conscience and my sincerely held beliefs, I am forced to have to pay for other people’s abortions. We can’t have that ... we’re going to draw a line in the sand,” said Bachmann.
Religious liberty advocates have emphasized that the emergency contraception drug Plan B (which would be funded under the mandate) states in official packaging that the chemicals can abort a young embryo, although the actual effect of the drugs has been disputed.
Bachmann, who is Christian, also said she is “proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with Catholic Church leaders, whose pleas for a broader religious exemption have met with silence from the administration.
Meanwhile, she said, the Hill’s back-and-forth on abortion recently hit a second unusual snag.
The Congresswoman said the color of the debate changed when abortion advocates on the Hill - many of them women - found themselves paradoxically forced to oppose a bill that banned abortion based on the child’s gender, a practice that normally results in the killing of unborn girls.
Although it couldn’t clear the 2/3 supermajority needed for passage late last month, Bachmann said, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) garnered bipartisan support even as pro-abortion lawmakers were “strangely silent” on the bill.
“It’s extremely difficult for those who call themselves pro-choice [to oppose PRENDA] because they’re taking away the choice of unborn girls to be able to seek their true and full potential,” said Bachmann. “And so they’ve been strangely silent on this issue.
“We haven’t seen them championing the cause, we haven’t seen groups that stand up for women—that consider themselves women’s groups—and they’re usually the ones that are on board with this mantra of a ‘war on women.’”
Bachmann left off with a word of warning should President Obama be re-elected - “he’ll be unleashed,” she said, noting his remark to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev earlier this year that he will have more “flexibility” following his re-election - but also a word of encouragement, saying the pro-life movement is experiencing a surge of energy that hasn’t come a moment too soon.
“We need to speak louder than ever ... that’s the energy we’re seeing - we should be encouraged,” she said. “People are embracing life, and they’re willing to put their voice and their energy and their action behind it, and now’s the time to do it.”
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