Abortion didn’t matter in the last election? Take a look at Congress now

I never heard Sen. Michael Bennet mention the directional purpose of the anus, like that grandma did at the state Capitol Mon., but that didn’t stop Ken Buck from telling Bennet last year to shut up about social issues, like abortion.

The GOP, and allied pundits, liked to say that the election wasn’t about abortion.

How could it be, they said, with a pro-choice president, two freshly appointed pro-choice judges on the Supreme Court, and Roe vs. Wade the law of the land.

The election was about jobs, they said, jobs, jobs, jobs. And to talk about abortion, or run advertisements on social issues, was a distraction from the real issues facing America, an insulting and cynical way to win the votes of unaffiliated voters.

Fast forward to Washington DC, March 9, 2011. Abortion issues, including the crusade to cut Planned Parenthood funds, are at the center of negotiations that could lead to a shutdown of the federal government.

And lives are at stake. House Republicans have cut funding not only for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion-related services, like cancer screenings, but also for international organizations, like the United Nations Population Fund, that provide women’s health services and family planning, excluding abortion, in the world’s most impoverished nations.

The Population Fund’s backers say the loss of funding would result in millions of unwanted pregnancies and tens of thousands of deaths of women and children.

So clearly abortion matters a lot, and it matters a lot to congressmen like Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who’s opposed to abortion even in the cases of rape and incest.

You recall Gardner also accused his pro-choice Democratic opponent, Betsy Markey, of distracting voters by discussing abortion issues during the last election.

Fortunately, the Ft. Collins Coloradoan pressed Gardner on the issues anyway, even though he didn’t want to talk about them.

And media outlets in Denver, despite Ken Buck’s wishes, did the same thing, and pressed Buck on them, particularly at the end of the campaign.

(I wrote a guest opinion in the Coloradoan today thanking the newspaper for asking Gardner about abortion anyway, and laying his views out there, even at a time when most people didn’t identify these issues as “top of mind” in polls.)

That’s what journalists are supposed to do, look at the big picture–because any person in his or her right mind, not to mention any professional reporter, knows that a U.S. Congressman will inevitably face votes on social issues, like abortion and gay marriage.

And that’s what’s come to pass today in the U.S. Congress.

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