Planned Parenthood, NARAL Bash Pro-Life Push for Joe Pitts

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 19, 2010   |   6:26PM   |   Washington, DC

The abortion lobby has come out in full force this afternoon bashing the pro-life push for Joe Pitts to head the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

The National Right to Life Committee and the Susan B. Anthony List both are pushing for Pitts to chair the panel if Rep. Fred Upton, who has a weak pro-life voting record, becomes the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  

The battle is important because the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Health subcommittee will have jurisdiction over any efforts to repeal, weaken, de-fund, or remove the abortion funding components of the ObamaCare law.

NARAL president Nancy Keenan gave her best attempt at Hollywood-based humor in her condemnation:

“Putting Joe Pitts in charge of a committee that oversees women’s health programs is like putting Lindsay Lohan in charge of celebrity rehab. It’s just ridiculous,” she told Politico.

“Mr. Upton is no friend of the pro-choice community and has voted with Pitts on many extreme anti-choice measures,” Keenan said. “Mr. Upton has, on rare occasion, voted in favor of improving women’s access to birth control. Apparently the National Right to Life Committee considers support for birth control unacceptable.”

Laurie Rubiner, Planned Parenthood Federation of America vice president for public policy, was less forgiving in her remarks to the political web site:

“It’s unfortunate that anti-choice extremists are using women’s health as a political pawn in a power grab for an important committee position. The sad truth is that no matter which anti-choice Republican chairs the committee, this fight only confirms that the new Republican leadership is under pressure to over-reach on its extreme anti-choice agenda, after winning the House on a wave of dissatisfaction with the U.S. economy.”

Pitts is the congressman who co-sponsored the Stupak Pitts amendment with former Congressman Bart Stupak. The House initially adopted the ObamaCare bill with the amendment intact stopping abortion funding and protecting conscience rights.

But when the Senate version of the bill became the main legislative vehicle — without the similar amendment from Sen. Ben Nelson, which failed on a full Senate vote — Stupak voted for the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill while Ptts and the rest of the Republican caucus opposed it.