Jansing and Co   |  June 19, 2013

House passes most restrictive abortion bill in a decade

Strategists Emily Tisch Sussman and John Feehery talk about the passing of the bill and the decision of some House Republicans to continually push social issues, despite efforts by party leaders to steer clear.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the most restrictive abortion bill in a decade will be dead on arrival in the senate but that didn't stop republicans from taking a mostly party line vote in the house last night. the measure would ban most abortions after 20 weeks based on the medically disputed assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that stage of development. despite pleas from party officials to learn the lessons of 2012 and steer clear of these hot button social issues, some conservatives are pushing their agenda. politico describes them as the clueless caucus.

>> even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that god intended to happen.

>> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

>> the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.

>> if you really were to question all of them, that is sort of a continuity of thought, that rape is really not so bad and that the likelihood of getting pregnant is way small.

>> well, let's bring in democratic strategist emmy tisch sussmann and republican strategist john feehery. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> politico said republican party leaders described some of these conservatives as, quote, a tiny rump of ham-fisted pols with a knack for stumbling onto cable news. there's almost invariably a back-bencher in the house of representatives who is only too eager to take the win out of a conservative comeback with incendiary comments that seizes national attention. do you agree with that assessment and if so, what can party leaders do to stop it?

>> republicans should have a pretty simple message for comments on rape, they're against it, and they should leave it at that. i think when this world of msnbc and the internet, politicians have to be careful with their words and i do think that republicans have to understand that they have a gender gap problem that in the last couple elections the gender gap was wide and getting wider and they have to have messengers that appeal to female voters. they have to do a better job of competing for those votes and they have to be smart in how they schedule the floor, they have to be smart in the things they bring up, and i think this is a challenge that i think the leadership understands.

>> on the other hand, emily, do you think louise slaughter went too far with her remark that republicans think rape is really not so bad?

>> it's certainly understandable where her frustration can come from. we've seen the comments in the campaign in 2012 , you know, we heard from todd akin that there's legitimate rape and discussion about all these things. it's gone from being sort of fringe we remember party leaders were trying to separate themselves from his comment to really mainstream in the republican. they're bringing it for a vote on the floor even though they know it can't pass, they're passing the bill. it's almost like they are living in a tunnel they are totally tone deaf to what's going on. part of the bill said that there's only an exception for the life of the mother or increst or rape if it's reported, right? do they not just hear the testimonies on military sexual trauma that reports are actually going down to less than 1% when there's sexual assault ? how could you possibly put that in there?

>> there was an op-ed and governor bobby jindal wrote, it's time to stop the bed-wetting. we are the conservative party in america, deal with it. we have a lot of dissenting voices. so what? deal with it. republicans, hold fast, get smarter, get disciplined, get on offense and put on your big-boy pants. what about that, john?

>> i think bobby jindal 's a smart governor. i think he's done a good job down there in louisiana and i think he has some pretty good ideas on how to move the party forward. we got to stop looking in the back and move forward and talk about progress. it's better for us i think if we talk about economic issues. if we keep the focus on how we get this economy growing, how do we get this deficit under control. and how do we reform government . i think the reform message that jindal had in louisiana was a good message and that's something that we need to keep pound iing on.

>> understanding, that every congressional district is different and issues are different, when you look at them in total, is this conversation going to make any difference in 2014 or is it really about the economy?

>> look, i mean, that would be a real discussion but it's not just that messaging is the problem. it's that these bills they are bringing forth are actually unconstitutional. this 20-week ban they voted on in the house has been tried een tried at t he state level. it was tried in trent banks' state of arizona and it did not last. they are actually unconstitutional laws they are putting forward. virginia foxx said even said this bill they are putting forward is beginning to a full-scale ban on abortion in america which is unconstitutional. it's not just the messaging the that is the problem.