Gillibrand grants ownership of the Republican ‘war on women’ to the Tea Party

Kirsten Gillibrand. (Via Kirsten Gillibrand's official website.)
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Senator Charles Schumer told me recently that given the apparently declining popularity of the Tea Party, a big part of the Democratic message going forward would be to describe G.O.P. economic policy with terms like: "Tea Party Downgrade, the Tea Party Economy, the Tea Party Recession."

That rebranding applies to social issues, too.

This morning, Schumer's junior partner in New York, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, sent out a fund-raising appeal that began: "Dear Friend, Tea Party Republicans have taken their assault on women’s rights to a whole new level."

The Republican "war on women" has been one of Gillibrand's most consistent themes since the Republicans took over the House last year. She sent her first fund-raising pitch citing the House's anti-abortion-rights measures on Feb. 2, after Republicans introduced the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” with the third bill of the new Congress. But back then she just referred to them as the "new Republican House."

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The Tea Party swept the November elections in part by focusing on the economy and avoiding divisive social issues, but in the months since, the new Republican majority has made abortion a central issue, even threatening to shut down the government in April over funding for Planned Parenthood.

Whether that's particularly a Tea Party issue, per se, is hard to say exactly, since it's a diffuse movement that seems to mean lots of things to lots of people, but is ostensibly about shrinking the role of government in people's lives.

(One self-proclaimed Tea Partier recently said he'll challenge House Speaker John Boehner in a primary for supporting a federal budget that included money for Planned Parenthood.)  

For Democratic purposes, though, the Tea Party now owns the anti-abortion movement.

In her email, Gillibrand encouraged supporters to click a link for contributions, "to join the thousands of people who are standing up to the Tea Party and their disgusting attacks on the rights and health of women everywhere."

Here's the full email, which arrived with the subject line "They want to do what?":

Dear Friend,

Tea Party Republicans have taken their assault on women’s rights to a whole new level.

A couple weeks ago, I told you about the House's bill that allows hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, even if the woman’s life is in danger. They actually passed it by a vote of 251 to 172.

The radical right is tossing women’s rights and health to the curb as they single-mindedly advance their extremist ideology.

Now, the bill is headed to the Senate, where we will do everything we can to stop it – we simply can’t let this go any further.

We need to show the extreme Republicans that we are unified and determined to protect the health and well-being of all women.

Click here to join the thousands of people who are standing up to the Tea Party and their disgusting attacks on the rights and health of women everywhere.

Republican leaders have chosen to call this bill the “Protect Life Act,” which I find offensive. Not only does this bill not protect women’s lives, it puts them in real jeopardy. Just think about all the women living in communities with only one hospital. Where would they turn if their hospital said no to an emergency procedure?

This is not the first time the Republican majority has defiantly disregarded the welfare of women just to make a point, and it won’t be the last. Which is why we must be vigilant in fighting against these horrific bills and show these radical lawmakers that they cannot impose their beliefs on our nation.

Click here to make your voice heard! Speak out against the conservative crusade against women’s rights and let them know you will not tolerate their blatant disregard for women’s health.

We’ve stopped egregious bills like this in the past, and we can stop this one as well. But the only way we can do it is with your help. Please act now.

Sincerely,

Kirsten Gillibrand

P.S. If you’d like to make a donation to my campaign, and help protect women’s rights, please click here.