On the RNC and Abortion Coverage.

Yesterday's big righteous-anger-for-progressives moment came when Politico reported that the Republican National Committee has been covering elective abortions through its Cigna health-care plan since 1991.

But, says RNC chairman Michael Steele, this will not continue!

"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Steele said. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."

I think this might be a bad move for the party. As Kate Harding notes at Broadsheet, the GOP is already repulsing women voters in myriad ways, and the number of women candidates in the party is falling. Take a look at the GOP's "Young Guns" program, which was created by Minority Whip Eric Cantor to promote a group of handpicked representatives tasked to "fix Washington." Of its 22 members, 3 are women.

And it's definitely bad for the women who work for the GOP. I suppose something could be said for women who work against the interests of women getting what they deserve, but as Ann Friedman said earlier this week, "Many, many women who are opposed abortion rights have exercised those rights themselves -- whether for health reasons or because, when it came right down to it, they simply found themselves making a different choice than they thought they would in that situation." I feel empathy for these anti-choice women who have had a choice for the last 18 years, if only because some things are unknowable until you go through them.

While the Stupak Amendment -- which could affect private insurer abortion coverage -- hasn't taken effect (and hopefully it never will), I'm hesitant to rail against the GOP over the hypocrisy of covering abortions for its own employees while decrying abortion access. One, because making abortion available to all women is important, and two because Steele's knee-jerk reaction of cutting off that coverage will do more harm to women than good for the party.

--Shani O. Hilton

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