President Barack Obama participates in a conversation at the 10th annual Saban Forum, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., December 7, 2013.
Pete Marovich/Pool/EPA

When GOP priorities collide

Updated
By most measures, the Republican Party proudly considers itself a fierce opponent of abortion rights. At the same time, the GOP also proudly considers itself an unyielding ally of Israel. So what happens when Israel supports abortion rights?
 
Kate Nocera sought an answer and found some interesting results.
Last month, a health ministry panel in Israel recommended the state pay for the abortions of women aged 20 to 33, including non-medical abortions. The measure was adopted this week, and will cost the state annually about $4.6 million. Unlike in the United States, abortion is relatively non-controversial in the country.
 
“They are [a] sovereign nation; they can do as they wish,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said of the policy. “That won’t happen in America.”
And that’s about as far as prominent Republicans were willing to go in distancing themselves from an Israeli public policy. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and others did not comment. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) didn’t want to talk about it, either.
 
Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) were more vocal in their criticism, but neither one would consider changing U.S. aid to Israel. Indeed, Israelis receive about $3 billion a year in aid from the United States, but Republicans aren’t concerned about indirectly subsidizing a foreign government that uses public funds to pay for abortions.
 
It would appear, then, that congressional Republicans hold the Israeli government to a dramatically different standard than American health insurance companies.
 
It’s a point that hasn’t gone unnoticed by far-right activists opposed to reproductive rights.
 
Right Wing Watch reported last week:
In a column [Wednesday], a writer at the conservative Catholic website Aleteia calls out U.S abortion rights opponents for responding to Israel’s new policy “with little comment or condemnation,” wondering if they either “missed the story” or think “abortion in Israel just doesn’t matter.”
 
Aleteia’s Mark Gordon writes that in order to be consistent, the same anti-choice movement that demands a ban on government funds for abortion coverage and groups like Planned Parenthood in the U.S. should also call for the end of U.S. aid to Israel: “American taxpayers should not be put in the position of underwriting the culture of death. But if that’s true of Obamacare – and it is – then shouldn’t it be true for American foreign aid?”
Putting aside personal and political views on reproductive freedoms, there’s at least an internal, intellectual consistency to the argument.
 
So, congressional Republicans who keep pushing anti-abortion legislation, what’s it going to be?
 

Abortion, Israel and Reproductive Rights

When GOP priorities collide

Updated