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Taking advantage of a House majority, the Republican Party forged ahead in its pro-life agenda with a number of proposed bills this past week.

Penn students, though politically split in their reactions, are paying close attention to these developments in the abortion debate in light of Women’s Week and the upcoming Vagina Monologues performances.

Although his opponents may beg to differ, “we have a crisis on our hands,” Penn for Choice President and College sophomore Christopher Carroll said.

Republicans have retracted a controversial proposal to redefine rape for the purposes of limiting federal funding for abortions, but they have brought other contentious issues to the podium.

The Protect Life Act, introduced by Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), proposes to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — part of last year’s healthcare reform legislation — to prohibit the use of federal funds to cover the costs of any health plan that covers abortions.

If passed, many Democrats fear that a woman in life-threatening need of an abortion who was unable to finance it on her own may face death.

Penn Democrats President Isabel Friedman called this proposed bill “an affront to women,” and Carroll added that it is “an assault not only on a woman’s right to choose but also on health care.”

However, Penn College Republicans President Peter Terpeluk believes that this particular “scenario is exploited by people who support abortion in order to defend its legality in all cases.”

Co-President of Penn for Life Teresa Hamill agreed with Terpeluk and pointed out that the term “life-threatening” is “not all that well-defined — it’s not so cut and dry.”

Students were divided when asked what sort of front they perceived the Republican Party to be upholding in its recent efforts. Hamill feels that the new proposals have been successful in “getting the issue to be debated” which “is important because it is a major moral question.”

She stressed that American Republicans are concerned about the allocation of tax payer dollars to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, because “so many Americans are against abortion.”

Carroll perceived the proposed bills as an indication that “we have a system of government that is not for a woman’s right to choose.” In adopting this platform, he predicts that the Republican party will “alienate [female] votes come election time.”

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