Let me explain the cutesy title.

See, 16 Democrats voted to pass HR3 through the house. 16 Democrats voted to ban all federal funding for abortion, to sneakily redefine rape (yes, still) and to essentially slowly strangle private insurance funding for abortion as well.

10 of them co-sponsored the bill. We know about them already.

The other six, well, are mostly more of the same. Jason Altmire, who I’m surprised wasn’t one of the original HR3 Ten, is into paycheck fairness for ladies as long as we agree to have lots of babies. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who most recently sponsored a bill to take greenhouse gases out of the Clean Air act. Tim Holden, another from Pennsylvania, who also doesn’t like environmental protection much. Dale Kildee votes with his party 95% of the time, but can’t bring himself to admit people with uteruses are still people. Jim Matheson, who got a chunk of change from oil & gas and then, shockingly, voted to restart offshore drilling for oil (he’s from Utah, no spills for him!).

I wouldn’t exactly miss any of them.

And then Marcy Kaptur, of Ohio’s 9th. Marcy Kaptur is more than a solidly progressive Democrat–she was one of the fiercest voices on the economic crisis, a fighter who sits on the Appropriations Committee and raises hell, picking fights on behalf of her constituents with Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and others.

In her speech on the bank bailouts, Kaptur told Wall Street:

You have perpetrated the greatest financial crimes ever on this American republic. You think you can get by with it because you are extraordinarily wealthy and the largest contributors to both Presidential and congressional campaigns in both major parties, but you are about to be brought under firm control.

She’s the fourth-longest-serving woman in Congress and the longest in the House. She’s a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus–and is the only one on it who’s anti-choice.

Marcy Kaptur breaks my heart.

Kaptur’s 2010 opponent was Rich Iott, a Tea Party fave who made national headlines for running around in a Nazi uniform as a World War II re-enactor. Classy. But it could’ve been worse–it was almost Joe the Plumber.

But even without the complete horrorshow that would’ve been an Iott or Wurzelbacher stint in Congress, I can’t say that I wouldn’t miss Marcy Kaptur in the House. John Nichols called her 2008’s most valuable congresscritter, and I can’t say that he was wrong–but that was before health care reform, Stupak, and certainly before HR3.

So how do people like me, solidly pro-labor, anti-“free” trade economic populists who also happen to think that abortion is a safe, legal medical procedure that should get the same consideration as any other medical procedure, deal with Marcy Kaptur? How do feminists respond to a badass woman Democrat who happens to give us up on one of the issues that really, really matter?

I have no easy answers, so I resort to Sound of Music references. No progressive is going to challenge Kaptur from the left–not when she’s been there that long. And yet her district voted for Sherrod Brown, who is vocally pro-choice, and helped send him to the Senate. It’s not necessarily that she’s getting a ton of pressure at home–though the Daily Catholic in 2001 did call her one of “Herod’s Heroes” for her “lukewarm” record on abortion. Would more pressure from women’s groups help? Doubtful.

I’m stuck on this one. I really am.

Sarah Jaffe

Sarah Jaffe

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