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18 Female Members of House Vote for Override

October 26, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ If the vote had been left only to its women members, the House would have had the two-thirds majority to override President Bush’s veto of expanded Medicaid abortion coverage to cases of rape and incest.

Eighteen of the 27 women members voted to override, eight voted to sustain and one didn’t vote.

Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., a pro-choice advocate, said she thinks women better understand the problem.

″This is a crime that only impacts on women,″ she said after the 231-191 vote that failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.

Bush said he vetoed the massive bill that sets the budget for the departments of labor, education and health and human services because he opposes spending federal funds on abortions for women who have been raped or are the victims of incest.

″They don’t get it. For the men, it’s all hypothetical,″ Schroeder said, although she conceded that many men are sympathetic to the problem.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., implored members to override the veto in an impassioned speech describing the affects of rape and incest on women and girls.

″The issue has clearly been drawn that this is about the rights of women,″ Miller said.

Tamar Raphael of the Feminist Majority noted the bipartisan nature of the women’s vote in favor of overriding.

″The first thing this says to us is that we need more women casting votes,″ said Raphael, whose organization is devoted to increasing the number of women in politics and all aspects of professional life. Women make up 6 percent of the House membership.

Eight of the 12 Republican women members, or 66.6 percent, voted against Bush’s veto, as did 10 of the 14 Democratic women present, or 71 percent.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, didn’t vote because she was attending an out-of- town funeral.

Raphael said abortion would not be an issue if Congress were 50 percent women.

″The reason we were so successful in Florida was because women were chairing the committees,″ Raphael said.

The Florida Legislature recently refused to accept greater restrictions on abortion as proposed by the governor. The proposals were blocked in committee and never reached the floor.

Raphael said the Pennsylvania Legislature, which tightened abortion restrictions this week, has fewer women members than all but five other states.

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