<\body> Stories in America: Tom DeLay Supported Forced Abortions in the Marianas

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tom DeLay Supported Forced Abortions in the Marianas

Ms. Magazine sent a team of reporters to the Northern Marianas to investigate how Jack Abramoff's lobbying efforts impacted women factory workers in the area. You'll have to buy the magazine (or go to the library) to read the entire article. It's well worth it:
That expensive blouse you're wearing? It may have been sewn by a Filipina garment worker laboring in a factory owned by a Hong Kong mogul on a western Pacific island. The Northern Mariana Islands, a territory of the United States, offers the possibility of an American label -- Made in Saipan (USA), Made in Northern Mariana Islands (USA), or simply Made in USA -- to garment manufacturers, and throws in a unique exemption from U.S. minimum-wage and immigration laws.

Anti-sweatshop leaders and some members of Congress have long sought to increase wages and protect the islands' garment workers, most of whom are women, from what amounts to indentured servitude. But their efforts were repeatedly stalled in Congress. And who was among the biggest opponents of reform? None other than the notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose tentacles reached deep into House Republican leadership. And who was one of the loudest congressional cheerleaders against reform? Tom DeLay, who praised the islands as "a petri dish of capitalism."

In the midst of what could be the largest congressional scandal in history, Ms. sent an investigative team to the Northern Marianas to examine firsthand the consequences of these lobbying efforts and congressional inaction on real women's lives. Plus, we wanted to track down reports of forced abortions on the islands. Could it be that virulent opponents of abortion, such as DeLay, were contributing to conditions where desperate pregnant workers had no choice but to have an abortion?


At 5/04/2006 9:28 AM, Anonymous timmy said...

Even for rabid left-wing DeLay haters, that headline is really a stretch.

DeLay has not forced anyone to get an abortion. If you're going to make that sort of broad guilt-by-association argument then anyone who supports high tax rates is guilty of supporting forced abortions due to the incentive created to avoid the loss of expendable income after taxes incured by the cost of having children. Don't think that has any effect? Look at birthrates in Europe.

Also, it's all well and good to blame American capitalism for all the evils in the world, but when does accountability start for the governments these people actually live under? Don't they bear some responsibility for their citizen’s welfare? And to what degree should American interests (for worker welfare in this case) dictate our interventionist actions? I don't claim to have a perfect solution to these problems, and frankly, I don't believe there is one that doesn't have about equal shares of downside, but the reductionist argument presented here to suggest DeLay is forcing women to get abortions isn't very convincing.

At 5/10/2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course DeLay isn't forcing anyone to get abortions. He's just explicitly supporting the sweatshop owners who do. He blocked legislation that would have protected the workers, for instance.


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