Rep. Cantor Complains About "Inappropriate" Criticism Of GOP Attempt To Restrict Women's Health Care

April 11, 2011 1:38 pm ET — Alan Pyke

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) defended his party's misguided attack on Planned Parenthood by attacking Democrats for pointing out that defunding Planned Parenthood would endanger women's health. "The kind of rhetoric that came out of members on the other side of the aisle is completely inappropriate," Cantor said, criticizing Rep. Louise Slaughter's (D-NY) assertion that Republicans would kill women in their hurry to cut off the main source of affordable obstetric care in the country.

REP. CANTOR: Well let me just speak to the Planned Parenthood issue because we believe very strongly that we ought not be spending taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. We fought hard for that. Frankly, the president and Harry Reid have a very different view on that issue. [...] But I can tell you Chris, around the issue of Planned Parenthood, the kind of rhetoric that came out of members on the other side of the aisle is completely inappropriate. And when they're saying things like Republicans have come to Washington to kill women, that's just not serious, it's inappropriate, and when you have that kind of environment you can't get something serious done.


Chris Wallace pointed out that abortions are just three percent of the health services Planned Parenthood provides and none of their federal dollars are used for abortions, but Cantor seemed more comfortable talking about rhetoric than reality.

This is an odd kind of political judo for Cantor, who was happy to profit politically when GOPers said the Affordable Care Act would kill people. Worse, he sits blithely by when right-wingers like Reps. Paul Broun (R-GA), Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) invent elaborate stories in which Democrats are destroying the country. Yet when Republicans push a policy that would, intentionally or otherwise, throw up huge and dangerous impediments to health care access for poor women, Democrats are supposed to be nice about it.

Cantor has made it very clear that he does not find conservative rhetorical excesses troubling. In January, the House GOP's Number Two man refused to condemn birtherism because it wouldn't be "nice." In November 2009, Cantor said that signs like these at Tea Party rallies proved Democrats had "gotten the ire of the American people up." After months of increasingly violent rhetoric from his party and its Tea Party supporters during the health care debate, he took to the House floor to warn Democrats about "ratcheting up the rhetoric."