Women’s rights are under attack thanks to a handful of politicians who wish to politicize women’s reproductive health. Last month House Republicans voted to block federal funding of Planned Parenthood, cutting funds for contraceptives, breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, pap smears and HIV testing. The vote passed 240 to 185. Republicans are turning the national discussion into an abortion issue. But it isn’t about abortion. Cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood is about stripping women, in particularly those from a low-income demographic, of their rights.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) introduced the amendment to cut Planned Parenthood’s federal funding with the argument that defunding was necessary to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions. Pence and supporters of the amendment completely ignore what is written in plain English, in black and white. Title X specifically prohibits Planned Parenthood from using federal funds for abortion services.
Women across the country depend on the services provided by Planned Parenthood. Oftentimes the services are affordable, preventative and for some women it is the only option for reproductive healthcare. For that reason Planned Parenthood is necessary.
What do Republicans have to gain from defunding Planned Parenthood?
I’d opine it would free up federal funds for programs Republicans would like to initiate. Perhaps it would set-up a push for an overturn of Roe v. Wade. Separation of church and state means very little when pro-lifers have an agenda they would like coerced upon all American women. The Republican Party also understands poor women en masse benefit from Planned Parenthood. If poor women are denied access to contraceptives, and even abortion services, it becomes inevitable that those very women will perpetuate the cycle of poverty. It is ironic that the same folks on Capitol Hill crying foul against taxpayer dollars funding abortions will be the same ones complaining that women having babies they can’t support suck the system dry. What’s next? More cuts on social reform with accusations of taxpayers’ dollars supporting the “welfare queen” Reagan invented in his 1976 election campaign?
Faux concerns about taxpayer dollars is such bull. For those of us who oppose war, can we be guaranteed our taxes aren’t being used to fund the very wars we don’t agree with?
The abortion and Planned Parenthood debate is telling of the direction this country’s politics are moving toward. From the loose terminology being used by Republicans as to what constitutes rape to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, it won’t be long before women are marching in the streets again for basic rights.
We need to make sure the decisions made about our bodies are led and directed by women. Whether pro-life or pro-choice, this is too important of an issue to remain silent. Women have the right to the services offered by Planned Parenthood. That right shouldn’t be compromised for a pro-life movement designed to strip women of their right to choose.