Roundup: Bachmann, Pitts, and a Michigan Clinic Fight

Robin Marty

Rep. Bachmann is calling for defunding Planned Parenthood, Rep. Pitts is going to be in charge of a major health committee, and anti-choicers fight a clinic move in Michigan.

New congressmen and women haven’t even been sworn in, but the push to enact the favorite parts of the anti-choice agenda in Congress is already going strong.  Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is pushing for defunding of Planned Parenthood, a top target on the anti-abortion wish list.

Via LifeNews:

Rep. Michele Bachmann has become a prominent national conservative figure as an articulate female spokeswoman for issues like abortion and her latest call demonstrates why.

Bachmann says she will press for the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives to pass a bill sponsored by fellow conservative luminary Mike Pence, an Indiana congressman, to de-fund Planned Parenthood when it convenes in January.

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“Well, I think one thing that we can do, quite simply, is to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood,” Bachmann said when asked by CNS News about what Congress can do to protect unborn children.

“It wouldn’t mean that Planned Parenthood would go out of existence, because they do have their own independent funding, but what it would mean is that the taxpayer would no longer be funding that,” she said.

“I think it is incumbent upon us as the members of Congress to let people know–not for the purpose of scaring them–but to let people know the stark fiscal realities that we’re facing right now as a nation,” she said. “And can’t we at minimum start with defunding things like Planned Parenthood and paying for other’s people abortions that are highly controversial and are violating our principles of the Declaration of Independence, our inalienable right to life. That we can at least agree on, that we should defund that.”

Left out of the LifeNews article?  A few key exagerations or outright falsehoods that she also included in her CNS interview.  The Minnesota Independent reports:

CNSNews’ Terrence Jeffrey asked Bachmann, “What should Republicans do to advance protect the lives of those unborn babies who are being slaughtered in this country?”

“Well, I think one thing that we can do, quite simply, is to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood,” Bachmann said. “It’s the largest provider of abortion in the United States. They are a billion-dollar industry. As a matter of fact, the head of Planned Parenthood in Illinois said that Planned Parenthood wants to be the Lens Crafters of big abortion.”

But that’s not the quote that the head of the Illinois Planned Parenthood gave back in 2008 in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The article focused on Planned Parenthood’s move toward smaller clinic in suburban areas that don’t actually perform abortions.

“It is high time we follow the population,” said Sarah Stoesz, who heads Planned Parenthood operations in three Midwest states.

She recently opened three express centers in wealthy Minnesota suburbs, “in shopping centers and malls, places where women are already doing their grocery shopping, picking up their Starbucks, living their daily lives,” Ms. Stoesz said.

The mall sites promise walk-in convenience and “clothes-on” care, with services limited to birth-control counseling and tests for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Most patients are in and out in less than half an hour.

“I like to think of it as the LensCrafters of family planning,” Steve Trombley, the top executive in Illinois, said as he toured an express center a few doors down from a hair salon and a Japanese restaurant in the well-to-do suburb of Schaumburg, Ill.

One detail that could definitely assist anti-choice congressmembers in their goal?  The placement of Rep. Joe Pitts, of Stupak-Pitts fame, as head of the Energy and Commerce panel’s subcommittee on health issues

When it comes to abortion and taxpayer funding of it, Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania is the one of the big pro-life champions on Capital Hill.

Now he will have the opportunity to head a key subcommittee that will have jurisdiction over efforts to repeal the ObamaCare law or, at minimum, de-fund the law or the abortion funding it allows.

While pro-life advocates were disappointed by the news that Rep. Fred Upton, who has a weak pro-life voting record, will head the full House and Energy Committee that will tackle ObamaCare and other abortion issues, they were delighted by the news on Pitts.

“We need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better. We need to protect human life from the unborn to the elderly,” Pitts said this afternoon.

Of course, defunding Planned Parenthood isn’t just a national political pastime, it’s a local pursuit, too.  In Michigan, an attempt to shut down one franchise through lease denial has pitted those who believe in reproductive care and access against those who would rather see women denied care than have Planned Parenthood’s assistance.

From the Sturgis Journal:

On Monday, Sturgis Hospital officials said they will offer Planned Parenthood a six-month lease for space the organization had been subleasing through the health agency.

Sturgis Hospital CEO Rob LaBarge said the hospital’s board of directors was concerned that without Title X services, some women would not seek medical help.

“The system can be kind of intimidating,” LaBarge said. “A lot of people who use this service don’t access health care in traditional ways.”
But those who oppose Planned Parenthood’s presence in the county voiced displeasure with the decision.

Chuck Vizthum, pastor of Whole Life Christian Fellowship, one of the Sturgis churches that has remained in opposition to Planned Parenthood’s presence, questioned the hospital’s decision.

“We are extremely disappointed and concerned about the decision of the Sturgis Hospital,” Vizthum said.

LaBarge emphasized that the hospital has a policy that prohibits abortions from being performed at any of its facilties, and that policy will not change.

But Vizthum said he is concerned that the hospital, “a life-giving and life-saving organization,” would allow the presence of an agency  “which does not value all human life.”

Steve Todd, health officer for the Community Health Agency, said the hospital’s decision was based on a need for access to health care.

“They know there are many people who do not have access to health care,” Todd said. “Having a Title X family planning clinic will provide better services to the community.”

Mark Pawlowski, CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan, said officials are “very pleased” to be able to continue family-planning services in Sturgis.

“It will make the continuation of our services in Sturgis much more seamless,” Pawlowski said. “I am very appreciative of the board and (LaBarge) looking at this situation to serve a whole group of women who would not have been served without Title X services.”

Vizthum disagreed about access.

It appears that if they somehow can’t find a way to make it happen federally, these types of local efforts to cut off access will grow.  And women will suffer for it.

Mini Roundup: Fat moms are bad for babies.  Fat dads are bad for babies.  I’m sensing a theme here…

December 8, 2010

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