(cross-posted from VeritiesandVagaries)
Obviously, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” and attempted redefinition of the word “rape” didn’t go far enough in showcasing the GOP’s hatred of women. The latest grandly misogynistic legislation from the party that came into power claiming to be all about jobsjobsjobs is the The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act.
As Gail Collins quoted last week in “The Siege of Planned Parenthood“:
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“What is more fiscally responsible than denying any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America?” demanded Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the chief sponsor of a bill to bar the government from directing any money to any organization that provides abortion services.
I’ll go ahead and assume Mr. Pence’s question is rhetorical, since it seems pretty fucking obvious that there are approximately a zillion more fiscally responsible things the government could do. In fact, in addition to the various other reasons I find this bill disgusting, it’s actually extremely fiscally irresponsible since the preventive care that makes up the vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s services actually *saves* money. According to Guttmacher Institute, for every $1 spent on family planning care, $4.02 is saved.
Okay, so now that we’ve dispensed with the handy “really, we’re just trying to save taxpayer dollars” ruse, what’s left?
Oh right. Abortion. But the federal funding Planned Parenthood receives doesn’t go toward funding abortion. Because, um, federal funds don’t go to abortion servicesexcept in the cases of a few rare exceptions. But Planned Parenthood does receive Title X money for the other services that, as a safety net provider, it offers to millions of low-income women and men: birth control, STD testing, prenatal care, pap smears, and so on.
I know my talking points here should be focused on these admirable, and much-needed, preventive care services–and those are important– but I’m fed up with the fact that the public discourse here is on whether PP should get any money from the government rather than on the fact that abortion is still, in fact, a LEGAL MEDICAL PROCEDURE. It is just insane that the right has so succeeded in vilifying abortion that any organization that participates in offering this LEGAL MEDICAL PROCEDURE to women who need it is subject to punishment. It’s not enough to deny funding for abortion, which in itself perpetuates the unjust class divide between women who can afford the right to choose and those who can’t. No, Mike Pence & co. want to take it a giant leap forward and deny low-income women *all* the services Planned Parenthood provides, regardless of the actual consequences for fiscal responsibility or, oh, I don’t know, women’s health and lives.
It is just sickening that this bill has 154 co-sponsors in the House. Other than eating a lot of chocolate, I’m not sure how to respond, but one small thing you can do if you’re similarly incensed is to sign Planned Parenthood’s open letter to Congress, state legislatures, law enforcement, and the media.