Published on The Daily Femme – Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011
Contributed by Annamarya
In their latest onslaught against women, House Republicans voted last Friday in a 240 to 185 pass to eliminate federal funding from Planned Parenthood. Republicans claim that the amendment introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is “necessary” to prevent taxpayer money from funding abortions performed at Planned Parenthood. Said Pence on Thursday: “Nobody is saying Planned Parenthood can’t be the leading advocate of abortion on demand, but why do I have to pay for it?”
This argument is entirely misinformed. As Huffington Post reports, Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from performing abortions with money it receives from Title X, the federal grant program enacted by President Richard Nixon in 1970 to fund family planning and reproductive health care. Of the $327 million allocated for Title X, which is also under attack as part of the Republicans’ proposed budget cuts, Planned Parenthood estimates it has received one-quarter of the monies. And none of it goes to abortions.
But this amendment will not only restrict a women’s right to abortion. If this passes in the Senate, the estimated three million women who visit PP clinics yearly could lose access to STD & HIV testing, breast & cervical cancer screenings, and contraceptives, such as birth control, female condoms, and diaphragms, because a major source of its funding was cut. Women, particularly those in the lower income bracket, will be deprived of essential health care and family planning services they have a constitutional right to. Denying women access to health care not easily obtainable elsewhere violates the 14th Amendment, which states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” Health care is a privilege women cannot afford to lose. As Planned Parenthood said in a statement: “Ensuring that millions of women can obtain health care from their trusted provider is what mainstream Americans want and expect from the United States Senate.”
Not to mention, it would be absolutely reckless, as lawyer & legal/political commentator Debbie Hines notes for HuffPo. It’s a dangerous move that could cost lives. How so? Just imagine the number of women sans insurance who use the services provided by Planned Parenthood. Imagine those women experiencing pelvic pain and abnormal bleeding which, unbeknownst to them, is caused by cervical cancer. Now imagine those women dying because they were unable to have the disease diagnosed and treated in time, all because their only means of affordable care has disappeared. That’s how cutting Planned Parenthood’s federal funding will cost lives. And all in the name of abolishing choice.
It’s the likelihood of the above scenario happening to countless women that strikes me most about this current attack on women. It’s the hypocrisy of the “pro-life” movement–a duplicity that’s come into question as of late. How can these House Republicans claim to be “pro-life” when they’re working to constrict women’s right to a healthy and active existence? How can anyone claim to be “pro-life” when they are willing to let so many women suffer?