FUDGE. The House of Representatives voted 240-185 to block federal aid from Planned Parenthood.
According to The Washington Post, the pols are taking particular aim at funding through Title X, the “$327 million program founded in 1970 that covers family planning and reproductive health. By law, Title X funds can be spent on family planning and contraception but not on abortion services.” Out of concern and suspicion these funds are used to pay for abortions, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) is spearheading the effort to de-fund Planned Parenthood, while other Republicans are aiming to defund Title X entirely. And wouldn’t you know, Rep. Pence referenced that sting video by anti-abortion extremist group Live Action that was filmed inside Planned Parenthood clinics undercover as they counseled actors pretending to be pimps with teen prostitutes? Well played, Live Action and the Republican Party.The Atlanta Journal-Constitution claims this Pence bill will die in the Senate, where there are apparently more reproductive rights’ supporters than in the House. And President Barack Obama would surely veto such a bill if it made it to his desk.
But if you have even an inkling of an interest in women’s health and reproductive rights, them’s fighting words they just said. This direct assault on women’s health cannot be tolerated. And that’s what this is: a direct assault on women’s health. Planned Parenthood does not just provide abortions; the clinics offer much, much more than that. Planned Parenthood tests for and diagnoses STDs. Planned Parenthood gives pelvic exams, which include pap smears on the cervix which can find wonky cells and diagnose cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood distributes the morning-after pill, which can prevent someone whose condom broke or who was raped from getting pregnant. Planned Parenthood prescribes all sorts of birth control, from injectables like Depo Provera to implants like the IUD to oral contraceptives like the Pill. Planned Parenthood gives referrals for the proper help if someone has depression, an eating disorder, an abusive partner or family member, or is questioning their sexuality. And it does all of this without judgment or a religious/political agenda.
Frisky readers, now is the time to call your senators and representatives, especially if you have ever used Planned Parenthood for a service other than abortion. Tell them about your birth control pills. Tell them about your pap smear. Tell them about the cervical cancer the gynecologist found. Hell, tell them about your abortion. But now is when you should be raising a fuss.
I just called my senators now. I found their phone numbers by Googling “Connecticut senators” and then calling the Washington, D.C., based number on the web site. One senator’s answering machine directed constituents to leave a message detailing your point of view, while another senator’s office had a physical human being who answered the phone, listened to me, and took down my contact information. I was pretty basic and just said that I am a female voter, I support legalized abortion, but that in any case, Planned Parenthood offers far more women’s health services than simply terminating unwanted pregnancies.
If you call your senators, let us know how it goes in the comments.