Proposed budget cuts an assault on women

Oh, that pesky Fourteenth Amendment. Last month, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives took the opportunity to prove to Americans exactly how ridiculous their priorities are. In a show of clearly skewed logic, they voted on an amendment introduced by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., to pull all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a program which offers vital health care to low-income women in the form of contraceptives, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and abortions. This choice is critically harming to Planned Parenthood, which relies heavily upon the $317 million they receive from the government annually – more than one third of their entire operating budget. “We have a huge impact on the lives of women and families,” says Judy Tabar, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England said. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards described the proposed cuts as “the most dangerous legislative assault on women’s health in Planned Parenthood’s 95-year history.” House Republicans proclaimed that they will make good on their campaign promise to cut spending that helped them retake the chamber last November. But this ain’t about the money, folks. The proposed FY 2011 budget was $3.6 trillion – only $317 million of this would go to Planned Parenthood – just eight ten-thousandths of 1 percent. Republicans don’t want taxpayer dollars to go toward abortions. Though it is interesting to note that federal funds have been barred from being used for abortions for 35 years in the form of the Hyde Amendment, a rider attached to all annual appropriations bills since 1976. As if this is not infuriating enough, the House also voted in the same meeting to maintain the Pentagon’s $7 million sponsorship of NASCAR, promoted by the military as a way to boost recruitment. It is baffling, though, how anyone can justify spending money on this rather than the millions of women who use Planned Parenthood. The negatively influential and uninformed pro-life supporters who are to blame harbor a completely debilitating and outdated opposition to abortion. But their stubbornness has left them blind to the fact that Planned Parenthood is a necessary service that provides urgently needed aid to the suffering women in our community. Conservatives harbor a completely debilitating and outdated opposition to abortion;  their anti-abortion fervor left them blind to the other less controversial services Planned Parenthood provides, such as sex education, cancer screening, financial aid to mothers and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Abortions only account for 3 percent of all services provided by Planned Parenthood. This decision not only hurts all the low-income women who have been overshadowed by a conservative agenda, but it also doesn’t make sense financially. Statistics prove that for every dollar spent by the government on Planned Parenthood, four dollars are saved that would otherwise be spent on medical coverage of the unwanted pregnancies. Apparently, more federal money should be put towards education, as well, because there are mathematically disinclined members of Congress running around thinking that four is less than one. It is time the overall health and well-being of this nation’s women is free from ideological warfare every election cycle. Good luck convincing the desperately poor mother and the young girl with HIV that NASCAR fits into the category of being even remotely beneficial. Defunding Planned Parenthood is an assault on women. It’s an assault on the legacy of Roe v. Wade – it would further restrict a woman’s ability to make the choice the Supreme Court guaranteed she would have. In a budget of trillions, funding allocated for Planned Parenthood is a drop in the bucket. House Republicans are preaching with their pocketbook but governing with their ideology. Thomas Jefferson said that the Senate “is the saucer into which we pour legislation to cool.” Hopefully we will see more logical heads prevail when this contemptible legislation makes its way down the hall.