Monday, June 27, 2011

The War Against Planned Parenthood - *UPDATE*

After the midterm elections of 2010, the Republican Party took control of the United States House of Representatives and ten Governorships. They promised voters job creation, fiscal responsibility and an economic policy that would bring the recession to an end. Behind closed doors, the Republican Party hatched a unified plan to severely impair the reproductive rights of women across the country and limit the healthcare options of low and moderate income people.

Kyl later stated that his statement was not meant to be factual. John Kyl's statement outlined a bigger issue - he didn't know that abortions only make up about 3% of the health services, that Planned Parenthood provides. He clearly has no clue what Planned Parenthood does for people! He only knows his rehearsed GOP talking points and the lies fed to him by his conservative colleagues. Senator Kyl is clearly uninformed and admittedly gives false information.

The 112th Congress began its legislative session on January 3, 2011. On February 11, 2011, exactly 39 days later, the Republican controlled House of Representatives introduced H.R. 1. After all of the campaigning, talking points and anti-incumbent rhetoric, one would think that the FIRST bill of the legislative session would have been aimed at the American people. Maybe a jobs bill or even foreclosure prevention bill, after all this party vowed to turn the economy around. Nope. They introduced legislation that specifically called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Sec. 4013 of H.R. 1 specifically states "None of the funds made available by this act may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. or any of the following affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc." just in case the language was not clear enough, the bill goes on to includes 102 affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federations of America, who are deemed defunded by the bill. Again, I repeat - this was the first bill the new congress choose to introduce and later pass - a middle finger to women and low and moderate income people. H.R. 1 passed the United States House of Representatives on February 19th, 2011, by a party line vote of 235-189. 3 Republicans voted no and 2 didn't have the guts to show the country what scumbags they really are. On the Democratic side 186 members voted against the bill, while 7 cowardly members didn't cast a vote. The bill was deemed dead on arrival to the Senate. The Republican Party has clearly cemented their agenda on the American people and they want us to know they mean business.

This April the issue came up again. In their perfectly unified approach and persistence in strategy, the GOP threaten to shut down the federal government, all in the name of defunding Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Arizona Senator John Kyl (R) famously stood on the floor and stated "Abortion is well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does."

About Planned Parenthood Federation of America

For more than 90-years, Planned Parenthood has worked to improve women’s health and safety, prevent unintended pregnancies, and advance the right and ability of individuals and families to make informed and responsible choices.

More than three million men and women in the US visit Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers for general healthcare services on an annual basis. Some of the healthcare services that Planned Parenthood offers are anemia testing, flu vaccines, diabetes screening, cholesterol screening, physical examinations, high blood pressure screening, tetanus vaccination, thyroid screening and a host of other general practice services.

Planned Parenthood also offers a host of sexual and reproductive health services, men's sexual health services and women's health services including; birth control, the morning-after pill, pregnancy tests, sexually transmitted disease testing, abortion services, testicular cancer screening, prostate cancer screening and urinary tract infection screening, breast cancer screening, ovarian cancer screening, pap tests and HPV testing.

*Note to Senator Kyl - you can get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at Planned Parenthood

The GOP wants to deny women their reproductive rights and deny healthcare to poor people in the process. This is part of their strategy. The ultimate pursuit here is a direct attack on women, a ban on abortion in the United States by overturning Roe v. Wade. Two attempts at the federal level through legislation, didn't work - no problem. Get the Republican Governors to kick the can further along. In come the big four.

Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio & Kansas

Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kansas

Indiana - Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed legislation that blocked Medicaid funding to the states 28 clinics. In Indiana, Medicaid covered thousands of low-income women for general health services. Planned Parenthood sued to block the law and is awaiting a ruling. Also, included in the legislation are restrictions on abortions - a ban on abortions past the 20th week, unless there is a substantial threat to the woman's life or health; and a requirement that doctors ensure women seeking an abortion are counseled on life beginning at conception. These restrictions will be the strictest in the nation.

*UPDATE* per The Associated Press:

Indiana is not allowed to cut off Planned Parenthood’s public funding for general health services solely because the organization also provides abortions, a federal judge said Friday in blocking parts of the state’s tough new abortion law.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt’s ruling granted Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s request for a preliminary injunction on the state’s move to defund the organization. It also sided with federal officials who said states cannot restrict Medicaid recipients’ freedom to choose their health care provider or disqualify Medicaid providers merely because they also offer abortions.

Ohio - Republican Governor John Kasich supported amendments to a state budget bill that bans abortions from publicly funded hospitals and ban the use of public funds to health care plans that cover abortion services.

Wisconsin -
Republican Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign a budget bill that blocks state and federal funding from nine of the states Planned Parenthood healthcare centers. The Walker budget also eliminates $1M in annual funding to nine Planned Parenthood Clinics. Over 12,000 uninsured women will be affected by this.

Kansas - Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation that blocks funding and stops abortion funding in health insurance programs.

North Carolina - In a strange twist, the Republican controlled, North Carolina legislature overrode Democratic Governor Bev Purdue's veto of a budget bill they passed. The bill blocks all federal and state funds to Planned Parenthood of North Carolina, because they also provide abortions. Over 25,000 low-income men and women in the state of North Carolina will have no access to health care services.

Republican Governors are in place in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma,Wyoming, Iowa and New Mexico. They are in lockstep with the GOP agenda and can be expected to follow suit. They will have no mercy on poor people. What the GOP fails to understand is their radical agenda and ideology will be more damaging to the country as a whole. They claim to be fiscally responsible, but this is a fiscal disaster. When you deny basic access of health care services to anyone, that person than becomes a burden on tax-payers. They utilize the emergency room for simple things that could have been addressed by Planned Parenthood at a lower cost, now at a higher cost. Not to mention the hypocrisy in these governors. Each has labeled themselves pro-life – yes, only at conception! Once you enter this world as a real-life human being, the GOP DOES not care about you. You are now a burden to them and their pursuit of wealth and power. Since January, more than 30 states have passed legislation limiting or putting restrictions on women’s reproductive rights in this country. They think they have the votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. These small attacks are intentional, well orchestrated and part of the bigger plan. They are hoping that someone takes this up in the courts and they finally have their day.

Here is why you should give a damn – regardless of your stance on abortion, this is not the behavior or practice of a democracy. The GOP wants to run this country like a dictatorship, with only their views and ideology in place. If we lose this war, everyone who is not a Republican, White, Male, Heterosexual, Evangelical Christian will have NO rights. They will slowly chip away at the US Constitution with radical amendments and legislate from a point of hate.

Why does the GOP hate women?
Will banning abortions in the US help the country or make it worse?
What should be done on a federal level to protect Planned Parenthood and Women’s Reproductive Rights?
Do these Governors have the right to block Federal Funding from Planned Parenthood?
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