Standing with Planned Parenthood.
My Dear Readers: I try very hard to be consistent in posting on Tuesdays and Thursday. However, I have a friend in town this week so things have been hectic. More importantly, the subject matter below is very important to me, and I’d like to keep this front and center a lil while longer. Thank you for understanding!
Last week, the House of Representatives decided to eliminate the $327 million in funding for Title X.
Title X is a Nixon-era family planning program, part of which funds Planned Parenthood, to ensure that sexual health and family planning services are provided for the American people, regardless of their income.
Why? Oh, abortion. Duh. Lawd knows Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for those things.
But. Title X funds cannot be used for abortion services. Instead, it covers noncontroversial family planning services, mostly for low-income families.
Things like basic health care (because, goddamn it, sexual health and women’s health are goddamn basic health). Contraceptives. Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Reproductive health counseling. Women’s annual exams. And, you know, cancer screenings.
From Politico: “Planned Parenthood performed 328,300 abortions in 2008, which would account for about a quarter of the 1.21 million abortions that year, according to statistics from the Guttmacher Institute. And those abortions made up 3 percent of the patient services that Planned Parenthood offered in 2008.”
Here’s what Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), introduced the amendment, had to say:
“I am aware that Title X family planning funds are eliminated in this bill, but eliminating Title X funding has never been my goal.”
“I support the important work of Title X clinics across the country that provide breast cancer screenings, HIV testing, counseling, and other valuable family planning services.”
“My focus has and will remain on denying taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood or any organization that provides or promotes abortion as a means of birth control.”
Pence is concerned about taxpayer dollars, as he introduced this amendment to bills aimed at cutting government spending. Because, hey, his personal agenda should determine where tax dollars go – and these days we do need to be trimmin’ the fat. Title X is certainly fat, right?
Or not. Because PP invests in preventative and basic health care, they actually save both state and federal dollars. For every public dollar invested in family planning, $3.74 is saved in Medicaid-related costs. Oh, the hypocrisy.
In this day and age, with so many things going wrong, our Representatives chose to focus on taking away reproductive and basic health care. From families that need access to affordable options the most. Especially now. Despite the fact that those dollars have been shown to save money in the long run.
Because some (not all) Planned Parenthoods perform abortions? Or will help or advise a woman to get one?
Yep. As Pence told Politico: “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.”
Um. What about the fact that, through education and all that preventative care, PP is actually preventing abortions? For instance, statistics on reproductive health and abortion predict cutting family planning funds would mean a one-third increase in unplanned pregnancies…. and abortions. Duh.
Yeah… that does not translate to you Mr. Pence, does it?
Here’s the thing.Yes I realize there may be fundamental problems with this bill, and it probably won’t pass the Senate or the President’s veto anyway, so it will probably never come to fruition (thank all that is holy). Yes, fine, I get that. BUT. It’s the IDEA that it can come to this. That one jackass with an agenda can treat me as if I am expendable, or that I don’t deserve reproductive choice and sexual freedom.
Enough with shrugging and saying this doesn’t matter just because it won’t pass the Senate. That I am overreacting. Start fucking paying attention.
All this pisses me right the fuck off on so many levels. First, the idea that Pence and others are so short-sighted they would deny millions of Americans basic health care so we all know how they feel about abortions. Their own thoughts about procedures they will never ever have have to get. Ever. Even though that care actually prevents what they vilify. Even though that care saves them money. They would do that for the principle of it. Because that makes sense.
They’d argue that there are millions more Americans who also don’t like abortions, and there tax dollars shouldn’t be used to fund them.
Excuse me, but there are many many things (thank you for the wars, President Bush!) my government does that I do not approve of. At all (House salaries may be one of them). But. I still pay my taxes. Furthermore, THESE DOLLARS DON’T GO TO ABORTIONS. EXPLICITLY.
There are even deeper reasons why this is such a serious issue.
My annual exam? Basic health care. Contraception and STI testing? Basic health care. Treatment for STIs? Basic health care. Cancer screaning? Basic health care.
And, don’t you worry, the fact that the American government doesn’t actually give a shit about providing the people with basic health care period is not lost on me.
The point is, according to Pence and the supporters of this amendment, these services really aren’t that important. They believe that care is subject to their discretion. And not only discretion? But they have no problem sacrificing it. Not to save money. Not to even avoid actual abortions actually being carried out – but to simply make a point.
And it’s THEIR principles. Not mine. And about something that, let’s be frank, shouldn’t be decided by men. Sure, speaking-for-the-fetus speech here, but anyone wonder if abortions would be an issue if MEN could get pregnant?
And PS? In my opinion? Your ability to decide what I do with my body, and your thoughts on abortion, ended when you decided not to use a condom. Sorry, true story. Further? As someone said on Twitter recently: “If you don’t like abortions, get a vasectomy.”
You will hear, if you’re paying attention, that this is an attack on women and on the poor. I agree. We, the 97% of Americans who don’t go to PP to get an abortion, don’t matter enough to Pence and the supporters of de-funding Planned Parenthood to even consider.
Women’s health and sexual health are separate from, you know, real health care. They’re not really all that important. And health care for the poor? Really? What a drain on the system. We’re trying to solve a recession here, people.
We can be so easily sacrificed. So easily done away with. Because we don’t matter.
Because annual exams aren’t basic health care.
Because we shouldn’t be having sex, in the first place. Not until we’re married, and then we should be having babies anyway.
Because, for women, sex is about getting pregnant.
Because the poor don’t donate to campaign funds.
Because who cares if the poor are uneducated and don’t have access to preventative care and family planning. They’re lazy and stupid as it is. We should really be cutting out as much support for low-income as possible. They just use kids to drain the system anyway. Maybe we should do away with government support and, hey, I don’t believe in evolution, but survival of the fittest.
And furthermore. Whether you want to admit it or not, reproductive freedom and rights are fundamental to where a person stands in the world. As Pepper puts it:
Reproductive freedom is the foundation of my feminism because it is inexorably tied to economic, educational, and environmental outcomes. Every other issue that I think about as a feminist bumping around in the world– class, race, health, food, the environment– every single one, cannot be talked about without connecting it to reproductive freedom.
Furthermore, wealthy women will continue to cover their women’s health needs elsewhere. People will still get abortions. Absolutely. Especially wealthy, white, privileged women. Because, well, these kinds of things – taking care of sexual health, preventative care, etc. – there more like, elective surgery. Elective care. Something you can have if you can afford it.
When are we, as the American public, going to collectively wake up to the fact that there are so many in Congress hell-bent on ignoring the poor, those they should be working hard to take care of and provide opportunities for?
OR the idea that there is still inherent disgusting subconscious deep-down racism in this country? That race and class aren’t still inherently linked? We, the educated and the liberal and the open-minded, can argue against it – but bet your ass, there are plenty still well aware of it. As long as race and social means go hand in hand, it’s just so much easier to keep your racism and make choices based on it, but not have to be blatant about it.
When are we, as the American public, going to collectively wake up to the way we still, to this very day, want to keep women from being independent, sexual beings? To the idea that sexual health and pregnancy prevention rest solely on the woman’s shoulders (hello every woman who has been told “I really don’t like condoms” or “I’m allergic”)? Compare the number of birth control methods that women have, to the ones (I mean one) men do.
The idea that I am here to have babies, that I should have no say, or even access to education, on when or how that happens to me. If I have problem with that, I should just stop having sex. Until I find a man who will marry me, and then I can – but will risk getting preggers every time I do. And all the consequences for my life that come with that. Because that’s just the way a woman’s life should be.
I am not allowed to enjoy or desire sex. I am here to bear your children. Even if you rape me. Even if you abuse me. Even if having that baby might kill me.
And yes, even if the condom breaks or if the diaphragm slips or I forget a pill. Even if mistakes are made – BECAUSE THEY ARE. It’s on me. Not you. And even more so if I am marginalized. And yeah I get that there are men out there who feel it is on them, too. While I appreciate them so much – it’s not the same. Let’s be honest.
And, like with racism, it’s so easy to hold on to misogyny when you can just call it Pro-Life.
This is not an attack on men. This is not an attack on the privileged. In no way do I mean to insinuate all men feel this way, or all people with money do.
This is anger at those that would attack women, and would attack the poor, demean us and tell us we don’t matter, and are expendable so that you can make a mother fucking point.
And wrap it all up with a bow that says “Pro-Life”.
This is also frustration at those who want to tell me this is a simple issue. Geez, stop overreacting. This is just about abortion, stop reading too much into it. And it won’t pass the Senate anyway, so why are my panties all twisted?
START PAYING ATTTENION. No, this is not an issue I can ignore because the Senate will take care of it for me. This is an issue I need my government to know is serious serious shit. That I AM paying attention. I SEE the underlying issues, and I UNDERSTAND how Pence and his supporters would USE ME to make a point.
Regardless of it’s actual impact on Title X in the end, we need to stand up to say that this act, this amendment and its support – for women, for those of us who don’t have the income for a private gyno. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.
Of course, it’s also part of the greater war on reproductive rights and sexual freedom, even if the right finally did get the message on “forcible” rape. If you’re unaware of this, please read up on HR 358, HR 3 (and Sady Doyle at Tiger Beatdown is running down the list of Dems supporting it), and this lovely list (if that doesn’t make your blood boil, not sure what will… and we might not be able to be friends any more – and I don’t want that.
While filling out form letters does something, I know for a fact it has less equal impact to the time it takes you to fill it out. Want to really let your voice be heard? Find you Congressmen and call them. It’s not scary – you usually just leave a message. But an actual voice on the line tells them you are serious about this.
Find your Representative: express your displeasure in their vote, or thank them for standing with PP.
But… I know we’re all busy so at least do this:
EDUCATE YOURSELF ~ For more on Title X and the greater dialogue, including women’s rights, what this all means, and ties to race and class: