Republican Representative from Indiana, Mike Pence (who—thank little-baby-Jesus—stated that he will NOT be running for presidential office in 2012) recently introduced an amendment to Congress that would withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood. The amendment, which was passed 240 to 185, is set to cut money for contraceptives, HIV testing, cancer screenings and reproductive health services in hopes—on the part of the Republicans—of significantly maiming the organization. Though Planned Parenthood does administer abortions, it does NOT use federal funding from Title X, which specifically funds reproductive health services, to administer them. The use of federal funding to perform abortions has been barred since the Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976.
Republican representatives argued that the amendment was necessary to keep taxpayers’ money from funding abortions at Planned Parenthood—even though, as I said earlier, it is clearly not the taxpayers’ money that funds the abortions directly. Now I would assume that being a responsible little representative would mean doing research about an issue before putting up such a stink. It seems that Republicans either failed to educate themselves about what exactly Planned Parenthood uses Title X funds for, or that they knew the funds weren’t used for abortions, but made an argument saying they were anyway in order to manipulate people. I have to say—given their usual shisty tactics— that I think it’s the latter.
According to The Huffington Post, “The the organization [Planned Parenthood] also performs one-quarter of reported abortions in the United States last year, some of which Pence claims were funded through non-Title X funding.” It also reports that Pence said, “Nobody is saying Planned Parenthood can’t be the leading advocate of abortion on demand, but why do I have to pay for it?”
You don’t pay for it! Abortions are not federally funded! Stop making people think they are!
Democratic Representatives fought the amendment with vigor; and fighting most vehemently and most admirably were Rep. Jackie Speier of California and Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin. Speier divulged—on the House Floor, no less—that she had had an abortion and that she was one of the women the Republican representatives had been so disparagingly speaking of. Moore revealed that she herself had an unplanned pregnancy. Both women were immensely brave to come forward with personal anecdotes in their heartfelt effort to sway Congress. Speier and fellow Democratic Representative, Gwen Moore, appeared on ABC’s The View yesterday to talk about the amendment. The following video also includes clips of their speeches to the House:
First, I would like to note that I acknowledge that it is rather difficult to distinguish any legitimate arguments amidst all of the rude interruptions on this show, and I am not particularly fond of it; however, I feel that it is important to issue commentary on it because of the fact that it is watched by so many American women, who, consequently, are influenced by what these women have to say about certain issues—for better or for worse.
In the interview, Rep. Speier asserts that Planned Parenthood in fact does not use federal funding for performing abortions and that frequent auditing of the organization ensures that this is true. Rep. Moore stresses several key points in her comments. She notes that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are for reproductive services other than abortion and that, ironically enough, Planned Parenthood prevents more abortions than it provides.
The Huffington Post also reports that Mike Pence has voiced hopes for the eventual overturning of Roe v. Wade. That, my friends, will be a sad, sad day. Though the current situation seems bleak, we can make small contributions to help. Sign an open letter to every representative who voted in favor of the amendment (and to every senator who still has a chance to prevent it) on Planned Parenthood’s website, or make a donation (even the small ones count!) to the organization.
And I leave you with an inspiring image…