I know I’ve been writing a lot on this topic lately, and I won’t apologize, because it’s vitally important, but I do want to explain a bit. The vote the House of Representatives took on Friday to defund Planned Parenthood, along with all of the other anti-choice legislation being proposed around the country, feels like a personal attack on me. My body. My rights. It feels like the people who represent me, who are supposed to be looking out for my best interests, are saying they care more about their religious beliefs than about my health and the health of millions of other women.
Let’s be clear that this isn’t about saving money. The $327 million of Title X money is a drop in the fiscal bucket. Family planning actually saves $3.80 for every $1 spent. And none of that money Planned Parenthood gets goes toward funding abortions. It hasn’t since 1976, when the Hyde amendment was introduced. I wish it did, because I would much more readily pay for abortions and health care for poor women than I would for wars I don’t believe in.
Instead, what the House voted against was birth control, cancer screenings (for women and men), HIV testing, STI testing, counseling, prenantal and postnatal care, pap smears, vasectomies, and more. Routine physical care. They are so determined to run Planned Parenthood out of business that they want to deny millions of Americans the only health care they can afford. If the Senate passes a similar bill, it would have a devastating effect on people’s health.
Study after study has shown that communities as a whole benefit when women have access to family planning, so this isn’t just a women’s rights issue. It’s a human rights issue. But the attacks are not just happening on a national level.
- Panel OKs cutting off Indiana funding for Planned Parenthood.
- Maryland county defunding Head Start told mothers the best way to help their children is to stay married and not work outside the home.
- Georgia state representative wants to form miscarriage police. He also wants rape victims to be called “accusers.”
- South Dakota legislators, until a national backlash made them shelf the measure, wanted to make it legal to kill anyone who harmed a fetus.
Republicans (and anti-choice Democrats) want to do all that, which is clearly a war on women. But funding that’s A-OK?
Nice to know where women fall on the government’s list of priorities.
So to show how much we trust women to make the choices that are best for them, pro-choice activists are walking for reproductive justice on Saturday. There are walks in dozens of cities around the United States, as well as in Australia, the UK and Pakistan. If you can’t go, pass along the information to anyone you might know who would be interested. The main hub for information is the Walk for Choice Tumblr, and information is also being spread via Facebook and Twitter. I plan to join the walk in Chicago. Who will join me in showing solidarity with women?