Unapologetic progressive. Fearless activist. Plucky liberal.

For the last time: the Hyde Amendment prohibits any federal funding for abortion. Planned Parenthood receives federal funding through the Title X program. That money CANNOT be used for abortion. Planned Parenthood pays for abortion care (just 3 percent of its services) through privately raised funds.

Contraception accounts for 35 percent of PP services. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 99 percent of sexually active women age 15-44 have used some form of contraception.

That’s what Republicans were willing to shut down the government over. Condoms. Birth control pills. Cancer screenings. Breast exams. STI tests. For men and women who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access that care. Republicans like to say there are plenty of other facilities besides PP that provide low or no cost reproductive health care. You know what? There aren’t. Andrea Grimes tried to find them. She recently lost her job and needs regular Pap smears to make sure she doesn’t develop cervical cancer. Her state representative told her there were alternatives in PP in the Dallas area. She called around to find out if that was true. The only clinic she could find had an opening in May.

Her local Planned Parenthood could fit her in that same afternoon.

If Grimes had that much trouble finding health care in a large metro area like Dallas, you can bet women in other large cities do, too, not to mention smaller cities and towns. I wrote a few weeks ago about my difficulty finding a gynecologist in a smaller town, and I was lucky enough to have health insurance. The doctors just weren’t accepting patients.

Military families came within hours of not having paychecks. Senators and representatives would have continued to be paid during a shutdown, while soldiers who risk their lives for our country would do without. National parks would have closed. Tax returns would have been delayed.

Over birth control. Republicans demanded that Planned Parenthood be defunded, and Democrats (luckily) were just as adamant that PP not be touched. Although PP was not affected when a budget agreement was reached, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to hold votes in the Senate on health care reform and Planned Parenthood; bills to repeal and defund those programs passed in the House but don’t stand much chance of getting through the Senate. Also, women who live in Washington, D.C., got a raw deal. The budget will prevent any federal or local funds from being used for abortion in D.C.

Once again, women’s health care was used as a legislative bargaining chip. Last year, conservative Democrats refused to vote for health care reform unless President Obama signed an executive order stating no federal funds would be used for abortion (even though, see above, THAT’S ALREADY LAW). Planned Parenthood is safe for now, but this almost feels like a Pyrrhic victory. Conservatives will keep chipping away at women’s rights and Democrats won’t notice or care until it’s too late.

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Comments on: "Republicans nearly shut down the government over birth control" (7)

  1. Uncle Dave said:

    Powerful Blog, Molly !

    Good to see a Strong Women’s point of view.

    • Thanks, Uncle Dave! I think it’s ridiculous the government almost shut down over an issue that has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility.

  2. Planned Parenthood also offers services to men, including testicular and prostate cancer screenings. If the Republicans knew this, would they be as determined to block funding? Who could possibly be against PREVENTATVE healthcare measures? This should not be a topic of debate.

    • I think they know PP also has male patients and just don’t care. They seem to be against anyone, even married couples, having sex and getting the health care they need. (It’s not a matter of fiscal policy because for every $1 spent on family planning we save almost $4.) But I agree there should be no debate on whether preventive services get funding.

  3. […] Republicans nearly shut down the government over birth control For the last time: the Hyde Amendment prohibits any federal funding for abortion. Planned Parenthood receives federal […] […]

  4. It is very tragic… almost cartoonyreally.
    Mindless zealots…

    Very nice article by the way. Bumped into it on Reddit.

  5. […] providers who can fill the void left by PP, that’s not true. If it wasn’t true in the Dallas metro area, it’s not going to be true in rural Indiana, especially since all federal family planning […]

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