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Defunding Planned Parenthood

What’s up with defunding Planned Parenthood?

So it looks like we survived the G20 – if survival means, “try not to embarrass the United States more than your last trip to Europe.” I’ve not yet established an opinion on the Trump – Putin sit down although with a bar as low as a garden hose, not handing over the names and locations of American spies in Moscow would qualify as a win.

This week Congress comes back after their big July 4th break and poor Mitch McConnell’s tax cut legislation (er, health care reform, Obamacare repeal) is yet again in danger. It’s in so much trouble that McC is bringing in the Closer – you guessed it, Ted Cruz of Texas. The most hated man in Washington is somehow supposed to broker a deal with his Senate colleagues. I’m not sure what you are doing this coming week, but I’m going to sit back and watch this one.

One of the “mysteries” of the Republican Party these last twenty years has been the hard on it’s had for Planned Parenthood. And I use that description of “hard on” very specifically. One – I think it’s funny. And two – because it’s really just the MEN of the Republican party that has such disdain for a health care clinic serving so many women across the country. Republican women do not seem to have such animosity toward the organization and frankly, it’s not hard to understand why.

First – what does it mean when we hear “defund Planned Parenthood?” The Senate health care reform bill defunds PP for at least one year. Republicans use the term “defunds” in a very strategic way because it sounds like the government is actually funneling money to PP coffers. That is not true.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood” means that government-sponsored insurance (like Medicaid, Title X) could not be used to cover services at Planned Parenthood. So let’s say your insurance is Medicaid. And now let’s say your doctor is at Planned Parenthood. If Congress “defunds Planned Parenthood,” then women who have Medicaid as their insurance carrier do not get to keep their doctor.

Huh. Well when you put it like that, it sure sounds like that thing that everybody got so upset about with Obamacare. Remember when Obama said you’d get to keep your doctor and then we learned there were a few instances where that turned out not to be the case? I do. Trump and the GOP are still using that one. Could it be that the Republicans are saying the same thing with Planned Parenthood? Say it ain’t so Joe!

So what’s really going on here? Easy. Politicians are exploiting evangelical feelings on abortion to limit and scale back entitlements to the detriment of poorer women’s health. It really is that simple.

Planned Parenthood offers many women’s health services and accepts most insurance providers including Medicaid and Medicare. Women use Planned Parenthood the way they would an Ob-Gyn: Pap and pelvic exams, breast exams, pregnancy, blood work, and STD checks etc. You might also go to Planned Parenthood for an abortion – and therein lies the brouhaha.

Federal law prevents Medicaid from covering abortion services. And yes – I have a big issue with that. That law is discriminatory towards poor women who tend to be women of color. But right now, that’s the law. But Republicans – again, particularly Republican men see an opportunity to exploit the emotion over abortion to limit government’s role in protecting women’s health.

Women Senators like Susan Collins have opposed these “defunding” proposals because they understand that taking PP away as an option for those on Medicaid is in many cases, taking away women’s only option in a health care provider. There are many rural areas in which Planned Parenthood is the only provider within 100 miles. It’s either PP or nothing; and nothing means increased risk of breast, uterine or cervical cancer.

For Republican men, “defunding” Planned Parenthood would give the added benefit of shutting down additional abortion clinics because a good portion of Planned Parenthood’s revenue comes from Medicaid and Title X (non-abortion services). Big bonus there without having to deal with those pesky liberals and the courts.

Now. To anyone who is about to jump in with “but those videos! The ones with the PP employees discussing the aborted tissues and using them for scientific research!” I ask that you just stop. Those videos were edited for effect. Just ask Carly Fiorina. She was doing a decent job in the Presidential race until she pulled out the Planned Parenthood abortive tissue nonsense which proved to be a farce.

And frankly – even if it were true – it is beside the point. Defunding Planned Parenthood is not “defunding” at all. It is the government telling a woman where she can & cannot go get a pap smear. No. Wait. Defunding Planned Parenthood is the government telling a POOR woman…more likely a POOR WOMAN OF COLOR where she can and cannot go get a pap smear. I have a feeling if that were the language in the bill, a lot more of the Republican base would tell Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan where to bend over for their prostate exam.

By the way. I’ve been to my local Planned Parenthood clinic. It’s a very nice place. When I went there were no protesters, but usually, there are a couple of folks out on the sidewalk with signs. They are never unruly, and I assume they are religiously affiliated because I’ve noticed some of the women will hold the rosary while praying. One of these days, I’m going to stop and talk to them. I wonder if they are also opposed to the death penalty.

Support Planned Parenthood.

Amy, from the Facebook Archives

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