By Sonja Eide / Managing Editor
By Sonja Eide / Managing Editor
The Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives and their first target is not to get rid of the massive national debt, fix the economy, create new jobs, or any of those apparently not so important issues.
Instead, the GOP has decided to focus on attacking a little institution called Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood opened in Brooklyn, New York in 1916, becoming the first birth control clinic in the US.
Over the past century, the center has grown exponentially. It is now used by over three million Americans in 820 clinic locations across the nation.
The clinic offers comprehensive sex education, free or inexpensive health care, STD testing, contraceptives, cancer screenings, pregnancy testing, family planning and the most controversial service: abortion.
Under Title X, a law passed in 1970, access to these reproductive health services is protected and funded by the government.
However, the Republicans’ proposed budget bill seeks to severely limit these services and defund Planned Parenthood.
Amendments added to the bill include making it illegal for Planned Parenthood to receive any federal finances at all.
Planned Parenthood gets about a third of its revenue, about $360 million, from the government. Under the law, the government funds are not allowed to be used on abortion services and instead go toward cancer screenings, family planning and women’s health services.
However, House Republicans believe that giving any government funds to help the institution offer health services will make it easier for them to provide abortions, and that is wrong.
In reality, this battle for budget cuts is not about the money that may or may not be gained from cutting funding for the clinics.
It is really about limiting a woman’s right to her body.
Whatever one’s stance is on abortion, it is a fact that cutting off funding for the services that Planned Parenthood offers will not stop abortions from happening.
Instead, women in need of an abortion will have to go through extreme and even unsafe methods without Planned Parenthood’s help.
Even with abortion being legal, 70,000 women die a year because they cannot get access to them.
This is due to a maze of government legislature, doctors refusing to end unwanted pregnancies because of the “conscience clause” and clinic services not being available in the area.
Abortion is a necessary medical procedure that needs to stay legal.
Being able to plan when you want to have a family is a right that cannot be taken away, no matter how hard politicians in Washington D.C. try to sneakily attach their oppressive ideals to budget cut bills.
The GOP has already attempted to redefine rape to make it so only those women who suffer grievous bodily injury are really rape victims, make miscarriages illegal and any woman who has one under suspicion of inducing her own, and generally make it impossible for women to have control over their bodies.
But it doesn’t end there.
Another provision on the bill calls that 10 percent cuts be made to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC, which provides services to 9.6 million low income mothers and their children.
So the question is this: why is it, if House Republicans are “pro-life” as they say, that they choose to attack and defund programs that specifically are designed to help children?
The hypocrisy is astounding.
Those who use Planned Parenthood’s services are often low income.
It is apparent that the GOP would rather trample all over poor people who need those services than help.
Planned Parenthood is not the enemy.
Limiting abortion access and cutting funding to necessary health programs will not magically stop them from happening.
Punishing poor women for having children should not be a viable option for this country.
Women everywhere are in danger because of this terrifying attack on their health care.
It’s time to step up and realize: a woman’s body is not the property of the government.
Keeping abortion safe, legal and easily accessible should be a goal in this country.
Whether or not a woman will ever need to choose that option is up to her, but cutting off prime resources she potentially may need to turn to will only lead to disaster.
Everyone deserves access to reproductive health care.
It is a right. It’s the government’s job to ensure the protection of the rights of its people.
The House Republicans need to find a new scapegoat, because, frankly, this position of theirs has been played out for quite some time.
Though it is unlikely that their ridiculous bills will ever pass, the fact remains that these politicians still have it out for institutions that cater to women’s health like Planned Parenthood, and organizations like WIC that help poor mothers.
In the end, it’s women who will have to face the consequences if politicians continue the onslaught of anti-woman legislature.
Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces; every woman in the country is under attack.
People’s loved ones will pay the price for the GOP’s decision to make reproductive health a commodity and snip away at budgets that affect millions of people in the country.