Last night, while Congress debated funding the health-care bill, Rep. Steve King couldn’t help also mentioning why he voted to defund Planned Parenthood: “Planned Parenthood is invested in promiscuity.”
King really let the cat out of the bag here. This year, the right has launched an attack on Planned Parenthood by arguing that any money that goes to Planned Parenthood or similar organizations is going toward abortions, even though federal law prohibits that. They have tried other strategies too, like using a series of “sting” videos to claim that Planned Parenthood supports sex-trafficking (a charge so bogus that the FBI recently declined to pursue it). They have also cut government funded family-planning services in their new budget, allowing their outrage over abortion to spill over into a general anti-women’s health-care stance.
By framing everything as anti-abortion, the right remedies the contradictory stance of being both against abortion and against abortion-reducing measures like contraception. But King’s explanation makes a lot more sense. A few weeks ago, Will Saletan took Republicans to task for denying any interest in “social engineering” while doing everything in their power to limit reproductive care in private as well as public insurance plans. They obviously want to control women’s behavior by denying them care. It’s disturbing to hear King confirm his desire to confine women’s activities and punish sexuality -- as Media Matters put it, "The reason King gave last night for defunding Planned Parenthood was straight out of a 1950s sex ed class" -- but at least he's being honest.