(AP Photo/San Angelo Standard-Times, Patrick Dove)
If you haven't been worn down reading about Todd Akin's bizarre and ignorant views about the female reproductive system, now turn to Texas, where women's uteruses may soon have to move out of state to find health care. Late Tuesday night, a federal court of appeals ruled that Texas can exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program, which provides basic preventative care—like birth control and cancer screenings—for low-income women. The decision has terrifying implications in a state where women's access to health care is already poor.
The last time Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison took on Rick Perry, things didn't go so well. Hutchison, among the most popular politicians in the state at the time, was the favorite to win the Republican nomination, and instead Perry rode into the general with overwhelming support. Among Hutchison's key problems—besides simply running a bad campaign—a nagging reputation as a moderate, who was at least somewhat pro-choice and who'd voted for the bank bailout. After the disappointing finish, she later announced she wouldn't run for re-election in the Senate. This may be her last year in politics. And evidently, she's decided that it's no time to back down from her political rival.
The most important way for conservatives to roll back access to family planning is to link it to abortion. To wit, at the Faith and Freedom Conference last week, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelserdeclared: “Every year that contraception and family planning increases, the abortion rate also increases in direct proportion. … This is an undeniable fact.” SBA List will not support a candidate that does not want to defund Planned Parenthood because of this faux-causal relationship between contraception and abortion.
Since Republicans failed to ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a few states have decided to do it themselves. First up, Indiana, where the Senate passed a funding ban last week. But, as the Indianapolis Starreports, it’s not that simple: Under federal law, states cannot choose which organizations are allowed to provide family planning to Medicaid patients. The Planned Parenthood ban could now cost the state all $4 billion of its federal funds for family-planning services.
The Texas House recently voted to slash $61 million out of the state’s family-planning budget, which would leave just $37 million over the next two years to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The consequences should be obvious, but state lawmakers needn’t go beyond their own borders to see the results of underfunded family-planning and sex-education programs. As Gail Collinswrites in TheNew York Times today:
One area where Republicans were looking to trim fat from the budget was international family planning. When the House passed H.R.1, their ideal budget, at the end of March, they slashed family-planning assistance by $200 million, a 30 percent reduction. In the final budget, that number has been reduced to $73 million. Based on calculations by the Guttmacher Institute, here’s what that translates into:
Today, after months of attacks on Planned Parenthood and women's reproductive health from Republicans in Congress, over 2,000 women and men gathered on the National Mall to stand with Planned Parenthood at the Rally for Women’s Health. With the Capitol in the background, senators, women’s health advocates, celebrities, and activists swore to protect women's rights.
Yesterday, news broke that the GOP-controlled Congress, rather than waste their time trying to keep Title X family-planning funds from going to Planned Parenthood, will go ahead and just eliminate family-planning funding across the board.